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HeadWay, Issue #085 -- Treatment Trends
January 21, 2011

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In this month's issue:

Treatment Trends You Need To Know About

Get involved!

Say what?!  Complimentary Treatments

Before today's information, I just want to thank you all for your patience as there hasn't been a HeadWay published in a while.  I haven't forgotten about you, and I hope to continue to serve you through this free ezine and the website.

With now almost 10,000 active subscribers, HeadWay is poised to help a lot of people fight migraine, cluster headache, chronic daily headache, and other related disorders in 2011!  Thanks for being a part of it!

Treatment Trends You Need To Know About

As we head into another decade of research and treatment, what are some of the key things you need to know?  That's the question that's been going through my head as I prepared this edition of HeadWay, the first of 2011 and the 85th issue.

The first 5 major news items and trends that you need to be aware of as we head into 2011...

1) For migraine, the vasodilation theory is dead and gone.  This isn't really shocking news for many of us - it's been dying for many years.  Actually, for the last few years vasodilation, or the expanding of blood vessels, has been considered only a part of the big picture when it comes to migraine.  But a more and more minor part.

However, a recent report confirmed that not only is vasodilation not a major part of migraine, it's not even a necessary part.

 Read more in Vasodilation and Migraine – The fall of a theory.

What does this mean?  Perhaps the key thing is that we should be looking at treatments focused on constricting blood vessels with caution.  And we should also listen to doctors' advice with caution, when they start saying that migraine is all about the dilation of blood vessels.

On the other hand, the strange thing is that many valid treatments were originally developed with this theory in mind - for example, the abortive drugs known as triptans.  But now it's believed that they work not because they're vasoconstrictors, but for other reasons entirely!

2) The development of better drug delivery:  Drug companies are continuing to develop better ways to get the needed medication into your system.  Not only are there fairly new systems of delivery (such as needle-free injections), but improved technology in well known systems like nasal sprays are being created.  The take-home?  It's wise to check every once in a while to find out what new delivery systems are out there for medications that you use.  And remember - even medications you once used that didn't work may actually work now that they're being delivered to your body in a better way.

3) Patients using a variety of treatments:  As we enter into a new decade, we're seeing more and more patients using a variety of treatments to fight things like cluster, chronic daily headache and migraine.  Patients aren't satisfied to just take a pill - but then again many are not avoiding medication 100% to just use "alternative" treatments.  Instead, they're finding the power of combinations - medications, supplements, other treatments such as chiropractic, and lifestyle changes.  Doctors who in the past have been suspicious of complimentary treatments should be encouraged that patients are open to a more holistic approach.

4) Genetics: Promise and Disappointment:  Genetics, once thought to be the key to curing almost anything, has turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg in whole new fields of study.  The bad news is that genetics has not delivered what many suffering from chronic illness hoped.  The new miracle medications, by and large, remain a dream.

On the other hand, genetic research is continuing full throttle, and deeper next-level research is beginning.  The genetic link to diseases like migraine is being confirmed, and there is still lots of hope that the knowledge we're gaining will lead to better and more personalized treatments in the next few years.  For more, read Two migraine "experts" debunked…

5) Specialized Treatments:  Speaking of personalized treatments, that is also a part of the new wave of headache and migraine treatment.  With the further rise of specialists and the conversation that is being encouraged through standard guides such as the The International Classification of Headache Disorders, more and more doctors are wanting to tailor the treatment to the patient, rather than just using a general headache treatment.

For example, a lot of research has been done on menstrual migraine, which is unique in many ways.  Also, a growing body of research is helping children and adolescents with migraine find proper treatment for them.

The reality is that this field is still in its infancy.  We still don't have a magic test that will tell us what treatment will work best for you.  However, it's encouraging that doctors are working harder to narrow down the options.  And patients are beginning to realize that what worked for a friend will not necessarily work for them.

Get involved!

There are some great ways you can get involved and help others who are struggling with similar things that you are!  For example, you can head over to our Community Articles section and give your advice on the current topic: What advice would you give to someone who has been newly diagnosed with migraine, cluster, chronic daily headache, etc?

Also, we have a new project, to support migraine research!  In spite of the widespread impact of migraine, research is still being done at a snail's pace.  To find out what we're doing about it and why, read Migraine Research: Make a Difference, and watch for further updates giving you an opportunity to be involved!

Say what?!  Complimentary Treatments

Complimentary treatments are treatments used alongside conventional medicine.  There are a lot of terms floating around when it comes to treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, and so on.  Commonly they've been called alternative medicine or therapy.  But as more and more patients are using these along with conventional treatments, and more doctors are becoming open to certain types of treatment, the term complimentary medicine or treatment is becoming more common.

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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