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HeadWay, Issue #011 -- Our most powerful asset
June 21, 2004

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In this month's issue:

An accidental discovery

Our most powerful asset

Say what?! Paroxysmal hemicrania!

An accidental discovery

I was sent this excellent article that I wanted to include on the website, but it's so good that I want to share it with you first...
~ James

If you suffer from migraine headaches as I did for years, I'd like to let you in on something that helped me not only reduce the number of migraines I had but also reduce the duration of each one.

It's not a drug or any sort of device or product you have to buy or wear and this isn't a sales pitch for any kind of expensive information product. It's free and it may well be something you never considered before. It's also something that could help you in many other areas of your life in unexpected ways.

I was in my early teens when I suffered my first migraine headache and had absolutely no idea what was happening to me but the pain was like nothing I had felt before and I was almost certain I was dying. The thought that death might be preferable to the headache certainly occurred to me.

For many years it seemed I had a migraine more often than not. Many times I was incapacitated as a result of the pain, making it difficult to hold down a job, make social commitments, or be a normal functional individual.

Of course I tried all of the medications available to control the migraines, but more often than not, the side effects were worse than any benefits the medication offered. (There may be better meds available now with more acceptable or fewer side effects and you should explore the rest of James' site to learn about them - I simply haven't tried anything stronger than Advil since making the following discovery.)

I discovered a better answer for me quite by accident when I joined the YMCA with a friend as an inexpensive activity I could do with my young children. I undertook a fitness program and as I became more and more fit over several weeks and months, it struck me as pleasantly odd that I was having fewer migraines. WAY fewer!

Instead of migraines occurring weekly and lasting for days, the new pattern was to get a migraine very infrequently (relatively speeking), perhaps every month or two and lasting no more than a day or 2.

While I don't know the scientific reasons for my results or that fitness is the right answer for every migraine sufferer, I do know that it made a huge impact on my life and my enjoyment of it. Better health, slim and defined body, vastly increased confidence, improved energy and stamina are among the incidental benefits.

If you want to begin an exercise program, start out slow and avoid getting overheated, because strenuous activity can trigger a migraine - this has happened to me on occasion when trying to run too far on a warm day. Light aerobics and strength training routines for beginners would be a great way to start!

I still get the occasional migraine, but my lifestyle has improved beyond measure. The benefits of fitness and good nutrition led me to become a fitness instructor at the YMCA and, a couple of years ago, to earn certification as a fitness trainer with ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association). It's my hope that my little story might encourage you to pursue fitness as a possible treatment for your migraines.

Cindy Brotherston, CFT

Our most powerful asset

North America is awash in elections. India just had one, and many other places where you may be are going through them. Sometimes voting seems futile, but when people have their say great things can result. Few people may be considered “great” in history books, but in reality it's the people that work together that really make change.

I'm not really writing about politics. For those suffering from headaches, I think that one of our most powerful assets is – each other. Some of you may be doctors or researchers, others may be migraineurs or people who have had tension headaches. But we all have experience and knowledge about headache and migraine. When you put all that together, it's a powerful thing. I believe that some of the great breakthroughs of the next few years may just come from things that you notice or think of.

Today is the grand opening of the HeadWay Mailroom. You can visit it by going to the HeadWay main page and then following the link at the bottom. It will ask you for a password (the password is: nomoache). Then you will be able to fill out a form. Put in your email address to confirm you are a HeadWay subscriber.
Here are some things you might want to write about:
* ideas for an upcoming article in HeadWay
* comments on a previous article
* notes about your own headache or migraine experiences

Because of the hundreds of people that subscribe to HeadWay, I can't answer all your emails. However, I will do my best to read every single one, and this way you can all have a part in this newsletter. Together we can do a far better job than I ever could!

This is long overdue – thanks so much for those of you that emailed and suggested something like this. If you appreciate this newsletter, why not take the time to recommend it to one or two more people? Direct them to subscribe here. I look forward to hearing from you, and together we can continue to fight back against the pain!

Say what?! Paroxysmal hemicrania!

Paroxysmal hemicrania is a type of cluster headache. Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania, also known as Sjaastad syndrome, has similar symptoms to cluster. The pain tends to stay on one side of the head. It's an extremely rare headache. The anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin (Indocin) is often an effective treatment.
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