Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holistic Migraine Treatment

Many people suffer from migraine headaches. These may be caused by heredity, hormonal changes, environmental factors, certain foods and other triggers. Common pharmaceutical treatments include powerful drugs known as triptans. Such drugs include Imitrex and Maxalt. Although these drugs can help, frequent use is not recommended because of the risk of adverse effects. In such cases rebound headaches can occur which are even worse. Often this leads to a person trying to use even more medication which further compounds the problem. At this point the medication becomes useless and even stronger drugs may be prescribed. More drugs, more potential side effects. Women of childbearing age, the most common migraines sufferers, may not be allowed to become pregnant as these drugs can affect the fetus.

The most recent studies clearly show that acupuncture is as effective or more effective than the triptan drugs in treating migraine headaches. Additionally, there are virtually no side effects. Treatment is usually on a weekly basis for 1-2 months. This is usually enough to break the cycle. At that point, treatments are scheduled further apart or on an as needed basis. There are essentially no contraindications.

Another type of headache called cluster headache was also just recently studied. The report appears in the Dec. 9, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report states: "To our knowledge, this is the first adequately powered trial of high-flow oxygen compared to a placebo, and it confirms clinical experience and current guidelines that inhaled oxygen can be used as an acute attack therapy for episodic and chronic cluster headache....." The report stated that 78 percent of patients reported being pain-free or having adequate relief within 15 minutes of receiving high-flow oxygen.

So, in the end, you be the judge. Safe, effective holistic treatments or piles of pills and the potential for devastating side effects.