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Holiday Strategies to Cope With Chronic Migraine Triggers

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Also in this issue: • • • • • • •

Fashion Show Triggers Migraine Prevent Chronic Migraine with Depression Treatment Home Office Tips for Drug Free Migraine Solution Science Backs Yoga as a Preventative Therapy Yoga Practice for Drug-Free Migraine Therapy Benefits of Neurostimulation For Migraines Magnets for Migraines: Hokum or Helpful?

Migraine Treatment Centers of America Courtesy Magazine December 2012

Holiday Shopping Strategies to Cope With Chronic Migraine Triggers If you suffer with chronic migraines, are you dreading leaving your quiet, cozy home these days to do your holiday shopping? Every store is jam packed with crowds of people. Flashing colorful lights are strung across every man-made and natural structure, and holiday music is blaring everywhere… you’re convinced at this point it must be programmed into your brain. And those smells…chemically created nauseating variants of evergreen, cinnamon, baked apples and spice cookies! Don’t be embarrassed if you’re feeling little ‘scrooge-like’. After all, migraine triggers surround you! Here is some advice that just may turn that frown upside down: • Wear tinted glasses and a brimmed cap in brightly lit and decorated malls. • Pop in inexpensive squishy protective earplugs, available at drug stores. • Avoid peak shopping hours to minimize exposure to the crowd frenzy. Opt for online shopping! • Make lists so that you don’t get overwhelmed by all the stimulation, and can get your errands done quicker so that you can flee crazy holiday zones. Stick to your migraine treatment routine and strategies and give yourself an extra dose of TLC during this high stimulation time of the year.

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Fashion Show Triggers Migraine

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At a Milan fashion show early this fall, actress Sharon Stone – who suffered a brain aneurysm in the past – was rushed to the hospital with migraine symptoms. Fortunately it was in fact a migraine, she was released, and the New York Daily News story had a happy ending. So what does this mean for chronic migraine sufferers? Is there a link between the two conditions? Many aneurysm symptoms, perhaps prior to blood vessel rupture when a nerve is under pressure, seem to dovetail with migraines. However, if you suffer with a chronic migraine condition there are a couple of things you should know to ease your anxiety about aneurysms. The onset of a post-rupture headache is sudden and massive in nature, unlike any other headache a person has experienced.

People with risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension, genetics or blood vessel injury can be vigilant and schedule regular checkups with their physicians. It’s reassuring that there is no significant known link between both conditions. So, if you suffer with chronic migraines, chances are very good that your next migraine will respond best to your tried-and-true migraine treatment.

Prevent Transformed Chronic Migraine with Depression Treatment

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The connection between depression and migraines is irrefutable. For good reason: spending at least 15 days each month battling the pain, nausea and other debilitating symptoms of migraines is certainly sufficient reason to develop depression. A recent story in Clinical Psychiatry News reports that a research study, presented at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress, found that depression is actually a risk factor in transforming episodic migraines into chronic migraine. The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention study results, published on the government’s National Institutes of website, suggests that treating the underlying depression is key in preventing this transforming phenomenon. If you experience episodic headaches or migraines, and suspect that you may also be dealing with some depression, don’t hesitate to bring this to your physician’s attention. By seeking depression treatment, migraines that occur infrequently may be prevented from developing into chronic migraines. Fortunately many lifestyle suggestions are similar for both conditions: • Get plenty of exercise • Eat a nutritious well-balanced diet • Get quality and adequate sleep • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation As always, a healthy mind and body work best together!

Migraine Centers on Television Watch one of our physicians describing the Omega™ migraine procedure. Dr. Richard Weiner, recently discussed the procedure on Good Morning Texas. Visit to see the segment.

Home Office Tips for A Drug Free Migraine Solution

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Working from home can be a blessing or a curse depending on your workspace design. If you suffer with chronic headaches or migraines, sometimes the very thought of opening your emails and getting started on your tasks can be enough to trigger pain from a tension headache or migraine. These are some migraine-friendly office design ideas: • Soundproof Space – Carpeting on the floor, fabric window treatments and even thick wall covering like acoustic foam or cork can insulate you from the loudest rock band. A sound system and ceiling fan can provide soothing sounds. • Lovely Lighting – Opt for well-positioned incandescent lights over flickering overhead fluorescents. • Ergonomics – Supportive seating and proper computer placement on your desk prevents muscular tension and injury from poor posture. • Bring in a little nature – A Zen-inpired décor, a fresh indoor plant, or a low-maintenance aquarium can provide a relaxing ambience. With the tips above, you can minimize these culprits in your workspace and enhance not only your health but your productivity as well. That’s a double bonus drug-free migraine therapy we can all use.

Science Backs Yoga as a Preventative Therapy You no longer have to accept yoga benefits on faith alone. The yogis flocking to class at your gym with colorful mats and blocks may be on to something! Scientists have provided additional research findings to prove that yoga not only has preventative but therapeutic effects on chronic migraines. A study published this year in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that yoga had a measurable positive impact on chronic migraine sufferers. Researchers found that subjects with chronic migraines who followed a 12-week yoga program experienced fewer and shorter migraine attacks, along with reduced consumption of medication and feelings of depression. Conventional medical experts also recommend yoga as a migraine and headache preventative. Emboldened with some medical research, your doctor’s OK and the knowledge that neurologists with migraines choose yoga as a preventative and therapeutic migraine treatment, perhaps you’ll join your local yogis and head into the ‘mindbody’ room to try out some Asanas, or poses!

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New Research Shows Benefits of Neurostimulation For Migraines

A study published online recently in the International Headache Society’s journal, Cephalalgia, confirms early findings showing that peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) to the occipital nerves helps chronic migraine patients who have not found relief from pharmaceutical or interventional pain management treatments. In the study, the researchers followed 157 subjects with chronic migraine. The patients received implanted neurostimulation devices and were either placed in an active or control group. Among the individuals who received the neurostimulation treatment for 12 weeks, 53 percent of the subjects indicated they were pleased with the improvement in their pain symptoms and indicated a 42 percent increase in relief. On average, headaches were reduced to 6 occurrences per month. At the conclusion of the study disability scores, measured by a questionnaire (Migraine Disability Assessment), revealed a 43 percent overall benefit. The peripheral nerve stimulation treatment used in the research is based on the same technology behind MTCA’s Omega™ migraine procedure to treat patients with chronic migraines. Neurostimulation has been in use for several decades as a therapy for chronic pain. By delivering mild electrical impulses to the nerves involved in migraine events, pain signals are interrupted and prevented from reaching the brain.

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Yoga Practice for Drug-Free Migraine Therapy Tempted to try yoga for your migraines? Make sure to choose an instructor qualified to teach the type of yoga in a beginner or private class. Gentle Restorative Yoga, which uses props like blankets and blocks, and varieties that allow you to move continuously without holding difficult poses for too long are best. Avoid inverted poses, and demanding varieties like Hot Yoga, Power Yoga or Vinyasa. Some Helpful Poses • Preventative: Downward Dog. In the crawl position on the floor, lift your knees and point your buttocks toward the ceiling while pressing your heels flat into the floor. Hold 15 seconds before returning to start. • Restorative during a headache: Reclining Bound. Lying flat on the floor, with your knees bent and spread outward, and the soles of your feet touching each other and drawn upward toward your body while resting on the floor, bring your hands to rest on your tummy. Have some pillows to tuck under your knees, if the stretch is uncomfortable, and a cool compress to cover your eyes. Relax for about 8 to 10 minutes. So if Yoga is something you want to try and your doctor has given you the green light go for it…. ‘Namaste’!

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Magnets for Migraines: Hokum or Helpful?

Is it ridiculous: hold a magnet to your head and… poof…your migraine disappears? Aren’t magnet therapy bracelets and rings, often worn by athletes swearing they alleviate pain, hawked on late night shopping TV? The science community generally views these gizmos as, well… gizmos. Could there be more to this?

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At London’s recent European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress, doctors presented promising research about a patient controlled hand-held magnetic device that sends a strong magnetic pulse to the back of the head at the first sign of a migraine. The stimulator alters the magnetic field inside the brain and produces an electrical current that interferes with the circuitry between the neurons involved with the migraine event. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), the science behind this, is based on magnetic impulses transmitted transcutaneously (above the skin) into the brain. TMS is relatively new and its use has been limited to treating depression and neuro-diagnostic testing. In diagnostics TMS has been used to gauge neuromuscular activity in patients who have suffered strokes or spinal cord injuries. Within the field of migraine treatment, it is hoped to create an interference with neurological signals that enable a migraine to occur.

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MTCA Magazine December 2012  

Migraine Treatment Centers of America December 2012

MTCA Magazine December 2012  

Migraine Treatment Centers of America December 2012