Oh my head…

Someone close to me suffers from chronic migraines. If you suffer from them as well, you know how debilitating they can be. They can cause you to miss work, family functions, and make it difficult to care for children.

If you have seen your practitioner and have ruled out serious causes of your headaches, such as tumors, then I would have the following conversation with you:

How are you treating your headaches? What many patients don’t realize is that overuse of NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) can actually cause rebound headaches.  Overuse is defined as using OTC agents to treat headaches more than 15 days per month over a 3 month period.  This can happen even though you are taking the recommended dose.

Are you willing to keep a food/beverage/headache/stress diary? Because there are many reasons for migraines. Just to name a few:

Stress

Hormones

Caffeine – This is a double edged sword. Caffeine is an ingredient in many migraine medications, but too much caffeine can actually cause migraines.  The recommendation is no more than 2 cups daily, but, as with most other things in healthcare, it is very individualized. Your best friend may be able to tolerate 2 cups per day, and you may not be able to tolerate it at all. Listen to YOUR body!

Improper amount of sleep – both too much and too little!

Food additives such as artificial sweeteners, MSG, and nitrates

Peanut butter

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Chocolate

Aged cheeses

Certain fruits

If you suffer from chronic migraines, it doesn’t mean you should avoid all of these foods. It simply means that you may benefit from completing a month-long headache diary to identify YOUR triggers. Go here to have a headache diary sent straight to you inbox.

Do you know anyone who suffers from chronic headaches? Have you discovered any triggers not listed here?
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