Migraines have afflicted humans for centuries, from ancient Egyptians and Julius Caesar, to Elvis Presley and you. If you’re one of the 28 million Americans suffering from migraines, you know the unique agony. Armed with the information from this guide about diagnosis, treatment plans, prevention, medications and behavioral therapies, perhaps you’ll be able to reduce the severity and frequency of your own headaches.
It's estimated that up to 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men suffer from migraines. But what ... read more »
Though there is little consensus on migraines’ causes, or how best to prevent them, there is a wealth of trusted information to help you treat migraines. Find out how treat your migraine and track the potential for a rebound headache. Learn the importance of keeping a “rescue” medication on hand if your migraine medicine doesn't work to avoid a costly emergency room trip.
- Trying to improve or reduce your migraines can feel a bit like being a detective. You might need to sort through lots of information to find the relevant bits that apply to your situation. In the face of anecdotal evidence such as, "Oh, this medication totally worked for me!" or "This painkiller made me feel so much worse. Steer clear," it's hard not to feel overwhelmed and confused. Be patient; it can take time to find that “Eureka!” moment. In addition, medications affect people differently, hence the adage that one man’s pill is another man’s poison.
- Keep a headache diary to decipher patterns and identify triggers. If this is too arduous (with too many headaches on too many days), think instead of keeping a "clear head” diary, making special note of the days you were headache-free. You'll still be tracking the same information, such as sleep, diet, stress levels, and head pain, but changing to a more positive perspective might seem less dispiriting than an ever-growing list of setbacks. Both types of logs can be kept online or off; for nicely designed examples of online logs, visit Migraine Survival and Imetrix.
- Although pharmaceutical company Web sites are function primarily as promotional vehicles, you can still glean some worthwhile information from them. Visit the Web site of your brand of medicine for useful information, such as tips and advice on self-care methods.
For information about migraine medications …
features an 11-part examination of rebound headaches, one of the most common complications of self-treatment for migraines. The module explains what causes a rebound, how to prevent it, and when to seek medical advice.
The National Headache Foundation
walks you through an overview of preventative medications to help you make sense of your available choices. There’s also a section on controlling the pain without medication, and guidelines for creating an effective treatment plan.
provides a 16-page PDF document that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about triptans (abortive medications that can stop a migraine in progress)... and then some.
offers a quick look at the background of triptans, the first truly effective migraine medication, as well as the current drugs on the market and how they can help most migraine sufferers.
has a clean design and features a brief news section that details the latest progress in migraine treatment and therapy. The “Migraine Overview” includes a Causes and Treatments section, and the “Professional Abstracts” and “Research Reports” also contain treatment-related articles of interest.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance
is a national program that helps those without prescription coverage to get the medicines they need for little or no cost. Visit the “Patients” section and answer a few questions to determine which assistance program may be best for you.
For reducing stress…
The Mayo Clinic
encourages you to take a stress-reduction break, no matter where you are. Get their take on meditation, including simple descriptions of meditations that you can begin to practice immediately.
provides a short but peppy rah-rah session to inspire you to develop an exercise routine that sticks. The site offers guidance on diet, gear, the latest news, training plans, and a forum for support.
has an article that details the potentially negative effects of exercise on migraines, explaining how physical stress—including exercise—taxes the sensitive neurological systems of migraine sufferers more than most people. Links throughout the text take you to other relevant discussions on migraines and stress.
For information on migraine clinics…
The Mayo Clinic
provides easy-to-digest capsules of information in a multipart overview on migraines, including when to seek medical advice, options for self-care, and alternative treatments.
The Kirchner Headache Clinic
offers a handy recommended-diet table and a lengthy, one-page overview of migraines, including chronic daily headaches.
The Oregon Headache Clinic
has an impressive array of in-depth information. Take a look at what's really going on inside the brain of a migraine sufferer, learn more about the interconnectedness of a proper treatment plan, and read up on the ways in which migraines affect men and women differently.
For alternative ways to treat migraines …
, also known as the National Migraine Association, provides a comprehensive overview of complementary and alternative treatments for migraines. Treatments range from magnesium, to chiropractic care, to biofeedback, to a Migra-Cap, which combines built-in ice packs with an eye mask. Company links are included to make purchasing easy.
takes a look at herbal remedies that might prove useful in treating or preventing migraines. Note the Web site’s caveat about safety at the bottom of the page, along with recommended books for further exploration.
The Nutrition for Optimal Health Association
(NOHA) takes an in-depth look at the role diet plays in both preventing and causing headaches and migraines. For over 30 years, NOHA’s mostly MD-staffed advisory board has endeavored to improve health through nutrition. Don’t be discouraged by the limited site menu; a search on migraines yields an abundance of articles for further exploration.
features a few articles on randomized controlled studies involving acupuncture and migraines. The article points out that, although the research is promising, more studies are needed. Use the "Find an Acupuncturist" function to find an acupuncture professional near you, or search on “migraine” to find articles of interest.
Touch Neurological Disease.com
reports on promising research for subcutaneous implants that provide electrical impulses to the occipital nerve, preventing or reducing the severity of migraines.
is devoted almost entirely to migraine podcasts. It includes topics such as the latest news, developing good habits to prevent migraines, and setting goals for migraine treatment. Search the archives, or read transcripts of the podcasts using the links on the right (scroll down to find them).
The personal toll of this disorder can be enormous; it includes work absences, unmet familial and ... read more »
As mentioned in the support section, suffering from this disorder can often be extremely isolating. ... read more »
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