Friday, December 15, 2017

Migraines and Holiday Stress

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This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions are all my own. The goal is to improve patient outcomes through education.

I’ve suffered from migraines and unfortunately, one of my kids just had their first one this fall. Working with Med-IQ has been helpful to me in terms of understanding the differences between bad headaches and chronic migraines, and what can be done to get the best treatment so they will GO AWAY as fast as possible.

As part of this campaign, I spoke with Robert G. Kaniecki, MD (Chief of the Headache Division and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and Stewart J. Tepper, MD (Professor of Neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth) to find out more about chronic headaches and what patients can do to get the best possible care. To read more about what they had to say to patients, click here:

Dr. Kaniecki and Dr. Tepper both discussed how it is common for migraine sufferers to be in search of the holy grail, that one thing or combination of things that will make the migraines stop. That is totally me. I was always looking for the silver bullet, the trigger that if avoided would make sure I never had to deal with migraines again. I learned that suffering from migraines is often inherited and that for many the holy grail doesn’t exist.

  • Inadequate control of the immediate pain of a migraine attack is a risk factor for chronic migraine. 
  • Overuse of acute medication can cause headaches and is a risk factor for developing chronic migraine.
  • Overuse of acute medication is defined as taking prescription or nonprescription medication 10 or more days per month
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Even if that’s the case, there are steps you can take during this busy, stressful, hectic time of year: 

(1) If you’re being treated for migraines then stick to your treatment plan. This includes medications and lifestyle management strategies to prevent migraines and treat them once they start. It’s so easy to get off schedule, so making that extra effort is really important.

(2) Keep a headache diary: track changes in headache frequency and/or intensity as you begin or change medications. This information is super important for doctors to know what’s really going on.

(3) Avoid overuse of acute headache medication. Don’t take prescription or nonprescription medication for migraine pain on more than 10 days per month. Why, you might ask? I asked too. Here’s what experts say about it:

If you or someone you love is taking medication for migraine pain more than twice a week, encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss the right treatment plan.

So if you want to control migraines this holiday season, there’s three steps to do so: Stick with your treatment plan, keep a headache diary and don’t overuse medication.
Here’s hoping we all have headache-free holidays! 

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