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HeadWay, Issue #029 -- Turn on the tunes
December 21, 2005

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In this month's issue:

One person's music...

5 ways to shipwreck your holidays

Say what?! Paresthesias

Don't forget -
Is there something you're concerned about, or want more info on? Drop by the HeadWay MailRoom, enter your password (nomoache) and leave your suggestions!

Thanks for those of you who responded last month. I'm hoping to cover some requested issues in the January edition of HeadWay.

One person's music...

I've mentioned on occasion the benefits of listening to music when you have a tension headache.  Actually, music can be good for many types of headache.  I recently read a reviewer on amazon complaining about a migraine book, pointing out that "you do not want to watch TV with a migraine, or have soft music playing or flowers that smell in your room!"  This is often true, though not for everyone.  If a migraine gets very intense, about all you want to do (or can do) is try to sleep, keep away all outside stimulation, and perhaps lose your lunch a few times.

However, some people, even with migraine, do find certain types of music helpful.  And it's not just because it relaxes you.

Another study was done with music and chronic pain - this time arthritis (chronic osteoarthritis, to be exact, or OA).  This was a group of elderly people who were tested for two weeks.  One group listened to Mozart for 20 minutes each morning.  The other group sat and read, or just sat quietly.

Guess what?  Those who listened to Mozart were the winners - their chronic pain decreased a significant amount.

This goes to show it's not just about relaxing.  Music does do something for your brain.  It may have something to do with the type of music - I would suggest it should be something that does relax you.  And I know if you're in a lot of pain, you're not going to listen to something that irritates you anyway!

Of course, there are many other studies that have used music to lessen pain.  Music seems to do something positive to the nervous system, where a lot of headache and migraine problems take place.  One study showed patients having 6x fewer attacks when they had access to their favourite music (see articles below).  That's pretty good preventative medication!  In fact, there's a new type of music therapy being studied specifically for migraine, called Psychofonia.

So don't feel you have to listen to music when you're in the middle of a severe attack.  But then again, don't ever underestimate the power of music.  Maybe you just found an excuse to get that new album you've been wanting...

Articles with more:
  • Article about Deborah Brown, Certified Music Practitioner
  • Article about the recent study on music and chronic osteoarthritis
  • A relaxing album I mentioned last month (mostly because it's new) (and because I live near the Rockies) - Rocky Mountain Suite

    5 ways to shipwreck your holidays

    Ok, enough of the holiday cheer. If you're going to have headaches anyway, why not go out with a bang? Here's how to absolutely guarantee a lot of pain and an all around miserable year end!

    Please note - I know I'm going to get letters about this. This article is tongue in cheek. I'm not actually recommending any of these things.

    1. Binge as much as possible. Your mantra should be,"Oh, it's a special occasion." I don't mean a cookie here and an extra helping of potatoes. I mean really binge for a few days. Eat fatty foods, and try to drink as little water as possible. Bonus points if you can eat something you already know will trigger a headache or migraine attack.
    2. If you don't smoke, start now. Oh sure, you've heard about the cancer and bad breath issues, but did you know smoking is a great way to not only get headaches, but help others to join you?
    3. Stay up later than normal, and if possible get up earlier. If it's not possible, sleep in as late as you can. The more messed up your sleeping routine, the more headaches and migraine attacks you're likely to get. Better yet, don't sleep until 2006 (this is kind of a don't-pay-until-next-year plan)
    4. Remember, it's all about you. Oh, I'm not talking about taking care of yourself. I mean make the world revolve around you. If people aren't aware that you're the most important person in the room, let them know. If your family is into gift giving, try to get more than you give.
    5. Try to pin all your hopes on a specific morning or day. Tell yourself that if you're not feeling well on that day, your entire year is wrecked. Put as much pressure on yourself as you can to be chipper and cheery on that day or at that time. Pressure is a great way to make yourself sick.

    Now, in case you missed it - I'm kidding. I don't want you to wreck your week. Listen, eat in moderation, try to stick to a regular schedule, learn to be a giving person, and don't pressure yourself to be feeling great. And please, don't start smoking.

    I want you all to have a great and pain-free month! All the best in the coming year - may there be more cures, better health, and more peace and joy than ever before.

    Say what?! Paresthesias

    Paresthesias is that tingling, numbness or pins and needles that you sometimes feel when your foot falls asleep. A little of that is normal, but if it doesn't stop it could be a sign of a problem.

    This could be a migraine symptom believe it or not, especially if it's just in one arm or leg. However, if it's new to you, it's worth going to the doctor because it could be an indication of something more serious.

  • See some of the symptoms listed in CNN's health site for migraine
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