Education and Support

Links to other sites for patients and families

The American Headache and Migraine Association is the patient support and advocacy branch of the American Headache Society. Their website is: Https://ahma.memberclicks.net/

Other links for information:
1. American Headache Society: Http://www.americanheadachesociety.org/
2. American Migraine Foundation (associated with AHS): http://www.americanmigrainefoundation.org/

Acupressure Points for Headaches


Lifestyle and Headache

There are many non-medicinal measures our patients can and should take to help manage headaches.Here we will talk about exercise, stress reduction and sleep - how healthy interventions in these areas can significantly improve your headaches.

Physical Exercise
There is some evidence that regular exercise prevents migraines. We generally recommend moderate exercise at least 3 times weekly to our patients, but we make sure to warn them that exercise intensity should be matched to their level of conditioning (in other words, don’t overdo it).

Physical and Mental Relaxation – The Stress Factor

It has become clear that states of “high stress” have clear physical consequences in terms of our health. There are many approaches to gaining control over these physical consequences of stress and in our Center we actively promote relaxation techniques, meditative practices and other ways to tame the stress that seems to have taken over our culture. Formal approaches we can help direct you to include biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, hypnosis, and yoga.

Neck Muscle Relaxation Exercises

1. Guide right ear toward your right shoulder.
Take a deep breath; let it out slowly as the ear moves a bit more toward the right shoulder.
Then repeat with left ear toward the left shoulder.




2. Guide nose toward right armpit.
Take a deep breath; let it out slowly as the ear moves a bit more toward the right armpit.
Then repeat with nose toward the left armpit.




3. Hunch shoulders forward and downward.
Then turn head gently all the way to the right and then all the way to the left

4. Shrug your shoulders up and back. Tilt your head back and then let it slowly prop down toward your chest.

Sleep

Most migraine sufferers have some degree of difficulty either falling asleep, staying asleep at night, or both.Interestingly, most migraineurs notice that travel across time zones to be a trigger for their headaches. To fight these tendencies, it is very important to maintain very regular bedtimes and awakening times. Often people will awaken earlier on weekends because they can "catch up on sleep". This practice should actually be avoided.

Food and Headaches

Headache specialists and others have long promoted the concept of “food triggers” for migraine or a description of a “migraine diet.” However, we have rarely seen any standardized diet work to prevent migraine and suspect that in general, successful dietary strategies are unique to certain individuals (in other words, when you discover food triggers you will learn to avoid them). With gluten-free diets gaining popularity, many migraine sufferers wonder if they will benefit from them. They probably need not pursue this possibility unless they have been conclusively diagnosed with celiac disease by a knowledgeable physician.

However, there are substances that can clearly lead to migraine in some people, including alcohol; food additives and preservatives; histamines; nitrites and nitrates; and possibly tyramine. Alcohol is probably tolerated well by some people who are prone to
migraine and not well at all by others — and they know who they are, because migraine either happens pretty quickly after consuming alcohol, or occurs the next morning as part of the hangover. We tell our patients who wish to drink to do so in moderation and to avoid whichever forms of alcohol seem to be triggers for them. It is our impression that white wine, beer, and clear liquor are less productive of migraine than red wine and darker liquors. Foods with nitrites and nitrates, including hot dogs and processed meat, are probably capable of inducing migraine, but again this is not yet clear. MSG has been shown to cause migraine-like headaches and should be avoided. It can be found in some restaurant food and is definitely present in lots of prepared canned and frozen foods, since it is a flavor preservative. It masquerades under many names, so merely looking for “MSG” or “monosodium glutamate” on a list of ingredients may not be sufficient.
Here is a list of “aliases” for MSG:

Autolyzed yeast
Hydrolyzed cornstarch
Hydrolyzed gelatin
Hydrolyzed milk protein
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed protein
Hydrolyzed soy
Hydrolyzed wheat
Hydrolyzed yeast
MSG
Partially hydrolyzed protein
Plant protein extract
Textured protein
Yeast extract