Subject: Help with Migraines
Date: 13 Jan 94 18:06:17 GMT
I'm looking for any suggestions for my niece. She is 11 years old. For the past 2 months she has been having constant migraines. (especially bad in the mornings). We are trying a lot of avenues. She has had medicine to clear her sinuses. She had a catscan of her head and sinuses and we are awaiting the results. She had an eye exam, and although getting a prescription was told that it wasn't severe enough to bring on migraines. In the meantime, she is still having them. Aspirin doesn't help. Advils do a little. We've been using a humidifier. I'm looking for any herbal or natural suggestions to ease her pain until all results are back. Thanks for any help. I'm new to this newsgroup and apologize if this topic has been covered a lot.
From: sandy.twg.com (Sandy Vrooman)
>I'm looking for any suggestions for my niece. She is 11 years old. For the
I have had bad headaches since age 4. The most helpful thing for me is to watch my diet. Foods that can trigger migraines are chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus, smoked or cured meats, caffeine, carbonated drinks and anything else you can think of that is preserved or fermented. I can get a headache from a bag of dried apple snacks or yoghurt. I also avoid eating anything cold in temperature (no icecream) Also milk is believed to create more mucous for the sinuses to deal with. The last killer headache I had before taking the food issue seriously was after Moroccan lemon chicken and a latte. The Chinese believe that foods can be warm or cold in nature. Both camomile and mint, used as relaxing teas are cold in nature and can give me a headache.
From: teresa.wndrsvr.la.ca.us (Teresa)
> I'm looking for any suggestions for my niece. She is 11 years old. For the
Try Feverfew. My son had migranes as a child and it did seem to help him.
There has been much research done on Feverfew (some of it published in _Lancet_) so her doctor might be able to let you know some about it.
My younger sister started suffering from migraines a few years ago. At the time, she was taking care of our invalid mother and under a LOT of stress. She is high strung enough without the added stress. She tried all of the over the counter pain medication without success. After several visits to the doctor, it was determined that she was suffering these migraines because she would grind her teeth in her sleep or whenever she was really stressed, I think it was something to do with "TJ".
You may ask your doctor about this. I don't believe it's caused by stress alone. I understand it a lot more common than people realize. But then again, I'm not a doctor.
>My younger sister started suffering from migraines a few years ago. At
I've been dealing with TMJ syndrome for several years now. Perhaps this doesn't belong in alt.folklore.herbs, since I don't have any herbs to suggest, but I'd like to pass along what I've learned anyway.
RELAX YOUR JAW. That is the A-number-one most important thing. Your jaw should be hanging limply during the normal course of the day. You don't have to hang your mouth open, of course, but your teeth should not be touching.
You might also try jaw rubs, whether self-administered or given by another. Place a hand on each joint, directly in front of the lower part of your ears, and rub in a circular motion very lightly and very quickly. Keep this up for at least a minute or so, and the joint should be much less strained.
Hope this helps.
From: sjg.maths.warwick.ac.uk (Susannah Gort)
Causes of migraine: well, there's a question.
I have had suspected migraine practically since I was born, and had it diagnosed before I was 5. Periodically I've been un-diagnosed, usually because I don't have major visual defects, other than photophobia, but at that point I change doctor. During this time, I've heard a lot of theories about what causes them. I think most of them are probably true. But that's my opinion only.
My most recent allopathic diagnosis was at a (now closed) specialist NHS migraine clinic in Birmingham, UK. The doctor hooked me up to an EEG machine and made me watch a flashing light. Apparantly, according to his theory (I have no idea how universal this belief is) a 'normal' brain will give up trying to respond to flashing above some threshold frequency (different for each person), but a migrainous brain will just keep trying. The test certainly triggered one! And a lot of migrainous people seem to have problems with flashing lights, so maybe. From the EEC traces he said he could tell whether I should be taking beta-blockers or a drug whose chemical name I don't know, brand name Sanomigran, as a preventative. I was a beta-blocker person. He said I had very severe migraine - I'll go along with that, anyway. He also said that the only drug he recommended to get rid of a migraine once it has started is Sumatriptan (Imigran, from Glaxo). In my experience this is true, but my mother swears by one of the paracetamol-based ones, so your mileage will vary. In any case Imigran is prescription only over here, and I have had trouble getting prescribed it because it is new (and very expensive; it costs the NHS #50 sterling for 6 tablets! Fortunately one is almost always enough.)
Both he and my GP agree that stress and the menstrual cycle can be a problem. My GP agrees that food allergy is also a problem from the sound of things (well, _I_ would call a gap of 15 minutes between feeling fine and drinking one sip of dilute lime cordial and having a raging headache and vomiting for 2 hours a food allergy), but has not so far agreed to try to get me allergy tested. Previous doctors have had similar reactions (those that believed in allergies); reasons given were that it is expensive and doesn't usually prove anything. One doctor did help administer a reduction diet on me which provided useful (now alas out-of-date) data. These should always be done under the guidance of a doctor of some sort, as the reactions of a cleaned-out system to something you are allergic to can be very dangerous (comas, acute dehydration, that kind of thing).
So much for allopathy.
sandy.twg.com (Sandy Vrooman) mentions the diet thing. She gives a list of common causes (chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus, smoked or cured meats, caffine, carbonated drinks and anything else you can think of that is preserved or fermented). My gut reaction was to scream, Oh no, not again! I have been told categorically by so many people that I should not drink orange juice, or eat cheese, or whatever, because I get migraine, when in fact I am not sensitive to citrus at all, and only to artificially coloured cheeses. However actually she (?) was making the point quite sensibly. These _are_ common allergens, but so are wheat gluten and Brown For Kippers (the colouring BFK). Some artificial preservatives, colourings and flavourings seem to be my personal killers - hard to say which, as they're difficult to isolate.
One other diet point. You can build up tolerances to some things (at least, I can) by eating small amounts regularly. Every so often I OD and get a migraine, but I prefer this to never being able to go out to dinner because I don't know the ingredients of the ingredients of a dish.
I am interested in the cold thing - I had been assuming that there was some additive in the icecream I'd had recently that I was sensitive to; now I'll go make a sorbet and find out whether it was just the coldness of it. Certainly I seem to be able to eat icecream more reliably in Winter. I'd assumed that was due to the rest of my diet changing. Maybe the heat problem is a relative thing. Comments?
Herbal treatments? Feverfew is the only thing I have heard seriously recommended. A word of warning though - feverfew leaf sandwiches taste vile; _very_ bitter.
Tell her to drink a lot of water. I mean a _lot_. If it is food related, it may dilute whatever she ate. My migraines are often excabated by mild dehydration as I don't absorb liquid very well - helps that too. If neither of these are the case, at least it does the complexion good.
I have trouble with bright sunlight (and it doesn't have to be very bright, either). Try shades. Similarly indoors, avoid contrast for a while and see if it helps. Like, not watching TV in the dark.
I can often make a guess at what kind of thing caused a particular migraine, as over time I've noticed that I get different symptoms from different causes. If all of them feel the same (but varying strengths, I hope) then this won't help, but if not, look at what she did/ate/felt that day. Stress migraines quite often come _after_ one has relaxed (the famous Friday night headache). Food ones can take days to come out - another reason why it's so hard to tell what you're sensitive to.
All of this is my opinion, except where attributed. I hope it helps
From: spires.netcom.com (Sandra Spires)
>I'm looking for any suggestions for my niece. She is 11 years old. For the
I've suffered from migraines since I was a toddler, so I'll share what I've learned. Hope it helps some.
Factors that (might) trigger migraines include:
- Diet--others have covered this topic so I won't. Just remember, that individuals are different so not every food bothers every person. Also, I sometimes feel more migraine-prone than other times, so my sensitivity varies.
- Sunlight--strong sunlight in your eyes can affect your vascular system, so wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors.
- Hunger--when I was young and skinny, missing a meal was the **major** trigger for headaches. I learned to listen to my body and eat when I was hungry.
- Sleep--too many all-nighters will make you more susceptible.
- Reduction in stress--Funny as it sounds, going on vacation at the end of a stressful project often triggers a migraine. I think it has to do with a drop in adrenaline (just a guess).
- Change in schedule--try to eat and sleep at regular times, even on vacation.
In terms of treatment, I've found some (partially) effective behaviors. A migraine has two parts. At first, the capillaries contract. This is the "aura" phase. The second event is a rebound vaso-dilation. This is where the pain is. I've found that recognizing the first phase is the most effective part of dealing with headaches.
Symptoms of vaso-constriction phase of migraine include:
- Seeing auras.
- Being sensitive to light.
- Becoming quiet and withdrawn (family members often recognize this first!)
- That "I'm-going-to-have-a-migraine" feeling (you learn it eventually)
If you can recognize vaso-constriction, you have a better change of stopping vaso-dilation. This routine works to some extent for me.
- Go to a dark room and lie down.
- Hold an ice pack on the **back** of your head (just above the neck) for several minutes. This will be uncomfortable.
- Take some caffiene now (caffeine is a vaso-constrictor) so that it will hit your system when the dilation starts [Note - normal daily use of caffeine might be a trigger for migraine, but in this instance the effect is beneficial.]
- Try to relax and think of calm things [try the various migraine-relaxation techniques like listening to Bach or willing your hands to get warmer].
good luck, and keep up the medical search for causes!
From: briand.tekig5.pen.tek.com (Brian D Diehm)
> * Stress--obvious.
> * Reduction in stress--Funny as it sounds, going on vacation at the end of a stressful project often triggers a migraine. I think it has to do with a drop in adrenaline (just a guess).
I've noticed this one too; a migraine just as you and the family trundle off to vacationland paradise is an irony too deep for words. And usually too deep for the typical aspirin/caffeine treatment.
This has led me to believe that stress is itself an addictive (physically so) lifestyle, and that many many people in our modern world are addicted.
Another factor in migraines seems to be to wait about 20 years or so; I used to be told they usually became less frequent after 40, and now I find they were right. Sort of a mixed blessing.
> I've noticed this one too; a migraine just as you and the family trundle off to vacationland paradise is an irony too deep for words. ...
I think it is a mistake to equate going on a vacation with a reduction in stress. Often the preparation and logistics involved in a vacation are very stressful, not to mention the sometimes frantic schedule most people follow in an effort to get as much for their money as they can squeeze in.
I have also heard that any change in a person's routine or situation produces stress, whether is is a "positive" change or not.
From: spires.netcom.com (Sandra Spires)
>I've noticed this one too; a migraine just as you and the family trundle off to vacationland paradise is an irony too deep for words. And usually too deep for the typical aspirin/caffiene treatment.
Oops, I forgot to include the ibuprofen in my standard "ritual" treatment. I'm not sure, but I think ibuprofen (take more than the standard OTC dose) does help a bit more than aspirin.
>Another factor in migraines seems to be to wait about 20 years or so; I used to be told they usually became less frequent after 40, and now I find they were right. Sort of a mixed blessing.
At 36, my headaches are also much less frequent. But I also attribute some of that to becoming more aware in my lifestyle (and getting rid of my ex-husband!) and to putting on some weight so I'm not as susceptible to low blood sugar!
One other thing, I've clearly had migraines since I was a child, but in those days it was believed that migraine was an "adult" problem, so doctors kept telling my mother that I had "viruses" (you've heard of the 4 hour, no fever virus I'm sure!). At least nowdays folks will believe children have them, so kids can get a head start on managing their own care. I'm convinced that that helps alot!
From: ayermish.leland.Stanford.EDU (Aimee Yermish)
One thing to do is look for stress-type causes for the migraines. My migraines are very erratic, which makes looking for dietary causes kind of tough, but I long ago figured out that the migraine that showed up just before this one semimonthly scary event was not diet-related... Don't tell yourself that your niece is too young to be stressed out. No one is.
The other thing that brings them on for me is when my blood pressure drops below its normal low level. I can do that by myself by drinking too much alcohol (a vasodilator), especially if my blood sugar is already low. Recently, I was warming up to a killer one while I was at work, and managed to beat it -- chocolate and then crackers to raise my blood sugar, and some nerve point jabs I know from jujitsu that give an adrenaline rush (they're used to bring around someone who has fainted). Anything that hurts will tend to give you the adrenaline shot, or at least it can somewhat distract you from the pain in your head. Also, massaging the nerves just under your occipital process (that's the ridge in the back of your skull where the spine enters, out to near your ears) -- there are plenty of them, and when you find one that hurts to massage, work on it harder. Painful tough medicine, but it works.
From: quaalk.arnold.network.com (Kelly Quaal)
>... Also, massaging the nerves just under your occipital process (that's the ridge in the back of your skull where the spine enters, out to near your ears) --
Careful with this one. I've tried this, but it has the reverse effect. If I massage the base of my neck where the pressure seems to be the worst...and therefore the most sensitive, it has the effect of inflaming the area even more and increases the pain of the headache. That's why the icepack on that spot helps me more...it reduces the inflamation and heat.
From: James Michael Kocher <jk1n+.andrew.cmu.edu>
Feverfew has been reported by British researchers in the 50-60's to help with migraines, and has been a folk cure for ages. Two small or one large leaf a day are supposed to be all that is needed to produce a noticable effect of decreased occurances and/or severity. As I recall 12% of the people who chewed the leaves had some inflamation/soreness/loss of taste in the mouth. Taking by capsule form seems to produce no ill effects though.