Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dietary Triggers

This is a compact list of dietary triggers to avoid while on the migraine diet. For a full list, please read Dr. Buchholz's book, "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain." Remember, the diet can be modified after you feel better. Once you have your headaches under control, it is time to figure out exactly what your triggers are. Not everything on the list is a trigger for everyone. The diet is designed to be personalized. However, strict adherence is important in the beginning to gain control of your headaches. Please read Dr. Buchholz's book for complete instructions and a complete list of triggers in order to have control over your headaches.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) - and its aliases
Hard cheeses and certain other dairy products
Nuts (seeds are okay)
Processed meats
Alcohol and vinegar (distilled white vinegar is allowable)
Certain fruits, juices and vegetables containing tyramine
Fresh yeast-risen baked foods (wait 24 hours to eat)
Nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, (thiamine mono-nitrate is allowable)
Soy can be bothersome for some. Soy oil is safe.
Please see my "helpful diet facts" above.

Remember to always read ingredient labels.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Migraine Story

For a long time I have debated about whether to post anything about my own headaches. I don't want to sound like I am whining, or that I expect your sympathy. On the other hand, maybe you need to know why I care. Maybe you need to know where I came from, and just how far I've come. Maybe you don't care how much I know until you know how much I care, to use an old cliche. So, I thought I would share a taste of my own experiences with you now.

As a child, I had nosebleeds due to vasodilation (blood vessel swelling) that had to be packed and cauterized in the emergency room because they would not stop. My nosebleeds were almost always followed by a headache. In adolescence, they were coupled with back pain and sinus symptoms, and many times I had flashing lights before a headache. Many people believed my headaches to be all in my head because they came daily. My doctor during my adolescent years diagnosed me with migraines, but when imitrex didn't work, she dismissed that diagnosis as a possibility and decided it was sinus. Let's be clear people, triptans do not work for everyone, and sinus symptoms happen during migraine. It was not my doctor's fault however. She was following what she was taught. Migraines are a big mystery in the health profession.

In college I inhaled every quick fix over the counter medication I could get my hands on, including lots of caffeine. This made pregnancy hard with my first child, and with my second child even worse. I took a lot of pain medication to bear through the pregnancy. I hoped my headaches would go away after my children were born, but they didn't. I still feel guilty for that experience as well. The first neurologist I saw decided giving me caffeine and a low-dose narcotic during pregnancy was the answer. The second one thought a more and more powerful narcotic was the answer each time I went to see him. I liked the third one. At least he addressed diet as an issue. The fourth one, my present neurologist, passes "Heal Your Headache" out to all of his migraine patients. I couldn't be happier with that office.

My symptoms have included loss of consciousness, nosebleeds, loss of feeling in my arms and legs on one side or the other, loss of eyesight for short periods of time, inability to remember conversations, extreme muscle tightness and tension all the way down my back and in my head, neck and shoulders, photophobia and phonophobia, depression, nausea, and the list goes on. Do I feel any of those symptoms now? I still have muscle tension, but not to the degree that I used to, and I get a headache once in a blue moon. I am much better due to the 1-2-3 program and the support network I have around me. I hope you, too, have found or will find relief.