Migraines Undertreated, Misunderstood

Over two thirds of the world's millions of migraine sufferers have never sought treatment for their often debilitating illness, or have stopped seeing a doctor for their headaches. Migraine is among the most undertreated neurological conditions. The condition affects between 16 to 18 million people in the United States alone.

The syndrome is characterized by the regular occurrence of severe headaches accompanied by a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and movement. Migraine onset is often, but not always, predicted by a warning "aura." Headaches can last for hours or days at a time.

Despite the severity of such symptoms, the majority of migraine headaches go untreated because of individual migraineur's "fatalistic expectations ('my mother's headaches couldn't be treated either'), poor experiences with older drugs, lack of physician empathy ('it's only a headache'), or misdiagnosis."

Others may hold on to old myths that see migraine as merely an inevitable response to stress. The truth is that migraines occur due to a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors that are only now being understood.

The Lancet (1998;351:1043-1050)

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Migraines respond quite favorably to medical management. You can review issue #38 for information about B2. Issue #22 also has some dietary suggestions. In general though it is enormously helpful to clean up your diet. Every ten issues I will repost my dietary guidelines.

The last one is in #35 (that issue also had my garden tips) so I would review that for now, and next week I will post my updated version. If the eating plan doesn't work I generally find that biofeedback directed towards frustration (a polite term for anger) that seems to be the root trigger for most migraines, typically within 24 to 48 hours.

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