Q. My son suffers from terrible cluster headaches. I read about a rechargeable battery-powered electrode device that is the size of a matchstick and is being called the latest headache cure. When implanted in the back of the neck, it sends signals that reduce the pain by as much as 95% for patients with chronic headaches. Can this device be used to treat people who suffer from cluster headaches?

Mistreatment during childhood can lead to physical as well as emotional pain throughout a lifetime. According to research from the American Headache Society's Women's Issues Section Research Consortium, people who endure physical or emotional abuse have a higher prevalence of migraine and chronic headaches. They also have more comorbid conditions, ranging from arthritis to irritable bowel syndrome.

If you live with chronic headache pain, then you know that it can be a serious “culprit” in your life, forcing you to miss work, social functions, and even in some cases, creating feelings of depression or failure. Pain is the basis for many discussions that headache sufferers have at NHF co-sponsored headache education and support group (HES/G) meetings, as well as with their healthcare providers, insurance companies, and family members and friends. For certain, chronic headache pain has been the culprit of many a ruined relationship and the loss of income. Chronic headache pain creates a reality that is difficult to accept. Everyone—including family members and supportive friends—has experienced some degree of pain at some point, but when your pain controls your life, or when your pain sets up a parameter of fear, check out what the NHF offers by way of support options to assist you.

Adding acupuncture to your strategies for headache prevention may be beneficial, especially for people who suffer from chronic headaches, according to German researchers who completed one of the largest studies so far on using acupuncture to treat headache. Their results were published in the September issue of the journal Cephalalgia.

Children who are overweight are more likely to have more frequent and disabling headaches than their average-weight peers, according to the first study exploring the links between obesity and headaches in children, published online in Headache. In fact, the heavier the child, the worse the headaches. On the other hand, these same kids can significantly reduce headache attacks by losing weight.

New Warning on Imitrex

Q. I've been a National Headache Foundation subscriber for many years and a sufferer for over 40 years. When Imitrex (sumatriptan) was available it was a miracle for me. I have taken Imitrex for many years, usually having my physician prescribe three packages (27 pills) for a 3 month's supply (mail order). Now my physician has limited me to only one package (9 pills) for 3 months, stating that there have been new warnings about sumatriptan use and that patient use of it needs to be closely monitored. I have always been careful not to exceed two doses in a 24-hour period, but often my migraines come in clusters and I might need to take, 6 or more pills in one week, so the 9 pills will never last 3 months. Are there new warnings on Imitrex or do you think this is an insurance problem?

Q. Yesterday I bent over to do some gardening and, boom, it triggered a migraine with sharp pain in the top right side of my head. That’s the first time a migraine came on that way. I took Imitrex® and it subsided a few hours later. Is this a dangerous situation or is this normal? Can it be from an old head injury? Do I need an MRI? I’m almost 60 and have had migraines since my 20s. They’ve become worse as time goes on, despite daily nortriptyline and atenolol. I had quite a few acupuncture and chiropractic treatments many years ago for injuries from a car accident, and even months after discontinuing them I still didn’t have any migraines. Coincidence? I want to try acupuncture and chiropractic again.

Headache is a common result of head injury and it might persist for months or years following even mild head trauma. Although it is most frequently associated with a variety of symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, difficulties in concentration and mood and personality changes, headache dominates the clinical picture. In most patients, the frequency and severity of the headache diminishes with the passage of time, and the headache usually disappears within six to 12 months. There appears to be no relationship between the severity of injury and the severity of post- traumatic headache.