Got a question for the doctor about migraines? Text them to “646464” (OHOHOH).
Anyone who has ever suffered a migraine knows it’s no ordinary headache.
Migraine is a neurological disease that causes periodic, painful attacks, which affect about 12 percent of the nation’s population.
Migraine headaches involve recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing or pulsing pain, often on one side of the head. Patients report sensitivity to light, noise and odors and headaches are sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Routine physical activity, coughing or sneezing can make the pain worse.
Medical experts have studied a variety of possible triggers and causes for migraines, including vitamin, mineral and nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, external stimuli, stress and hormonal fluctuations.
Dr. Steve Wheeler, a renowned neurologist who specializes in treating chronic migraines and founder of the Wheeler Headache Treatment Center in Miami, Fla., found that many of his patients had low levels of vitamin D and suffered from other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as fibromyalgia and heart disease. Migraine sufferers who had low levels of vitamin D were also more likely to experience migraines at an earlier age.
According to his website, most migraine sufferers have a family history of headaches and occur more frequently in people who have other medical conditions, including depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. Migraine symptoms can begin in infancy, but are usually first experienced between the ages of 5 and 35 and adult women are three times more likely to suffer migraine headaches than men.
Karen Spencer knows all about it. The pastor’s wife and former teacher has suffered from Chronic Migraine, a condition in which patients experience migraines 15 or more days per month, each lasting four hours or longer, since age 9. The pain is so debilitating that sufferers often miss out on routines, as well as important, events in their lives.
Last year, Spencer was too sick to celebrate her 32nd wedding anniversary.
Luckily, the Pittsburgh resident will get a second chance. With help from a headache specialist, who is helping her find a treatment plan, she has been able to tell her story for the national Rewrite Your Day contest. She won the contest and will finally get to renew her vows and celebrate her anniversary at a party July 17, organized by celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss.
The Rewrite Your Day campaign aims to raise awareness of the disabling symptoms and burdens of Chronic Migraine.
WebMD also lists common migraine triggers and what to avoid, including excessive caffeine use, alcohol, certain cheeses and food additives.
Wheeler’s site also lists medications used to prevent or treat migraines, administered under a doctor’s care.