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==== ==== Struggling with Migraine Headaches? Suffer no more... discover how to get rid of your pain once and for all. Click the link below to find out more! ==== ====

If you are like me and 28 million other people in the United States, you get migraine headaches. Some of us have the classic migraine with the flashing zigzag lights in the eyes that warn you of an impending migraine. Others, like me, get no warning. It just comes on. Bang. Suddenly everything is too loud and too bright. The nausea isn't much fun, either. It is estimated that nearly half of the people in the United States who have migraine headaches do not get diagnosed and treated. So, potentially, there could be even more than the 28 million. More women than men get migraine headaches. Approximately 35% of all women with migraines suffer four or more a month. About 40% experience one or less than one severe attack a month. They may last from four hours to three days. Some may last longer. The sad thing is that I am afraid that most migraine sufferers have the same experience when seeking help that I did. I finally went to see a neurologist. After about an hour and a half of questions and testing, he told me that, yes, I had migraine headaches, which I already knew. Then he asked me what I wanted from him. I told him that I wanted him to help me figure out why I get them and how to stop having them. He told me that I get them because I get them and sent me away with some pills that basically made my life even worse. And it was pretty bad to begin with. I do not have classic migraines; the kind that give you warning and last for a couple of days. I had them every day for a little over four years. I have not had a single migraine headache for about six years now. For a few years prior to that, I would have the occasional migraine as I continued to work it all out. It requires dedication and persistence, but it is all well worth it. No matter what a doctor might tell you, there is a reason why you get a migraine headache. Sadly, when I was at my worst, the medical community was mainly focused on prescribing drugs. This is slowly changing to a more holistic approach. However, it is still mainly up to you to figure out why and modify your life so that you no longer get them. I had a great deal of motivation because my life had pretty much ended due to having migraines every day. So the sacrifices that I have to make in order not to have them really do not seem all that bad these many years later. Actually, only others consider them sacrifices. I am probably healthier now that at any other time of my life. There are so many different things that will trigger a migraine for a susceptible person that it is hard to believe. Some people have one or two triggers and they do not encounter them all that often and so they have only a few migraines a year. Others, like me, have a lot of triggers. This can make it very hard to find all the triggers and eliminate them from your life. The following is a list of my triggers, some of them are common to quite a few people: milk and anything made from milk, including butter; wheat; corn including corn oil, corn starch and corn sugar; bananas;

strawberries; chocolate; caffeine; nuts; peanuts; mushrooms; yeast; environmental fungi; artificial sweeteners; artificial colors; artificial flavors; preservatives; citrus fruits; alcohol, whether in beverages or in the environment (as in hairsprays); fragrances (not just perfumes, but any fragranced product); and most petrochemicals. Among the general population the most common migraine triggers are: aged cheese; chocolate; alcoholic beverages; excessive salt intake; nitrates (a preservative); monosodium glutamate (MSG); changes in the weather; excessive fatigue; skipping meals; changes in normal sleep pattern; dehydration; bright light and emotional stress, in no particular order. Migraine headaches can also be triggered when you are finally able to relax or just after physical exertion. For women, sensitivity to food substances can be much greater during premenstrual and menstrual days than at other times of the cycle. Entering into menopause can also increase sensitivity to migraine triggers. Many women who have never had migraines before develop them during menopause. In some cases however, menopause brings about a cessation of migraine headaches. Also, in general, birth control pills will increase the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Approximately one man for every four women will get migraine headaches. But, they do get them. Also, men are more prone to a form of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Some individuals consider cluster headaches to be far worse than migraine headaches, if you can imagine anything worse than that. Another name for cluster headaches is "suicide headaches". At one point, I did consider that might be my only option. On the rare good day, I would have a couple of hours in the afternoon when I could actually do a little something. On some of those days, I would take myself to the library and check out everything I could find on headaches in general, migraines in particular, allergies, food sensitivities, stress and the like. All of my reading indicated that I should, first, focus my attention on foods. When you suspect just about everything that you are eating of causing a migraine headache, it makes it a little hard to do food challenges. The first step in the challenge is elimination. You must stop eating the foods you suspect of causing a migraine for at least two weeks. Then one by one, add them back. Keep a migraine diary. In it, keep track of what you eat day by day, and a few notes about how you are feeling and what you did. For two weeks, I ate nothing but eggs, hamburger, apples, oatmeal and spinach. I drank nothing but water. After two weeks, I had significantly fewer migraines, but they did not go away all together. As it turned out, there was a stress factor to be dealt with, as well. Ideally, you should come to a point where you have no migraine headaches. Obviously, this method is easier to implement the more frequently you have migraine headaches, because you do not have to spend as much time in elimination before you come to a point where you are not having migraines. Also, the fewer triggers you suspect, the longer period of time you can spend in eliminating them because your diet will not be too limited. Two weeks was about all the time I could manage on such a restricted diet. The point is to be as certain as you can that you are no longer having migraine headaches before adding back your suspected triggers. A migraine can take up to 48 hours to develop after eating a trigger. So, ideally, you should add

back one food for two days. Do this to be certain your body is aware of it. Also, some people can tolerate small amounts of a trigger, but not necessarily two days in a row. Then wait for three days before considering that food to be safe and adding a new food. If any of your suspects triggers a migraine, eliminate it from your life. I have a friend who knows that chocolate gives her a migraine headache, but she eats it anyway. Then she complains about the headache. I have never understood this. Except that she does use it as an excuse to stay home from work. Still, why would you purposely do something that you know causes you so much pain? As mentioned previously, foods are not the only causes of migraine headaches. Most professionals agree that treatment of migraine headaches consists of: removing or modifying triggers; controlling exaggerated biological responsiveness and relieving the pain once manifest if it cannot be prevented. Personally, I think the first two options are the best. For me, having migraines every day, it would have been seriously dangerous to take vasoconstrictors every day. As the name implies, they constrict your veins and arteries and thereby raise your blood pressure; sometimes dangerously. So, I concentrated on identifying and removing my triggers. In effect, this leads to the control of exaggerated biological responsiveness. It is generally agreed that migraines are caused by cyclic dilation and constriction of the blood vessels. Basically, as I have come to understand it, what happens is that some food or environmental factor causes your vessels to dilate. This causes a drop in blood pressure which the body sees as unfavorable and so it constricts the vessels to compensate. But, the trigger is still present and so the vessels dilate again. This cycle will continue for a while until, essentially, the body gives up and leaves the vessels dilated. This is when the migraine headache occurs. The cycle may begin just as easily with constriction as with dilation. Just exactly why dilated vessels should be experienced as pain in some individuals is not yet totally clear. As previously mentioned, foods are not the only triggers of migraine headaches. Emotional stress and physical exertion can also cause them. These can be a little harder to deal with. But I have found, once you break the cycle of migraine headaches, it becomes a lot easier to manage them. The cycle of them can be a lot like a Catch 22, or to paraphrase the neurologist, you get them because you've had them. That's where controlling the exaggerated biological responsiveness comes into play. I have found that by eliminating my triggers from my daily life, I can tolerate very small amounts of mushroom or corn products on a very infrequent basis. If you determine that post-exertional letdown is a trigger for you, it is recommended that you pace your daily physical activities so that they are never too extreme. If you like to work out, consider doing it in two or three parts, rather than all at once. If you have a very physical job, consider changing it. I have had to extremely rearrange how I earn an income because of all my environmental triggers. And I understand that some of these decisions can be very difficult. If emotional stress is one of your triggers, well that beggars the obvious. However, this might be one of the most difficult factors to manage. Quite often, emotional stress will lead to tension of the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders. This can lead to a tension headache, which can actually trigger a migraine headache in susceptible individuals. Migraines aside, eliminating stress from your life will lead to all around better health.

There are probably as many ways to deal with stress as there are people in the world. I found that changing my attitudes about certain things that stressed me was the most affective. I went from "worrying" about a meeting to "anticipating" a meeting. Changing your labels for things can be helpful. Waiting in line at the grocery store is not "a waste of time and could you all please hurry up", but a time to relax and do nothing but breathe for a little while. If you can not get a handle on the emotional aspects of your stress, consider trying biofeedback training. This can help you to realize when you are tensing your muscles and to gain control over relaxing them. Also, it is proven that if a person can learn to selectively raise the temperature of their hands, they can short circuit the migraine. Some people have found yoga or meditation to be of benefit. I took the biofeedback route in conjunction with changing my labels and have never regretted the time or the expense. I would like to add a few final notes. I gave up my dependency on pain killers. They can cause rebound headaches which can trigger migraine headaches. Do try to get regular physical exercise. It's wonderful for your health and can help reduce your level of stress. Laugh as much and as often as you can. Correct existing health problems such as high blood pressure and blood sugar disorders. Don't smoke. Eat at least four evenly spaced meals every day. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Did I mention laugh? Remember, nothing stays the same for long. Everything changes. It might seem bad right now, but it won't always be. Work toward positive changes. I'm still here and my life is good. Oh, on the plus side, I took up a hobby that I could do at home. One that I could pick up and put down as my migraine headaches dictated. That was making jewelry. I have also become a much better cook because of my migraines. I had to eliminate so many foods that I could no longer eat out and if I wanted really yummy food, I had to make it. My husband has been grateful for this. Around every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.

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==== ==== Struggling with Migraine Headaches? Suffer no more... discover how to get rid of your pain once

and for all. Click the link below to find out more! ==== ====

Stop the Pain - Cure for Migraine Headaches  

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