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Question
Posted by: Karin | 2008/07/14

CHANGE IN MIGRAINES

I have suffered from migraine since the age of 9. Very few foods cause an onset - however it does appear to be stress related and certain medications. The migraine has always started with blindness on the right side followed by the flashing lights, nausea and then pain. The migraines were about quarterly until I started smoking then they went to one a year. When I stopped smoking they went back to quarterly. Stopped about 5 years ago - during the last year I started taking Dapamax for blood pressure and during this period my migraines have started on the left side - but not as severe as the right sidel Right side are still quarterly - left side are about two weekly. Please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Karin.

Stress is recognised as one of the commonest triggers for headaches and migraines. There are three important factors to bear in mind with regard to the relationship between stress and headaches:

1 We all have stress to varying degrees, but only in 20% of people does it bring on a headache
2 Most people cannot change their circumstances, so their stress levels cannot be reduced, e.g., we can’t change our job, our financial status, interpersonal relationships, the crime rate, the traffic – the list is endless.
3 There is a vicious cycle, with stress causing more headaches, and headaches in turn causing more stress. There is, however a benefit to this, in that if the headaches are prevented, the patients stress levels often decrease dramatically.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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