Migraine & Headache News From the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting

Migraine-related study findings presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, April 12-19.

Migraine Increases Risk of Severe Skin Sensitivity and Pain
The study found that 68 percent of those who reported almost daily headaches (chronic migraine) and 63 percent of those with episodic migraines reported allodynia, the name of this intensified and unpleasant, painful skin sensitivity. Forty-two percent of people with probable migraine reported the skin pain compared to 37 percent of those with daily or tension headache.

Migraine Frequency Linked with Women’s Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
New research shows women who have weekly migraine are significantly more likely to have a stroke than those with fewer migraines or no migraine at all, but those with lower migraine frequency may face increased risk of heart attacks.

Breastfeeding While Taking Seizure Medicine Does Not Appear to Harm Children
A first of its kind study finds breastfeeding while taking certain seizure medications does not appear to harm a child’s cognitive development.

Children with Migraine at Increased Risk of Sleep Disturbances
Children with migraine are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and lack of sleep, than children without migraine, according to research on the effects of headaches on children’s sleep patterns.

Overuse of Codeine, Oxycodone and Barbiturates Increases Risk of Chronic Migraine
People who overuse barbiturates and opioids, such as codeine, butalbital, and oxycodone, to treat migraine are at an increased risk of developing chronic migraine.

April Headache Blog Carnival Posted

The April Headache & Migraine Blog Carnival is now up! This month’s carnival focuses on basic coping strategies for living with headache and migraine. I enjoyed reading the great posts and learning about some blogs I’d never heard of:

Many thanks to Diana from Somebody Heal Me for all her hard work on the carnival.

MyMigraineConnection’s Poetry Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of MyMigraineConnection’s Putting Our Heads Together poetry contest!

  • Honorable Mention:

My Ghostly Shadow by SEG
A Rare Day
by cdelavarre
Pain Inside My Head
by thedoglady
The Thorn by Brynnwriter
The Stranger’s Eyes
by Roey

Be sure to check out all the excellent entries for this year’s contest!

Weirdest Migraine Trigger Contest

Free My Brain from Migraine Pain blog is hosting a weirdest migraine trigger contest. We’ve all got some weird ones — what’s yours? Submit it to Megan at megan[at]trufflehunter[dot]us by midnight tomorrow, April 30 Friday, May 2. You could be one of the lucky ones with a really strange trigger!

Debilitating Nausea Caused By High(ish) Magnesium Dose

white capsulesWoo hoo! I feel human again and it’s all because I stopped taking magnesium. Yep, magnesium, the wonder supplement that helps so many people with migraine and chronic daily headache. I don’t think magnesium itself is to blame, but that the dose was too high. Since I can’t even take a multivitamin without nausea, I was hyper-aware as I increased from my starting dose of 100 mg. Or so I thought.

At 333 mg per day, it was within the normal dose range for treating headaches of 200-500 mg per day. It was also within the recommended daily allowance of 350 mg. I’ve discovered that allowances and ranges are like speed limits: A guideline you’re not supposed to exceed, but that you don’t have to meet.

Practically every health care provider I’ve seen has recommended magnesium to me. I’ve taken it on and off over the last five years, although this is the first time I’ve taken it consistently for more than a few weeks. Because I’ve read so much about it and had it prescribed before, I thought I could adjust the dose myself just fine. I figured I’d be fine if I stayed at or under the RDA. I unwittingly fell for the myth that medications, vitamins and supplements sold over-the-counter are harmless.

The good and frustrating news: My overall head pain was less and I had fewer migraines during the time I was horribly nauseated. I’m guessing that means the magnesium helped some. I think once my system flushes the current round of magnesium, I’ll have my different vitamin and mineral levels tested. I’ll also make myself keep a diary of my symptoms and doses. I wouldn’t want to go through these last six weeks again. I felt horrible and was so scared of what might be wrong with me.

I haven’t had any blood tests, so I’m not positive the nausea was caused by excessive magnesium. But when debilitating nausea that began about the time I increased my dose goes away when I stop taking the pills, the evidence is strong enough for me.

What is your experience been with magnesium? Please leave a comment below or chime in on the online support group and forum.

Stress, Complaining & Coping (or Trying to Keep My Life Together)

I got home a week ago and have been doing poorly since Saturday. I felt great (compared to usual) when I was in Phoenix but, true to my away-from-home pattern, crashed when I returned home.

Meditating was a fantastic tool when I was in Phoenix. When I felt nausea or a meltdown coming on, I’d meditate with my trusty eye pillow on and be good to go in 30 minutes (90 minutes when I nodded off). Now the nausea simply won’t go away and relaxation is a joke. I can tell my baseline stress level is higher than it was in Phoenix. I fight to meditate, which only makes me more tense.

What’s that you say? Isn’t being at my parents’ house while my dad is sick and my mom is completely overwhelmed more stressful than being at home? I do love to be contradictory. I was actually helping and could see how everyone was really doing, not far away wondering what is really going on. Besides, the four of us had fun and laughed a lot. In my complicated way, it was less anxiety-provoking than living my normal normal life that I can’t keep up with.

I feel like I could mimic a vacation state if I got clutter and meals under some semblance of control. This amounts to thinking of what I should do — or could do if I were able. Hardly a good way to relax.

I have felt too bad and too drugged to blog. As I write I remember yet again that letting the words flow from my fingers is the best way for me to think. I finally believe myself when I say I’m very sick and my life is hard right now. That’s a big step.

I can usually put a positive twist on my struggles without thinking about it. I’ve had to search lately. Today I’m relying on the wisdom of mindfulness meditation teacher: “As long as you’re breathing, there’s more right than wrong with you.”

Vipassana Meditation for Chronic Daily Headache (Migraine): Clinical Trial Recruiting Participants

Meditation is highly regarded yet little-studied for managing chronic daily headache and migraine. Intensive Meditation and Migraines: Effects on Health and Well Being is a clinical trial of Vipassana meditation and chronic daily headache (the migraine sort). The year-long study includes a 12-day retreat to learn the technique. Researchers describe the study as:

Participants completing training in intensive meditation and continuing frequent practice for one year would experience reduced frequency, duration and severity of headaches along with improved awareness of the triggers of their symptoms, improved quality of life and mental health, improved heart rate variability, and reduced inflammation.

For more information on the study, see the recruiting page on ClinicalTrials.gov. Learn more about Vipassana meditation from Wikipedia’s excellent external links list.