Migraine, Headaches, and Support (poll results)

Having people around you who are supportive – even one person – can make an incredible difference. Recently we ran a poll to find out about the closest person in your life – just how supportive are they?

First of all, for about 9% of you, the closest person is someone who is not only very supportive, but also has the same condition. But let’s leave those aside for the moment, and look at the rest.

The support of friendsActually, I was happy to hear how many of you have a very supportive person close to you. 13% just raved about the amazing support, another 11% also incredibly supportive, and then 13% very supportive – getting us to 37%, plus those with the same condition, getting us to 46% who are very supportive to varying degrees.

But that is less than half. What’s next? Another 10% have at least taken some time to understand. So that gets us to 56% of friends/family who are at least pro-active.

Next are those who are at least aware that you get headaches/migraine attacks – 35%. Another 5% are only vaguely aware.

Finally, 6% reported that the closest person to them didn’t even know that they had headache/migraine attacks!

So I’m glad to see that many of you have friends and family who are extremely supportive. But really, that’s only half of you. For the other half, the closest person to you has either done very little to try to understand, or – let’s face it – you haven’t shared much!

I realize there are a lot of reasons why this might be. But we need to be pro-active ourselves to make sure that we have people very close to use who know what our struggles are. If it isn’t going to be the person closest to you, look to others who are close to you. Find someone you can talk to, and actually sit down with them this weekend and have the conversation. If you have to, tell them your friend James said it was important for your health. 😀

Let’s get the percentage up to 75% – then to 100% – so that we all have a person close to us who is very supportive. And remember – we need to be supportive of others too!

Here are some inspiring notes from people who do have a supportive friend/family member. And here are some ideas about how faith communities and others can be supportive.


Pulsed Shortwave (Electromagnetic) Therapy For Headache Pain

Researchers continue to look for non-invasive treatments for headache and migraine, and pulsed shortwave therapy may be one of the candidates.

Pulsed shortwave therapy (PSWT), less precisely known as electromagnetic pulse therapy, is one of many pain-related therapies that have been around for many years. PSWT has been used on injuries and sore muscles with some success. And now researchers are asking if headache patients may benefit as well.

ActiPatch for muscle and joint painMost of you probably know that headaches are not necessarily about sore muscles. But this is not muscle therapy, like physiotherapy that makes your muscles twitch. In fact, patients using this particular device, known as ActiPatch, don’t typically feel any vibration or even heat – ideally, the pain just starts to dissolve.

It’s “pulsed” not because you feel a pulse, but because the shortwaves are turned on and off. They’re actually off more than they’re on, and so the “mean power” is very low.

Although, like most devices, we’re only starting to understand why it works, a working theory is that is works on the cellular level. PSWT may actually help to “fix” cells that aren’t operating properly, this returning them to normal, healthy function and alleviating your symptoms. For more, here is a short description of Pulsed Shortwave Therapy.

ActiPatch itself is already on the market, with good reviews, for back and muscle pain (check out the ActiPatch Muscle and Joint Pain Therapy Device). Now researchers are talking about a headache version, which will target nerves in the head, to see if it could cut down or eliminate migraine symptoms over time.

If you’re in the United States, you may qualify to be a part of the study. You must be over 17, with 3 or more migraine attacks per month. For more information and contact information, visit Migraine Prevention Using ActiPatch (PSWT).

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The Low Tyramine Diet for Migraine – Is it time to rethink it?

One of the most popular migraine-fighting diets over the past 20 years has been the low tyramine diet. Avoiding foods such as soy sauce, salami, aged cheese, nuts and alcohol have been pretty standard. But – is it time to start eating these things again?

Time to rethink the low tyramine diet?There’s no doubt that the low tyramine diet has helped a lot of people reduce their migraine symptoms. But as we have learned over and over again, sometimes something “works” for a completely unexpected reason.

For example, could it be that just avoiding processed foods and being more careful about what you eat is actually the key, no matter what common migraine diet you’re trying? Or is there another chemical or compound in the food that is actually causing the problem, and not tyramine?

For example, the debate about just why some alcoholic beverages trigger migraine attacks in some people is far from over.

The makers of the Curelator app continue to challenge common knowledge about just what triggers attacks – and their latest target is, you guessed it, tyramine.

Taking information from 488 individuals with chronic or episodic migraine, they checked to see if tyramine actually triggered attacks. It did – but not very often.

Tyramine was a “confirmed trigger” in less than 10% of episodic migraine attacks, and less than 5% of chronic migraine attacks.

Now, at first this sounds pretty shocking. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Don’t forget the “unconfirmed” triggers. And — if we could wipe out 10% of our attacks for sure by avoiding tyramine – or if 10% of migraine sufferers could eliminate their attacks by avoiding tyramine — well, you get my point.

So tyramine does still seem to be a significant trigger. BUT.

But what about all the people avoiding tyramine that don’t need to?

The Curelator researchers found another surprising result. For many people who suspected tyramine to be a trigger, it actually turned out to be a “protector”. In other words, they were more likely to avoid a migraine attack when they ate foods high in tyramine!

Perhaps the biggest take-away from this study is that we’re not always very good at guessing what our triggers are. Life if very complex, and apps like Curelator are heolping us rethink migraine triggers and stop avoiding things that we really don’t need to avoid.

For more on these findings, check out Curelator Headache Presents New Data Underscoring Misconceptions About Migraine Triggers And Protectors At American Headache Society Scientific Meeting


Wine, Beer, and Headache Tips

There have been a lot of news articles lately about wine and headaches. Last year we talked a bit about the different theories about why wine may – or may not – trigger headaches or migraine attacks.

Wine, Beer, and Headache TipsThere are also a lot of tips out there to help you avoid alcohol induced headaches in general.

For example, Dr. Seymour Diamond has recommended drinking two strong cups of coffee before you move on to alcohol. A little bit of honey in the coffee also may help, because the fructose in the honey helps the alcohol metabolize faster.

Trying something different may also help – some suggest a lighter coloured wine, or white instead of red. Also try wines that are lower in sugar.

Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa recommends a nondrowsy antihistamine prior to drinking wine.

But most of the advice seems to actually be – drink less. This includes not only simply avoiding alcohol, but also drinking water before you drink anything else – or alternating between water and alcohol.

Drinking water afterwards may help with the hangover, according to Dr. Dan Small.

With all the advice, remember that headaches related to alcohol have a number of causes. For example, if you get a headache right after drinking, it’s something different than the next-morning-hangover. If you have headaches like this, or any new headaches or symptoms, don’t just blame it on the drink – talk to a doctor who knows your medical history.

Have you tried any of this, or other advice? What have you found to be helpful?


Another (but different) Migraine Summit …

There is another migraine related summit taking place in July – and it’s a little different from the World Migraine Summit that you’re familiar with.

The Chronic Headache and Migraine SummitThe Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit is, of course, focused around chronic headache and migraine. You can sign up for free, and be involved from the 10th to 17th of July 2017. So if the dates work out well for you, check it out.

As with the Migraine World Summit, the talks are available for purchase, so you can watch them after the event. There are quite a few free goodies and discounts that come along with that.

One of the promoters of the summit explained it this way:

The Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit brings together thirty clinicians and researchers who have had success in helping people look deeper at the root issues that are causing their headaches or migraine pain, including hormone imbalances, digestive dysfunctions like food sensitivities or insufficiencies, emotional trauma, and more.

I think you’ll find a wide variety of information here, some of it more helpful than others. To get an idea what the presenters focus on, check the website here and scroll down to see the names.

For free, it’s certainly worth checking out. There will be a whole lot of information here, from a variety of perspectives, from many who have done a lot of research into health, headache, and migraine.

Check it out now – and be sure to sign up for free so you can at least check it out – The Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit