Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are headaches that may be caused by overusing pain medicines. Typically rebound headaches begin early in the morning, however the location and severity of the headache can change on a daily basis. Indeed, rebound headaches typically are daily occurrences and can lead to problems involving anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness and depression.

Migraine medications work to raise serotonin levels to ease pain, but when too much medication is ingested something happens to the serotonin levels which causes the chemical to lose its effectiveness. Research shows that serotonin levels are lower when you take too much pain medication and then rise slightly after the headaches get better and you stop taking the medication.

Either over-the-counter medication or prescription drugs can lead to rebound headaches if taken too often or in greater amounts than recommended. In addition to sedatives and tranquilizers, other rebound-causing medications include:

• Caffeine-containing analgesics (Excedrin, Anacin, etc.) Caffeine is a primary ingredient in many headache medicines. Although caffeine-based medication can relieve migraine pain when temporarily, taking medicine containing caffeine every day—as well as drinking caffeine-loaded beverages such as coffee or soft drinks—can lead to more frequent and severe headaches. If the headache worsens whenever you stop having caffeine, the caffeine may be causing some of your headaches.

Prescription Medications for Migraine Relief

New therapies to treat headache go back to the beginning of the last century when ergotamine tartrate was first isolated in a laboratory. It was this development which introduced clinical practice into treating migraines. Ergotamine works by constricting blood vessels in the head. About twenty-five years later researchers began to suspect that disturbances in the brain’s serotonin level played a role in migraine. The drug, methysergide, a serotonin antagonist that prevents migraine attacks, was introduced into clinical practice in 1958. In recent years, new technologies have made it possible for researchers to identify serotonin receptors throughout the body. It is now believed that serotonin levels actually decrease at the onset of a migraine attack, causing blood vessels to dilate and surrounding tissues to swell. This is that brings on the pain.

MSG and Migraines

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) should always be considered a prime suspect when on the lookout for a food-related migraine trigger. With many studies claiming that a majority of migraines are triggered by food or food additives, it’s almost a given that MSG should be on your lookout list.

What is Monosodium Glutamate? MSG is a neurotoxin, a toxic substance used to fool the brain into telling your tastes buds that the food you’re eating tastes better than it really does. Known as a flavor enhancement agent, the end result is that the food industry can use substandard ingredients and then kick up the taste a notch by adding MSG.

Migraines and Stress

When it comes to choosing the all-time champion of migraine triggers, it all boils down to two contenders and all the others are mere pretenders. Much research has been done into the various triggers of migraine and basically the verdicts have come down squarely into two camps. Many researchers have decided that food and food additives are the main culprit behind triggering migraines. On the other hand, many researchers are adamant that the primary trigger for migraines is stress.

The wisdom concerning eliminating the stress in our lives is hardly relegated to migraine relief. Stress seems to be blamed for just about every ailment experienced in the modern world. The simple, inescapable fact of life is that stress is now and is probably always going to be a daily part of our lives that can never be eliminated. Even the mere reduction of stress levels is difficult. The management of all aspects of life from family to career to raising children to school all offer some kind of stress.

The Most Common Stresses That Trigger Migraines.

Multiple-Role Stress: Females especially must contend with multiple-role stress, the juggling of many responsibilities such as wife, worker and mother.

Migraine Headaches and Pregnancy

No one is exempt from migraines and women are especially prone so it’s just a matter of averages to expect that migraines will affect pregnancies. Women should naturally be concerned about taking medications during pregnancy, whether over the counter or prescription, and since most people turn automatically to medication to treat the severe headaches caused by migraines, it’s doubly important to be aware of the consequences of taking migraine medication during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, the plain fact of the matter is that the effects of most headache medications on pregnant women and their unborn children still remains in the dark. Because of this uncertainty, women who suffer from migraines really need —when possible, of course— to work their migraine relief into their pregnancy plan right from the beginning, even before conception. Most experts in migraine prevention and relief strongly advise a slow tapering off medication prior to attempting to conceive. A slow tapering off means about a week, by the way, not several months.

Migraines and Exercise

There are so many good reasons to begin an exercise program that you really don’t even need one more. Nevertheless, you are about to read one more: Exercise can help in the treatment of migraines. Studies have found overwhelming evidence to support the idea that just moderate aerobic exercise helps to reduce not only the intensity, but also the frequency and even the duration of migraine headaches in those who experience migraines without aura.

Migraine headaches come in two varieties. Most sufferers experience severe headaches along with nausea and a heightened sensitivity to both light and sound. When the headache is accompanied by bizarre visual disturbances or unusual head sensations this is known as migraine headache with aura. Aura usually occurs before any actual head pain in a migraine episode. Most migraine suffers, however, do not experience these extreme sensations and instead experience what is known as migraine without aura.

Migraines and Birth Control Pills

Women who take the combined oral contraceptive pill have a slightly increased risk of suffering a stroke compared to the general risk. Women who also suffer from migraines have a slightly increased risk of stroke compared to the general risk and the risk even increases in women who suffer specifically from migraines with aura. Women who are taking the combined oral contraceptive and suffer from migraines of either kind, but especially those with aura run a slightly higher risk of stroke than do women who either take the pill and don’t suffer migraines or suffer migraines and don’t the pill. The risk is small, but it’s a good idea to be educated about these risks regardless.

A headache is simply a symptom of a migraine. It’s not the migraine itself. In addition to the headache, roughly twenty-five percent of migraine sufferers also suffer from an aura, which is a best defined as a visual disturbance that includes temporary loss of vision, flashing lights, zigzagging lines, black spots, etc. In addition, those suffering migraine with aura may experience numbness or the feeling of pins and needles, as well as experiencing strange smells, unusual food cravings, etc. An aura typically lasts from a few minutes to an hour before the actual headache sets in.

Alternative Migraine Treatments

Lets face facts, sometimes medicine doesnt work. Sometimes the top alternative treatments dont work. Sometimes crazy things that you never in a million years thought would work, work!

Mention the word migraine or the word headache in a room with more than two people and you are almost guaranteed of receiving free advice. Theres an almost limitless amount of possible treatments that you may or may not want to try. Most are harmless enough that it really wouldnt hurt to go ahead and give it a shot. So next time youve got a real brain popping migraine and nothing works maybe you should see if one of these will do the trick. It may just turn out to be the magic pill youve been looking for all your life.