Sunday, April 15, 2012

Headaches and what to do with them

Traditional headache experts are starting to recommend different remedies for headache sufferers.

Even some of the best medication available doesn’t work for one-third of severe headache sufferers.
And pain medications can cause a boomerang effect with additional headaches if taken too often. 
So many sufferers are using natural remedies for help in preventing headache attacks or reducing pain once a headache begins.
As always, discuss your treatment with a doctorfirst.

Feverfew and ginger:  Feverfew, an herb, has been used for bad headaches for a long time.
It has been combined with ginger, a known anti-nausea therapy, in a tablet called LipiGesic. A recent study found that 63 percent of migraine sufferers using LipiGesic found some relief compared to 39 percent of those taking a placebo. Of those taking LipGesic, 32 oercent were pain free at two hours after the onset of a migraine, compared to 16 percent of those on placebo. 

Butterbur:  Butterbur, another anti-inflammatory herb, has also been fairly well studied, but for preventing migraine attacks. It’s not effective for treating an acute migraine once it starts, said Dr. Frederick Taylor, adjunct professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota. You need to take 75 milligrams twice a day.

Magnesium: When taken daily, magnesium may help reduce the frequency of migraines. The mineral helps to calm nerves, which tend to get overexcited during a migraine.
Some studies have found that migraine sufferers tend to be deficient in magnesium. You’ll likely need more than the average multi-vitamin contains or about 400 to 600 milligrams a day. Look for amino acid-chelated magnesium (many brands contain magnesium oxide, which is not absorbed as well). You can also increase your magnesium by eating dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): “We recommend that all our migraine patients take a B complex vitamin,” Cady said. Studies have shown that having adequate vitamin B2 can reduce the frequency of migraines. One theory of migraines is that too many demands are being made on nerve cells, and there’s not enough energy being produced to support the demands. Vitamin B12 (as well as magnesium) play important roles in boosting energy production inside nerve cells, Cady explained. You need about 400 milligrams of riboflavin a day for prevention, which is more than the average multivitamin contains.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common, as people spend more time indoors or avoiding the sun. Whether that is contributing to migraines is unknown, but studies have shown that vitamin D may play a role in the way you perceive pain. Most people can safely take about 2,000 milligrams a day.