Monday, July 27, 2009

Rebound-Causing Medication

Something I have not posted about on this blog before is rebound-causing medication, and yet it is one of the main causes of your headaches, along with diet. As Dr. David Buchholz explains in his book Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain (Workman Publishing 2002), "rebound takes you prisoner". There are many medicines that cause rebound, and some of them you can buy over the counter. Avoid anything containing caffeine, decongestants, opioids, ergotamines, triptans, butalbital compounds, and isometheptene compounds. As Dr. Buchholz explains in depth in his book, this medicine should be taken no more than two days a month, as prescribed for those two days, for an out of control headache. If you are unsure if yours is one of these rebound causing medicines, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

When a headache occurs, it is due to dilated blood vessels in your head. This is called vasodilation. Many medicines constrict these blood vessels to offer relief, causing vasoconstriction. When the medicines wear off, the blood vessels dilate to a larger degree than they were previously. If this happens too often, you can understand the "rebound" hole your head digs itself into. Does this mean Dr. Buchholz wants you to suffer, or doesn't understand your pain? No it doesn't. He just knows that more and more medicine is not going to help you when it comes to headaches. The best thing to do is get your body back to its natural state so it can fight headaches its own way, and so you don't have to be a prisoner to medication. Prevent headaches by eliminating what is causing them, instead of treating them with medicines that will cause even more headaches. He offers other solutions for relief in his book.

Along with Dr. Buchholz's headache-free diet, a reduction in rebound-causing medication will hopefully help greatly reduce the amount of headaches you experience. That's step 1 and step 2 of the program. Step 3, if you need it, is preventive medication, which doesn't work for as long, as well, or even at all without steps 1 and 2.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Heal Your Headache by Dr. David Buchholz yet, you are missing a great opportunity to heal! I don't know if I would be functioning today without his advice. Feel free to read my other post "My Migraine Story" found on the left sidebar.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muscle Tension as a Migraine Symptom

You've probably read many articles that say migraines do not cause muscle tension, and that is true, but muscle tension is a symptom of migraine. The migraine itself is not going to directly cause your muscles to be tense. But as a symptom, your muscles in your neck, shoulders, head, even in your back may become tense. I personally notice a difference when a nasty storm rolls in and the barometric pressure changes. I like to call it "cement muscles". I may not even have a headache, but my muscles will become tighter. Do you have to feel the headache to have the symptoms? No. There are many other symptoms that may occur as well, and they are explained in Dr. Buchholz's book. They can range from nausea, change in stools, sensitivity to light or sound, visual disturbances, and dizziness, to difficulty speaking, loss of eyesight, feeling of heaviness or tingling in the extremities, forgetfulness, and more. If you have questions about a new symptom, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on. If nothing can be found, or if the symptom only happens for a few minutes or in relation to the headache, chances are it is migraine related. That should be determined by you and your doctor, however. Best wishes for symptom-free days.

Other great blogs (this one contains Buchholz-friendly recipes) (news about aspartame) (good soup recipe, just substitute leeks for onions)
I will add more to this list later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Note From Me: Trust Yourself

As you may have noticed, I have not been writing on my blog as much as usual lately. If you've read my migraine story, in another post, you know I have been plagued with muscle pain in my back for a long time. I am a violinist, so this is normal. And migraine symptoms sometimes compound this a bit, making it so I have to seek the help of a talented physical therapist. However, my muscle pain has been much worse than usual lately, so I finally developed the courage to visit my general practitioner this week. After an ultrasound he determined that I have two complications in my abdominal area, both relating to my pregnancy three years ago, that have to be taken care of surgically. Most of my pain is not actually muscular at all, even though it felt that way. I am in quite a bit of pain, although non of it compares to migraine, but sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time is uncomfortable. I write as little as possible. My point in posting this is not to gain your sympathy, but to tell you why I am not posting, and for another reason. I realize that migraine plagued my life for so long, and now that I'm free of it, it's hard for me to let it go. Not that I don't want to, believe me. And not that I don't want to let the pain go, that's not what I mean. I'm not really in migraine pain any more, except for once in a blue moon. I owe that to Dr. Buchholz's book and my wonderful team of doctors. What I mean is that it didn't even cross my mind that there may be something else going on. I just figured everything was fine and my problem was migraine as usual. Most people don't suffer from chronic pain, and when they do have severe pain, they go to a doctor, the doctor finds the problem, and it is taken care of. As migraine sufferers, we are used to being seen as whiners, and we are used to walking out of a doctor's office with no cure. So when something else happens to our body, we may not recognize it, and even worse, are afraid to say anything. I am still, to this day, afraid to meet a new doctor or specialist of any kind. The first thing I have to tell them is that I am a migraine sufferer, and everything that goes along with that. Many times they have no sympathy and little education on the subject. Why would I want to share? I am blessed to have a team of wonderful doctors around me now though. I hope none of them move to a new city. I wish all of you complete health and well being, and lots of faith and courage. I'll check in every once in awhile, and I still try to tweet something every day. Best wishes, Heidi.

*If you still have not read Dr. Buchholz's book, you are missing out. Please do so. You will feel much, much better. It is not "the same old stuff" that you have heard before.*

Friday, July 3, 2009


My husband was craving sausage the other day, and was disappointed when I said I couldn't eat it. So I decided to conduct an investigative search to find out for sure. There are sausages that are minimally processed and contain no msg or nitrates. This I already knew, but I was delighted to find that they can now be purchased in any local supermarket, not just in health food stores. The problem is, these sausages still likely contain tyramine due to the spices they contain. If you are at a point in your diet where it can be liberalized, and you are really craving sausage, have some of the minimally processed natural sausage. Just remember that in the beginning, strict adherence to the diet is essential. Or, if you need to cook a dish containing sausage for a get together, use this sausage and enjoy the dish with your friends. My point is, enjoy, just don't go overboard. Best wishes on your migraine-free journey.