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HeadWay, Issue #063 -- Answering Your Questions
November 21, 2008

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In this month's issue:

Answering your questions

Recent hot topics on the blog

Say what?!  Hypacusia

Answering your questions

This month I'm dedicating an entire issue to answering your questions (those submitted to the HeadWay MailRoom).  Many times in the past I've answered your questions elsewhere, but it's about time I answered a set of them together.  If one person is asking, there is probably someone else out there who wants to know!

1) Dawn from the USA was asking about Intracranial Hypertension and Migraine...
Intracranial Hypertension (formerly known as pseudotumor cerebri) is a condition where the cerebrospinal fluid in the skull has too much pressure.  It's diagnosed based on symptoms, brain scans, and spinal taps.

Intracranial hypertension is also related to Chiari malformations, and may even cause them.

Though headache is not always a symptom of IH, it often is.  And yes, IH can trigger migraine attacks too.

Here's the tricky part - when migraine and IH coexist, the IH can be missed.  In other words, it may be causing some of your attacks.  It's fairly rare, but if you can't seem to figure out where your migraine attacks are coming from after trying to track your triggers, and you have other common IH symptoms, it's worth asking your doctor about it.  You can read more about symptoms at the Intracranial Hypertension Research Foundation.

2) Romy from Australia asked if food allergies are related to migraine...
Allergy headaches are really very different from migraine.  They come on fairly quickly after you eat something you're allergic to, and are often accompanied by hives, vomiting, swelling lips, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing.  If you think you've eaten something you're allergic to, it's very important you see a doctor right away!

Food intolerance is a different story.  It's more unpredictable, and it may take longer to show up.  Usually we think about food intolerance as a trigger, which means you need to get the foods out of your diet to find out if that helps cut back on your migraine attacks.  More on headache allergy here.

3) Chris from the United States is thinking of starting a support group, and wants some advice...
I haven't done a lot of work with support groups personally.  I can see they have a lot of value - reminding us we're not alone, sharing ideas and tips.  The danger of support groups is that they fall into the trap of being only times to share complaints, or that they take the place of professional help.

Rest Ministries has information on support groups from a Christian perspective, but there may be helpful material here for anyone thinking about starting a support group.  Read their page about their own support groups here.

4) Trudy from the United States wants to know - can we expect migraine attacks to go away as we get older?
I'm afraid the answer is an emphatic maybe.  Yes, it is common for migraine to decrease or disappear, especially in women, probably due to the normal hormonal changes.  But this is not a guarantee.  Many elderly people suffer from migraine.  This is yet another reminder not to wait - but to get the treatment you need as early as possible.

5) Helene from the USA wanted to hear more about alternative treatments - especially magnesium, feverfew and melatonin.
I've already written quite a bit about these - here are some articles to get you started:
Migraine and Magnesium - new study
Can you get feverfew migraine relief?
Are melatonin and migraines connected?
Is Melatonin a help?

Recent hot topics on the blog

If you only read one post, read the first one, and pass it on to others who are wondering if their migraine attacks are "imaginary"!

Say what?!  Hypacusia

Hypacusia refers to a certain type of impaired hearing.  Usually it refers to problems in the peripheral neurosensory or conductive organs.  Hypacusia may be a symptoms of some types of migraine, such as basilar type migraine.

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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