Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It got to the point where I had no idea what a "normal" headache was. If I didn't take some kind of medication I could be sure that it would turn into a migraine and provide anywhere from 24-36 hours of excruciating pain with 12-24 hours of recovery, at about 60% of normal, after the pain disappeared.
This Doesn't Sound like Relief!
It wasn't, it really wasn't. By my early forties I had headaches of one degree or another almost every day. And almost every week I would have one or two migraines that the powders just could not get rid of. It was terrible. My social life was completely dead. I couldn't hardly go out of the house for fear I would get a headache. Whenever I went somewhere with my family it was miserable. I was in near-constant pain. Couldn't go out to dinner with my family for fear of a migraine. I was mean, angry and no one wanted to be around me. My work was suffering and I was absolutely miserable.
I had to do something different. It was at this point that I started going to doctors often for headaches. Not that I had never been to a doctor before but now I started a concentrated effort to use doctor's services. I went to chiropractors, spinologists, cranial-sacral chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, medical doctors, neurologists and acupuncture specialists; all to no avail. I received some slight relief from one naturopath that I went to but it was limited.
Along the way I heard that vigorous exercise may be a good help for migraine headaches or headaches of any kind. The thing was, I had been an exercise enthusiast for years. I had tried that several times also without a lot of success. In fact I was a avid runner. Almost every time I got back from a run, I would have a headache.
Has Anything Helped?
I am happy to say that there is one thing that I have discovered fairly recently (within the last six months) that has provided a great deal of relief. Of all the medications, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and exercises that I have used or done this has been the most beneficial of all.
1. First, it is really critical that you do this routine when your headache starts, don't wait until it becomes a full-blown migraine.
2. The Total Gym provides different levels of exercise. Level "one" is far easier than level "six". Over the time that I have had the Total Gym I have worked my way up to exercising at a level six. But when using the equipment for headaches, I lower it to a level "four". This may sound counter-intuitive but it has helped my headaches far more at a lower level than at the maximum level.
3. When exercising to the max, I generally do each exercise three sets of twelve repetitions. When exercising for headache relief I start out, as I said before, at a lower level and do more reps. For instance I often work at a level four and do sixteen to eighteen reps.
4. Sometimes, after I have completed one set of my exercise routine, my headache is gone. If this happens, I often quit and save my strength in case the headache comes back later in the day or the next day. When working out for strength I would exercise every other day. By using a lower than maximum level, I can usually work out two or even three days in a row without needing a day off. Especially if I don't go the full three sets.
5. When working out hard for strength, I will take a rest between sets. For example, I will do my set of twelve exercises and then rest for about three to five minutes before I proceed to the second. Then after the second I will rest a similar amount of time before I go on the third. When exercising for headache relief, I try hard not to rest between sets.
Here is the exercise routine that I use for headache relief. For those of you who have a Total Gym, this will be much easier to understand. For those of you who don't I have included pictures at the bottom of the article.
Exercise 1 - # 81 on the Total Gym Cards – Hamstring Stretch (nothing difficult to start with)
Exercise 2 - #5 – Incline Pushups
Exercise 3 - #8 – Chin Ups
Exercise 4 - #26 – Lying Leg Curl
Exercise 5 - #52 – Incline Situps
Exercise 6 - #84 – Toe Touch Stretch
Exercise 7 - #66 – Leg Curl with Fly
Exercise 8 - #67 – Leg Curl with Straight Arm Life
Exercise 9 - #68 – Leg Curl with Biceps Curl
Exercise 10 - #69 – Leg Curl with Upright Row
Exercise 11 - #70 – Let Curl with Seated Surfer
Exercise 12 - #33 – Outer Hips and Thigh
My strategy is to work at a level lower than my maximum. The max that I work out on the Total Gym is level six. When working out for headaches I work at level four. On my first rep I generally do each exercise sixteen to eighteen reps. After I complete the first set I take a drink of water and proceed to the second set of 12-16 reps right away, that is if my headache is not gone. If, during the second exercise I still feed a headache I will usually did a third set of eight to twelve reps.
The results I have received from this exercise strategy have been incredible. When I start this exercise routine soon after I start feeling a headache it takes away the pain after one set about 40% of the time. On the occasions where the pain is not gone after one set about 50% of the time my headaches are gone after a second (and usually a third) set. In other words, when I do this exercise routine on the Total Gym as I have described above, my headaches are eliminated almost 90% of the time, when I start shortly after the pain has started.
I know sometimes I am not in a position to exercise at all when a headache comes on. How effective is the Total Gym after I have already developed a headache? Granted, the effectiveness does go down some, although the first thing I do when I get back home to my Total Gym is my custom headache routine. I have eliminated several headaches that were very well formed with the Total Gym.
I started documenting the headache relief I have been receiving about a month ago. Since I have started documention I have had headaches to one degree or another thirteen times over this time period (November to December, 2010). Ten of them I was able to catch real early, two were pretty well formed before I got to exercise (11/29 and 12/2). In every case but one (12/19/2010) my custom Total Gym workout eliminated my headache. Although not documented, most of these occurrences start sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. So without knocking them out they would have resulted in a long day of suffering.
Do I ever get Benefits from B.P., Goodies or other Headache Medication?
The good news is, yes. Sometimes the headache gets beyond the point of exercise or sometimes I am just not in a position where I can exercise. If that is the case, I ometimes use either a Goodies powder or a B.P., but only as a last resort. But, I have to be very careful! For instance, I need to be especially cautious how many I take and how often.
First, I would recommend not taking more than two per week for fear of the rebound headache syndrome. Second, I need to be careful when I take them. I nearly always, if possible, use my custom exercise program first before I even consider taking this type of medication. And third, if I do take one, I need to be especially careful the next day or two. If I feel a headache starting to come on, I immediately go to the Total Gym, which usually knocks it out. I especially don't want to get headaches of any degree two days in a row. Sometimes I find myself exercising twice on the day after taking a Goodies or B.P. I especially don't want another headache to the degree where I need to take this kind of medication again that quickly.
Pictures of the Exercises
Here are pictures of the twelve exercises in my custom Total Gym workout for headache elimination. I sincerely hope it helps others as much as it has me!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
First let me uneqivocally state that I am not trying to scare anyone away from starting to use Topamax. Please believe me. I know that a person who suffers from frequent migraine headaches can be in a terrible state. It can be so bad that they are afraid of the next day coming because they don't know what kind of pain the day will bring. My goal is not to frighten people away from Topamax, it is only to make people aware of what I have experienced in the first couple of weeks I have been taking the pills so that they can be ready for it in case they experience similar side effects.
I was instructed to begin taking 1 pill (25 mg) of Topamax 2 times daily for one week and then to increase it to 2 pills (50 mg) twice daily for the rest of the first month. I started taking the prescription on Friday, January 9.
The following were side effects I experienced from Topamax:
- Almost immediately after I started taking Topamax, I began to feel tired. This tired feeling was a very unusual. I would have periods of normal energy for a couple of hours, then I would have periods of being very tired for about 30-60 minutes. I became tired very early at night.
- For about the first three days I also had a mild feeling of intoxication. I had to be especially careful when driving. When I found myself driving on a 45 mile per hour highway that I was very familiar with, before I knew it I was traveling 65 mph. I almost never travel at 65 on this road. I quickly realized I had to be very careful and watch my speedometer often. I also noticed a tendency to swerve toward the middle of the road easy and had to pay special attention and keep my eyes strictly on the road and not to look off to the side. This was a struggle. I was victorious by letting someone else drive whenever possible.
- I was not able to get a good, solid seven sleep for six nights. In fact, for the first four nights I only slept for three or four hours each night. I was very tired for the entire first week after I began taking Topamax.
Eight days after taking Topamax for migraine headache relief I had a serious migraine headache. I expected more help than that. It was a serious migraine, the symptoms were all there. One thing I will say is the pain in the head only reached about 70% of the normal level.
On Monday, January 18 I felt I was able to increase my dosage of Topamax for the first time (actually two days later than my doctor originally advised). I did so in the morning. Almost immediately after I took the two (50 mg) Topamax I felt so worn out that I was hardly able to function until the afternoon. I reverted back to the original dosage Tuesday.Granted, I have only taken Topamax for a week and a half and I am not condemning the medication by any means yet. Many people have had outstanding results with it and hopefully I will too. I just wanted to give people who are thinking of starting to use it the warning that they may have some side effects despite what some people, including your doctor, may tell them. The benefits of Topamax may not be as immediately recognizable on some people as others.
Check out the Feeling Outstanding Causes of Daily Headaches page.
Here's to a headache free life!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
First of all, consider the areas that we normally consider giving toward:
There are three basic types of contribution: time, financial, labor/work. All three of these have a special area of importance. Consider the following three hypothetical situations regarding giving toward your family.
1. Your niece who has recently had her first child was let go from her job. She and her husband have been struggling trying to survive on one income and are having a very hard time. She has a job interview lined up but has no baby sitter for a couple of days as her normal baby sitter is on vacation. Here is an excellent opportunity for a donation of time to help your niece out in a pinch. No, it will not be easy watching the little 18 month old who is not feeling well for 4 hours from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., right during supper time. Realize, this is what your nice needs right now. She needs help and needs it now. She needs your time.
2. Your cousin, who is married and has two children had a good job but was let go seven months ago. He has been in the house he is living in now for 10 years and has a moderate house payment. Unfortunately he was in a very specialized field that paid well, but with current state of the economy finding a job is hard. His severance package was only for three months and his unemployment benefits ran out after six months. His oldest child is a sophomore in college and his two younger children are both in high school. He has literally done everything he can to cut costs, you have seen it and you are aware of it. Yet, you know from talking with him that he probably will not be able to make his next house payment. He does have several interviews scheduled as he has been diligent in his job search efforts. He just needs a boost. Can anyone afford to give him a financial boost and help him with his rent for this month? He needs financial assistance.
3. Your brother, who lives on the north side of town, could see the handwriting on the wall. His company of 210 employees one year ago is now down to 41. Profits have dropped severely. It was clearly stated that 12 more people were going to be let go within the next month. He has only been with the company for one year and he is almost positive he is next on the list to go. He made a bold, but it sure seemed like a smart move and decided to take a job with a different company south of town. The only problem is that he will have to move from his apartment as the commute would be just too far. He needs some labor assistance. He needs some help moving.
Three types of giving: time, finances, and labor/work are all equally critical at different times. But what is the one enabling factor for all three of these? What is the one thing that makes this all possible? The answer to that is health, good health. Without good health, we don't have time to spare; we don't have the ability to give good effort or labor; and without good health we cannot earn money to share. Let's not overlook our health in these times of economic uncertainty. In fact, let's pay special attention to maintaining and building our health so that we can not only withstand the pressures and stresses that will come our way but also so that we can give to others to help them in times of need.
I hope all is going well,
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Five of the most effective natural remedies for headaches are magnesium, buttebur, feverfew, griffonia and white willow bark. All five of these natural products have been shown to reduce headache pain and frequency for some. MigraDefense (by KAL) combines these five items into one, easy to swallow pill. In my article today I will provide a product review of the nutritional supplement called MigraDefense.
MigraDefense combines magnesium, butterbur, feverfew, griffonia, white willow bark plus other elements. The serving size is 2 tablets. It is best if they are not taken at the same time. The container also says that you can take up to 4 tablets as needed. Realizing that some of the ingredients are used as a preventative, this tends to indicate that MigraDefense can also be used for immediate relief.
This is interesting as most headache medication is one or the other, immediate relief or prevention. Aspirin, B.C. Powder, Goodies or almost any of the other over-the-counter headache medications lay very little (if any) claim that their products can be used for prevention. Immatrex, along with other prescription medications may claim they do, but from my experience, many of them lead to terrible rebound headaches and do a poor job at treating the causes of headaches. Whereas most of the herbal, nutritional or homeopathic medications tend to work toward the long term benefit of frequency reduction and have limited effect on the immediate pain.
The primary ingredients in Migradefense are as follows:
Feverfew and Butterbur
Feverfew is mainly used for the treatment and prevention of frequent and serious migraine headaches. From a "well-designed clinical trial, 170 German patients took a placebo pill or an extract of feverfew for 16 weeks. Those taking feverfew had significantly fewer migraines (Natural Heath, 2007-03-01)." Butterbur is very popular in Europe as way to minimize neurological discomfort.
In 1829, scientists in Europe identified what was believed to be the active ingredient in white willow bark-a compound called salicin. Extracting salicin from herbs was considered to be expensive and time-consuming, so a synthetic salicylic acid version was developed in Germany in 1852 and quickly became the treatment of choice (salicin is converted in the body to salicylic acid). The problem was that it was harder on the stomach. At therapeutic doses, people using the synthetic salicylic acid developed stomach ulcers and bleeding.
The German company Bayer eventually created a synthetic, less harsh derivative of salicylic acid, called acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), and mass-produced it under the name aspirin. Despite this, aspirin is still known for irritating the stomach lining. People take white willow bark instead of aspirin because it does not appear to be as irritating to the stomach lining. It may be because the salicin found naturally in white willow bark is only converted to the acid form after it is absorbed by the stomach.
Researchers have also suggested that white willow bark is more effective than aspirin because of other active compounds that are found in the bark but not the drug. Animal research at Cairo University compared a willow bark extract to ASA and found that a willow bark extract was as effective as aspirin in reducing inflammation, even though the salicin content was lower than an equivalent dose of ASA.
Griffonia seeds are used as a herbal supplement for their 5-Hydroxytryptophan content. 5-Hydroxytryptophan also known as 5-HTP is an important building block for the human body to form serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in the body esspecially as a neurotransmitter to transport signals between neurons in the nervous system. Griffonia seed have also demonstrated an ability to relieve both the frequency and severity of attacks of migraines in many clinical trials. The 5-HTP content was found to be as effective in treatment and prevention of migraines as beta-blockers or methysergide.
The ingredients present in MigraDefense all have strong records in fighting headaches. If you suffer from frequent headaches, rebound headaches, chronic migraines or occasional migraines MigraDefense looks like a supplement that is very well worth a try.
Visit the Feeling Outstanding Headache Relief page for more information regarding headaches, rebound headaches, headache triggers and causes of headaches.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
5. Turn off the TV. The TVs flickering light can go through your eyelids. If you need to have noise, turn on a fan or a radio. If you have to have light, use a night light.
6. Don't have that bedtime snack. Eating makes your body perk up again as it goes into the digestive mode.
7. Avoid nicotine and caffeine in the evening. This includes tea, coffee, cocoa and any kind of chocolate.
8. If you still have problems sleeping the melantonin supplement is an excellent non-prescription sleep aid. If you feel tired and worn out in the morning after taking melatonin the previous evening, only take 1/2 of a tablet the next night.
Have a great nights sleep,
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Premium grade dark chocolate contains only cocoa butter, a fat that naturally occurs in cocoa beans. It is made up of stearic acid (34%), oleic acid (34%), palmitic acid (25), and other acids. The combined effect of all the fats found in cocoa butter is rather neutral in regard to an individuals lipid profile. Although when lower grade chocolate or milk chocolate is consumed, part of the total fat content of chocolate comes from milk fat or other types of fat, which do adversely affect cholesterol levels.
It has been noted that cocoa does not raise LDL cholesterol but dark chocolate is a very calorie-dense food. Regular consumption will add many extra calories to the daily total. It will affect those who have to watch their calorie intake. One more consideration is that sugar is listed as the #1 ingredient in many, many chocolate products. When considering overall health, sugar, without question has more negative effects than the fat content of chocolate. Sugar is a well known contributor to heart disease, insulin and blood sugar disorder, immune system issues, moodiness, leukemia, dental problems, yeast infections, etc.
In part 3 of this series we will continue looking further at the proclaimed benefits of chocolate, stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It must be mentioned though, that some isolated compounds in cocoa did show certain health benefits. If people were to consume pure cocoa, they might be able to enjoy some health benefits such as a positive effect on blood pressure and glucose metabolism. The issue is that the majority of people eat processed chocolate with all the other less desirable ingredients such as added sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, milk fats/dairy cream, etc.). In many cases the actual cocoa content may very well be less than 20%. With this being the case, the general conclusion that chocolate is healthy is much less persuasive.
In Part 3 of this series we will begin to look at the supposed benefits from a critical thought perspective.
Winter time is here. It's almost tax time which can be a big headache. If suffering from headaches is a part of your life, you may want to try the natural headache supplement called MigraDefense. It combines 5 of the most powerful natural headache remedies all in one punch. Take a look at it on the FeelingOutstanding web page.
Have a great 2009