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Colleen Doherty, MD

Headaches / Migraine

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"Eyeball This Headache, Please"

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Migraine auras classically produce vision changes. But, if you have eye pain or new vision changes, like double vision, along with a headache, than you may be suffering from a number of other medical conditions. Please seek medical attention in order to have a proper evaluation. Here are just a few illnesses that can cause both headache and eye problems.

Ice Cream Headache

Sunday April 6, 2014

I always find it difficult to buy ice cream during the cold, dreary winter months. Now that it is the start of April, I look forward to the beauty of spring flowers, sunny days, and ice cream! As an internist, I always try to encourage healthy habits and prepare meals rich in fruits and vegetables  for my husband and children. But, a little treat now and then is okay too. It's all about moderation and balance.

When indulging in your cold treat though, watch out for an ice cream headache. While unpleasant, it is does not last long.

Do you suffer from head pain when exposed to cold foods, cold water, or even cold weather? Please share your story.

Pain in My Temple

Thursday April 3, 2014

If you are age 50 or older and enduring a new headache, especially if the pain is severe and located in one or more of your temples, than you might be suffering from a medical condition called Giant Cell Arteritis or GCA. This illness is a type of vasculitis, which is a rheumatologic disorder that affects blood vessels. Of course, pain in your temple could be a slew of things, so don't panic. Rather, seek medical attention if your headache is new or following a different pattern.

GCA has unique characteristic findings that if present will help your doctor make the diagnosis. Please read more about in Pain in My Temple: Could This be Giant Cell Arteritis?

How Can I Help my Child with Migraines?

Saturday March 29, 2014

Does your child or teenager suffer from dreadful migraine attacks? Are they chronic, occurring at least 15 days of the month? Treatment is tricky, since there are no FDA-approved medical therapies for children or adolescents with migraines. Studies of pediatric migraine are also lacking. Unfortunately, a migraine diagnosis is not uncommonly missed and/or undertreated in children.

A study in JAMA, published in December 2013, examined the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy with medical therapy to help treat chronic migraine in the  pediatric population. I summarized the study and what it means in How Can I Help my Child with Migraines?

Do you have children who suffer from migraines? How are they being treated? Has your child ever tried cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Ice-Pick Headache: What is that Stabbing Pain?

Monday March 24, 2014

People who experience ice-pick headaches may suffer from a primary headache disorder, called primary stabbing headache. Learn more about this in What is This Stabbing Headache? Due to the super rapid nature of the head pain in this disorder, treatment usually entails a preventive medication.

It is a relatively rare headache disorder, but can be quite debilitating, especially for those who experience multiple head stabs or jabs on a daily basis. Please share your experience if you have been diagnosed with this or know someone who has.

The Skinny on Cluster Headaches

Tuesday March 18, 2014

I realize that I have not written much lately about cluster headaches. A cluster headache attack is debilitating, severe, and agitating. It requires the close attention of a doctor. If you forgot what a cluster headache is or want to brush up on your knowledge, here is an article on the basics of cluster headaches. 10 Facts about Cluster Headaches.

For my readers who suffer from this rare primary headache disorder, please share your thoughts and experiences.

FDA Approves Migraine Band

Saturday March 15, 2014

You may have heard that the FDA approved Cefaly, a headband device that migraineurs can use to prevent migraine attacks. This battery-operated band attaches to a migraineur's forehead with self-adhesive electrodes. It stimulates the branches of the trigeminal nerve, which is a nerve in the face that senses pain and has been linked to the pathophysiology or the "why" behind migraines.

This is the first transcutaenous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device approved for migraine prevention (not treatment!), and its approval was based off results from the PREMICE trial.

What are your thoughts? Would you try this device?

 

 

Can Ibuprofen Prevent My Migraine?

Saturday March 15, 2014

In researching migraine therapies, I came across the guidelines for migraine prevention set forth by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and American Headache Society (AHS). These guidelines were originally devised in 2000, but then updated in 2012, to specifically examine the use of NSAIDs and various herbal or complementary medications in reducing the number and frequency of migraine attacks.

Many of us commonly use an NSAID, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), to abort our migraines. But, can we regularly take ibuprofen to prevent our migraines? Read more about this potential preventive therapy in Can I Take Ibuprofen to Prevent My Headache?

 

Water? Coffee? Cocktail?

Tuesday March 11, 2014

This morning, I was plagued by a throbbing headache. And this was not ideal (it never is!), as I had a lot of tasks to complete. I mentally beat myself up a bit, thinking what I did to precipitate this nagging head pain. Was it my lack of sleep, as I cared for my infant all night? Stress? My lack of water intake and recent, excessive coffee habit?  Likely, the combination of all three.

So, I thought, how do I alleviate this headache? Do I drink more caffeine? Do I sneak in some exercise or a nap for stress relief?

I eventually drank a tall glass of water and took a quick cat nap while my children were sleeping. That seemed to do the trick. How lucky for me! As you know, it is usually not that easy. Here are some tips that specifically focus on fluid intake for a headache in What to Drink for A Headache?

Please share your thoughts as well.

 

Slow Down, Stop that Tension Headache

Friday March 7, 2014

The stress of life is ubiquitous and is unique for every individual. For headache sufferers, stress can be a major trigger and has been particularly linked to tension-type headaches, also known as "stress headaches." Sometimes, it's the simple things we do in life that help our health most. Eating nutritious foods at regularly scheduled times, exercising, relaxing, and sleeping are vital activities that unfortunately often get lost or pushed to the side in our busy lives.

Let's slow down today and take care of our needs. You might even prevent that looming weekend headache.

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