Frequently Asked Questions
Not always, but yes – migraines tend to run in families. Four out of five migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines. If one parent has migraines, the child has a 50% chance of developing the same dis
Absolutely. You can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by identifying and then avoiding migraine triggers, you can use stress management and coping techniques along with relaxation training, and you can take preventive therapy with the right treatment. Migraine sufferers also report fewer attacks when they eat on a regular schedule and get adequate rest and regular exercise.
Commonly-used pain medications, if taken in large enough amounts, can cause rebound headaches, even the ones that were once thought of as "safe." While small amounts may be safe and effective, continued use can lead to the development of persistent low-grade headaches:
- Sinus relief medications
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Sleep sedatives
- Codeine and prescription narcotics
- Over-the-counter combination remedies with caffeine (Anacin®, Excedrin®, Bayer® Select)
- Ergotamine preparations
- Butalbital combination pain-relievers
No, allergies do not cause headaches, but they can cause sinus congestion – which, in turn, can cause headaches. The bottom line is that your allergy medication will not relieve your headache pain; you need to treat them separately.
Some of the more common triggers when it comes to food, beverages and additives include:
- Aged cheese or other foods containing tyramine (a substance formed when foods age and proteins break down), including some processed meats.
- Red wine (contains tyramine) and beer, whiskey or champagne, which increase blood flow to the brain and may have impurities which trigger migraines.
- Food preservatives/additives including nitrates, which dilate blood vessels.
- Cold food, like ice cream, which can cause brain freeze and related headaches.
- An overabundance of caffeine: While caffeine can help the body absorb headache medications more quickly (which is why you find it in common anagelics), if too much is consumed from other sources, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate), it can make you more vulnerable to rebound headaches.
Along with treatment such as Migraine Aid Plus, there are other steps you can take to avoid migraine attacks:
- Avoid taking medications not recommended by the health care community
- Reduce your emotional and physical stress
- Exercise regularly – at least 20 minutes three times a week – but don't overdo it
- Keep your eating times routine; eat at the same time every day
- Quit smoking, as nicotine can cause cluster headaches
- Know your triggers and avoid them
If you feel a migraine coming on, and can find a quite place free of distraction, these breathing relaxation techniques can help manage the pain:
- Rhythmic breathing: Count slowly to five as you inhale, then count slowly to five as you exhale.
- Deep breathing: Breathe into your abdomen and let air in from the abdomen up, then deflate it like a balloon with long, slow exhalations to induce relaxation.
- Visualized breathing: Picture relaxation entering and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply with a natural rhythm, and visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs, and expanding your chest and abdomen. Each time you exhale, imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.
- Progressive breathing and muscle relaxation: Wherever you are, switch your thoughts to your breaking. Take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly. Mentally scan your body to notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Let your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds.
- Music: Combine relaxation techniques above with your favourite music in the background. Choose music that lifts your mood or that you find soothing. There are specially-designed audio tapes for this purpose, which include relaxation instructions.