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4
OCT

Migraines: Are You Fighting or Feeding the Pain?

Filed Under: Personal Care at 9:22 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Pills

Your head pounds. The simple act of sitting up sends pulsating waves of pain through your body. Opening your eyes brings nothing but anguish, and you’re nauseous, incessantly nauseous. All you want to do is lie, curled in the dark, waiting for your migraine to pass. And so you do. You drape a cool washcloth across your face. You huddle in your bed, clutching your head, waiting for the sweet rush of relief, praying that the pain meds will kick in soon and that once they do they never stop. You are one of 30 million Americans who have suffered from migraines.  Like most of them, you probably turn to medications, over-the-counter or prescription, at the first sign of pain, but despite the temporary relief, are you certain that the medications you’re taking aren’t actually adding to the agony?

According to doctors at Thomas Jefferson University, three million Americans, at any given time, are suffering from self-inflicted headaches, headaches caused by the very pain medications used to treat them. This is because far too many sufferers (especially migraine sufferers) have developed a cycle of overuse. As soon as the pain begins, they reach for the bottle, taking a few too many pills. When the first dose wears off, the excess medication is consumed again. Eventually, it is a never ending pattern of pain, pill, pain, pill, pain, pill. The overuse leads to rebound headaches, which are treated with more medication.  And, the cycle starts again. The only way to combat the rebound headaches is to stop relying on the medication. Some doctors will prescribe preventive treatments, but there are alternative methods that may help as well.

The first would be herbs. Many herbs are known to relieve pain. Try feverfew, ginger, lavender, peppermint or linden flowers. Butterbur may also work but should only be taken for short periods of time. If you want even more help, consider, for preventive means, reflexology.  A method of massage therapy, it focuses on points on the hands and feet that correspond to various parts of your body.  By massaging them, you become more aware of your body’s signals, allowing you to anticipate a migraine earlier and more easily. Should you be unable to prevent the onset of pain, acupuncture is a safe and often recommended method of relief. The practice views headaches as energetic unbalances and addresses them as such. It may seem counterproductive to stick needles into your body when you’re already in pain, but since acupuncture has been used to treat headaches for more than 20 years, I’d say it’s worth a try.  Whatever method you choose to go with, make sure you talk to your doctor first. He/She may have suggestions, helpful contacts or words of warning. Then, start enjoying a, hopefully, less painful life.

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NOW Foods – Butterbur with Feverfew – 60 Vegetarian Capsules
Herb Pharm – Peppermint Spirits Extract – 1 oz.

 

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