H2..Oh, I forgot!!

•February 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So, we all know we are to supposed to drink water.  I’m going to get up right now and get a glass.  O.K., I’m back.  Why is it so hard to get our recommended daily allowance of water?  And what is that anyway?  We are supposed to get 8 glasses of water a day, and a glass is 8 oz.  But why is it so hard to do this one simple thing?

Our lifestyles are so busy that we often forget.  That is one reason.  So, we have to be intentional.  Carry a water bottle with you when you are on the go.  Have a glass of water on the table when you are on the computer or watching television.  Another reason that we neglect water is that we would prefer to drink something else!  Our tastes have shifted towards drinks that are not that healthy for us like sodas, energy drinks, coffees, etc.  These things are loaded with calories and other substances that are not good for our bodies.

When we don’t get the recommended amount of water each day we set ourselves up for headaches.  Maybe not migraines initially, but we put ourselves at risk for other triggers to build on that vulnerability.  If you are already dehydrated, then you are vulnerable when another trigger comes along.  What you want to do is build your defenses up as strong as you can.  You can do this by eating right, getting enough sleep and getting enough water.  You cannot eliminate all the triggers, but you do at least want to take control of the things you can.  So drink up!


Dear U.S. Food and Drug Administration, I love you.

•December 11, 2010 • 2 Comments

O.k.  I will admit.  You won’t hear me say that very often.  Let’s be honest.  The FDA seems to make some odd decisions.  I’m not too happy about GMO’s (www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/AboutGeneticallyModifiedFoods/index.cfm) or certain immunizations (www.cultureandmediainstitute.org/articles/2008/20080821120743.aspx).  I’ve never felt that the FDA was really here to serve and protect the American people.  It’s politics as usual and the bottom dollar is, well, the dollar.  It’s all about money.  So, my advice is to be well informed and make decisions that you can live with.

However, back to why I am in love with the FDA…today anyway.  The FDA has finally approved Botox injections for chronic migraine sufferers.  Click www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm229782.htm for the FDA press release.  It seems like I have been waiting for this announcement forever.  In reality, it has only been two years.  I had my first Botox injection in late 2008 and could not continue as my insurance would not cover further injections because it was not approved by the FDA.  Now, however, they will.  Yay for me!  My next injections are scheduled for Tuesday and I can’t wait. 

So, even if you have been turned down for a service in the past, it pays to go back to your insurance company later and revisit the issue.  Stay current with what is going on in the industry and be your own advocate.  No one else will.

What Goes Down Must Come Up

•November 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Do you ever find yourself paralyzed by migraine pain brought on by changes in barometric pressure?  You are not alone.  There are so many migraine triggers to keep track of such as food, sleep, aromas, etc., that you may have overlooked this one.  Even though I know about this trigger, I still forget about it.  Mostly because I don’t own a barometer and don’t closely watch the ups and downs.  I usually find about it after the fact.

Once such time was just this past October.  Sunday night I started to get a bad headache and went to bed.  By Monday morning I was in agony and I headed off to the chiropractor.  I got an adjustment and a massage.  I went home and took my migraine medicine and took a nap.  The migraine went away…for 2 hours.  That never happens.  Usually when I take all those steps, I get relief for at least 24 hours.  I started to panic and did what I usually do.  I started to blame myself.  What did I do wrong?  What did I eat?  What did I drink?  What didn’t I drink?  Did I not get enough water?  Did I forget to take my meds?  Am I clenching my jaw?  Am I grinding my teeth at night?  Am I stressed out?  (What do you think…?) 

Well, that night on the 10 pm news I heard that a record low barometric pressure system had moved in.  It stuck around for a couple of days.  So did my migraine.  When the barometer started moving up I finally got some relief.  Ugh.  So, don’t overlook this trigger and don’t go overboard blaming yourself!

And should you want to consider moving to a location with a rather stable barometer reading year round, consider reading this article:  www.wisegeek.com/what-areas-in-the-usa-have-the-fewest-barometric-pressure-changes.htm.  Personally, I would love to retire to Honolulu, Hawaii, especially this time of year!

And Jill Came Tumbling After

•November 18, 2010 • 2 Comments

You may have noticed that it has been some time since I last posted.  I was caring for my husband following his back surgery.  Running up and down the stairs fetching this, that and the other.  It was on one of these trips that I made a quick turn back down the stairs that I slipped and fell.  I don’t think that the fall would have been so bad.  It was that I instinctively put my right arm out and caught myself on the railing.  Thus wrenching my right shoulder.  My bad shoulder.

This injury put me into a migraine tailspin.  My shoulder, back and neck muscles tightened and triggered one migraine after another.  I spent so much time at the chiropractor and massage therapist that I should have just set up a cot and moved in.  Constant migraines become very hard to manage when you are only allowed to take your medications twice a week.  It is at this point that an occipital nerve block is useful.

You may be asking, what is that?  An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area.  The injection reduces the inflammation and swelling of tissue around the occipital nerves. This may reduce the pain of headaches and migraines.  I have gotten relief using this therapy and use it when I have an injury so that healing can occur.  I also use it when I know I am going to be very active and away from chiropractic care.  Examples include missions trips and camping trips.

More information about occipital nerve blocks can be found at www.medcentral.org/main/OccipitalNerveBlock.aspx

You Are What You Eat

•February 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Let’s talk about vasoactive amines.  Amines are substances found in a large number of foods that have been shown to have vasoactive properties (act to dilate/constrict blood vessels).  When that happens…BAM!  Migraine.  So, obviously, you want to avoid these compounds in order to avoid a migraine.

Vasoactive amines are a group of compounds shown to exist in almost every common food group.  Many people who are sensitive to this group of compounds should consider avoiding these vasoactive amines.

Some common foods and beverages containing amines are listed below:

CHEESES:  Cheddar, Bleu Cheese and Stilton.  (The amine content is higher in cheeses that are more fermented.  Excess in any cheese should be avoided.)

ALCOHOL:  Beer, Wine, Brandy

FRUITS & VEGETABLES:  Apples, avocados, bananas, cranberries, dates, figs, grapes, lemons, mushrooms, oranges, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, tangerines and tomatoes (any juices of the above also).

MEAT PRODUCTS:  Anchovies, bacon, chicken livers, dried fish, ham, hot dogs, kippers, luncheon meats, pickled fish, pork, sausage and any processed meats.

SUGAR:  Chocolate, cocoa, dextrose, honey and sugar.

MISCELLANEOUS:  Cloves, coffee, cola, extracts, pecans, sauerkraut, soft drinks, sour cream, soy sauce, tea, vanilla extracts (artificial or natural) walnuts, Worcestershire sauce, yeast and yogurt.

Of course, not all of these are triggers for everyone.  You will want to experiment and see what, if any, are triggers for you.  Keep in mind this is just a short list of the most common triggers.

Stink. Stank. Stunk!

•February 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m glad that’s over.  I’m talking about January, of course, and that stupid full moon.  It was the pits.  Lovely to look at in perigee and all, but horrible to live through.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see my last post.)  I had three migraines in the three days leading up to that full moon and then I had to push through a rebound headache that lasted a full day on the tail end of that.  How do you tough out your rebound headaches?  Is is mind over matter?  I just knew that if I took anything for it, I’d be dealing with another rebound headache the next day.  Why put off the inevitable?

I came across an article that you can read at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6847012/ that claims January 24 is the worst day of the year.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but I will agree that January is the worst month of the year.  Good riddance!

The Man in the Moon

•January 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I watch the moon phases pretty closely.  You may think that is silly, and may have never even considered that the moon could have an effect on your migraine pain.  Well, ask any nurse who works the ER during a full moon and she (or he) will tell you that the moon certainly has an effect on people.  More accidents, more injuries and more women going into labor.  It only makes sense if you stop to think about it.  The moon affects the tide and our bodies are made up mostly of water, so it stands to reason that the moon would have some affect on us as well. 

I watch as my children have disrupted sleep in the days leading up to a full moon, as do I, and consequently my migraines are worse in those days.  I have talked with other parents who note that their children often don’t sleep well and are generally unruly in the days leading up and including a full moon.

I also track apogee and perigee.  These may be unfamiliar terms, that merely mean how close or far away the moon is to the earth.  In perigee, when the moon is closest to the earth, I have noticed that my migraine pain is worse.  A full moon in perigee is awful. 

Can I do anything about the moon?  Of course not.  Where could I go to get away from it?  Unless I got into a spaceship and took of for the moon itself, there is no way I could escape the power of the moon.  And I suspect if I did that I would encounter a whole host of other problems!  So, why track all this stuff?  I put these things on my calendar so that I know what lies ahead.  I don’t like surprises.  Well, that isn’t entirely true.  I like good surprises like surprise parties, bonus checks, rainbows, a bouquet of flowers from my husband….you get the idea.  But I don’t like being hit with major migraine pain when I have a lot scheduled on the calendar.  So, if I have the moon phases on the calendar, and I know how they will affect me, I schedule around them.  I plan light days around the full moon.  I’ll pass on the kindergarten field trip or having a friend spend the night.  I’ll schedule a massage instead!