COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HEADACHE PATIENTS
|DRUG THERAPY FOR MIGRAINE||Headache causes personal suffering, disrupts families and interferes
with work and leisure time. Striking unpredictably, an attack shatters a sense of
self-control. Medications are often less than effective or produce unwanted side effects.
Present day myths about headache often induce a sense of isolation, shame and helplessness. Before healing can begin, the headache sufferer needs to know that headaches are a treatable and significant disorder.
Psychological conflicts are generally the result, not the cause of chronic headache.
Fortunately, recent advances in research are expanding the medical community's understanding of headache and creating effective treatments. Headache sufferers have more treatment options to help them control their
migraine symptoms. Just as important as physician visits and drugs, the management of headache involves understanding the headache problem, identifying factors that precipitate headaches, and working with your physician in a therapeutic partnership.
Myth # 1: Recurrent headaches mean I have a psychological problem.
Fact: Headaches are the result of biochemical changes in the brain. Stress, acting on the nervous system, makes headaches more likely to occur. The stress may be chemical, emotional, biological or psychological.
Psychological problems can arise from poorly managed headaches but, for the most part, psychological problems do not cause headaches.
Myth # 2: Recurrent headaches are something I have to
learn to live with.
Fact: Headaches can be managed, not cured. With proper medical care, education and effort, almost all headache sufferers can reduce the pain and disability of headache.
Myth #3: The only way to stop my headache is to stop living a normal life. Headaches have taken over my life.
Fact: Frequent disabling headaches occur in an unpredictable fashion and create fear of the next headache attack. As headache frequency increases, the greater the fear grows. This can lead to a vicious cycle where anticipation of the next headache becomes the stress that generates more headaches. Proper headache management addressing medical care and
lifestyle can break this cycle and restore control.
Myth # 4: Recurrent headaches are not serious. After all, it's just a headache.
Fact: Most headaches are not life-threatening but may seriously influence an individual's quality of life and coping abilities. They strain family life, disrupt leisure activity and diminish career opportunities.
Myth # 5: My children will suffer headaches because I do.
Fact: Children learn how to deal with stress from the behaviors of their parents. Research suggests that the threshold of handling incoming stimuli to the brain may be inherited. However, by learning how to manage
stress effectively, children experience coping alternatives which will boost their resistance to headache.
Myth # 6: Medication is the only relief for my headaches.
Fact: Headaches are the result of many interacting factors. There is no simple answer. Medication is often a necessary part of headache treatment, but rarely is it the complete answer. Some medications when used too frequently can actually cause headaches.
Optimal headache care almost always involves a partnership between the headache sufferer and the physician.
Myth # 7: Recurrent headaches mean that I am more likely to have a stroke or brain tumor.
Fact: The sudden onset of frequent, severe headaches should be investigated by a physician. But research suggests that heavy cigarette smoking combined with using birth control pills by women over the age of 30
is more predictive of the possibility of a stroke than the occurrence of headache. Brain tumor are a rare cause of headaches.
Myth #8: My headaches are causd by my neck being out-of-line.
Fact: The status of the neck needs to be medically evaluated because headache pain my originate with neck and back problems, However, pain during headache is often projected or referred to the neck and shoulders.
Usually, tension in the neck is the result, not the cause, of headache.
Myth #9: Severe headaches must be migraines.
Fact: There are many different types of headaches. The diagnosis of most headaches rests solely on the medical history because there are no tests that substantiate the diagnosis. Severe headaches should be diagnosed by a physician to begin proper treatment.
Myth #10: Recurrent headaches are a female disorder.
Fact: Migraines are influenced by hormonal factors. This is reflected in the fact that 3 times more women have migraine than do men. However, 6% of adult men suffer migraine, and studies show that the disability is not influenced by gender.
Myth #11: Headaches are an excuse for getting out of doing what I don't want to do.
Fact: Headaches can be a serious disabling illness. Quality of life studies of those patients with migraine demonstrate greater impairment of lifestyle
than with most other chronic illnesses. There are easier ways of avoiding an undesired activity than with headache.
Myth #12: Headaches are not worth the time and expense of seeing a phsyisican.
Fact: Not managing headaches is far more costly than caring for them. Each year the average headache sufferer loses time and income due to headache disability; these losses exceed the cost of quality medical treatment.
TAMING THE MIGHTY MIGRAINE
Throbbing. Pounding. Stabbing. Wrenching. However you describe yours, migraines can be excruciating and debilitating. Just ask one of the 23 million Americans who suffers from them.
In this course, we will take a closer look at the mighty migraine and explore its causes, symptoms, and warning signs. We will also teach you what you can do if you suffer from migraines.
What Is A Migraine?
Migraine is a type of headache. They aren't ordinary headaches. They are vascular headaches that occur when blood vessels surrounding the brain expand and cause pulsating pain. Migraines usually occur in episodes or
"attacks." Attacks may last anywhere from 4 hours to as long as 72 hours.
The pain of a migraine headache is generally moderate to severe and can disrupt normal activities. It may feel like it is throbbing or pulsating, and may be located on one side of the head. The pain is usually aggravated by activity and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound.
Women are three times as likely as men to suffer from migraines, probably due to hormonal changes they experience during menstruation and ovulation. In fact, 18% of all women are affected by this condition.
Migraines are thought to affect up to 20% of the population. Studies have shown that up to 59% of women and 70% of men who suffer from migraine have never been diagnosed by a doctor.
Many people who experience migraines have pain and other symptoms so severe that they only want to lie down in a dark room and go to sleep. This, obviously, is very disruptive to their lives. However, migraine can be treated with medication. Today, there are a number of drugs available to either help prevent migraines or treat them after they begin.