Friday, August 11, 2006

Migraines, Sinus Headaches and Brain Lesions, Oh My!

This article was in the New York Times today, and it is particularly relevant because I had a terrible migraine last night. As you know, I suffer from sinus headaches constantly, which aren't always concurrent with my also constant sinus infections. According to this latest update, there is no such thing as a sinus headache, in and of itself.
there is growing evidence that almost all so-called sinus headaches are really migraines. No wonder then that the plethora of sinus remedies on the market and the endless prescriptions for antibiotics have yielded so little relief for the millions of supposed sinus sufferers.
So I've been taking antibiotics unnecessarily, in at least half the cases that they were prescribed for, and I am a serious migraine sufferer - a category that I never thought I was in.

But the good news, of course, is that I can now pursue migraine treatment instead of sinus treatment - which should be more fruitful.
Although hard to mistake in their classic form, migraines can be — and apparently often are — misclassified as sinus or tension headaches, probably because they can cause nasal congestion, pressure or pain in the forehead or below the eyes, and discomfort on both sides of the face.

The second 'revelation' which was old news to me, is that migraines occur with the most frequency before and during the menstrual cycle. Something to do with estrogen withdrawal.

The best news of all is that I don't have a debilitating, degenerative brain lesion causing the headaches. I might have one, but it's not the cause of the headaches, anyway. And, I can return to my diet of chocolate, red wine and aged cheese, since the links to migraines have been disproved. The bad news, of course, is that I can't avoid stress, weather changes, fatigue or poor sleep.

Migraine sufferers have long been cautioned to avoid certain foods believed to bring on attacks, especially chocolate, alcohol (red wine in particular) and aged cheese. But the evidence supporting this notion is meager. More common causes include stress (positive or negative), weather changes, estrogen withdrawal, fatigue and sleep disturbances (hence, perhaps, the
association with alcohol, which can disrupt sleep), as well as overuse of over-the-counter pain medications.

So I will just have to buy a peignoir and a sleep mask to wear, and a chaise longue to faint on when the 'megrim' strikes again. Color me 'afflicted'.

Au revoir, mes chers!

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