Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Headaches on December 4th, 2010

Cephalalgia, commonly known as headache is a very familiar problem which happens to people from time to time. Everyday, around the world, many people suffer from various kinds of headaches and unknowingly they take medicines which accentuate their problems, instead of healing or curing it. Headaches are of several types and in some situations their forceful nature is very harmful and restricts people from performing even their daily activities smoothly. Chronic and episodic headaches are the most known types of pains occurring in this part of the body. When a person suffers variety of headaches on a daily basis, then it is known as chronic daily headache. Eye Strain, hypertension, stress headache and chronic migraines are some forms of chronic daily headache.

Headaches affect people both physically and emotionally, when unattended they usually result in severe health problems. One must consult a doctor and get the reason diagnosed in case of severe and frequent headaches, but the best way to cure them is by natural treatment. It is found that number, durations and frequency of episodes can be shortened by natural treatment. In order to ascertain the best suited treatment, it is essential for the person to determine their cause first. Eye-Strains, fatigues, menopause, medical conditions or specific medicines are some of the problems that generate headache in some cases. The best way to choose a natural treatment is by applying them one by one, till the suitable treatment is determined.

Some of the natural methods for treating daily headaches are:

  • Herbs – Consumption of Herbal tea is one of the most effective ways in treatment of daily headaches. Herbal tea, comprising of various herbs like rosemary, lime blossom, peppermint and chamomile etc. simply helps in reducing normal and even chronic headaches.
  • Massage – This therapy greatly helps in attenuation of anxiety, stress and headache. After massage, our body muscles are relaxed and it feels light thus, relieving us from the chronic daily headaches.
  • Meditation – This is another very popular way of mitigating headaches. This practice aids in physical relaxation along with emotional calmness of mind, thus, conjuring up a comforting state in which body relaxes and breathing slows down, due to this effect we are reposed from regular headaches.
  • Acupuncture – Pricking needle at various pre-decided points in the body is one of the ancient ways in treating chronic headaches. It has been scientifically proved that this therapy is very powerful in reducing the intensity and recurrence of persistent headaches.
  • Natural Vitamins and Minerals – Deficiency of some natural vitamins is also one of the causes behind headaches. Addition of these vitamins in our diet, on regular basis can help in reducing headaches. Inadequacy of Vitamin B is one of the main reasons behind this problem and natural sources of this vitamin are banana, lentils, potato etc.
  • Biofeedback – This type of therapy helps the body in controlling some latent body activity such as heart rate, brain wave, body temperature and blood pressure. Thus, by controlling these functions we indirectly control our heart rate and body muscle functions so as to relieve ourselves from daily headaches.
Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Headaches on November 25th, 2010

Anyone who has ever experienced a migraine knows the impact that it has on one`s life. It means taking time off work, not being able to care for your family during a severe attack.

Thanks to lots of research it is not so difficult for doctors to diagnose migraine headaches anymore. Documented symptoms can start with an aura. Not everyone experience an aura before the migraine starts though. Stiffness of neck muscles, light and sometimes noise sensitivity are reported. Nausea is commonly present. Some people experience irritability and depression before and after an attack. It can start on the one side of the face and last for several hours to days. Patient reports that after a migraine their brain actually feels sensitive inside the skull.

Taking normal headache medication does not work. A migraine is not a normal headache. Most treatment regimes are aimed at prevention. So it is important for any sufferer to keep a diary of auras or triggers. Auras can be interference of sight, tingling in face or limbs or strange taste in mouth. Triggers can be stress related, food related (chocolate, caffeine) or allergies. It is different for different patients. Once you know what triggers your migraine, you will know to avoid it. Once you recognize the aura, you will know to take action.

Preventative medication has also come along way. There is medication that you would take every day to stop the migraine from forming. It is important to discuss treatment with a trusted doctor or neurologist. Some of the medication does have a few side effects that one should know about before you start with it. It usually subsides after a few days. Sometimes it takes a trial and error process of finding the right medication.

Unfortunately it can still happen that you experience a break through headache. And you should be armed with medication for that too. Again it is trial and error until you find something that works effectively. There are wafers available that you would put on your tongue to dissolve and it works really quickly. An injection is another option to break the pain cycle.

To control and stop migraine from stopping you, one would have to have a plan of action. Not only drug controlled but also to control our stresses by regular exercise, avoiding food triggers and learning more of the condition. Also important to have your family to understand and support you.

Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Headaches on November 12th, 2010

Migraine headache is a common condition that affect women more than men. Seventy five percent of migraine affects people between the ages of fifteen and fifty-five who have a family history of them.

Symptoms of headaches are vomiting, numbness, dizziness and sensitivity to light and sound. All types of headache can really disrupt an individual’s daily life. Maintaining work, home and social life can be a challenge and the stressful anticipation of lengthy headache pain itself can trigger a prolonged headache.

There are many effective alternatives to treatment migraine headaches and it doesn’t involve prescription or non-prescription drugs:

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture are another form of alternative medical approaches that one may seek for reduced chronic pain in the neck and shoulder areas and associated headache, with the effects lasting for months. Acupuncture works by stimulating key points in the body which help regulate blood flow in small blood vessel that get constricted during migraines. Acupuncture also regulates serotonin levels which can restrict blood vessels, releases endorphins to provide pain relief and relaxes tense muscles

2. Massage

Massage is a great way to reduce stress and relieve tension. The massage in the back of the head, neck, shoulders, and arms is a good method of headache relief. For some people, massage may provide relief from headaches caused by muscle tension.

3. Physical activities

Physical Activities such as jog, swim, meditation, yoga, may help to fight headache that is due to stress. Physical Activities will make improvement in your blood circulation and will release you from tension. Thus your body will be relaxed.

4. Relaxation and proper breathing

Any form of stress and depression can lead to muscle tightness (muscle tension) and cause migraine headaches. Try to find those moments where you can relax. Using relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, play some soothing music, and take several deep breaths can all help reduce stress, aid in relaxation, and help reduce the strength and pain of a migraine.

5. Drink more water

Dehydration may also cause migraine or headache triggers. Since this is the prime cause for muscle contraction, you need to drink at least eight glasses of water to solve this problem. Drinking plenty of water not only gives relief from headache but also maintains your body.

It is important to identify and reduce food-related headache triggers. This can be done by maintaining a careful diary of headaches and eating habits.

Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Headaches on October 28th, 2010

Migraine headaches are a destructive part of life for nearly 11 out of 100 people. During migraine episodes, they can barely function. They curtail daily activities, and all of life seems distorted. Between episodes, they may feel anxious about the next one, and wish for some form of migraine prevention.

Although guaranteed migraine prevention seems to be more a promise than a reality as of the writing of this article, you do have options for treating symptoms, and, better yet, options for possible migraine prevention.

  • One Size Does Not Fit All
  • Although migraines seem to run in families, migraine prevention does not always run in the same course. For some migraineurs, prevention is as simple as changing a few habits. For others, migraine prevention seems to require strong medication.

    What are the best migraine prevention medicines for you? The ultimate answer must be decided by you and your physician. We offer here a number of medicines for consideration.

  • Common Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines
  • This is the first line of migraine prevention – beginning at the minimal strength, minimal dosage to see if it will be a solution. Among these migraine prevention medicines are the following.

    1. Aspirin in a regimen dose, i.e., tiny 81 mg tablets, commonly called “baby aspirin”. For migraine prevention, these would be taken daily, just as they are to reduce risks of heart disease.

    2. Ibuprofen such as Motrin, Nuprin, or Advil may be taken occasionally. Your physician will advise as to how often you should take ibuprofen for migraine prevention. People with active stomach ulcers or sensitive stomachs will not want to use ibuprofen, since it has aspirin-like effects. If you take ibuprofen, take it with food to minimize the effect. You should also be aware that ibuprofen has a blood thinning effect that can reduce the effectiveness of some blood pressure medicines and diuretics.

    3. Naproxen may be effective for you, under its more common name, Aleve. This medicine may reduce the number of your migraines, but is not likely to give total migraine prevention.

    4. A fourth OTC pain reliever you may want to try at the first sign of a migraine is Excedrin Migraine.

    Ask your doctor before taking any of these regularly for migraine prevention.

  • Common Prescription Medicines
  • If OTC medicines fail to provide the degree of migraine prevention you seek, you may want to try a prescription medicine. Prescription strength pain relievers have been found to reduce the number of migraine episodes for more than half of all migraineurs. A few of the many prescription medicines available to you are listed here.

    1. Ponstel, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan, and Topamax. Topamax claims to be the U.S. #1 prescribed brand for migraine prevention. Prescription strength Naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Naprelan) thins the blood, so your physician may not choose this as a fit for you if you are taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants. Naproxen can have adverse gastrointestinal side effects also, so you should not use it if you have an active ulcer or sensitive stomach. Most doctors believe it is better to use medicines of this type continuously over a period of time to build up the effectiveness and provide ongoing migraine prevention rather than just pain relief.

    2. Another class of prescription medicines that may give migraine prevention is Beta-blockers. These drugs, more often used to reduce high blood pressure, are sometimes helpful in cutting down on the number of migraine episodes. Of those that may give effective migraine prevention are inderal, Lopressor, metoprolol, nadolol, and timolol.

    3. Physicians are gradually learning that antidepressants also provide migraine prevention for some patients. It is believed that this is due to the medicines’ effects on serotonin, the brain’s chemical messenger that influences migraine.

  • Which Size Is Right for You?
  • There are many other medicines, both prescription and non-prescription that are thought to provide a measure of migraine prevention. Like shopping for a new pair of dress shoes, you may have to try several before you find the one or two that work for you. Be sure to do your migraine prevention “shopping” with a health care provider, as he or she will know the possible side effects or interactions with medication you are already taking.

    Posted by: admin in Headaches on October 7th, 2010

    The dictionary tells us that the word “migraine” is a Middle French word, modified from the Latin word “hemicrania”, meaning a pain in one half or “hemi” of the head. To the person who suffers migraine, the pain may seem bigger than that, however. In fact, the current definition of migraine includes not only recurring, excruciating headache, but also nausea and possible vomiting. The dictionary fails to include the many ways in which the aura of migraine affects the body. It fails to describe the visual disturbances, the sounds and smells that are not there.

    Migraine prevention is important to migraineurs because the pain and other symptoms disrupt life almost completely.

    Migraine Prevention Medicines

    We discussed in a previous article entitled “Best Migraine Prevention Medicines” the fact that many medicines, prescription and non-prescription, are claimed to have migraine prevention properties. Some seem to work for some people, while others are more likely to provide migraine prevention for others.

    There is some controversy, however, as to whether one should even try a migraine prevention medicine.

    As of this article’s writing (early 2007), the FDA has approved four drugs for migraine prevention: propranolol, timolol, topiramate, and divalproex sodium. Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, is also prescribed for migraine prevention. Botox has been used successfully, but is not highly recommended.

    The down side of using migraine prevention medicines is the fact that all of them require the patient to take adequate doses of the medicine for a length of time to determine the effectiveness. This can cause a building adverse effect before the sufferer even knows if migraine prevention is being provided. Physicians often must experiment, finding the smallest dose that will work without unwanted side effects.

    Side Effects of Migraine Prevention Medicines

    Merely as an example, consider the side effects of Topamax. The makers of Topamax offer on their website “Important Safety Information about Topamax” under which heading they admit that serious risks are associated with the medicine. Risks such as these are given:

    * Lowered bicarbonate levels in the blood: This increases blood acidity. In severe reactions, the patient might experience irregular heartbeat or changes in their ability to remain alert. This side effect, if not treated, could eventually increase the risk of developing kidney stones or bone disease.

    * Hyperventilation, i.e. deep, rapid breathing with a feeling of not being able to catch your breath.

    * Fatigue.

    * Increased eye pressure. Such pressure can lead to glaucoma and blindness.

    The warnings continue, ending with “more common side effects” such as tingling in your arms and legs, losing your appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and changes in your taste that may lead to weight loss or increase.

    Natural Migraine Prevention

    Many believe the option of migraine prevention medicines is too risky, the side effects too numerous. For those individuals, there are natural migraine prevention options.

    1. Migraine Triggers

    One very natural method of migraine prevention is a migraine trigger diary. Make it important by purchasing a small blank book specifically for the purpose. It will cost less than a prescription, and will help you remember to use it. Place the book in a location where you will see it when you are not busy. Then faithfully record your daily meals, activities, weather, etc. When a migraine episode hits, look back and note what you were doing or eating just prior to its onset. Were you stressed by something? Was the weather different? As you see a pattern develop, try to eliminate those things from your life and see if it aids in migraine prevention.

    2. Biofeedback

    A second natural migraine prevention method is biofeedback. In biofeedback, special equipment is used to monitor physical tension in the migraineur. The goal is to teach the patient to control stress-related physical processes which may cause migraine. As the patient learns to recognize the physical tension without equipment, he can stop a rising migraine episode, or at least reduce the effects. Children seem to have a better response to biofeedback migraine prevention than do adults, probably because they are open to new methods and learn them quickly.

    3. Herbal Remedies

    Herbal remedies are also being used effectively for migraine prevention. Butterbur and feverfew seem particularly helpful.

    Butterbur is a shrub-like plant that grows in northern Asia, Europe, and parts of North America. Butterbur extracts are used to treat migraines. Several studies indicate that butterbur is good for migraine prevention. In the largest of these studies, 245 migraineurs took either butterbur extract or a placebo. After four months of treatment, butterbur was more effective than the placebo for migraine prevention. While 75 milligrams twice a day worked, 50 milligrams twice a day did not. Butterbur’s side effects were mild, and included mild digestive complaints – mostly burping. Possible other side effects that were not experienced in the study include constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Pregnant or nursing women, children, and people with kidney or liver disease should not take butterbur. Please ask your physician before using this herb.

    Feverfew, the second herbal remedy, has been used in Europe for centuries for migraine. In England, it was especially popular in the 1980s as an alternative to conventional migraine prevention drugs. Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of feverfew for migraine prevention. One examined the use of a feverfew extract as opposed to a placebo in 170 migraineurs. Those who took feverfew showed a significant decrease in migraine frequency as compared to those who took the placebo. Frequency of migraines decreased by 1.9 migraines per month in the group that took feverfew. In the group taking a placebo, migraine frequency decreased only by 1.3 migraines per month.

    The Choice Is Yours

    The choice between migraine prevention through prescription medications and migraine prevention through natural remedies is yours to make. Migraine is a very personal experience, and the migraine prevention method that works for one will not necessarily work for all. Before you make the choice, get as much information as you can, and take your time.

    Disclaimer: The author is not a trained professional, and provides the foregoing information for educational purposes only. It is recommended that you seek professional advice from your personal physician.