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HeadWay, Issue #008 -- Some like it hot...
March 20, 2004
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In this month's issue:
Some like it hot...
Say what?! What side is it on...
Some like it hot......some like it cold! Heat and cold have been used for thousands of years as a remedy for headaches. A few years ago, when blood vessels were a main focus of migraine research, a lot of study was done to see what heat and cold could do to alleviate migraine symptoms. Pressure on the head is often combined with these treatments, and there are dozens of devices on sale to help you when you're headache pain is reaching high levels.
For some people, a simple ice pack is all they need. Try wrapping a cold pack in a couple layers of towel around you neck or head (don't put cold packs or ice directly on your skin). Or, place the cold against the area where you feel the most pain. If you find this isn't working, stop and try something else. Some people find that although it feels good at first, it tends to make overall symptoms worse and turn a mild headache into a raging storm of pain and nausea.
For other people, heat is the best thing. Often, heat is placed in an area away from the headache pain, such as on the back or stomach. Try a hot water bottle, or a heat pack. If you have a friend who can massage you, try filling an old shampoo bottle with hot water, and have them roll it on your back.
Sometimes the best thing is just to put your hands or feet in hot water. For those of us without dishwashers, this is a great chance to do the dishes (if your headache still allows it!). Some people just put their hands in the sink, or in a bowl of warm water.
Heat and cold are usually only temporary solutions, but when you're dealing with a severe headache, it may be all you need to get through it. Try a few of these ideas next time you're in pain!
Stormy weatherAs the seasons change we're reminded again of the beauty and complexity of the world . . . and the part that weather plays in the headache and migraine world. There are a number of things in weather that may trigger a migraine. Wind, humidity, and temperature may all play a part. Some researchers believe that it's certain types of weather that cause the problem – a combination of many factors, not just one.
Having dealt for many years with weather-triggered headache myself, I've been looking for better ways to track the effects of weather. Sometimes it's not as simple as it seems – we may think that hot weather triggers our headaches, for example, but if we take the time to track the situation we may find that hot weather doesn't make much of a difference.
One of the harder things to track properly is barometric pressure. If you haven't read the page online about weather and migraine lately, check it out again. New research has been added, and I also have a new barometer to recommend which I believe is the best available to help migraineurs track their symptoms. The page is here:
Weather related headache
Say what?! What side is it on...This month's medical term is “hemiplegic.” The word itself refers to something that causes paralysis on one side of the body. Hemiplegic migraine is a rare type of migraine that includes a loss of motor skills or partial loss of feeling on just one side of the body. If you get symptoms like this, you need to see your doctor right away. There are a variety of things that could cause similar symptoms, and you can prevent serious permanent damage by getting help immediately.
Enjoy the changing season - headache free! See you next month...
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