THE TRUTH ABOUT MIGRAINES

 

WHO GETS MIGRAINES?

 

MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN OF ALL AGES CAN GET MIGRAINES!  

WOMEN ARE AT GREATER RISK FOR MIGRAINES THAN MEN  Because estrogen and progesterone are such potent Migraine triggers, women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience Migraines. In fact, there is a subset of headaches known as Menstrual Migraines, which can occur one or two days BEFORE the start of a woman’s period and DURING the first day or two of her period.

CHILDREN AND TEENS ALSO SUFFER FROM MIGRAINES  Migraines are extremely painful and often debilitating for adults, and unfortunately, teens and even children are not immune to Migraine attacks. Just like adults, kids can also experience dizziness, vertigo, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, a lack of energy, disturbed vision and other symptoms.

 

MIGRAINE IS A GENETICALLY-BASED DISEASE

Dr. Stephen J. Peroutka, M.D., Ph.D., President & CEO of Spectra Biomedical, Inc. (a group of research physicians dedicated to understanding the genetic basis of Migraine and other illnesses) states that the “data is unequivocal: Migraine is a genetically-based illness. Individuals with a single parent having Migraine have approximately a 50% chance of having Migraine. This susceptibility is neither psychological nor induced by environmental causes.”

 

CHRONIC MIGRAINES

A Chronic Migraine is a headache that occurs 15 or more days a month with headaches lasting 4 hours or longer for at least 3 consecutive months in people with current or prior diagnosis of migraine. People with Chronic Migraine are spending half their month living with debilitating headaches. Chronic migraine sufferers are good candidates for prevention.

 

WHY DO YOUR MIGRAINES KEEP COMING BACK?

MIGRAINES BEGET MIGRAINES  The mandate for all patients is clear: Reduce the number of migraines. Researchers are finding that “migraines beget migraines,” according to Andrew Charles, director of UCLA’s Headache Research and Treatment Program. He says it’s not clear why, but the “more migraines a patient gets, the more susceptible they become to having more,” adding that “there seems to be this sort of tipping point where patients go from having episodic headaches to having them really continuously and being in a state of constant sensory sensitivity.”

 

MYTH VERSUS REALITY

 

MYTH:  A MIGRAINE IS JUST A BAD HEADACHE
REALITY:  MIGRAINE IS A DISEASE, A HEADACHE IS ONLY A SYMPTOM

Unlike a headache, the Migraine disease has many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, auras (light spots), sensitivity to light and sound, numbness, difficulty in speech, and severe semihemispherical head pain. One Migraine attack alone can last for eight hours, several days, or even weeks.

A Migraine is induced by various controllable and uncontrollable triggers. Uncontrollable triggers include weather patterns and menstrual cycles, and controllable triggers include bright light, aspartame, and alcohol. The severity and frequency of Migraines for one person depends upon how many triggers an individual must experience before a Migraine is induced. The combination of triggers is different for each person.

MYTH:  MIGRAINE IS CAUSED BY PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, SUCH AS STRESS AND DEPRESSION
REALITY:  MIGRAINE IS A NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE, NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER

Migraine is a true organic neurological disease.  A Migraine is caused when a physiological (not psychological) trigger or triggers cause vasodilatation in the cranial blood vessels, which triggers nerve endings to release chemical substances called neurotransmitters, of which the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HTT) is an important factor in the development of Migraine.

Dr. Saper stated in his endorsement letter to M.A.G.N.U.M. (Migraine Awareness Group) that “[Migraine] is not a psychological or psychiatric disease but one which results from biological and physiological alterations.” Similarly, Dr. Fred D. Sheftell, M.D., Director and Founder for the New England Center for Headache specifically stated in his letter of endorsement that “Migraine is absolutely a biologically-based disorder with the same validity as other medical disorders including hypertension, angina, asthma, epilepsy, etc. Unfortunately, there have been many myths perpetrated in regard to this disorder. The most destructive of which are “it’s all in your head” oryou have to learn to live with it” or stress is the major cause.”

Misdiagnosis of Migraine as a psychological disorder can lead to a doctor prescribing unnecessary, counterproductive, and even dangerous medication. It’s common for a Migraineur to be diagnosed, for example, with clinical depression and prescribed unnecessary drugs, leaving the Migraines unaffected. The continued presence of the Migraines may lead the doctor to believe that the Migraineur is unable to “handle” problems and is still “depressed”, leading to continued unnecessary drug treatment …and so on.

As mentioned above, the Migraine disease is induced by various trigger mechanisms. Trigger mechanisms can be broken down into two primary categories: uncontrollable and controllable. The Migraine triggers usually work in combinations.

Remember, Migraine is a disease that involves a heightening of one’s senses – all of one’s senses.  A Migraineur is more sensitive to his or her surroundings, including light, sound, smells, taste (chemicals in foods), and touch (including the touch of the atmospheric pressure on one’s body). Awareness of one’s environment is critical for a Migraineur.

A good example of an uncontrollable Migraine trigger is weather patterns. Germany, for example, offers a telephone number that people (such as weather-sensitive Migraine sufferers) can call to find out the risk to their health of that day’s weather pattern. A recent study entitled “The Effects of Weather on the Frequency and Severity of Migraine Headaches” conducted in Canada arrived at the following conclusions: 1) “Phase 4” weather, characterized by a drop in barometric pressure, the passing of a warm front, high temperature and humidity and oftentimes rain, is closely associated with higher frequency and severity of Migraine attacks. 2) A high humidex discomfort index during the summer is associated with an increased frequency of Migraine attacks. 3) wind from the southeast was shown to be associated with more attacks than wind from any other direction.  And 4) a number of Migraine sufferers may be sensitive to extreme rates of barometric pressure changes.

Another common uncontrollable trigger is the menstrual cycle. As explained by Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., Co-Director, The Comprehensive Headache Center at Germantown Hospital and Medical Center, Migraine usually develops around the time of the first menstrual period, called the menarche. The Migraine appears to be the result of falling levels or reduced availability of estrogen. Migraine sometimes becomes worse in the first trimester of pregnancy, but many women are Migraine-free later in their pregnancy. Menstrual Migraine is often more difficult to treat than other types of head pain. Women who have Migraines only with their period can often achieve relief by taking preventive (prophylactic) medication just before their period begins. If severe menstrual Migraine cannot be effectively controlled by any of these medications, hormonal therapy is a possibility.

Controllable triggers, on the other hand, include bright light, chemical smells, second-hand smoke, particular alcohols such as red wine and some hard alcohols such as scotch, foods that are known vasodilator such as fish, some chocolate, aged cheese, and foods which contain nitrates and/or the radical vasodilator MSG.

Therefore, if one avoids controllable triggers during Migraine-weather or menstrual cycles, one may be able to escape a Migraine attack. Another tip: take abortive medication prescribed for Migraine at the earliest sign of a Migraine attack. Oftentimes, if one waits to take the medication until the attack has matured, the medication may prove practically ineffective. The drugs commonly prescribed to Migraineurs fall into two groups: abortive and preventative (prophylactic). There are some common problems and adverse effects associated with a host of the medications. Some of the more pronounced are: from abortive drugs, dizziness from Stadol, tolerance to barbiturates, rebound headache from overuse of Ergotamine and over-the-counter non-narcotic analgesics (e.g., Tylenol, aspirin and NSAIDS); and from preventative drugs, beta-blockers and calcium channel-blockers can trigger headaches/Migraines. Get to know your pharmacist, he or she can be an important source of information.

MYTH:  MIGRAINE IS NOT LIFE THREATENING, JUST ANNOYING
REALITY:  MIGRAINE CAN BE LIFE THREATENING, INDUCING SUCH CONDITIONS AS STROKE AND COMA

Migraine can induce a host of serious physical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, aneurysms, permanent visual loss, severe dental problems, coma and even death. Migraines have also been linked to depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s and epilepsy.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “migraine can sometimes lead to ischemic stroke and stroke can sometimes be aggravated by or associated with the development of migraine.” Twenty-seven percent of all strokes suffered by persons under the age of 45 are caused by Migraine. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country. In addition, twenty-five percent of all incidents of cerebral infarction were associated with Migraines, according to the Mayo clinic. Most recently the British Medical Journal reported that after evaluating 14 major Migraine & stroke studies in the U.S. and Canada that Migraineurs are at a 2.2 times greater risk for stroke than the non-migraine population. That risk goes up to a staggering 8 times more stroke risk for women Migraineurs who use birth control pills!

Migraine and epileptic seizure disorders are also interrelated. The most intimate interrelationship between the two being Migraine-triggered epilepsy. Migraine affects up to 15% of the epileptic population. In basic terms, Migraine and Epilepsy are both disorders characterized by paroxysmal, transient alterations of Neurologic function, usually with normal Neurologic examinations between events (attacks).

Not only can the Migraine disease be life threatening, but it can have a devastating and disruptive effect on normal living. Migraine sufferers experience not only excruciating pain, but social ostracism, job loss, disruption to personal relationships, and prejudices in the workplace.

Oftentimes people think that those with Migraines just can’t handle life, or, in reality, are drug addicts or alcoholics. Such perception can be formed when, for example, people see a Migraineur wearing sun glasses indoors (photo sensitive), lying in a dark and silent room (photo and sound sensitive), making frequent trips to the rest room (nausea and vomiting), leaving early, working late, slurred speech, all what they may think is erratic behavior. According to Dr. Sheftell, “Historically, patients with the most intractable Migraines experience a downward spiral in terms of income and contributions to society at large.”

Also, a recent study showed that the loss of labor time and lost productivity of Migraine sufferers may exact a significant toll on U.S. business. According to a position paper signed by the American Academy of Pain Medicine, et. al., 150 million work days per year, equivalent to 1,200 million work hours, are lost each year to head pain. The corresponding annual cost to industry and the health care system due to Migraine amounts to $5 to $17 billion.

MYTH:  ANY DOCTOR WILL RECOGNIZE AND PROPERLY TREAT MIGRAINE
REALITY:  MIGRAINE IS ONE OF THE MOST MISDIAGNOSED, MISTREATED AND LEAST UNDERSTOOD DISEASES

The fact that so many doctors don’t take Migraine seriously can be as disabling to the Migraineur as the disability itself. The leading doctors in the areas of neurology and head pain have themselves stated that this disease is grossly misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In fact, 60% of women and 70% of men with Migraine have never been diagnosed with this disease. This medical ignorance and corresponding inaccurate writings unfortunately perpetuate the myths and misunderstandings about Migraine and convey this to the general public.

 

ACUTE OR ABORTIVE MEDICATIONS VS PREVENTATIVE MEDICATIONS

 

REBOUND HEADACHES AND MEDICATION OVERUSE HEADACHES (MOH)

MOH (Medication Overuse Headaches) is exactly as stated; recurring headaches from the overuse of medication. Painkillers and other prescription and OTC medications such as Excedrin Migraine, which is loaded with caffeine (another well known migraine headache trigger), can actually cause rebound headaches.

Clinical data shows that the treatment for medication overuse headaches includes withdrawal from the drugs, followed by starting a prophylactic (preventive) therapy. However, the discontinuation of the overused drugs usually leads to worsening of headaches and the appearance of drug withdrawal symptoms usually reinforcing the further intake of the overused medication. In other words, the medication you take to get rid of your headaches now becomes the cause of your headaches.

It’s a vicious cycle that must be broken. Rebound or recurring headaches from medication overuse may call for a gradual reduction of medication. It’s important that the patient’s physician be consulted before abruptly discontinuing any medication as an abrupt discontinuation of some medications can potentially create other issues.  Break the cycle of MOH and rebound headaches with the help of MigreLief.

 

GOOD HABITS FOR MIGRAINE PREVENTION

EAT REGULARLY  Anyone who skips a meal risks developing a headache, but migraine sufferers are particularly sensitive to the effects of low blood sugar. Don’t let a crazy schedule stop you from eating regularly — at least every five hours (but it is possible that you need to eat more often than that). Carry small, healthy snacks with you throughout the day to keep migraines at bay.

REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), most people in the US consume about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, which is more than twice the 1,500 mg suggested by the organization. Their test results showed that people who ate foods high in sodium – around 8 g per day – had one third more headaches than those who ate foods low in sodium – around 4 g per day.

EXERCISE REGULARLY BUT NOT TOO INTENSELY  Intense or sporadic exercise can cause migraines, but regular exercise can reduce the frequency or severity of headaches by reducing tension. The trick is to warm up before exercising, and to start slowly if you are new to physical activity. Walking, gentle cycling, swimming, and yoga are all terrific exercise options for beginners.

PRACTICE RELAXATION  Because stress can trigger migraines, relaxation can help prevent them. Relaxation can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, listening to music, or going for a leisurely walk. But you may want to consider a more structured relaxation program that is custom-designed to put body and mind at ease such as practicing yoga or meditation.

GET PLENTY OF SLEEP  Maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Both lack of sleep and too much sleep can trigger migraines, so it is important that you make your sleep pattern as regular as possible — no matter how busy you are. For general health, it’s recommended that you get at least seven hours of sleep, and no more than nine.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR MIGRAINES

There is no “cure” for Chronic Migraines but they can be controlled, managed and even prevented with various treatments and therapies.  Stay open to exploring various safe alternative treatment options, you never know which one will work for you!  However, as the saying goes, prevention is the best medicine, and MigreLief nutritional supplements are designed specifically for migraine prevention.

 

PREVENT MIGRAINES BEFORE THEY START

Addressing the underlying nutritional deficiencies and imbalances that can cause migraines is key to successful, lifelong prevention. MigreLief Triple Therapy with Puracol contains 3 mechanisms of action that work independently and together to control or prevent migraines. All three ingredients are listed in the American Academy of Neurology Evidence Based Guidelines for Migraine Prevention. MigreLief was formulated as nutritional support for migraine sufferers and to maintain normal cerebrovascular function. MigreLief is the #1 doctor recommended nutritional dietary migraine supplement and it’s available without a prescription.

 

THE #1 NEUROLOGIST RECOMMENDED NUTRITIONAL MIGRAINE SUPPLEMENT

Taken daily, MigreLief, MigreLief+M and Children’s MigreLief supplements provide nutritional support for migraine prevention.
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