Hi, my type O husband who is in his early 50's began getting cluster migraines about 3 years ago. For those of you who don't know what they are, they are very painful migraines that "cluster" around a certain time of year. They last for a couple of months and then are gone, at least until the next cycle.
He has never been headachy so this was not only a surprise, but very painful. He has gone the rounds of numerous medications. Some will relieve the pain, but the bottom line is that it does not explain "why".
We moved from the mountains of Colorado to the Denver area about 4 years ago. We had initially thought that his problem was allergy triggered. He did see an allergist who said "possibly". He was tested for a lot of things but of course you certainly cannot test for every single species of plant that is out there. He also has seen a neurologist who just says that migraines have "unknown reasons" why they occur.
He did try accupuncture one year. He did find that gave him some relief but of course these migraines do not often come on when you are able to quickly get to an accupunturist.
I had read not long ago that a person doing research said that too soft beds and sleeping horizontally was not good for people and suggested that raising the sleeping end of your bed about 30 degrees would eliminate a number of things, including migraines. We did happen to buy a new pillow top mattress right after we moved. I had wondered even before I read about the researcher's theory that possibly either the bed was too soft, or possibly there is some chemical in the mattress.
Was wondering if any of you have experienced these awful headaches and what you did to help yourself. He literally feels like he is just a walking lab experiement with all of the medications being given to him some of which are pretty harsh. Hoping that Dr. D maybe also can offer some insight into these headaches.
I used to get cluster headaches (I seem to have outgrown them - thankfully). The only thing that helped was Butabital (in combo with aspirin and caffeine). It was especially effective when taken at the first signs of an oncoming headache.
Thanks Ken. I will pass that along to my husband. I know now there are conflicting theories to whether or not caffeine helps or makes them worse. We are now with a new insurance and the new doctor told my husband to avoid caffeine. His other neurologist said to use it. This only adds to the frustration of trying to understand the right thing to do.
The first neurologist did tell my husband that the clusters do run a cycle of about 3 - 5 years and then disappear. One doctor said that they do not return for older people, another said that they could return into old age.
I was wondering is anyone heard about raising the sleeping end of your mattress to help with migraines. One person said that it was the trick for eliminating apnea as well.
There is a book by two people who did research on it (Syndey Ross Singer and Sonja Grismajer) and it is called something like Get it Up (meaning raise the end of your bed). They did research and found that a number of ailments including migraines were because we were lying too flat, too much blood pooling at the head/brain, etc. Several people told me that they have raised the end of their bed for several things, including acid reflux and that it made a difference. Have not bought the book yet but it sounds worth reading.
''Just follow the book, don't look for magic fixes to get you off the hook. Do the work.'' Dr.D.'98 DNA mt/Haplo H; Y-chrom/J2(M172);ISTJ The harder you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you!
Wow, sounds very interesting Lola. Will check it out. He is not great about drinking his water. Always on the run. But he has done this for a while and has not had migraines so we just wondered what all of the sudden happened. I will check out that book and website to learn more.
It just seemed to coincide with us getting a newer, softer bed and when I read that this might cause bad circulation in the head area and maybe cause migraines, I thought that also made sense.
I am sure there is a logical and natural reason for this and we just all have to share our ideas. He is so tired of going to the doctor and the round of pills and other treatments, I just feel sorry for him. I think there is a lot to say about natural cures!
GT1; L (a-b-); (se); PROP-T; NN Sa Bon Nim Admin & Columnist
Location: ''eternal spring'' Cuernavaca - Mex.
first thing I do every morning is fill up my 2 ltr bottle of water with a pinch of sea salt, for the electrolytes.......I make sure I drinks it up throughout the day!
''Just follow the book, don't look for magic fixes to get you off the hook. Do the work.'' Dr.D.'98 DNA mt/Haplo H; Y-chrom/J2(M172);ISTJ The harder you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you!
Thanks, We do use sea salt instead of regular salt so I will make sure he includes this. I also like to drink water with a pinch of sea salt and sometimes a little lemon or lime juice in the morning. I don't drink coffee. They say that people really need this instead of coffee to get them going because we are more dehydrated than in need of caffeine.
My first thought is that the migraines are due to allergies... I was not able to get reliable answers from standard allergy practitioners, but the NAET practitioner was able to determine my allergy levels and effect an elimination so I no longer need to avoid substances... I recommend finding a practitioner at http://www.naet.com to determine if this is a possible help.
This general balance is located on page 58 of Living Pain Free, by Dr. Devi Nambudripad. http://www.naet.com/retail/pro.....roduct_id=0965824209 It has helped me stop pain of many sorts... It may help and there are other massage treatments/points for many different symptoms.
Balance - Gently massage the following points in order for approximately 1 minute per point. The massage should NOT be painful, it should be soothing. Think positive thoughts during the massage! 1 - Back of Rt. hand, about 1 inch from edge between thumb and index finger. 2 - Top of Rt. elbow crease when arm bent across front. 3 - Top of Left elbow crease when arm bent across front. 4 - Back of Left hand, about 1 inch from edge between thumb and index finger. 5 - Top of Left foot, about 1 inch from edge of skin between Big and next toe. 6 - Top of Rt. foot, about 1 inch from edge of skin between Big and next toe. 7 - Repeat massage @ point #1. 8 - After the 7 massage points, rub hands together for about 20 - 30 seconds, simulating hand washing. REST! If the symptoms do not subside adequately, repeat entire sequence.
[Hypothesis] Caffeine, caffeine withdrawal, adenosine, and primary headache by Barry Spencer
Introduction This article introduces the theory that all primary headache, including all migraine, may be caffeine withdrawal. This article was intended for publication in a medical journal, but is written so as to be understandable by non-scientists. Hypertext links connect directly to the abstracts of referenced articles. Please email the author with your questions and comments.
BACKGROUND: Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist used as a headache and migraine medicine. Migraine and cluster headache are associated with heavy caffeine intake, and caffeine withdrawal can cause a headache resembling migraine without aura. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between caffeine, caffeine withdrawal, adenosine, and primary headache. METHODS: A MEDLINE search of studies and a hand search of bibliographies from retrieved articles. RESULTS: Caffeine use is more prevalent than is generally supposed: nearly everybody regularly ingests caffeine, including infants and children. A very moderate (100 mg/day) caffeine habit can potentiate severe headache and nausea/vomiting in normal (non-migrainous) subjects, and about half of normal subjects suffer moderate-to-severe headache whenever caffeine is denied. Severe caffeine withdrawal and migraine without aura are considered two distinct conditions, yet the two are indistinguishable from one another. Nobody seems to know or care why caffeine often effectively aborts even severe primary headaches, even though the ability of caffeine to abort primary headache offers insight into the neurochemical mechanism underlying primary headache. The near-universal use of caffeine, combined with the demonstrated ability of caffeine to potentiate a withdrawal syndrome indistinguishable from migraine without aura, suggests caffeine may be a major cause, if not the major or sole cause, of migraine without aura. Surprisingly, the possibility that caffeine withdrawal causes the entire phenomenon of primary headache is not excluded by existing experimental evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Given the near-universal use of caffeine and its ability to cause severe headache and nausea/vomiting, it is difficult to understand why the cause of migraine without aura should remain mysterious. The role of caffeine, caffeine withdrawal, and adenosine in primary headache has not been adequately examined. Prevailing theory may grossly underestimate the impact of caffeine on primary headache. An inpatient trial designed to determine how important caffeine and caffeine withdrawal are in primary headache is called for.
Thank you ABJoe and Vicki for such comprehensive information. I will check into both.
It is funny with the caffeine - my husband did not even drink morning coffee but his regular neurologist told him during cluster time to drink coffee because it dialated the veins to help circulation. My husband just started a new job so we have new insurance. He went to the new doctor and he said that there should be no caffeine and recommended that he follow up with a neurologist in their network. So as you can see, all of this conflicting info has just left my husband even more frustrated. He sees the new neurologist on 12/11 so we will see what this doctor has to say.
He had several medications that he was taking, so he had to get one of those large daily pill organizers. He would start on one, it maybe was not doing much, so they did not elimiate it but added another. Since his headaches have stopped for the season, he then had to get off of most of these which you have to do sequentially. As I said, I felt sorry for him going through so much and he truly felt like he was a lab experiment instead of a human trying to get answers and relief.
Regarding the allergies, we both still think that might be the case. The mountains are higher in elevations so the climate is just a little drier than here in Denver, but not by much. This region is still pretty arid overall. One thing happened right after we moved though. We moved to this location in July, 2002. At that point my husband did not have clusters. Then in the spring, we had a huge snowstorm that lasted for days. They called it a "100 year storm". They said that while this replenished water sources that were dry for many years, that it also woke up many plants and weeds that had gone dormant due to the drought. So we thought possibly that a plant or weed here that we didn't have elsewhere was among those revitalized and this was the problem. And, I also am still wondering if our new mattress and the theory of sleeping too soft and flat.
I will look into that information about the allergist network and read more on the caffeine and pass that along to my husband. Thanks.
Right now, he is out of his headache period, so it is probably not the best time to test this. His clusters come about mid-summer and last about 6 weeks. He noticed that once we have the first frost, that his headaches go away. That could be coincidence or an important clue but his neurologist says that it is not allergy related but an allergist he saw said there was a possibility.
I know there are home test kits for mold so we might look into that as well. We did have the furnace ducts cleaned when we moved here. They said there was a lot of construction debris in them which I guess is not unusual. People build homes and then when they are done, they move in without doing some thorough cleaning. We had thought the offices we worked in maybe also had mold or other allergens in their ductwork. We no longer work at that office but I guess that can happen to any office.
The tricky thing about these headaches is that they run a cycle, so if you are working on finding what caused your headaches and they go away, the doctor can say it had nothing to do with what you found and was just a fluke and the end of the cycle. There is a cluster headache forum called something like cluster heads - I tried going on there and asking questions, etc. They were not very open minded. For example, I posted that my husband got some relief after accupuncture. One person just razzed me and said that had nothing to do with it so I figured it was not a very progressively minded group. I think some of those forums where it is all discussion of the same ailment tend to get very closed minded.
I second getting the book "Your body's Many Cries for Water" by F. Batmanghelidj It is a great book. So many sickness, etc are actually brought on by dehydration. I can attest to the fact that drinking plenty of water can help migraines. I had them daily until I started drinking 1/2 my weight in oz of water. Headaches went away. When I got lax on drinking my water, they came back. Went away when resuming my water. Also a thought on the bed. Sounds as tho you may be in a new home. Even so, I would check to see that the floors are level and ALSO that the frame of the bed is level. You might even check the new mattress. Just to be sure that both ends are the same height. I know it is virtually impossible to check the pillow top, but the body of the mattress, you might be able to and more importantly, the box springs. Does sound as tho it may be allergies, but if I were in his shoes (and yours - tough to watch the DH in so much pain), I'd check anything that made half a lick of sense. . Is he BTD'ing? If not, that will def help, because by the time I'd found BTD, I was not so good w/ the water and also found by that time that foods were causing headaches. I'd say 95% of my headaches at that point were food related. I had a migraine alot and sometimes a sinus headache along w/ it. Double whammy! Hoping he won't have to deal w/ this yet again.
Thanks, I will try to get a copy of that book about water and put it in his hands. He is not great about drinking as much water as he should. I guess that is probably a common problem with so many of us being busy.
I just read yesterday that people who have migraines/clusters tend to live fairly far from the equator. That was from a website from a doctor in the UK. We live in Colorado, so that of course is not close to the equator but we really don't know anyone else who has the clusters. He did spend some time working on the Alaska pipeline in the early 70's so that definitely is far away from the equator. All of these factors are very intriguing but also do not tell us much.
The home we moved into was not brand new. It was built in the early 1990's and we were the third homeowner I think so it was about 11 years old when we moved in. The builder lived on our block and our house was the first on this block built and I think he lived in the home a short while, and then sold it to the people we bought it from. The couple we bought it from had teenage and young adult children. They had done some remodeling of the kitchen a little while before putting it on the market, but overall not a lot else had been altered. We had to install a new furance and AC when we moved in so at that time, we had to put up ductwork for that so my husband also had the other ductwork cleaned which is when they told us that there was construction debris in there such as dust, drywall dust, sawdust, etc. Given the low humidity of our region, we might not have a mold problem, but I also plan to get a home test kit anyway from Home Depot and try it out. Might be worth it.
I also just recently read that gluten intolerance can cause a lot of problems including headaches and sleep apnea. Our 15 yr old son (type B) has to avoid wheat because they cause a lot of stomach upset and peanuts also can do about the same. We try to avoid wheat as much as possible and I am trying to learn more about gluten. I have had a problem with losing weight and the article I read also stated that gluten intolerance really messes up your ability to metabolize right. I think it is worth a try to avoid it overall for our entire family and see if that helps. My husband said he would also work on raising our mattress!
Gluten intolerance can cause so many problems and it mostly goes undetected unless you 'slouth' it out yourself. . I would definitely check to level of the floor if the house is not new. Hope you find something that helps. Water, for sure, is a good way to start. A little sea salt w/ it. When I ever get around to posting about my adrenal test results, there will be a little info about that re: your adrenals, etc.
You are right about detecting some of these things yourself. Many doctors just don't take the time to figure it out. In the book I am reading (8 weeks to vibrant health) she talks a lot about drinking enough water and that adrenal fatigue or burnout is the cause for lots of problems. That only makes sense.
I think there is kind of a quiet uprising about people wanting more from doctors than pills, shots, surgery and tests when they feel down deep that their problem has an everyday cause and a simpler solution. Just the other day there was a quick mention on our evening news that doctors are hurriedly trying to determine why some people never get a flu shot and never get the flu or get a mild version. They actually stated that the doctors are very interested in this to see if it can help if there is an avian flu epidemic. I tried to find out more on this but there was not a link for it. Think this shows that even the Center for Disease Control maybe coming around to seeing that naturopathic or immunology might have siginificant information rather than what a drug company might be promoting.
I will check the level of our floor but it has carpet on it so might be hard to get an accurate measurement. I appreciate any and all thoughts and suggestions - sharing what we know will help all of us!
Right now, he is out of his headache period, so it is probably not the best time to test this. His clusters come about mid-summer and last about 6 weeks. He noticed that once we have the first frost, that his headaches go away.
This is a really good indicator that this is allergy related! It sounds like there is some plant growing or blooming that is causing the migraines. Unfortunately, I had experience with allergists and doctors not knowing what to do or even getting tests that are accurate!
I acheived success in eliminating allergies using NAET(link in signature). The practitioner used an electrical measurement device to measure the bodies reaction to the energy of substances to determine what the allergies are. This proved to be very accurate. She was able to eliminate food, chemical and environmental allergies, so that I am no longer allergic to these substances.
I did have to pay for her services out-of-pocket since my insurance did not cover any of it. Believe me, it was worth every penny! No drugs, no surgery, no more avoiding everything around me and being able to absorb nutrients from foods... What a relief!
Wow, that is great information and certainly something that is worth looking into. I am sure that many migraines are related to allergies or environmental irritants.
When my husband had his allergery test, the one thing he said he was allergic to was cat dander. We kind of were amazed at that since at that point we had owned a cat for at least 18 years and had adopted another. The first cat had even slept with us for many years. Incidentally he died at the end of October at the age of about 22 years! In any event, the point is all of those years with a cat in the house never triggered a cluster before this point. But then they say that clusters are "mysterious" because simply they can't pinpoint the reason or cause.
But because the doctor told him about the cat allergy then out pets were banned at least from the bedroom and we got an air cleaner that we run all the time, yet he still was getting the clusters. So I will certainly look in the link that you provided. I agree with you, even if your insurance will not cover it, it is probably worth the betterment of your life to pay out of pocket and get relief. It is just too bad that more insurance companies do not endorse alternative care.
Also wanted to add that before his first cluster, my husband thought he was getting a sinus infection. The doctor gave him a sinus medication and told him to use it three times a day. One of the symptoms of oncoming clusters is sinus or ear pain, so naturally without having one before that, he figured that was the problem. When he got his first cluster, we thought that the medication had overdried his sinuses and this was the problem but the doctor said no. He gave him a sinus med that I think normally you take once a day.
I guess in order to finally determine if it was allergery related, the doctor would have to be willing to run a sequence of tests with different families of weeds or plants. We are also going to look into raising the end of the bed. It seems to be a simple and fairly low cost effort and it is supposed to help with a number of problems because it improves your overall circulation.
colojd, the funny thing about our bodies, allergies, disease, etc, is that we tend to get by w/ consuming and doing things not so good for us for a long time. Then one day, the final drip into the cup (our body) is the one that makes the cup run over. It seems it's really a matter of 'overkill'. We do and do (and most of us did and did w/o really knowing we shouldn't) until our bodies rebel. You might look into leaky gut syndrome as well. If his headaches ARE brought on by certain plants, tree, etc, there is still an underlying cause. The cause is what needs to be 'sluthed out'. . My NP and I were just talking about this the other day. Here are a few sites to look into if you wish.
http://www.ei-resource.org/lgs.asp Taken from above site: "Leaky gut syndrome is likely to play a part in all of the environmental illnesses. All of these illnesses are characterized by a high frequency of allergy, symptoms brought on by chemical exposure, subclinical nutritional deficiencies and gastrointestinal symptoms. The increased toxic load on the body produced by a leaky gut has the general effect of making the nervous and immune systems hyperstimulated."