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She is a believer in alternative medicine, she says.

What commonly triggers a migraine?

For Bob Wold, founder of the non-profit cluster headache research and advocacy organization, Clusterbusters, none of the medications he tried worked. They clamp your head down and shoot radiation into your brain, killing off part of your brain. I had been approved for that surgery at Northwestern. Clusterbusters was born from this idea, and anecdotal evidence of many cluster patients who used psilocybin or LSD to successfully stop their headaches.

Clusterbusters partnered with researchers at Harvard University, and published a case series in the journal Neurology , in which they interviewed 53 cluster patients who used LSD or psilocybin to treat their headaches. Most found the treatment effective in stopping the headaches and lengthening the remission periods between cycles.

A small pilot study—just five people—followed, in Germany, where researchers used bromo-LSD, a non-hallucinogenic form of the molecule. It was percent successful, Wold says. Green is slightly less enthusiastic about the treatment. Research on hallucinogenic treatments is now at the point where it would need a larger clinical trial, and Clusterbusters has branched out into other research, including working with Yale University on surveying the efficacy of the many medications cluster headache patients use.

The organization is also working on getting a genetic study underway to investigate the possibility that the headaches come from expression of a certain gene. There they arrange visits with senators, congressmen, and government agencies, asking for more funding for research. Some migraine medicines narrow the blood vessels. If you are at risk for having a heart attack or have heart disease, talk with your provider before using these medicines.

Some migraine medicines should not be used by pregnant women. Talk with your provider about which medicine is right for you if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Other medicines treat symptoms of migraine, such as nausea and vomiting. They may be used alone or along with the other drugs that treat the migraine itself. Feverfew is an herb for migraines. It can be effective for some people.

Before using feverfew, make sure your provider approves. Herbal remedies sold in drugstores and health food stores are not regulated. Work with a trained herbalist when selecting herbs. Each person responds differently to treatment. Some people have migraines only rarely and need little to no treatment.

Others need to take several medicines or even go to the hospital sometimes. Migraine headache is a risk factor for stroke. Risk is higher in people who smoke, more so in women who have migraines that occur with aura.


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In addition to not smoking, people with migraines should avoid other risk factors for stroke. These include:.

Home - National Headache Foundation

Becker WJ. Acute migraine treatment in adults.

PMID: www. Diener H-C, Kurth T. Migraine and stroke. Stroke: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap The acute treatment of migraine in adults: the American Headache Society evidence assessment of migraine pharmacotherapies. Silberstein SD. Headache management. Practical Management of Pain. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; chap Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Editorial team. Migraine attacks may be triggered by any of the following: Caffeine withdrawal Changes in hormone levels during a woman's menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills Changes in sleep patterns, such as not getting enough sleep Drinking alcohol Exercise or other physical stress Loud noises or bright lights Missed meals Odors or perfumes Smoking or exposure to smoke Stress and anxiety Migraines can also be triggered by certain foods.

Most common are: Chocolate Dairy foods, especially certain cheeses Foods with monosodium glutamate MSG Foods with tyramine, which includes red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans Fruits avocado, banana, citrus fruit Meats containing nitrates bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats Onions Peanuts and other nuts and seeds Processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods True migraine headaches are not a result of a brain tumor or other serious medical problem.

There are two main types of migraines: Migraine with aura classic migraine Migraine without aura common migraine An aura is a group of nervous system neurologic symptoms. Most often, the vision is affected and can include any or all of the following: Temporary blind spots or colored spots Blurred vision Eye pain Seeing stars, zigzag lines, or flashing lights Tunnel vision only able to see objects close to the center of the field of view Other nervous system symptoms include yawning, difficulty concentrating, nausea, trouble finding the right words, dizziness, weakness, numbness, and tingling.

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    Please see our privacy policy for more information. Click here to return to the Medical News Today home page. The World Health Organization WHO reports that almost half of all adults worldwide will experience a headache in any given year. A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine or high blood pressure , anxiety , or depression. It can lead to other problems. People with chronic migraine headaches, for example, may find it hard to attend work or school regularly.

    A headache can occur in any part of the head, on both sides of the head, or in just one location. The International Headache Society IHS categorize headaches as primary, when they are not caused by another condition, or secondary, when there is a further underlying cause. Primary headaches are stand-alone illnesses caused directly by the overactivity of, or problems with, structures in the head that are pain-sensitive. This includes the blood vessels, muscles, and nerves of the head and neck. They may also result from changes in chemical activity in the brain.

    Common primary headaches include migraines, cluster headaches , and tension headaches. Secondary headaches are symptoms that happen when another condition stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head.

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    10 Types of Headaches and How to Treat Them

    In other words, the headache symptoms can be attributed to another cause. As headaches can be a symptom of a serious condition, it is important to seek medical advice if they become more severe, regular, or persistent. For example, if a headache is more painful and disruptive than previous headaches, worsens, or fails to improve with medication or is accompanied by other symptoms such as confusion, fever , sensory changes, and stiffness in the neck, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Tension headaches are the most common form of primary headache.