Medical professionals are now looking at headaches differently. It seems all headaches involve the same mechanisms in the brain. Doctors are now treating the patient and managing the overall headache condition instead of simply prescribing pain medication to treat individual headaches. This makes sense for a number of reasons, discussed in this article.
Conventional Wisdom About Migraines Is Changing
At one time, medical professionals made a distinction between migraine headaches and other types of headaches. Science is changing the way headaches are diagnosed and treated.
Why Manage the Migraine Patient vs. the Headaches?
Let's consider for a moment diabetes management. Most people are familiar with the management of diabetes. We know that it is certainly not appropriate to suggest that a diabetic patient consume 3 candy bars and a sick pack of soda on a daily basis, then give them a pill to reduce their symptoms, right?
Migraine patients, also referred to as migraineurs, have a migraine condition, whether they are experiencing pain or not. So, even when they are pain free, migraine patients still need to treat their bodies, and their brains, with great care.
It's interesting to note that most of the commonly prescribed medications for migraine have a common side effect: headaches! Do not adjust your monitor, you read that correctly. It's no wonder most migraine sufferers complain of increased frequency and intensity of their headaches.
These medications are better suited for the patient who experiences headaches once in a great while. Perhaps they have a headache once or twice a year. Most migraine medications, taken more than twice a week, lead to more trouble than relief.
It sounds like a pretty crazy cycle, doesn't it: Patient gets a headache, takes prescribed medication, feels a little bit better. A day or two later, it starts over again, and again, and...
What is a migraine patient to do once they're on this crazy cycle? First of all, no one should ever discontinue medication without the input and advice of a medical professional. With a doctor's approval, there are ways to manage a migraine brain without the crazy cycle.
How Many Headaches Have You Experienced in the Last 6 Months?
This includes all types of headaches: migraine, sinus, tension, cluster, etc.
Preventive Care for Migraines
Reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine with preventive measures
Migraine patients can reduce the number of headaches and the severity of those headaches by taking better care of themselves as a whole.
The general population requires a minimum of 6 hours of sleep per night to function well. Migraine patients, however, require at least 7, but no more than 9 hours of sleep. These patients should stick to a regular sleep schedule: going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time every day.
Since migraine sufferers typically report difficulty falling and staying asleep, creating a nightly bedtime regimen is helpful. This routine should include some type of relaxing activity such as a hot bath, yoga, reading, or meditation. Certain supplements can help, too. Always consult a physician before taking new supplements.
By diet I am referring to what and when a person eats, not a weight loss plan. Statistically speaking, migraine patients tend to skip breakfast. This is one of the worst things they can do for their condition. Something as simple and light as yogurt and a banana would suffice. The brain has just been starved all during the night and needs nourishment in the morning in order to operate properly. You wouldn't skip putting gas in your car, right?
Migraine sufferers can empower themselves by reading and educating themselves about their condition, or anything related to it. Books such as Heal Your Headache, the 1-2-3 Program, by David Buchholz, M.D. are a great place to start.
Recreation and relaxation are two things most people, especially migraine sufferers, believe they don't have time for. In fact, we don't have time NOT to relax or do fun things. Our brain needs this time to recuperate from all the other stress we put it through.
Recommended Reading for Migraine Sufferers
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