Thursday, July 05, 2012

Certain 'triggers' may initiate migraines

This is a nice summary. Triggers are often elusive in people having near-daily headache. And, I have had excellent response to botox injections in young adults teenagers with refractory headache. JR

Next time a migraine forces you to cancel your plans and retire to a cold, dark corner, remember that there are ways to alleviate, maybe even prevent, the throbbing pain, nausea and light sensitivity these headaches-from-hell can cause.

It may be as easy as removing certain foods from your diet.

Eighty percent of migraine sufferers are genetically predisposed to the condition, but other factors can increase migraine risk.

These include lack of sleep, poor nutrition, dehydration, inadequate exercise, stress and excessive drinking.
Diets heavy in cured or aged meats and nitrates found in red wine can, for some, lead to migraine pain.

Find your triggers
Finding your personal trigger can take some time. Dr. Deborah Carver-Hodges, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, suggests keeping a daily headache journal.
Jot down all the food and alcohol you consumed and any weather changes to the area; Women are also encouraged to track their menstrual cycles.
The journal may help you identify your triggers, so you can stay away from them.
But if migraines persist, there are treatments that can alleviate and help prevent the pain.

Magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplements have both shown success in treating migraines, according to Dr. E. Swann Van Delden of the Neurology Institute of San Antonio.

She recommends taking 200 milligrams of riboflavin a day with meals and 400 to 800 milligrams of magnesium a day for migraine relief.

Another supplement Carver-Hodges recommends is butterbur, which can be found in health food stores.
An herb, butterbur contains a chemical that helps relieve spasms and inflammation.

Cost: No more than $20 for a bottle of 200 pills

Prescription meds
For frequent migraine sufferers, Van Delden and Hodges-Carver prescribe a group of vasoconstrictors known as triptans, which help regulate the balance of serotonin in the brain.

Triptans are found in antidepressants, antiseizure and antihypertensive medications.
Each medication treats neurons, or brain cells differently.

Antidepressants control serotonin receptors, while antiseizure medications help reduce excitability of the neurons and antihypertensive meds help regulate heart rate and stress which can trigger certain migraines.

Cost: Most of these medications are available in a generic form and are usually covered by prescription plans.
Price can range from $4 to $90 for a one-month supply, depending on coverage.

For patients with chronic migraines, defined as 15 headache days a month, Van Delden has seen a high success rate while using botox.

Approved for use in 2010, botox is injected into seven areas of the head including the medial brow (close to the nasal bridge), the temples and the back of the head.

Although the mechanism of action isn't known, Van Delden theorizes that when used as a muscle relaxant, botox can help break the loop of tension often seen in migraines.

Treatment must be repeated every 12 weeks.

Cost: Botox treatments are covered by most insurance plans, as long as the patients meet the criteria; price ranges by co-pay.

Read more here

No comments: