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Q: migrane headaches ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: migrane headaches
Category: Health > Women's Health
Asked by: gary2005-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 26 Jul 2006 20:05 PDT
Expires: 25 Aug 2006 20:05 PDT
Question ID: 749947
Hi, my name is Gary. My mother has been suffering from migranes for a
long time. I would like to know the most uptodate information on the
causes of migranes and most importantly, the treatments for migranes,
including any alternative treatments eg acupuncture, vitamins, massage
Subject: Re: migrane headaches
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 27 Jul 2006 10:37 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I?m sorry your mother has been suffering with migraines. They can be
really dehabilitating.

What follows is a run down of the causes and treatments of migraines,
including ?alternative treatments? that often haven?t been well


Unfortunately, doctors don?t definitively know what causes migraines,
although it?s generally believed that they are caused by ?a
combination of the expansion of blood vessels and the release of
certain chemicals, which causes inflammation and pain.? (
Migraine Headache,? eMedicine: ) Those
chemicals include dopamine and serotonin, which are found in every
normal brain, but seem to cause problems when their levels are ?off,?
or if an individual?s blood vessels are sensitive to them.

There are a number of known triggers for migraines. Not everyone will
get a migraine if these triggers are present, and not every trigger is
a factor for every migraine sufferer. These triggers include:

* Food. It?s important for migraine sufferers to keep a food diary of
what they?ve eaten, when, and when their migraines hit, since
different foods cause problems for different people. However, common
triggers are chocolate, cheese, nuts, alcohol, and MSG.

* Skipping a meal.

* Stress and tension, both physical and emotional.

* Birth control pills, menstrual cycles, and changes in estrogen
levels (I recommend that you and your mother also review the ?Women
and Migraines? section The American Council for Headache Education
website:  Use
the menu at the left to navigate. )

* Smoking

* Bright lights

* Certain strong smells

* Medications

Occasionally, other health problems (including stroke, tumor, and
inflammation of blood vessels) may bring on migraines, so it?s
important for sufferers to seek medical attention and be tested for
these possible causes. (Testing might include blood tests, an x-ray, 
a CT scan or MRI, and/or a spinal tap).


First, lifestyle changes should be considered. Migraine sufferers
should keep regular sleep patterns, should exercise regularly, eat
regular meals, reduce stress, and stay away from any triggers.

Then there are treatments to consider once a headache has hit. Not
every treatment works for every sufferer, but here are some common
home remedies:

* A cold compress 

* Laying down in a room with little or no light, sound, or orders 

* Getting away from stressful surroundings 

* Sleeping 

* Drinking a moderate amount of caffeine or a large glass of water

* Getting a massage
* Using pressure points (?Press on two pressure points at the back of
the neck.  These points are about two inches apart, just below the
base of the skull.  Press for a minute or two.  This releases
endorphins that help against pain.? (FAQ:

* ?Take some vitamin C, vitamin B6, choline, tryptophan and niacin
and/or magnesium.? (FAQ:

* Over-the-counter headache medications. These include: Nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin,
Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), and ketoprofen (Orudis). These
should not be taken by anyone with a history of stomach bleeding.
Also, check with your pharmacist about possible medicine interactions;
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), which may be taken with a NSAIDS, but should
not be taken if the sufferer has liver problems or has 3 or more
alcohol drinks a day; and combination medications like Excedrin



According to eMedicine Health, ?about half of migraineurs stop seeking
medical care for their headaches because they are dissatisfied with
therapy.? Still, half of them find traditional medical treatment

Triptans, which target serotonin, are often used to treat migraines.
They only work against headache pain and won?t help other side
effects. These drugs include:
o	Sumatriptan (Imitrex) 
o	Zolmitriptan (Zomig) 
o	Eletriptan (Relpax) 
o	Naratriptan (Amerge, Naramig) 
o	Rizatriptan (Maxalt) 
o	Frovatriptan (Frova) 
o	Almotriptan (Axert) 

In addition, other drugs that target serotonin may be taken, but they
also affect other brain chemicals:

o	Ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot) 
o	Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45 Injection, Migranal Nasal Spray) 
o	Acetaminophen-isometheptene-dichloralphenazone (Midrin) 

Other drugs work mostly for the nausea that comes with migraines, but
sometimes stop migraine headaches, too:

o	Prochlorperazine (Compazine) 
o	Promethazine (Phenergan) 

Narcotics are sometimes used to kill migraine pain. (These drugs are
habit forming.):

o	Butalbital compound (Fioricet, Fiorinal) 
o	Acetaminophen and codeine (Tylenol With Codeine) 

All of these drugs are taken as the migraine begins?but there are also
medications that can be taken to prevent migraines. They are usually
only considered for patients who have more than one migraine a week.
These medicines include:

o	Medications used to treat high blood pressure - Beta-blockers
(propranolol [Inderal]), calcium channel blockers (verapamil [Covera])
o	Antidepressants - Amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor) 
o	Antiseizure medications - Gabapentin (Neurontin), valproic acid
(Depakote), topiramate (Topamax)
o	Some antihistamines and anti-allergy drugs, including
diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and cyproheptadine (Periactin)

For a table of preventative medications, see National Council for
Headache Education:

In addition, Botox injections have helped some migraine sufferers find relief.

All of this may seem quite overwhelming. There are so many choices!
Your mother?s doctor should be able to help guide you through these
choices, choosing the best possibilities for your mother. You may also
wish to read ?What?s the Best Medicine for My Headaches?? at Healing


Please bear in mind that some of these treatments may be dubious.
Nonetheless, all have been said by some migraine sufferers to help.

According to the National Council for Headache Education
(?Nonpharmacological Strategies,? ACHE: ), some alternative remedies

* Biofeedback therapy (?...where people learn to gain control of their
body's internal functions... Biofeedback requires specific training
sessions with a trained biofeedback therapist. This training usually
takes one to two months of weekly 30-45 minute session...? This allows
some migraine sufferers to ?lower tension throughout the body, which
results in fewer headaches.?)

* Relaxation training (Which ?teaches a variety of relaxation
strategies for reducing tension and stress throughout the body.?)

* Cognitive-behavioral training (?also known as stress-management
training...often is done with the help of a psychologist,
psychiatrist, or other therapist. This training focuses on teaching
migraine sufferers coping skills and other ?cognitive? (thinking)
strategies for managing stressful parts of their life.)

* Hypnosis (?is now being studied in clinical trials for treatment of
a variety of conditions including pain management. Little has been
done so far about its use in preventing migraine. ?)

* Acupuncture (?recently received a boost in popularity because of the
consensus statement released by a panel convened by the National
Institutes of Health. This statement strongly suggests that
acupuncture is in fact a legitimate therapy proven to be effective for
some conditions...The panel concluded that nausea and acute dental
pain clearly respond to acupuncture. Many painful conditions,
including headaches, may respond to acupuncture, but additional
studies are needed.?)

* Massage (?Many migraine sufferers have tight, stiff, tender muscles
in the back of the head, neck, and shoulders...Pressure on these
points in the muscle may cause pain in the head, which is similar to
the pain of a migraine. These points are often called trigger points.
Massaging these trigger points can reduce the pain and tightness in
the muscles and can decrease head pain and migraine in some sufferers.

* Cervical manipulation 

A site on Natural Migraine Treatment ((FAQ:
)adds the following:

* Chiropractic treatment. (?Sometimes the bones in the neck are in the
wrong place, and the little muscles near the bones are tense...The
nerves that lead out from the spine can be irritated...and this can
cause migraines...90% of patients were satisfied with chiropractic
treatment of headache.?)

* ? The following supplements, taken regularly, can help:
 -- vitamin C ...
 -- vitamin B6 ...
 -- niacin ...
 -- choline 
 -- tryptophan  ...
 -- omega-3 essential fatty acids ...
 -- chromium...
 -- magnesium...?

* ?Feverfew helps many migraine sufferers...benefit is seen after 6-8 weeks.
Side effects include sore mouth, mouth ulcers and upset
Stomach...Reishi mushroom is also said to help against migraines.
Tiger Balm rubbed on the pain has been used, but only helps some
people.? ((?Treatment & Management,? ) adds:

* ?The growing evidence supporting our long term belief that migraine
is a brain disorder coupled with the work showing a second brain in
the gut might cause some to look at proper
neuropeptide/neurotransmitter production by the digestive system as a
root cause of the factors leading to Migraine...One company...has
recently published an outcome based study in which they focus
primarily on healing and improving digestive dysfunction that they
believe on some level is occurring in most Migraine sufferers.
Synergistically, they provide nutritional support to the liver and
kidney believing that these organs are critical in balancing internal
function. This natural Migraine prevention approach has shown very
positive results in their initial study...Visit the ForeverWell
website, and read the details and explanation of
their work and approach to treating Migraine.?

* ?MigraCap This non-drug non-vitamin Migraine relief product is
currently being evaluated...It looks quite promising ...Migra-Cap® was
developed by a sufferer for sufferers, using a combination of cold
therapy and complete darkness to give relief from the pain that is
associated with Migraine and most types of headaches...We understand
Migra-Cap® has been given an 81% success rate following its trial with
members of the Migraine Action Association of the United Kingdom...For
more information, visit the manufacture?s website at

* ?Petasites Hybridus (Butterbur root) is the latest non-drug
preventive treatment to become available in the United States. It is
available under the name of Petadolex? from the well respected German
firm of Weber & Weber. In recent double blind studies it was shown 77%
effective as a Migraine prophylaxis.?

I hope this helps,

Migraine alternative treatment
Migraine headache treatment
gary2005-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you - great answer.

Subject: Re: migrane headaches
From: greety-ga on 27 Jul 2006 09:18 PDT
it could be from stress 
  i know that buy taking 4 b complex 2 times a day 
4 omega gaurd 2 times a day
optiflora 2 2 times a day will help
my freind got  the products from
Subject: Re: migrane headaches
From: stressedmum-ga on 28 Jul 2006 04:53 PDT
Gary, does your mother consume any artificial sweeteners such as
aspartame, Nutra Sweet, Equal, saccharin etc? If so, get her to try
and go off these for a while (at least a month) and see if that helps.

If I have a diet soda/drink or even chewing gum (most gum brands
contain aspartame these days) I will have a horrible, full-blown
migraine within a few hours. Since avoiding these artificial
sweeteners, I simply don't get the migraines. I can't begin to tell
you how amazing that is! I was plagued by them because I was watching
my sugar intake and usually had diet Coke as my drink of choice
whenever I went out, plus I would chew gum most days. I stopped doing
that and, bingo!, so did my migraines! On a recent trip to the UK, I
discovered, too late, that artificial sweeteners are used in many
'non-diet' drinks -- even tonic water -- and you have to read the
label very carefully.

Another trigger for me is instant coffee, which may or may not bring
on a migraine. Artificial sweeteners will certainly bring one on.

Best wishes for a successful, migraine-free result for your Mum.

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