Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is there a correlation between car accidents and migraines?

Since my last post, I've had acupuncture visits #2 and #3.

Visit #2 was interesting...and painful. I told the acupuncturists (husband-wife team) that I had a headache, and they put needles in my hand and feet like normal. Then they asked if my headache was going away, and I said no, so they gave it more time and then asked again. I thought to myself, are they really going to keep me here until my headache goes away? Because a few thin needles aren't going to make that happen. I told them I still had a headache, so they took out the needles and said they were going to do a stronger treatment. They put about 15 needles in me - on my feet, legs, hands and head - the sides above my ears, temples, and one in between my eyes right above my nose.

So what does this have to do with car accidents? The husband of the husband-wife team felt my neck and said "oh my" etc. He asked if I'd ever been in a car accident, and I told him yes a bad one when I was a kid - like in 5th or 6th grade - but I wasn't hurt. He said, are you sure? Then he started doing an acupressure/massage type thing that HURT. I could feel it up through my head, and my headache got way worse when he pushed on my neck. Then he lifted my arm and pushed down on a spot between my neck and shoulders and did the same for both sides. It gave me a sharp intense pain. Finally, he took out the needles and put a liquid on my neck that felt and smelled like IcyHot.

He asked how my headache was. IT WAS GONE. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, it only stayed gone for 30 minutes; then I got a migraine and had to take drugs.

I'll write more about my acupuncture appointments later, but I'm wondering, is there something to his car accident theory? It was so long ago, and I didn't have a single injury except for a seatbelt burn on my arm, but the car was hit so hard it spun a few times. And I've been in two more accidents within the last few years, although I already had migraines by that point.

I decided to do a Twitter poll to see if other migraine sufferers had been in accidents. A couple of people pointed out that the poll, which is above (and the link is below), wasn't specific enough. It didn't ask, for those who said yes, what happened first - the accident or the migraines. That's a good point and a weakness in the survey; another weakness is the number of votes - 17, which isn't much for a poll. That said, I still find it interesting that the majority of migraine sufferers have had a car accident.

As much as I researched, I could not find a study on the subject. Sure, some people get headaches directly after an accident, but what about years later? And if there is a correlation, what can be done? I personally have seen a chiropractor and physical therapist for my neck/headaches, with no success.

I'm sorry this post leaves so many questions unanswered, but I'd like to hear what other headache sufferers have to say. Do you think there's a correlation between headaches/migraines and past car accidents, and can anything be done about it?


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sticking to Acupuncture

I actually don't know if I'm sticking to acupuncture, I just liked the play on words. :) Anyway, I did finally try acupuncture for the first time this week, thanks entirely to @stonetree on Twitter, who told me about community acupuncture. As you can probably guess, community acupuncture takes place in a room with chairs and anyone can walk in and have acupuncture. Because you're with other people instead of a private room, they charge a cheaper rate. I'm able to get acupuncture for $20 a session! The place I found does this once a week. The bad news is I'm in a decent-size city, and I only found one place that offers this; so if you are in a small town you may need to drive to the nearest city to do community acupuncture.

Everyone's been asking me what it's like, but it's pretty simple. The acupuncturist sticks needles in you. I'll try to be a little more descriptive though. I had about eight-ten needles in me - on my feet, the insides of my legs below my knees, elbow area, and wrists and hands. It didn't hurt until the lady pressed down on the needles after inserting them; that felt like when you push on a bruise. Also, I didn't move much because it would hurt if I moved the wrong way. The lady said that the 800mg Ibuprofen I took that morning for a headache (what else) may have masked the sensation.

The needles were in me for about 45 minutes. Someone was there when I first got there, but she was just finishing up, so I had the room to myself. The acupuncturists (a husband and wife team) did talk to me for a little while and they told me the main reason people go to their clinic is for headaches and back pain. The one acupuncturist said I WILL see results after about 4-6 visits. We shall see.

Also, they told me to take fish oil and vitamin B, so I'll be looking into that.

And one more thing - if you try this, check to make sure your acupunturist is certified!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Going Gluten Free

Lately I've been VERY optomistic about my migraines/headaches, and for good reason. It all started when I was on Twitter. I stumbled across @GFillustrator and found out that her migraines improved when she stopped eating gluten. I decided to get tested for Celiac Disease, since I have some of the symptoms. Well, turns out that I do not have it, but after all the research I've done, I've decided to try going gluten free for a while anyway, to see it helps my head and stomach.

Some of you may have already tried this or may be currently gluten free - if so, please share your experiences. If you want to try going gluten free, I'm going to chronicle my experiences on here, so I invite you to try it with me! I'll still post other things as well (teaser - I'm trying acupuncture for the first time Monday!).

The first step to going gluten free is research. Thank goodness there are lots of resources online. Here's just a handful:

* Celiac.com: this post has a list of unsafe ingredients

* What you can and can't eat, and meal suggestions: here

* Excellent headache/migraine blog with a post on gluten: here and be sure to read the comments!

* Blog that lists restaurants with gluten free items/menus: Hold the Gluten

* Blog post - You've Got Celiac, Now What?: Celiac Bites

* It's important to still get essential nutrients when you're trying a gluten-free diet, so check this out.

* Talk to friends as well. My friend told me about a local place in Raleigh, NC that will put together gluten-free meals for you to pick up if you don't have time to cook but don't know where to get gfree food either: Rosie's Plate. You may have one similar in your area.

Next step is emptying out the food in my kitchen and then adding what I CAN eat.

*6-8-09 update* This week is National Headache Awareness Week, which means there will be TONS of headache news stories, blog posts, etc. Stay plugged in this week and you might learn something new! I'm hoping the news stories won't be the same old stuff that everyone knows already. Either way though, awareness is good!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What's the best pharmacy poll results, and anniversary wishes...

CVS and Wal-Mart tied in my best pharmacy poll...but only 15 people voted, so I'm going to say the results were inconclusive. I think it's a tough call - all pharmacies have positive and negative qualities, and it depends on factors like where you live; for example, the CVS where I used to live sucked because it was the only pharmacy in the area and the lines were always long. The one I go to now though hardly ever has a line (which is odd because it's right beside a hospital). I like the bucks I "earn" to spend at CVS (on nonprescription items, of course), but I sometimes wonder if Wally World would be cheaper, or a grocery store pharmacy more convenient.

Speaking of pharmacies, ever wonder if the pharmacy tech at the window thinks you've got issues? I mean, I've tried a LOT of medications, and meds for migraines can be meds that treat high blood pressure, seizures, depression, bed-wetting and schizophrenia. No offense to anyone who has these issues, but sometimes I wonder what they think of me. A college friend of my husband's is a pharmacist and his fiancee is a patient - it's how they met. They joke that he decided to marry her, even after knowing what she was taking.

Glad my husband decided to marry me, and stay married to me, knowing about my migraine/headache issues. And knowing that those issues bring about a whole other set of issues. Happy five years, honey! (May 29, 2009)