Back to Back Issues Page
HeadWay Issue #212 - How Two Patients Found Relief
May 23, 2022

In this issue:

How Two Patients Found Relief

Say what?! Hyperhomocysteinemia

How Two Patients Found Relief

I recently heard great news from two readers from the USA, Deeh and Linda, who have found significant relief from their migraine attacks. So let's talk about some good news for a change!

First, Deeh sent me a note to say that she found that "tight shoulders" interfering with her sleep seemed to be triggering her attacks.

Although "tension" actually isn't as much of a trigger as we once thought, anything that interferes with your sleep can help trigger migraine attacks. And certainly pain and inflammation can start a pain-cycle that makes your symptoms worse.

For Deeh, a little self-care right before bed has made a tremendous difference. She uses a topical analgesic on her shoulders before bed. She specifically mentioned IcyHot and Voltaren.

Topical treatments have a long history in migraine. Menthol, in the original IcyHot and Tiger Balm, along with peppermint essential oils, are common headache treatments. There's also lidocaine (in another IcyHot product), and diclofenac (in topical Voltaren), rubbed on the skin to lesson pain.

As with any treatment, it's good to talk to your doctor about it. But if pain is keeping you from a good night's sleep, as it was in Deeh's case, it's worth some investigation.

Next, Linda sent me a message saying that vitamin B12 injections had given her relief.

Although it has been studied as a migraine and headache treatment since the 1950s, vitamin B12 is gaining interest once again. Unfortunately, although studies have been generally positive, most of them have been small and not always good quality. In other words, the evidence seems to say that B12 is a possible migraine and headache treatment, but we need more information to know who it may work for.

Some studies have found that migraine patients tend to be deficient in their vitamin B12. Of course, deficiency in many things may eventually lead to headaches, but this may be one of the key ones to watch for.

B12 is involved in regulation of nitric oxide in the body, with controls blood vessel dilation, and is involved in pain pathways, affecting inflammation, for example.

B12 also regulates homocysteine in your body, and here things get even more interesting. High homocysteine levels can be involved in the development of heart disease, which has also been linked to migraine.

Another interesting connection is that some medications, such as anti-inflammatories, and heartburn medication, may lead to a greater need for vitamin B12.

Cyanocobalamin is a man-made form of B12 that is used in injections. Supplements are also used, often a B12, B6, folic acid combination (a very common product, as you can see at Amazon).

The New York Headache Center has a brief article linking to some information about B12. Note what it says about testing for deficiency, something else you may want to discuss with your doctor.

Thanks to Deeh and Linda for this great news! Though every patient is different, your stories may help many others.

Say what?! Hyperhomocysteinemia

All right, so we already talked about how B12 regulates homocysteine. So what happens when your homocysteine levels are too high? That's hyperhomocysteinemia! Hyperhomocysteinemia is a factor in cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin deficiency for whatever reason may be a cause, but also certain drugs, smoking and alcohol, and some genetic factors.

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