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HeadWay, Issue #069 -- Instead of a Painkiller - What?
June 22, 2009

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In this month's issue:

Instead of a Painkiller - What?

Was that slight headache - a Migraine??

Say what?!  Occipital

Instead of a Painkiller - What?

In April we talked about painkillers, and why they're often a poor choice for headache.  Many people are not getting adequate treatment because they're relying on painkillers when there's much better treatment out there.

This month I want to give a bit of an introduction to the many treatments that are out there, and maybe start you thinking about them in a fresh way.

Drugs vs Natural?

Many people feel there's a battle going on between natural medicine and drugs, between alternative medicine and natural medicine.  But it's not that simple, and if you're going to get treatment for a headache disorder that works, you're going to find that out pretty fast.

What's the problem with this view of two types of medicine?  Well, for one thing, not all "natural" medicine is as safe as so called "western" medicine (though I don't even like to use those two categories).  An herbal treatment can be dangerous, while a drug made in a lab can help restore your "natural balance".  On the other hand, sometimes a non-drug treatment has some real solid research behind it, but the research behind a drug is questionable.

Worth a try?

Sometimes I hear people say,"It can't hurt to try".  But in today's world, there are so many treatments to try that wasting your time does hurt.  Prolonging pain does damage to your body that can be long term.

Sure, you can spend a lot of time and money on treatments that "can't hurt", but I think it's a scandal when we're spending so much time and hours on these when there are so many well researched treatments that have a much better chance of working.

That's why I work so hard to get you accurate information about the treatments that have the best chance of working.

I'm saying this because I think we need to break down the walls between different types of medicine to some extent, and stop jumping at key words.  You know, some of you love key words like "natural" "balance" and "wholesome", and others of you love words like "specialists agree", "research team" and "clinical trial".  But all of those terms can be misleading.

So what's out there?

So instead of painkillers, I encourage you to open your mind to other types of treatment.  I don't think drugs need to be at the top of your list, however you don't need to dismiss the possibility of taking drugs altogether.  Hopefully in the months ahead we'll talk more about the benefits and dangers of both drugs and other treatments, supplements, herbs, etc.

What kinds of treatments are available?  Here are a few:
  • Drugs - yes, medication.  Many people take medication at first to get things under control, then gradually move to other option.  Here are some of the available drugs for migraine.  A brief overview of cluster medications here.
  • Diet - no, diet will not help everyone.  However, for migraine in particular it remains one of the most powerful treatments.  An overview of the migraine diet concept here.
  • Other lifestyle changes - this includes exercise, posture, getting proper sleep, relaxation techniques, avoiding triggers, stretches, and so on.  These alone can make a drastic difference, and in some cases leave you without any attacks at all.
  • Supplements - there's no good word for this category, but I'm talking about things like herbs, vitamins, minerals, and certain other things like probiotics.  There are many very effective, well researched mixtures of these as well.  Some examples would be feverfew, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10.
  • Other non-invasive treatments - this would include things like massage, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, trigger point therapy, biofeedback, NTI-tss, and many, many many more.  Search the site for information on these and many others.
  • Surgical treatments - many more successful treatments here, including minor surgery or some more drastic measures.  This would include things like stimulators that are implanted, surgery on nerves or muscles, and many many more.
  • Other - there are always many treatments that refuse to be categorized!  But there are many others out there that don't fit neatly into any of these categories.  Some are from professionals, others are just home remedies that really help.
So here's what I hope you get out of this.  First, there are many, many treatments out there, and they're not just drugs.  Second, if you want the best treatment, open your mind to different categories of treatment - the best of each category for you.  Third, you're almost certainly going to find the best treatment in a mixture of things, and that mixture may change as time goes by.  Finally, be informed.  Try not to do something just because it "can't hurt", unless you really feel it's the best option at the time.  Put your time and money into the best options.

In the months ahead we're going to look at some of the best treatments, so that you can keep making informed choices.  Meanwhile, check out the Headache and Migraine News blog for the latest!

Was that slight headache - a Migraine??

If you made it through that last article, well done!  I'm not going to write another long one, but I want to point out some other information which I think is just as important for you to think about.  It may just change the way you think about headaches all together.  Check out these three recent blog posts, if you haven't seen them already:

Say what?!  Occipital

This word comes up in headache and migraine literature a lot.  Occipital means anything related to the occiput.  Big help, right?  That is, anything related to the back part of your head or skull.  The occipital bone is the bottom and rear of the skull.  A lot of headache and face pain is related to the occipital nerves.  The occipital lobe, the back parts of each cerebral hemisphere in the brain, may play a significant role in triggering migraine attacks.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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