Posts Tagged ‘causes migraines’
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
If you get migraines at work, you might qualify for disability benefits and legal protection if you ever get fired you from your job. As migraine headache falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should receive compensation for time missed from work. Symptoms of migraines include neck pain, intense, throbbing headaches, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light, smells, and noises, and temporary partial blindness. Side effects from drug treatments may include memory loss, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to take up to twelve weeks off from work each year without pay, and without fear of losing your job. Any group health insurance you have through work remains active, according to FMLA conditions. This is good news for people who get frequent migraine headaches, because it allows you to stay home and experiment with new abortive migraine medications and pain relievers without having to call in sick if headache symptoms- nausea, cramps, sharp pain- become overbearing.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act covers migraines, but that alone does not guarantee that your job isn’t at stake. If you are a chronic migraine sufferer, and if you require days to recover from a migraine attack or to try unfamiliar headache remedies, then your employer will have to find somebody to replace you for every day you call in sick, either temporarily…or permanently. Regardless of the fact that your migraines are ADA-approved, and even if you disclosed your migraine history with your employers beforehand, the risk of possibly losing your job to migraine headaches constantly lingers overhead.
“It is difficult when you’re dealing with employees who do not visibly appear to have any impairment whatsoever, but are dealing with issues of stress or fatigue.” -Businessweek
ADA redefines “disability”
In May of 2011, the Americans with Disabilities Act expanded on their definition of “disability,” responding to continuing discrimination of disabled persons in the workplace and the courtrooms. Where the burden of proof previously rested on the employee to prove that her migraines became a disability, it now rests on the shoulders of the employers to show that migraines headaches don’t in fact diminish one’s ability to work.
In its early years, the ADA defined disability as any physical or mental condition that significantly impairs one’s ability to lead a normal life. So what’s the catch? The employee had to prove in court that he was not able to do his job because of his disability. More often than not, the judge would throw out the case. There was simply not enough evidence to support the litigant’s claim.
Today, the ADA specifies certain illnesses that usually qualify as a disability, making it harder for employers or judges to ignore an employee’s request for disability benefits. They are:
- Cerebral palsy
- Major depression
How do the new ADA amendments help migraine sufferers?
Before, if you filed for disability benefits, you had to convince the judge that you were unable to perform your job duties. For people with “invisible diseases,” such as migraines, that burden of evidence can be next to impossible. Now, it’s the employers’ responsibility to made special accommodations in the workplace for people with disabilities- make it easier for them to do their job. For migraine patients, it could mean providing a scent-free environment, granting special permission to wear “migraine sunglasses,” or enabling them time to recuperate from crippling migraine attacks.
Read more about migraine law:
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Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Eliminate Tyramine from your Diet- Some common- and not so common- foods that trigger migraine headache attacks.
What is tyramine?
Tyramine is an amino acid product that is essential for regulating blood pressure. Certain foods with tyramine include aged cheese, processed meats, and overripe fruit. Scientists found that by prescribing MAOI antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), which prevent the breakdown of tyramine, patients are able to overcome their symptoms of depression. Still, too much tyramine can cause a “tyramine reaction,” which can have detrimental side effects. For that reason, the Mayo Clinic advises individuals who take MAOI’s to follow a tyramine-free diet.
What are the side effects of too much tyramine?
The most common symptoms of tyramine reaction are:
- High blood pressure
Do foods containing tyramine cause migraine headaches?
There is no scientific evidence proving that tyramine directly causes migraines, but there is a high correlation. According to Migraine.com, the foods that trigger migraines overwhelmingly contain high levels of tyramine, with chocolate at the top of the list, accounting for 75% of all migraine food triggers.
What are the best foods to avoid in a tyramine-free diet?
Below is a checklist of some food groups that contain high levels (6mg or more) of tyramines:
Processed meats, poultry, and fish
Opt for fresh beef, chicken, and seafood at all times- dried salamis contain food coloring, preservatives, and sugar, in addition to tyramine. Aged chicken liver contains the highest levels of tyramine, according to some reports. Other meats and fish to avoid are:
- Smoked, dried, or cured meats
- Hot dogs, sausages, and pepperoni
- Beef jerky
Tyramine levels in cheese increase with age. Pizza, lasagna, and other cheesy meals are therefore restricted on a low tyramine diet. Cheese products that contain the most tyramine are:
- Blue cheeses
- Sharp Cheddar
- Processed cheese (example: Velveeta) and aged cheese spreads
Fermented foods, condiments, and yeasted dough
All soybean byproducts contribute to tyramine reaction. These include: tofu, miso, soy sauce, and cooked soybeans. Sauerkraut is also a red-flag item on the tyramine-free diet, in addition to sourdough bread, chocolate, and non-alcoholic beer.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are the most unlikely migraine-triggering culprits, and the most frequently misunderstood. For example, bananas are high in tyramine, but only if they become overripe. The tyramine is in the banana peel, not the pulp. Tyramine levels increase with time, as the bananas brown and ripen. Fruits and vegetables to omit from the tyramine-free diet are:
- Brown bananas
- Certain beans, such as fava beans, lima beans, and navy beans
- Red plums
If your doctor has advised you to limit your tyramine intake, then avoid consuming the following beverages:
- Beer, lager, or ale- either from tap, bottled, or canned, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer.
- Red and white wine
Perfumes and Migraines: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Stinky
Foods To Avoid In A Tyramine-free Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM
Tyramine Free Diet
MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine? – MayoClinic.com
Migraine triggers: food and drinks | Migraine.com
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Do you know the difference between migraine headaches and common headache symptoms? If you experience head pain often, it’s important to know if you are suffering from chronic migraines, which may warrant a trip to the emergency room.
Tension headaches are the most common, and they are caused by constricted muscles in the shoulders, neck and head; neck pain often accompanies a tension headache.
Migraines, however, are a neurological disorder, and are caused by engorgement of the blood vessels. There is a high correlation between stroke, heart attack and chronic migraine patients. Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
If you experience any of these migraine symptoms with your headaches, please visit a neurologist immediately:
1) Head pain: Migraine head pain can occur on either side of the head, or on both sides at once, and the severity can alternate between moderate and excruciating. Pain duration can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. 7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
2) Throbbing or palpitating: Migraineurs often describe their symptoms as intense, pulsating waves of pain; this is caused dilated blood vessels, which allow unrestricted blood flow to the brain, creating the characteristic throbbing sensation. Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
3) Stomach upset: Migraine patients often complain of severe stomach problems during a migraine attack. Nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea are all common migraine headache symptoms.
4) Alternating between hot and cold: Hot and cold flashes occur as a result of poor circulation. Patients may have cold feet at times.
5) Light sensitivity: A particularly debilitating side effect of chronic migraines is the intense pain caused by bright lights, stark white surfaces and contrasting patterns of black and white. For this reason, severe migraine headache patients require a very dark room in order to recuperate from an attack. Migraines Caused by Eye Strain? Tinted Glasses can Help
6) Interference with daily life: Regular activities that most people take for granted can become practically impossible for people who get frequent migraines. Driving to work, shopping for groceries, celebrating a birthday party- all these things get put on hold when a migraine threatens to storm. Migraine Pain, Portrayed through Art and Poetry
7) Fatigue: Stress, chronic pain, inactivity, feelings of depression- all these combine to create mental exhaustion. Is Gluten Sensitivity Giving You a Headache?
8) Auras: Auras are a phenomenon which herald an advancing migraine. Symptoms of migraine auras are flashing, darting light hallucinations, blind spots, blurred vision, nausea and dizziness. Auras can occur before the headache, or arrive at the same time. Migraines with Aura may Signal Birth Defect in Heart
9) Fever: It’s not usual for a fever to accompany a migraine, but it is not unlikely, either.
10) Feebleness: After several years, chronic migraines can leave one feeling frail, disconsolate and weary. Unless an effective migraine treatment is sought out, long-term migraine relief is not possible.
Get help for your migraines. Below is a list of valuable information about migraine medications, coping mechanisms and support groups:
10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today
Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients
Top 4 Headache Treatments
Monday, May 30th, 2011
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic migraine headaches. So why do you feel all alone? Your closest family members and friends don’t always understand the depth of your pain, but know that there are vast communities out there who can help you understand your migraine symptoms, share their experiences with migraine remedies and provide emotional support.
When Alice had a migraine, she found even the pretty things were too much to bear.
Here are 20 excellent migraine resources, listed in alphabetical order, including non-profit headache research sites, personal blogs and chronic migraine patient forums:
1) ACPA – American Chronic Pain Association: To provide support to patients diagnosed with chronic migraines and to their families, to help them find appropriate healthcare, education and to raise public awareness about migraines.
2) American Pain Society: Another excellent resource for finding out about recent advances in migraine treatment and other pain management tools.
3) Blog Carnival: A rotating collaboration of blogs which address health issues such as migraine headaches.
4) The Daily Headache: Blogger Kerrie Smyres writes about the issues migraineurs want to know about, including research, opinions and forum.
5) Head Wise: Migraine blogger Steph shares some inspiring life stories about her battle with migraines.
6) Help for Headaches: Managed by leading migraine expert Teri Robert, author of “Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches,” Help for Headaches is a great landing base for all topics related to migraines and other headache symptoms. Robert’s posts can also be viewed on Migraine.com and Health Central’s My Migraine Connection.
7) LiveJournal: Online migraine patient support group.
8) MAGNUM: The National Migraine Association: Their mission is to raise public awareness about migraines as a debilitating neurological illness. Find out how you can help.
9) Meetup: Find out about local migraine support groups, and meet other headache sufferers in your area.
10) Migraine.com: Join the largest virtual community of migraine patients and experts on the web. Migraine.com features articles written by some of the top experts in migraine treatment, education and social issues, including the Migraine Girl, Teri Robert, Diana Lee, Prof. Joanna Kempner and Dr. Whyte.
11) The Migraine Action Association: Formerly a British association, this website features quarterly newsletters, a telephone hotline and current migraine information.
12) Migraine Chick: You’ve seen her pics on some of our blog posts. Blogger and artist Deborah Leigh shares her unique, thought-provoking attitude about the social impact of migraines on our culture.
13) MigrainePage.com: Online community of migraine sufferers. Participate in chat discussions, forums or the online migraine journal.
14) Migraine Puppet: Anecdotes about life and pain management, and an updated list of blog posts by fellow migraine patients.
15) Migrainista: Unique, nostalgic and sometimes controversial insights by blogger Migrainista.
16) The National Headache Foundation: The world’s largest non-profit voluntary organization for finding migraine treatment clinics, resources and local community programs.
17) Painfully Speaking: Blogger Jessica opens up about her battles with chronic headache pain and anxiety.
18) Somebody Heal Me: Famous blogger Diana Lee writes about chronic pain management and headaches, and shares her database of sites, blogs and organizations which deal with a variety of health issues.
19) WebMD- Migraines: WebMD is a comprehensive website which provides health tips, information, slideshows and support for medical issues from A to Z; their migraine page is particularly helpful.
20) WHA- World Headache Alliance: Migraine news, global headache awareness activities and links to support groups.
Some good reads:
Migraines Caused by Eye Strain? Tinted Glasses can Help
Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
Monday, May 9th, 2011
Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but that number could be larger than we think. While data collected from the American Migraine Study II suggests that 28 million people in the US suffer migraine symptoms, another study points to a large number of cases where migraine pain was misdiagnosed as sinus headache symptoms.
About 18% of all women are diagnosed with migraines; headache pain is described by 80% of all migraineurs as excruciating, to the point where sufferers are unable to perform even simple daily tasks, interfering with their social lives and job performance. More disturbing, experts believe that less than half of all migraine sufferers will ever be diagnosed with chronic migraines, and an even small number- fewer than 20%- will ever receive prescribed migraine medications for headache relief.
Please read: Migraine Headaches Send Millions to the Emergency Rooms
Some researchers have conducted a study to explain the high rate of misdiagnoses surrounding migraine headaches, pointing to a tendency among patients and some doctors to confuse the symptoms of sinus headaches with those of migraines.
The Sinus, Allergy and Migraine Study (SAMS) was conducted to draw a line of contrast between two headache types: migraines and sinus headaches. Says lead authors, the “majority of those with self-diagnosed sinus headaches have migraines or probable migraines.”
Here are the results of that study:
- Included in this study were 100 individuals who believed themselves to be suffering from sinus headaches.
- Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires designed to deduct the level of their headache pain and impairment caused by their headache symptoms.
- Headache sufferers were also asked if they had any other side effects, such as stuffy nose, watery eyes or flushed skin.
- All in all, 63% of study participants were eventually diagnosed with chronic migraines, after having previously been diagnosed with sinus headaches.
- Scientists attributed the wrong diagnoses to miscommunication between the patients and the doctors, in addition to a tendency among some patients to “self-diagnose” their headache symptoms.
- Triggers which caused migraines included changes in the weather and seasons, allergies and altitude changes.
For more info on headache types, read:
7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
Women who get Migraines are also Likely to get This
FYI Living, PubMed Gov
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
The primary risk factor of migraines is genetics. Researchers have found that 70% to 80% of people with this condition have a family history of migraines.
Migraines affect more women than men. Nearly 75% of people afflicted are women. There seems to be some correlation between female hormones and migraines. Examples of such hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Throughout a woman’s cycle, levels of these hormones increase and decrease, and cause migraines in those who are migraine-prone.
About 5 – 10% of children suffer from migraines. In contrast to adults, boys and girls suffer equally, but are less likely to have migraines when they reach adulthood. Some girls experience migraines more frequently after puberty, but puberty is not the cause of migraines.
The majority of people suffering from migraines are between 15 and 55 years of age.
There are medical conditions that have a tendency to be present in people with migraines. These include depression, epilepsy, anxiety, high blood presser and stroke. They do not cause migraines nor do they increase the likelihood of a person developing a migraine. Yet, these problems may accompany migraines.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
An article in Scientific American (August 2008) attempts to explain the causes of migraines. People who are prone to migraines may think that they are caused by stress, menstruation, sleep deprivation, exercise, etc. But, these same triggers don’t cause migraines in the majority of the population.
It was believed that a decrease in blood flow causes a migraine. New research, however, shows that immediately prior to the onset of a migraine, blood flow is instead increased by 300 percent. By the time the migraine occurs, however, blood flow reverts back to normal. Does this increased blood flow cause the migraine?
Studies of migraines with aura, which presents itself prior to the onset of migraines, have given scientists a better understanding of migraines. Cortical spreading depression creates this aura. Cortical spreading depression is a minefield of nerve cell activity that occurs in the outer layer of the cortex, in the area of the brain that controls vision. (This would explain the aura.) This is followed by a resting phase of the neurons.
Area of cortex that controls vision:
It is possible that the increase in blood flow prior to a migraine is necessary to provide the neurons with the energy they need to fire off signals.
Nerve cell activity is maintained by the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium ions across the nerve cell membrane. The gatekeepers of these ions are pumps. Basically, the pumps make sure that a nerve cell at rest has a large amount potassium, but low amounts of sodium and calcium.
In a migraine sufferer, the pumps and channels are defective. Scientists have isolated three genetic mutations that are each capable of being responsible for causing migraines.
Even so, genetics alone do not account for migraines. There are studies of identical twins where one twin will suffer from migraines and the other will not.
We are the manufacturers of Migravent, a dietary supplement that contains magnesium. According to PubMed, studies have shown the effectiveness of magnesium in providing maximum neurological health benefits for migraine sufferers.