Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book Review - Natural Cures for Headaches

I finally finished reading Natural Cures for Headaches by Dr. Cass Ingram. I loved that it focused on the CAUSE of headaches - a few examples are food allergies/intolerances, infections, hormonal disturbances, chemical sensitivity, muscle tension, high blood pressure, hypohyroidism, adrenal gland disorders, abscesses and brain tumors. The book even has questionnaires for some of these conditions to see if you might have them.

Here are my personal takeaways from the book, which of course I'm going to talk to my neurologist about before taking any action:

- Food Inolerance Test. The UNC neurologist still hasn't called me back, but I'm hoping to keep calling nutritionists to see if anyone has heard of it. Not now though, because my insurance would no cover this test or nutritionist visits.

- Migraten. I did a google search, and apparently there's also something out there called MigraTen, but this is a drug concoction and is different from Migraten. Migraten is made from natural spices and the way Dr. Ingram describes it, it's pretty much a miracle drug for headaches and migraines.

- Diet. The book says to try cutting carbs, refined sugars, white sugar and white flour. I realize that this is virtually impossible, but others have tried this and are alive to tell about it (if you have, please tell me how you did it!). I probably won't be able to cut everything, but I am going to try to cut down on sugar and eat only whole wheat pastas/breads, brown rice, etc. Note that wheat is a common allergy/headache trigger, so be careful if you do try this. Also, I plan on buying more organic foods like milk. The book says to cut processed foods and those with MSG - I avoid MSG since it makes me sick, and although I try not to eat processed foods, I'm not 100% there yet, so I'm going to work on that as well.

Other updates: I've decided to stick with my neurologist (more about that in a future post). The Naproxen was giving me rebound headaches so I called the neuro and he said I could go off it. I did it somewhat gradually and decided that the last one I'd take was yesterday morning. I thought the withdrawal headaches would be a nightmare, but they actually weren't any worse than the rebound headaches I was having. Now I'm just about headache-free! The only drug I'm on now is Bystolic (and my Mirena IUD, and a women's daily multivitamin).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update to last post and Neurologist-Hopping

The University of North Carolina Hospital neurologist, nice as he was, never called me back (see last post about the apparently non-existent food intolerance test). I'm sure he's busy, or maybe the headache neuro he spoke with didn't have an answer for me so he decided not to call. I might still try to see a nutritionist, but that's another thing - one of many - that my insurance doesn't cover, so for now I'm going to hold off.

I've been thinking about seeing the headache neuro at UNC, but that would mean I'd stop going my neuro at the headache clinic who is the 4th neuro I've seen. That would make neuro #5. And isn't a headache clinic the best place to be? I know that it's not uncommon for people with illnesses to see lots of doctors, but I like my current one. At the same time though, maybe I need someone with a different perspective. I don't know what to do.

I'm traveling this weekend and hope to get some reading in, so I'll try finishing the headache books I've started and will write about anything helpful when I return.

Have a fun, headache-free weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Intolerance Test - Natural Cures for Headaches

I've been reading this book which I checked out at the library, and I'm about half way through. The beginning mentioned a Food Intolerance Test that you can take to see if certain foods might trigger reactions such as migraines or headaches. I'm not sure who Dr. Cass Ingram is; the library sticker is over his bio, but according to my google search, "Dr. Ingram holds a Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences" (osteopathy - musculoskeletal manipulation, holistic, blah blah blah - I wikipedia'd it and still don't really get it) talks specifically about how food intolerances/allergies are the number one cause of headaches, and he goes into specifics about this test - it's a blood test that's 80% accurate, costs $2 for each food you test, etc. However, I'm beginning to think he made up this test. Google searches bring up a few lab companies and then other related tests like ELISA, which Dr. Ingram mentions and says it's not as accurate.

I first asked my neurologist about it, who said it wouldn't tell me anything because my headaches are more like tension headaches (I get neck pain sometimes and my headaches are more of a dull pain). But I wanted to try it, so I called a nutritionist, but she only did weight-loss-type stuff. The one nutritionist my insurance covers was a diabetes specialist. My insurance doesn't cover food intolerance testing. Then I tried an allergist, and they only do food allergy testing (which, if I understand it correctly, is different from food intolerance because food allergies cause swelling, shortness of breath, etc.).

On a quick side note, I'm intolerant to MSG, which gives me flu symptoms, but I found that out from going to a nutritionist and keeping a food diary, and I get so many headaches that it wouldn't help to keep a food diary. I could do an elimination diet, but I want to avoid that because of the time and trouble and plus I don't want to fast and then eat one thing at a time for a while. I might change my mind and try it eventually though if I have to.

Going back to the doctors though, so I finally tried calling UNC Hospitals to see if they had heard of the test. The sent me to different units who sent me back to the main receptionist, and finally I asked to be transferred to the neurology department. The person who answered the phone couldn't help but she transferred me to a neurologist, and he ended up saying that he hadn't heard of it but he'd talk to another neuro who specializes in headaches and would get back to me this morning. When I apologized for the trouble he said it was a learning experience for him and he was glad to help.

Unfortunately, he did not call back this morning, but I'm hoping he didn't forget about me and will call me next week.

If I don't hear from him, I might give up on the alleged Food Intolerance Test.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

FDA List - Drugs with Potential Safety Issues

I just read about this list in the newspaper - the government is now posting drugs under investigation for potential safety problems on this Web site. So far, there are 20 meds on the list; one I've tried is Cymbalta. The potential risk for that is urinary retention. Lucky for me, my body did NOT like Cymbalta. I tried it a few years ago and the morning after the first night I took it, I was in a complete daze. I had to miss work, and I pretty much just stared into space until it wore off.

Anyways though, getting back to the Web site, this is a good resource to check every so often if you're taking medications!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Food Intolerance Test

Sorry for another short post. I found out that my beloved medical insurance does not cover food intolerance tests; however, I'm going to call a doctor to see how much it would cost without insurance.

Things are crazy right now, so I haven't been able to do that yet. But I will, and I'll report my findings here!

My headaches are still there...not much else to report on really. So I'll take this time to remind all you readers that you are welcome to comment to this blog to tell your story, give headache tips, ask questions, start conversations, etc.