Saturday, June 16, 2007

The pain of a Migraine in more ways than one

I wrote briefly about migraines in the last post and I thought I should elaborate more on my older son's condition. It started back in 7th grade, he began to have massive head pain, blurred vision and numbing in his arm. We ended up in the ER . Of course, we thought my son was having a stroke, it turned out to be his first migraine. Then about twice a month thereafter, he would get one and would literally be vomiting and in such excruciating pain, crying and incapacitated for hours. My kids are the type that don't cry at the drop of a hat so if they were crying, the pain had to be pretty intense. Our doctor wanted him to take a certain drug that stops migraines after they begin. I didn't want to use it. My son is an athlete and I had read some athletes have died while on this stuff because it can cause heart problems and other bad side effects. We took him to a neurologist and he suggested that he go on cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that has been around for years and has been known to help with migraines. Well it didn't work. Then we started watching what my son ate. Eliminated it from his diet, it didn't work either. Finally I read a book called, "Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz. It was an amazing book and really gave me understanding on how to treat migraines. To make another long story short, migraines can be managed by diet or drugs or both. He gives the example of a cup filling up and when it's full that's when the migraine begins. This explains why some things trigger it one time and then not the next, the cup is not full yet. Keep adding triggers, the cup gets full and then the migraine occurs. My son had to be on the cyproheptadine and have certain foods eliminated from his diet, either alone was not enough. His main triggers were cheese, cooked fresh pizza dough, caffeine in pop, and physical exercise was a big one. We almost had 100% control of his migraines after a year. Now, several years later, my son's migraines are almost non existent and he is off the drugs and diet.

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