The first step in the nutritional management of diet-triggered headaches is eating a well-balanced diet. It is especially important to eat three meals a day with a snack at night or 6 small meals spread though out the day.  You should include a good protein source at each meal/snack (i.e. milk, meat, fish) and should avoid eating high sugar foods by themselves, especially when excessively hungry. These actions will help to prevent the 'hunger headache'. If you are taking an MAOI drug (i.e Nardil, Parmate) you need to follow a low-tyramine diet.

More than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine, with women being affected three times more often than men. They are most commonly experienced between the ages of 15 and 55, and 70% to 80% of sufferers have a family history of migraine. Less than half of all migraine sufferers have received a diagnosis of migraine from their healthcare provider. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus headache or tension-type headache.

HOW COMMON IS MIGRAINE IN WAR VETERANS?

Migraine is extremely common in war veterans. In fact, one study reported that 36% of those returning from Iraq after deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom experienced attacks of migraine-like headaches. Another study reported that 37% of soldiers with concussion injuries had headaches within one week of the concussion. Of these headaches, 91% had characteristics of migraine headache.

Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-10-20_09As anyone that has suffered from migraines can attest to, getting things done can sometimes be impossible. So what happens when you’re a college student taking a full-load of courses, working a part-time job, and trying to have some semblance of a social life? I’ve suffered from Chronic Daily Headaches (CDH) for over 7-years now, but I can say with confidence that I am living life as a successful college Junior despite my pain. I’m not saying that my headaches are gone, and I’m not saying that the pain doesn’t ever get the best of me. Being away at college, though, has provided me with a unique opportunity to take control of my health. Here are some things I’ve discovered about my headaches in the last two and a half years at college:

Hallucinogens are illegal in the U.S., but for people who have headaches so painful they’re commonly referred to as “suicide headaches,” these drugs might be the only answer. New studies from Dr. John Halpern of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School reveal that the use of psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin (found in a type of mushroom) have helped many people suffering from cluster headaches, widely accepted as the most painful kind of headache. Dr. Halpern and his team were inspired by the Cluster Busters, a group of cluster headache sufferers determined to find a cure for their excruciating headaches who have turned to hallucinogens because they believe it’s currently the only hope. Dr. Halpern conducted a series of interviews with cluster headache sufferers and found out that these types of drugs made headache attacks less painful and/or less frequent for 41% of subjects, and ended cluster cycles altogether for 52%.

While Veterans’ Day reminds us to honor the brave soldiers who fought so hard for our country, lets not forget that many of them are still fighting in a different way today. A new study from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that veterans who suffered physical injuries or developed post-traumatic stress disorder after combat in Iraq or Afghanistan may suffer recurrent headaches.

Laws against driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are understandable. But what about driving under the influence of a migraine? Megan Oltman, author of Free My Brain from Migraine Pain, presents a unique story of a woman in the U.S. who nearly has her license suspended because of her migraines. According to Oltman, the story goes like this: “Her son, who lived at home, had his driving privileges suspended and was applying for a restricted license so he could drive himself to work. Since the mother was at home, the MVC [Motor Vehicle Commission] initially said that the mother could drive him to work. The mother informed them that she could not always drive him because, if she had a migraine, she could not drive. The MVC used this as a reason to review her driving privileges, with a suggestion that they might suspend her license.”