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Lightning Triggers Chronic Migraine

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Also in this issue: • • • • • • •

Migraine Treatment with Sound Sensitivity Treating Migraine-Induced Nausea An ‘Aussie’ Drug-Free Migraine Breakthrough Hallucinations: Normal and Source for Creativity 20 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Migraine Surgery Chronic Migraine Triggers Elude Study Chronic Migraines, Fame and a Cookbook

Migraine Treatment Centers of America Courtesy Magazine JUNE 2013


Lightning Triggers Chronic Migraine


It’s not surprising that a thunderstorm would trigger chronic migraines or headaches. The deafening rumble of thunder, accompanied by terrifying vibrations that send your proud Labrador Retriever scampering under the bed like a Chihuahua, would be enough to give anyone a headache. Interestingly however, a professor of internal medicine from the University of Cincinnati and his research team found that lightning – not thunder – was the pain trigger in chronic headache and migraine sufferers. The 90 migraineurs and headache sufferers recruited for the study were required to maintain a journal. The results of the data showed that when lightning struck within 25 miles, the chronic headache sufferers were 31 percent more likely to develop a headache and the chronic migraineurs were 28 percent more likely to experience a migraine. According to a report, mathematical models were applied to eliminate the effect of other weather related factors. The result still showed that lighting increased the likelihood for a headache by 19 percent. The scientists indicated that fungal spore generation, negatively charged electrical currents, or bioaerosols created by lightning may be involved.

According to the University of Cincinnati report, researchers believe further study in this area will yield important information.


Migraine Treatment with Sound Sensitivity

Imagine listening to horrific karaoke singers for endless hours, days and even years. It’s enough to give the most resilient a splitting headache.

When you suffer with a headache condition it can be downright unbearable. Recently, it sidelined a well-known British music personality and ‘judge of all reality TV judges’. While filming auditions for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ - the show’s star suffered a migraine before returning to the set later in the day – happily the show went on. For many individuals with chronic headaches or migraines, sound sensitivity can be a trigger or a symptom, or even both. Since it isn’t practical to silence everyone and everything around, a preferred solution would be avoiding noise and heading for a quiet space. Noise-canceling headphones, industrial earmuffs or even drug store earplugs can be wonderfully helpful. According to a study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, about 77 percent of migraine sufferers between the ages of 18 and 38 are phonosensitive. However, that number decreases to 67 percent for migraineurs ages 60 and above. So the good news is that headache and migraine sufferers who are noise sensitive are likely to improve over time.


Treating Migraine Induced Nausea

It’s the most dreadful feeling. You are tethered to your desk, phones are ringing, people are talking and your boss is watching. You struggle to hang on to your senses while battling nausea and excruciating pain. Which migraine treatment do you reach for? The anti-nausea medications, triptans and acetaminophen-ibuprofen-caffeine based drugs may help. Heavy-duty narcotics will make you drowsy, which will prevent you from doing your job. Not too mention, there is no guarantee any of this medication will stay down. Your best anti-nausea strategy is a drug-free migraine treatment plan. Some tips to help manage migraines on the job: • Try non-oral medication, like nasal sprays, patches or injections, which may help despite nausea or vomiting

• Wear tinted migraine eyeglasses to limit glare triggers from lights and computer screens

• Drink water to prevent migraines

• Dim the overhead lights, and use a soft desk-light

• Stock your desk with nutritious snacks like protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, ginger root and tea to help ward off headaches and nausea • Quit smoking and minimize job stress

• Avoid reaching for coffee and snacking on chocolate, as these are well known migraine triggers


An ‘Aussie’ Drug-Free Migraine Breakthrough

From the Land Down Under comes promising research news. According to the director of the Griffith Health Institute in Queensland, about six years ago a genetic defect was found in 20 percent of migraineurs. It appeared these people had an enzyme that wasn’t functioning properly. This led to clinical trials for nutrition-based migraine treatments including Vitamin B and folate. The scientists discovered these patients experienced fewer migraines and less severe symptoms when they began a supplementation regimen.

The current research developments from the Griffith Health Institute, reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, could be exciting news for you if you are among the 20 percent of migraineurs who are genetically predisposed to the disabling pain, nausea and neurological events of migraine attacks. While the scientists develop migraine therapies based on genetics, you may want to discuss adding Vitamin B and folate supplements to your treatment plan with your migraine specialist.


Hallucinations: Normal and Source for Creativity Embracing migraine aura “for the sake of art.” It may sound unsettling if not downright scary.

Not so — according to the author of the new book Hallucinations, and the earlier book Migraine, which discussed the role migraines and aura played in the works of many famous artists including Alice in Wonderland. In a New York Times article, he explained the misconception that hallucinations are exclusively a phenomenon occurring in people with mental or neurological problems. In fact, he says that hallucinations are rather common, usually harmless and sometimes even normal. They entail seeing or experiencing things that don’t exist. The images are processed in the same neural pathways involved with perception of reality. Hallucinations can involve visual, auditory or other sensory experiences and may be induced by medication, anxiety or illness related delirium. He points out that many of us have unwittingly had hallucinations: images we see while dozing off to sleep or those accompanying a high fever or migraines. According to him, millions of people conceal their hallucinations but that in some cultures they are considered special or spiritual phenomena.


20 Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Migraine Surgery


Background Research - Ask About: • Specialized training in migraine procedures • Board certification • Experience • Proportion of practice involving migraine procedures • Insurance coverage for migraine surgery; cost of procedure if you must pay a portion; payment methods

Questions for the Doctor • Number of migraine procedures performed in the past 6 months • View of a second medical opinion • Why you need migraine surgery • Procedure recommended and why • Surgery risks and complications • Type of anesthesia • Location of surgery to be performed • Treatment alternatives if you don’t undergo this procedure • How have patients similar to you, experienced the procedure • Could you speak with one of them

Questions Before the Procedure • How should you prepare? • Will you be an outpatient? • How much pain can you anticipate afterward and will you need pain medication? • How long will the recovery process take, and when can you resume daily activities? • What follow-up care and physician visits will you require? Getting answers and being prepared will give you the peace of mind to focus on moving ahead with the procedure, recovery and getting back to your daily activities.


Chronic Migraine Triggers Elude Study Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center determined that it is unlikely an individual can identify their own migraine triggers. This is because external variables are difficult to identify and control, as they would be in a formal research environment. If you suspect seasonal allergies may be to blame, are you certain that other factors aren’t involved? After all, you may be experiencing more stress than you realize. Perhaps you are also sleep deprived, dehydrated or have eaten some migraine triggering foods? While it is very important to maintain a migraine diary tracking your migraine symptoms and frequency, pinpointing your triggers with accuracy is not critical. The most important factor is identifying the behaviors and treatment that manage your pain. If you suspect certain headache triggers, by all means share this information with your physician and try eliminating these irritants. The additional benefit of tracking your migraines – from triggers to treatments – is that you will have plenty of evidence to support a qualification for a migraine procedure. Until the perfect research study offers clarity on defining migraine triggers, chronic migraineurs can think about long term treatments like migraine surgery, that don’t rely on trigger avoidance.


Chronic Migraines, Fame and a Cookbook

That’s right – chronic migraines can lead to fame and a cookbookpublishing contract.

OK…Correction: if you are the wildly famous, gorgeous and talented Gwyneth Paltrow and experience a severe migraine, you will be inspired to write a migraine prevention cookbook, get published and be featured in popular media. Indeed, the New York Post recently announced the publication of Ms. Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good.” In the article, the actress shared that during one sunny afternoon in early 2011, convinced she was suffering a stroke, she suddenly became faint with severe head pain and couldn’t think clearly or even speak. It turns out that she was experiencing a migraine and panic attack. At her doctor’s recommendation, she went on a three-week cleansing and healing diet. She eliminated various foods including wheat, shellfish, coffee, sugar, meat and vegetables like bell pepper, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and corn. After three weeks, she felt great. (For migraine sufferers, sugar, dairy and gluten-free diets are hardly groundbreaking news.) A proactive approach to treating your migraines may not lead to fame and a cookbook deal, but it can surely help lead you to the right migraine treatment.

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