migraine http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7752/all en-US Dealing With and Understanding Migraine Headaches http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-and-understanding-migraine-headaches <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dealing-with-and-understanding-migraine-headaches" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016137767Small.jpg" alt="Woman with a headache" title="Woman with a headache" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have suffered from migraines for about twenty years now. They are less frequent and of lower intensity than they were in my 30s, but I still dread them. Unfortunately, my daughter also occasionally has them. How much do they hurt? Well, I have gone through natural childbirth, surgery, wisdom tooth removal...I&rsquo;d rate the migraines right below childbirth on the pain scale. They are <em>severely</em> painful. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-beat-a-killer-headache-with-stuff-you-have-around-the-house">9 Ways to Beat a Killer Headache</a>)</p> <p>I must preface any &ldquo;home remedy advice&rdquo; that I am giving here with this &mdash; if you are having severe headaches, you should see your doctor. Never assume you have figured out what you have from the internet. Make an appointment.</p> <p>In fact, that was what I did after I had my first migraine. After a thorough examination, my doctor explained what a migraine was. My genes or environmental factors could be the cause, as could the trigeminal nerve (a pain pathway) and/or imbalances in serotonin levels. Interestingly, she also told me, &ldquo;God isn&rsquo;t punishing you.&rdquo; That hadn&rsquo;t occurred to me at all, but she explained that because the pain so severe, it is not uncommon for people to think that.</p> <h2>Migraine Triggers</h2> <p>People who suffer from migraines talk about their &ldquo;triggers.&rdquo; Triggers are factors that they have found set off their migraines. Before I could figure out what my triggers were, I needed medication so that I could cope. My doctor prescribed Cafergot tablets, which were only somewhat effective. Later, I also had a prescription for Imitrex tablets, which were more effective. Unfortunately, Imitrex left me listless and groggy, so I was pretty worthless long after the headache was gone; and it was expensive, so I knew I had to figure out my triggers.</p> <p>Basically, figuring out your triggers entails retracing your steps prior to the migraine. To prevent migraines, you need to know what factors contributed to them. I found that it helped to keep a &ldquo;migraine journal&rdquo; recording when I had one, what I had to eat or drink, how my stress level leading up to the episode was, whether I was on my period, and how much sleep I had gotten. If you share this information with your doctor, they can help you to connect the dots. Here are some common triggers:</p> <ul> <li>For women, your hormones. Fluctuations in estrogen can be a culprit.</li> <li>Sleep patterns</li> <li>MSG</li> <li>Stress</li> <li>Light. Bright or fluorescent lights can trigger migraines, as can &ldquo;gray&rdquo; weather.</li> <li>Chocolate (how sad is that?)</li> <li>Weather (changes in barometric pressure)</li> <li>Tannins in red wine</li> <li>Beer</li> <li>Altering caffeine intake or excessive caffeine intake</li> <li>Aspartame</li> <li>Skipping meals or fasting</li> <li>Stress</li> <li>Loud noises</li> <li>Unusual smells</li> <li>Intense physical activity</li> <li>Some medications</li> </ul> <h2>How to Avoid Common Migraine Triggers</h2> <p>Once you have figured out your triggers, you have won half the battle, because many migraine-inducing things can be eliminated. Here are some ways to handle your triggers.</p> <h3>Hormones</h3> <p>Use of the pill may help you to stay more regulated. Your doctor may have you experiment with different dosages.</p> <h3>Sleep</h3> <p>I have to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep each night, and it&rsquo;s best if I get it at the same time. However, if I have to work during a night shift, I know that I need to compensate by sleeping in the next day. I have found that I can successfully adjust the sleep times, so long as I get that amount of sleep.</p> <h3>MSG</h3> <p>I found this one out the hard way. Early in my marriage, I used prepared foods (like noodle mixes, canned soups, etc.). Many, many prepared foods (even including snack foods like chips) contain MSG. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants also use it, so you have to learn to ask about it when you eat out. I think having an intolerance to MSG is sort of a mixed blessing, though &mdash; it lead to learning how to cook healthier meals, more economically.</p> <h3>Stress</h3> <p>Figure out how to control your stress levels. Try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos">yoga</a>, meditation, biofeedback, exercise, counseling, etc. There are many methods of controlling stress, and even if you don&rsquo;t suffer from migraines, you should learn how to deal.</p> <h3>Light</h3> <p>This is a tough one, especially if you work in an office environment that uses fluorescent light bulbs. If you know this to be a trigger, perhaps your employer can accommodate your work area so that you have different lighting. Your physician can help you in this respect.</p> <h3>Chocolate</h3> <p>I have found that if I am really dying for chocolate, I can get away with it. I have to just have a small piece. If you make that piece a really high-quality type of chocolate, that helps, too.</p> <h3>Weather</h3> <p>There isn&rsquo;t much you can do about this one. Sometimes, if the outside light seems to &ldquo;glare,&rdquo; sunglasses help.</p> <h2>Home Migraine Remedies</h2> <p>Unfortunately, sometimes I just blow it.&nbsp;I&rsquo;m human. For me, I can usually get away with one thing &mdash; but if I combine a couple of triggers (say, I eat too much chocolate, and then I don&rsquo;t get enough sleep) I may get a migraine. Here are ways to cope.</p> <h3>Ibuprofen</h3> <p>I have tried various types of pain relievers, but ibuprofen works best for me. At the first onset of an aura or tunnel vision, I pop two. Some report that Excedrin is helpful.</p> <h3>Get in a Dark Room</h3> <p>Unfortunately, that&rsquo;s hard to do at work. If I feel a migraine coming on, and it feels like a bad one, I have to go home, at least until it passes. From experience, I know it isn&rsquo;t just going to pass without employing more coping mechanisms.&nbsp;Close your curtains, turn out the lights, and lie down.</p> <h3>Coca-Cola</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t even like soda, but we always have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">Coke</a> on hand. Caffeine is really helpful in alleviating migraine headache pain (&ldquo;Cafergot&rdquo; has caffeine in it). I slam down a can of it, sometimes using it to wash down the ibuprofen.</p> <h3>Coffee</h3> <p>Same principle as Coke, but the Coke settles my stomach more than coffee does.</p> <h3>Quiet</h3> <p>For me, having the TV on during a migraine just makes it worse.</p> <h3>Cold Compress</h3> <p>It feels great to have a really cold washcloth on my forehead or neck.</p> <h3>Vomiting</h3> <p>I saved the best for last. For me (and for my daughter) the migraines are usually accompanied with severe nausea. We have both found that if we just &ldquo;let it go&rdquo; (toss your cookies, puke, drive the porcelain bus), we feel better almost instantly. So quit fighting it.</p> <p>After years of dealing with migraines, I have concluded that, painful as they are, their &ldquo;blessing&rdquo; is that they are a signal to employ a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, they aren&rsquo;t so much a tap-on-the-shoulder reminder as a slam-you-in-the head reminder.</p> <p>Again, if you are having severe headaches, see your doctor. That is the appropriate starting place. Secondly, figure out your triggers, and try to avoid them. Lastly, if you do have a migraine, some of the above suggestions just might help.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-and-understanding-migraine-headaches">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-beat-a-killer-headache-with-stuff-you-have-around-the-house">9 Ways to Beat a Killer Headache</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-a-burts-bees-essential-body-kit">Win a Burt&#039;s Bees Essential Body Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tattoo-removal-on-the-cheap-just-use-a-black-decker-sander">Tattoo removal on the cheap...just use a Black &amp; Decker Sander.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/announcing-the-winner-of-the-burts-bees-essential-body-kit-drawing">Announcing the winner of the Burt&#039;s Bees Essential Body Kit drawing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-prostate-cancer-prevention-readily-available">Free Prostate Cancer prevention readily available</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty headaches home remedy migraine Mon, 30 May 2011 10:36:12 +0000 Marla Walters 551133 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Beat a Killer Headache http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-beat-a-killer-headache-with-stuff-you-have-around-the-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-beat-a-killer-headache-with-stuff-you-have-around-the-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002334807XSmall.jpg" alt="Headache" title="Headache" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My sinuses are a barometer &mdash; literally. I can usually tell when it's going to rain because, as the barometric pressure builds, my face feels more and more like it's going to burst off the rest of my head. I don't know why I was selected for this particular superpower. Most days, I would happily give it up for a life of normalcy. But instead, I fight the headaches. Since I also have allergies, get tension headaches, and fight the occasional migraine, the truth is that my head hurts a lot of the time. Over the years, I've come up with some things that relieve the pressure without lightening my checkbook.</p> <h3>1. Steam is your friend</h3> <p>It doesn't matter how you do it, just get some steam in those poor, swollen nasal passages. Actually, this helps me with whatever kind of headache I have &mdash; probably because it helps me relax! My favorite way to get steam is to close all the doors and windows to my bathroom and turn on the shower as hot as it will go (without me in it!). In a few minutes, my bathroom is a sauna and I can breathe again. The cleansed pores? Definitely a side benefit!</p> <h3>2. Drink tea</h3> <p>While tea is one way to get some steam, it also provides heat on the roof of your mouth. One set of sinuses sits right above the roof of your mouth, and heat helps both the swollen tissue and the clotted mucus. Tea is also relaxing, so it helps calm your muscles. If you're fighting a migraine, the caffeine can also give you the boost you need to beat it.</p> <h3>3. Put a warm, wet washcloth on your head</h3> <p>Again with the heat and the steam, as well as the fact that it just feels good. When your head hurts, you often unconsciously clench the muscles in your face. The warmth and the humidity help them relax.</p> <h3>4. Close your eyes</h3> <p>Even if your headache isn't directly related to eyestrain, closing your eyes can help. I can't find an explanation for this, though several doctors have told me to do it. My theory? It has something to do with the amount of information your mind is processing at once. This is particularly useful for stress-induced headaches.</p> <h3>5. Get some sleep</h3> <p>For me, headaches are connected to not getting enough sleep. My body just doesn't function as well when I'm not rested. When I catch up on some of these hours, bad headaches become manageable and slight ones disappear entirely.</p> <h3>6. Quack like a duck</h3> <p>Or do whatever it is you do when you need to laugh. Because laughing releases tension AND moves the muscles in your face in relatively unusual ways, it helps reduce tension headaches and allows sinuses to drain. Plus, it distracts you so you're not thinking solely about the throbbing going on in your head.</p> <h3>7. Exercise</h3> <p>Yes, it's good for your head as well as your heart...and your lungs...and your muscles...you get the idea. The endorphins that exercising releases after a good 20-30 minutes fight headaches, too. Sometimes it takes an act of God to get out of bed, but it's almost always been worth it for me.</p> <h3>8. Change positions</h3> <p>Sit or stand in a new position. Tilt your head to one side. Just do something different. This relieves your standard points of tension, thus reducing tension headaches, and also helps your sinuses drain (because all the nasty thick mucus can find the itty, bitty hole it's supposed to drain out of). If nothing else, it gives you a new perspective, and we all know how helpful that can be.</p> <h3>9. Get a backrub</h3> <p>Actually, get someone to press wherever you want them to. There are points in the head (and back, hands, and feet) that help reduce head pain. It sounded crazy to me, too, until I found myself at a conference I could not leave with a headache that would not leave and tried it. My headache didn't stop, but it did get to the point where your standard painkillers actually helped. Apparently, most headache sufferers are pretty good at finding these points on their own &mdash; they're the places you want to be touched when your head hurts. Bizarre, but helpful.</p> <p><em>I'm not a doctor. These are things that work for me, or that I've picked up over the years. If you take this advice, you do it at your own risk. Your doctor may tell you I'm crazy. I'm ok with that.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-beat-a-killer-headache-with-stuff-you-have-around-the-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-being-a-slave-to-starbucks-how-to-quit-caffeine">Stop Being a Slave to Starbucks - How to Quit Caffeine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-and-understanding-migraine-headaches">Dealing With and Understanding Migraine Headaches</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-facial-cleansing-brushes">The 5 Best Facial Cleansing Brushes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty headache migraine sinus headache tension headache Thu, 06 Sep 2007 17:14:52 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1113 at http://www.wisebread.com