Help for chronic migraines

Doctors for USA WEEKEND

The intense throbbing pain of an occasional migraine is bad — especially when accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or sensitivity to light and sound. Imagine getting one of those doozy headaches most days: That’s the reality of chronic migraines.

A recent survey of 2,600 migraine sufferers found more than 40% have the chronic kind. The same survey reported 38% of people with chronic migraines lost a job because of their condition. Chronic sufferers are stigmatized in the same way people with epilepsy are, reports a new study in the journal PLOS ONE. When migraines are chronic, they strike at least 15 days a month for at least three months; on at least eight of those days, patients have symptoms or respond to migraine-specific treatment.

A few tips for managing migraines:

Go easy on coffee. High caffeine consumption could trigger an occasional migraine; it also increases your chances of developing chronic headaches, especially in women and those under 40, research suggests. Obesity also is a risk factor for chronic migraines.

Prescription drugs can help. Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) is FDA-approved for chronic migraines. A recent research review in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that chronic sufferers who used the injections averaged two to three fewer headaches a month; patients with occasional migraines or chronic tension headaches had no change. Other prescriptions for chronic migraines: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), pain medication and migraine-specific drugs. Doctors also may suggest antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs.

Acupuncture is worth a try. Studies show that this ancient technique can help reduce the frequency and intensity of chronic headaches, maybe as much or more so than medication.

The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels and psychologist Wendy Walsh. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.

Comments

More News

Comments

About the Author

Follow this blog:

Get updates from this blog when they happen by following it on Twitter or using its RSS feed.

Reader Poll

What's your favorite Easter tradition?
Church services
Family dinner
Easter egg hunt
Easter bunny
Decorating eggs