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MIGRAINE AWARENESS WEEK – 5th – 14th September – While there is an increasing awareness of migraine and understanding of what it is, not many would disagree that there needs to be more awareness and understanding of how migraines seriously impact lives, with too many people not fully realising what it is like to live with this condition.

Migraine Awareness Week is a moment in the year when everyone affected by migraines and everyone working to help those affected work together to raise the profile of migraine as a complex neurological condition and dispel any ideas that it is ‘just a headache.

They say that an estimate that as many as 25 million working days are lost each year to migraine, and research suggests this is only going to get worse as our working population ages, it is an important health and wellbeing conversation for employers to be embracing.

News Group Ireland writes that The theme for #MAW 2022 this year is ‘The Phases of Migraine’ which delves deep into each specific migraine type (as many are unaware there are more than one) and then into the phases of a migraine attack; before, during and after the attack. 

Many patients tell that people assume it is just the headache phase when in fact there are many phases overall which leave patients feeling unwell for days. Over 600,000 people in Ireland are living with migraine. Migraine is a complex neurological condition which affects to 12-15% of our population. 

Migraine is a complex neurological condition that affects over 600,000 people in Ireland alone, that’s 12-15% of our population! The Global Burden of Disease states that migraine is the 2nd most disabling disease in the world in their most recent figures (over an eighth of the global population). Migraine is often considered ‘just a headache which could not be further from the truth. “There are many types of migraine, many triggers, and many symptoms before, during and after a migraine attack that many people and health care professionals are unaware of.” – Hazel Breen, Communications Officer, Migraine Association of Ireland.

Migraine Relief Centre wrote this great article on ‘Avoiding Medication Overuse Headaches.

Many people who suffer from migraines regularly use medication to deal with pain and other side effects. But if you take medication more than a couple days a week, you may experience rebound headaches, also called medication overuse headaches.

Everyone reacts to medications differently, and it may take one person longer to feel the effects of medicine for their headaches. When you are prescribed medication to deal with migraines, make sure you talk to your doctor about how often you should take it to avoid overuse.

Many medication-induced headaches are caused by triptans, codeine, ergotamine, paracetamol, and anti-inflammatory painkillers.

If you are experiencing headaches more than 15 days a month for at least three months, or have noticed more intense headaches, it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor about your treatment plan. Always talk to your doctor before stopping any medication, and make a plan for how to deal with medication withdrawal. 

We understand that having migraines is exhausting, especially when the medication you take to manage pain can actually cause more headaches.

If your prescriptions are no longer working and you’re interested in exploring other ways to treat your migraines, reach out to our team and schedule an appointment. We are ready to help you find the right treatment plan for you.

Dr. Khorsandi Migraine Relief Center

Source: Optima Health Back Pain Blog News Group Ireland Migraine Relief Center

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Can sugar cause headaches?

Migraine Relief Centre has written an article on how sugar can cause headaches. They write that consuming too much or too little sugar can trigger head pain, especially for those with conditions like diabetes. This happens because of changes in your blood glucose level.

The sugar itself doesn’t cause the pain, but sugar-heavy foods spike your blood sugar levels. The quick change in your blood glucose level can directly affect your brain. That swing from low to high sugar levels is what can trigger a headache. If your migraine attacks appear to be triggered or made worse by having low blood sugar levels, make sure you have small, frequent, low-sugar meals.

Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints.

Eating too much sugar can also trigger reactive hypoglycemia, as your body fights to stabilize the levels of sugar in the blood — also known as a ‘sugar hangover‘.

If you suspect that sugar may be a migraine trigger, keep a migraine diary and food log to identify any correlation between what you eat and when you experience headaches or migraines. If you find a connection, talk to your doctor about hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia and how best to take care of your health. 

An isolated sugar headache can be treated with over-the-counter medicine and (sugar-free) hydration, but chronic sugar-related headaches should prompt a trip to your doctor or headache specialist.  

You can have a sugar headache and not a migraine as the headaches caused by glucose and your brain are also related to hormones activated by sugar levels.

In general, you should maintain a blood sugar level between 70–120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). This number may change if you have diabetes or another health condition. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations about blood sugar levels.

Some conditions, like diabetes, may also make you more likely to experience sugar-related headaches. That’s because you may have an increased risk for hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Those who have diabetes are prone to sugar headaches as their blood levels quickly fluctuate. But diabetes is not the only cause of these headaches, so monitor your diet before jumping to conclusions.

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle may reduce the frequency of sugar headaches, but don’t hesitate to get professional help if you need it. 

A few tips and tricks to avoid that headache from taking over your day. Sleeping in even just for half an hour can cause a headache, in particular for coffee lovers as the caffeine affects the blood vessels in the brain and reduction when you sleep in, exacerbated by low blood sugar due to a late breakfast, can cause pain.

Dehydration is another trigger for a headache so when the temperatures rise make sure you are taking in lots of fluids.

Acupuncture, Yoga nd a head massage can reduce intensity and frequency of headaches but always contact your GP if the headache does not go away.

Source: Utopia Diabetes Healthline Migraine Relief Centre

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The Migraine Relief Centre wrote how massage can release endorphins, increase serotonin levels, reduce sleep disturbances, and relieve stress. Paired with relaxation techniques and stress management, massages can eliminate physical and emotional tension. All of this can result in fewer migraines and symptom relief.

Here are a few types of massage you could add to your pain management toolbox:

  • Deep Tissue Massage Therapy uses firm pressure to reach the deeper skin tissues and underlying layers of muscle. This massage type can help you relax but could actually worsen the migraine if the pain has already started.
  • Craniosacral Therapy focuses on your skull and scalp and can soothe the nerve endings to help alleviate your headaches.
  • Reflexology stimulates zones in the feet to bring relief from pain in head areas. Many migraine sufferers find this helpful, as well as massage of the hands and fingers.
  • Neuromuscular Massage (also known as trigger point massage) targets specific spots within a muscle that are sensitive or painful to touch. 

Read more about massage as a migraine remedy on their blog here. 

Not all types of massage will be suitable for all migraine sufferers or all types of migraine headaches. Talk first with your doctor or migraine specialist before seeking massage therapy. 

Massage does help many migraineurs manage pain, and hopefully, it can help you too! 

Source: Migraine Relief Centre