Posts Tagged ‘health’

Are High Heeled Shoes to Blame for your Migraine Headaches?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Candidate Michele Bachmann says, Yes

Ga-Ga-sized heels are all the rage, but at what cost to your physical and neurological well-being?


Migraine headaches are a leading cause for disability

Migraine headache illness debilitates millions of sufferers, most of whom are woman, every year.  For many, migraine attacks keep them at home and out of work, school, and social engagements.  Migraine symptoms such as throbbing head pain, nausea, vomiting, visual impairments, and speech difficulties make it difficult, if not impossible, for migraine patients to hold down a job.

Nevertheless, Republican candidate Michele Bachmann assures her supporters for the upcoming Presidential Election of 2012 that she has her chronic migraines under control.  Although she has required emergency treatment on several occasions for chronic migraine attacks, Ms. Bachmann has declared that migraine medications keep her condition stabilized, and that her “uncomfortable high-heeled shoes” were to blame for most of her head pain.

“Can wearing high-heeled pumps trigger migraine headaches?” ask experts.

Are High Heeled Shoes to Blame for your Migraine Headaches?

Well, it’s no secret that wearing spikey heels promotes bad posture.  According to Spine-Health, poor posture distorts the natural curve of the spine, contributing to “back and neck pain, as well as headaches, fatigue, and possibly even concerns with major organs and breathing.”

Sacrificing comfort for fashion is one thing, but sacrificing your mental and physical health for a really cute pair of Jimmy Choo’s is beyond normal comprehension.

Which came first- the power heels or the migraines?


Still, not all health experts agree.  Dr. Joel Saper, founder and director of the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, thinks it’s more likely that the correlation exists between migraine headaches and stress; for a career woman struggling to earn the respect of her peers, leather high-heeled shoes are just par for the course.

And for Michele Bachmann, who hopes to win a male-dominated political campaign, even recurring flashes of migraines won’t keep her from rising to new heights.

Also read:

The Four Phases of Migraine Headache Attacks

10 Unusual Chronic Pain Relief Tactics for the Bedridden

Slash your Migraine Medication Budget- 8 Ways to Save Money


What Migraines? New Yorkers Defend Their High Heels –

High Heels Cause of Michele Bachmann’s Migraines? – ABC News

Can High Heels Trigger Migraines? – TIME Healthland

Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

Gotta Have Books for Migraineurs- 5 that Stand Out

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011



Migraine head pain can make you feel helpless, like there isn’t a thing in the world that can help you alleviate your chronic pain.  Well, hope is not lost. Many sufferers of migraine attacks, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have learned how to get past their pain symptoms, and live to tell about it.

Below are 5 excellent books written by chronic pain patients and the doctors who treat them.

10 Simple Solutions to Migraines, by Dawn A. Marcus, M.D.

Dr. Marcus is the definitive expert on coping with chronic pain, from fibromyalgia to migraines.  Her award-winning books and essays have helped millions of sufferers find ways to deal with constant head pain, muscular aches, fatigue, and depressionTen Simple Solutions is your source for understanding the science behind migraine attacks, finding your migraine triggers, and utilizing treatments for preventing migraine headaches.

Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend, by Lisa J. Copen

This is an excellent book to give to relatives, friends, and coworkers.  Help them to understand your suffering and things they can do to assist, without any of the awkwardness.  You already know they want to help out- they just don’t know how.  This book by Lisa J. Copen provides an easy way to get the message across without causing any hurt feelings or embarrassment.

Beyond Chronic Pain, by Rebecca Rengo

Beyond Chronic Pain: A get-well guidebook to sooth the body, mind, & spirit picks up where traditional medicine usually leaves off.  Learn ways to relieve headaches and other chronic bodily ailments through alternative therapyHolistic pain management treats the body, mind, and soul as one, and is more conducive to natural, complete healing.  This self-help book will guide you through the healing process from the inside out.

A Brain Wider than the Sky, by Andrew Levy

This book will inspire you to start your own migraine journal.  In A Brain Wider than the Sky, Andrew Levy shares his contemplations, experiences, and revelations on his own chronic migraine symptoms.  Sometimes witty, sometimes surreal, the author releases his pain for the world to see with vivid, raw imagery.  A must-read for migraine patients and their families.

The Headache Prevention Cookbook, by David Ryan Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D.

Think you already know all your migraine triggers?  Read what this husband and wife doctor team has to teach you about eating to prevent migraine attacks.  Follow their elimination diet to pinpoint the foods that are causing your migraine headaches.  Book includes clear, simple instructions and helpful recipes to get you started on your headache-free journey.

Additional reading:

Plan a Headache-Free Summer Vacation: Five Travel Tips

Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland


Reviews of Books Related to Headaches and Migraine from headaches and Migraine

Best Books on Pain, Chronic Pain, and Migraine

13 Reasons your Migraines Hate the Summer Season

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011



“Can Sunshine Trigger Migraine Attacks?” It’s not a figment of your imagination- if you suffer from chronic migraines, then you’ve probably noticed an increase in migraine headache symptoms since the beginning of the summer season.


What is it about the sun that triggers migraine attacks?  A number of things, actually.  Heat, for one, is the most obvious factor, but there are many more reasons the months of June, July, and August are peak periods for migraine headache sufferers.

Thirteen summer season headache triggers, and then some.

Not everybody who suffers migraines finds the summer months to be their worst season.  Some find the cold winter months harder to endure.  The best way to keep track of your migraine triggers is by keeping a headache journal and utilizing that information to prevent migraine attacks.  Some weather-related headache symptoms are out of our control- barometric pressure changes, for one.  If summertime is a particularly difficult migraine season for you, then be extra vigilant with migraine triggers that you can control.


#1 Barometric pressure changes: Sadly, a migraineur can do little about air pressure variances.  Check weather reports frequently, so you can at least be prepared.  Avoid flights when at all possible.

#2 Tree pollen and grass allergies: Even with springtime gone, pollen often lingers into summertime.  Summer thunderstorms often spread bits of tree and grass pollen.  If you have an allergic reaction to pollen, then keep doors and windows closed during peak periods.  Alternatively, investing in an indoor air filter will deliver relief.

#3 The heat: Yes, it’s hot, and that means that your body temperature is hotter than usual, as well.  Changes in body temperature may trigger migraines.  If you’re going out in the sun, wear a broad-brimmed hat, bring an umbrella, and seek shade whenever possible.


#4 Bright lights: Migraine patients are extremely sensitive to bright lights, in addition to scents and sounds.  For that reason, many migraineurs find relief in wearing tinted sunglasses outdoors and avoiding brightly lit or noisy scenarios, such as indoor basketball games or shopping malls.  Rainbow Colored Sunglasses that Prevent Migraines

#5 Humidity can be irritating, but if you’re a migraineur, it may contribute to your headaches.  Scents we would ordinarily not notice become more profound in humid weather.  Migraine patients, who are more sensitive to sensory experiences, find that unusual smells trigger migraine attacks.

#6 Dehydration: One common cause of headaches, for migraineurs and non-migraine sufferers alike, is dehydration.  If you exercise regularly, then make sure to keep a sports bottle handy.  Always bring water with you before you leave the house, and store extra bottles in your car for emergencies.  If you spend a lot of time in an air-conditioned environment, you’ll need to drink extra. Also read 15 Tricks for Staying Hydrated and Avoiding Migraines.


#7 Over-hydration: Yup, it’s no joke.  Drinking too much water can upset your balance of electrolytes, causing a headache.

#8 Vacation: When we let go of our stress, headaches soon follow.  At least, that’s what many health experts say.  The first few days of a holiday season or vacation, the first day of the weekend- these are all red-flag periods for migraine attacks.


#9 Changes: Migraine patients don’t handle change well, say headache doctors.  Summer vacations often lend themselves to oversleeping, afternoon napping, and eating at unusual times of the day.  Try to stick to your everyday sleep and eating schedule, even when time is at your disposal.

#10 High altitudes: Some of our favorite summertime pastimes include camping by a mountain lake, sightseeing, and taking long canyon drives to the beach.  If high altitudes give you migraine headaches, then don’t be caught off guard.  Before hopping on that bus to the coast, check your map for any nearby mountain ranges.  When traveling, always carry your migraine medications with you.

#11 Alcohol use and summertime just seem to go together- whether it’s Fourth of July barbecues, Memorial Day picnics, or just hanging out on the front porch, you might be tempted by an ice-cold beer or a fruity wine cooler.  If alcohol is a headache trigger for you, then strengthen your resolve to say no.  If you’re going to a party, take along some favorite nonalcoholic beverages, and bring enough to share.


#12 Scented creams and salves: Try to avoid using scented sunscreen lotions, sunburn relief ointments, or bug sprays, as strong perfumes often cause migraines.  Health food stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s have an extensive selection of natural, perfume-free skin and hair products.  For more info, read Perfumes and Migraines: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Stinky.

#13 Medications left out in the heat might lose their potency.  Read the warning labels on any new migraine treatments, and don’t leave your medicine bag in the car when the sun is high.

Suggested reading:

Plan a Headache-Free Summer Vacation: Five Travel Tips

Want a Cure for Migraines? 10 Ways you can help

11 Headache Triggers you Never Thought Of


Summer Migraine Triggers a Real Pain for Many Sufferers – ABC News

Migraine Triggers Stronger in Summer | ThirdAge

Summer Migraines – Daily Dose – Blogs for Women at dailyWD.WomansDay.Com

Tips for Avoiding Summer Migraines and Headaches

Cindy McCain Gives Voice to Migraine Syndrome

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011


Will Cindy McCain be successful in raising awareness and funds for chronic migraine headache research?  We hope so. Cindy McCain, wife of Senator John McCain,  is one of millions of women who suffer from migraine headaches. Chronic migraine symptoms include severe head pain, nausea, stomach cramping, visual disturbances, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and scents.



A bottle of spilled perfume served as the Kryptonite to her chronic migraines a year back while Cindy was traveling overseas; the overpowering smell nearly knocked her unconscious.  Her migraine radar went into maximum overdrive, causing a migraine attack unlike any she had ever experienced.  Head throbbing madly, nausea threatening to consume her entire body, Cindy disembarked and returned home.

Cindy speaks up

Since then, Cindy has pledged to do everything in her power to educate American citizens about migraines as a neurological disorder, and to raise funds for migraine treatment.  Currently, Congress favors $13 million towards migraine research, a pitiful sum compared to the $20 billion deficit per year accrued through migraine-related lost wages, disability, and medical bills.  Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!

Cindy feels your pain- really.

Migraine symptoms may discriminate by sex (women get more migraines than men by 3 to 1), but when it comes to wealth and status, they’re an equal-opportunity destroyer.  Unlike popular belief, migraines are not a poor woman’s disease.  Related: 6 Migraine Myth-conceptions

Mrs. McCain describes the following symptoms when speaking to the public about her migraines:

  • Excruciating head pain comparable to Traumatic Brain Injuries, the medical term for head trauma received by soldiers in heavy combat.
  • Ultra-sensitivity to light.  Even a moderate light setting can trigger fierce migraine attacks.  “Sunglasses are a migraine sufferer’s best friend,” she says.
  • Stress-related weight loss.  At 5’7”, Cindy once weighed less than 100 pounds.
  • Because of migraine stigma, Cindy avoided migraine diagnosis until the age of 40, fearing others would think she was “neurotic.”
  • Sleep deprivation led to debilitating migraines that sent her to the emergency room on more than one occasion.
  • Migraine symptoms varied for Cindy.  She often experienced migraine auras, tinnitus (ear ringing), nausea, and blindness in her left eye, depending on the migraine headache trigger.
  • After suffering a stroke in 2004, Cindy stopped taking preventative migraine medications.  She now relies on triptans, a form of abortive migraine treatment.

A cure for migraines or die trying

After addressing a crowd in Philadelphia, Cindy hopes to continue her campaign to Capitol Hill.  Her mission: to convince Congress to raise funds allocated towards migraine research.  Cindy hopes to appeal to them by bringing to their attention the astounding numbers of migraine sufferers, many of whom suffer in silence.

“I’m missing a large part of my life,” she said. “I want to stay active. I want a cure.”


Cindy McCain Breaks Her Silence on Migraine ‘Disability’

Migraines: Silent Wounds of War

Cindy McCain’s Secret Struggle with Migraines

To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011



How can you tell if your migraine headaches require emergency attention?

To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care

Migraine headaches are a neurological disorder that causes sharp, throbbing head pain, in addition to queasiness, vomiting, visual disturbances, and extreme sensitivity to bright lights, strong scents, and loud noises.  Migraine pain can be unbearably draining and excruciating.  If you’ve ever been in the middle of a migraine attack, then you understand the urgency to find something that will immediately alleviate your agony.

Stay home, or call 911?

Millions of migraine sufferers visit their local hospital emergency rooms every year, hoping for some quick migraine pain relief.  Unfortunately, unless your headache symptoms are severe enough to suggest a stroke, you will probably wait many long hours before even seeing a nurse.  As far as the ER ranking system goes, you are going to be somewhere very near the bottom of the patient chain.

So, how does one know when to call the doctor, when to call 911, or when to call in sick and just stay home?

Headache warning signs

Below are eight common red flag headache warnings that necessitate a trip to ER, followed by some less urgent migraine conditions that can wait until your visit to the headache doctor.

To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if any of these headache symptoms occur:

  1. A migraine headache that has lasted longer than 72 hours
  2. Migraine head pain that is more severe than usual
  3. Headache accompanied by fever, hypertension, sore neck muscles, or a rash.
  4. Migraine pain that wakes you up out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night
  5. Severe headache combined with intense stomach upset, such a nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
  6. Headaches that result from head trauma, a car accident, or a bad fall
  7. If you are over the age of40*, and have not been diagnosed with migraines, then any new or uncommon pattern of headaches that could suggest migraines
  8. Symptoms that indicate neurological damage:
  • Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision, flashing orbs of light, blind spots, or hallucination
  • Dizziness, loss of balance and sudden weakness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Speech difficulties, such as stuttering, slurring and muttering incoherently
  • Seizure
  • Confusion
  • Any other peculiar behavior  (Read Strange but True: Migraines can Give You a British Accent)

To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care

The following scenarios do not require a trip to ER, but do call for a visit to a neurologist:

  1. You are having more than three migraines every week
  2. You are using pain medication every day, or at least four times per week to treat headaches
  3. Migraine head pain increases in severity, and doesn’t alleviate
  4. Headache triggers that include physical exertion, coughing or sneezing, and bending over
  5. Any unusual shift in your typical migraine pattern
  6. You have not been diagnosed with migraines, but you suspect your chronic headaches are related, and you are under the age of 40*

Also read:

Brain Tumor, Stroke and 8 other Illnesses you probably don’t have

Top 10 Headache Symptoms that Point to Migraines


When to Call the Doctor About Your Migraines or Headaches

Migraine: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Migraine- When to Call A Doctor

Should I Visit the Emergency Room for a Migraine?

Plan a Headache-Free Summer Vacation: Five Travel Tips

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011



Planning a summer vacation getaway?  Even the best laid-out travel arrangements can climax into a huge migraine headache if you’re not careful.  Stress, the number one headache trigger, can ruin your chances of enjoying even a short weekend escape.  Plan your trip around your chronic migraines, and you will get the most out of your summer vacation.

Below are five helpful guidelines for routing a pleasant, headache-free trip:


Travel Tip Number 1-  Prepare for the worst…


Always refill prescriptions for migraine pain medications a week or two before your trip.  Don’t make the mistake of putting it off until later; you’ll likely have your mind on other last-minute details, like Googling nearby pharmacies and emergency migraine treatment centers, another precaution worth investing in before your trip.  Not only will you be more relaxed, but also should migraines threaten to attack, you’ll have your escape route well planned.

Travel Tip Number 2-  Stay grounded

Plan a Migraine-Free Summer Vacation: Five Travel Tips

Leave air travel to the non-migraineurs whenever possible, and aim for a vacation spot that is closer to home.  Shifting pressure, loud rumbling engine sounds, and scant puffs of recycled air do not make for a migraine-friendly trip.  Unless you are undisturbed by the possibility of spending four hours hunched in a narrow, confined area seated in front of a cute toddler with a persistent kicking reflex, then you’re better off choosing a travel destination that allows for alternate modes of transportation.  Consider riding the rails; various train tours offer fine dining, comfortable accommodations, and entertainment.  Best of all, you can get up, stretch your legs, and get a breath of fresh air whenever you like.  Try doing that in economy class.

Travel Tip Number 3-  Give your senses a break

PLAN A HEADACHE-FREE SUMMER VACATION: FIVE TRAVEL TIPS, WWW.MIGRAVENT.COMAvoid heavily contaminated areas.  This should seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised just how wide-ranging the effects of pollution are.  Metropolitan getaways like New York are probably not your best option; noxious smog, noisy traffic hubbub, glaring neon signs, and the quick pace of the big city are no match for your chronic migraines.  Give yourself a sensory vacation.  Seek out vacation spots that have a reputation for clean air, fewer crowds, and a more relaxed vibe.  Try camping at one of the many national forests.  Not keen on tents?  Most campgrounds offer cabin rentals.  Other great options include beachside resorts, cruises, and spa retreats.

PLAN A HEADACHE-FREE SUMMER VACATION: FIVE TRAVEL TIPS, WWW.MIGRAVENT.COMTravel Tip Number 4-  Stay out of the heat.  And the cold.

Extreme temperatures are a migraine sufferer’s worst enemies.  Hot, dry weather can lead to severe dehydration, a common migraine trigger.  Freezing climates, on the other hand, may result in stiff joints, sinus congestion, and flu symptoms, not to mention dehydration caused by indoor heating.  If you do find yourself in extreme weather, remember to drink plenty of water and dress accordingly.

Don’t go trigger-happy


If you’ve been loyally contributing to your headache diary, then you are conscious of the many migraine headache triggers you need to avoid.  Enjoy a carefree and laid-back summer vacation, but continue to beware of lurking migraine-inducing stimuli.  Don’t be tempted to try exotic, spicy culinary dishes, unless somebody “in the know” can tell you exactly what ingredients are included.  Never skip meals.  Before your trip, prepare yourself an emergency snack kit.  You never know when you might find yourself in a restaurant that has nothing but “off-limit” items on their menu, especially if you’re on a non-gluten diet.

Like this? Read more:

6 Migraine Myth-conceptions

Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?

20 iPad Apps for Migraine Sufferers


Planning a Vacation for Migraine Sufferers | Better Innovations Blog

Travel Tips for Migraine Sufferers