Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of
coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.
Usual migraine triggers:
Changes in weather or barometric pressure. This is a very common trigger and, unfortunately, one that can't really be avoided.
Hormonal fluctuations associated with menstrual cycle, pregnancy (most women don't get migraines during pregnancy) and menopause (most women stop having migraines after menopause, some unfortunately continue getting them).
Some foods. Some people have Migraine food triggers; some don't. They can be hard to identify. The easiest and most effective way to see if any foods are a Migraine trigger for you is through an elimination diet where you eliminate
common food triggers from your diet, then add them back, one at a time. Foods high in tyramine are believed to be among the worst migraine triggers. There are many foods that could trigger migraine. This would include things such as aged cheese and deli meats. Caffeine (when you drink too much regularly), chocolate, bananas, cherries, coconut, and citrus fruits. MSG (found in things such as Chinese food, canned stews, soy sauce, and powdered soups). Also red wine, processed meats, yogurt, sour cream.
Skipped meals or irregular eating schedule.
Bright or flickering lights. Bright light; flickering light such as fluorescent lighting, strobe lighting, older computer monitors that have a flicker rate, sun flickering through trees along the road -- all of these can be Migraine triggers.
Sleep issues. Too much sleep, too little sleep, interrupted sleep, irregular sleep schedules, and otherwise poor quality sleep.
Dehydration. Some of people are more susceptible to dehydration than others, and it's something we often overlook as a potential Migraine trigger. Alcohol and caffeine can be dehydrating, so we need to be careful to consume enough
liquids that don't contain them.
Fragrances, chemical fumes, odors. Perfumes, room fresheners, fumes from cleaning products, and other odors can trigger Migraines, especially if encountered in a small space.
Exercise, sports and other physical exertion can be Migraine triggers.
Heat. Hot rooms, hot days, and becoming overheated are very common Migraine triggers.
There are some herbs that can help to ease migraine symptoms, but as always, there are some precaution. Never start using herbs without learning about the effect, side effect and possible interaction with prescription medication.
In my book, you can find herbs to treat nervous system conditions such as
Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium )
Feverfew has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for headaches. Migraine, cluster and tension headaches all respond well to feverfew treatments. Arthritis pain has been treated successfully with this herb, as well. This plant has also shown promise in reducing menstrual pain, menstrual cramps and promoting menstrual flow. Feverfew got its name from the traditional use for treating fevers. It is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Side effects of feverfew use may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, and nervousness. Chewing the raw leaves of the feverfew plant may cause mouth ulcers, swelling and loss of taste. Allergic reactions are rare but do occur. Individuals who are taking blood-thinning medications should not take feverfew due to the possibility of bleeding complications. Pregnant and nursing women should not take this herb. This herb is also not recommended for children, especially those under 2 years of age.
Feverfew is available in fresh and dried forms and administered through capsule, tablet or liquid extract. The usual dose for headaches: 100 to 300 milligrams up to four times daily. 1-4 fresh leaves may be chewed to relieve headache pain as well. For inflammatory and pain relief the same dosage may be used, although many people prefer the liquid extract taken at 60 to 120 drops twice daily.