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Why “Heal Your Headache” by David Buchholz Infuriates Me

I remember just how angry Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Approach for Taking Charge of Your Pain makes me by the impassioned responses I get whenever I mention the book. I know David Buchholz’s treatment approach is effective for a lot of people. I am truly happy for them. Buchholz’s snarky attitude and shaky underlying evidence is the problem.

His conviction that that people who “fail” with his approach likely don’t follow it to the letter or are attention-seekers is offensive. And, oh yeah, he dismisses scientific research that he doesn’t agree with and blames other doctors for making themselves not believe in food triggers.

Perhaps Buchholz would label me as someone whose migraine and chronic daily headache result from a “hidden agenda.” Having a blog about it probably makes it look like my identity is so tied to migraine that I can’t possibly be “healed.” Sorry, folks, but I’d be thrilled to stop blogging because my migraines stopped sucking the life out of me.

Ignorance is his explanation for why most doctors don’t believe in a headache trigger diet:

The impression of most doctors that dietary modification doesn’t work to control headaches is based in part on misunderstanding and in part on misuse of the dietary approach. Doctors generally share their patients’ failure to recognize the important role of dietary triggers and are therefore unequipped to educate their patients appropriately.

Guess what happens? It’s yet another example of how low expectations preordain headache treatment failure (p. 72, non-contiguous paragraphs)

A few pages later, he explains why the scientific studies of food triggers aren’t true:

The failure of most of the few scientific studies that have looked at migraine dietary triggers to demonstrate a clear effect is a good example of the limitations on science in identifying truth that is otherwise obvious. Try telling a headache suffer who has had killer headaches after eating chocolate or drinking red wine that it’s all in his or her imagination. (p 77)

Can you say “false attribution”? How many people swear off a certain kind of alcohol after one horrendous night? Tequila itself isn’t the cause, but the person’s association of tequila with alcohol poisoning! The consistent lack of a clear effect in studies could be that there’s no effect. High school biology provides that lesson.

I even have food triggers, albeit none have been identified through an elimination diet, so I don’t disagree with him entirely. His poorly argued claims are unprofessional and condescending. Too bad many people overlook this because he is affiliated with a famous hospital. I know how desperation for relief drives can drive you to put faith in any treatment. While this one isn’t physically harmful, internalizing such criticism can be even more damaging.

See The Migraine Diet: Judith Warner & “Heal Your Headache” for context.

126 Responses to Why “Heal Your Headache” by David Buchholz Infuriates Me

  1. Laura says:

    That’s pretty classic behavior in doctors who DO have a god complex…if you can’t solve it, blame the patient. Certainly makes the numbers in your studies go up, doesn’t it.

    I’m so glad there are wonderful docs out there who don’t buy into such tripe. And whatever happened to all things in moderation?

  2. Diana says:

    As you already know, I can’t stand him or his self-important book. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s so money hungry and in love with himself that he can’t see straight. He does us such a disservice with his blathering.

  3. PamC says:

    Here, here!

    It annoys me just how many doctors think MD means major deity. I thought science was about changing the *theory* to fit the *facts*.

    ::rollseyes::

  4. kl says:

    Hi Kerrie,
    I recently found your blog and have been following for about a month.
    Thank you for the information, reviews, and your honestly.
    -kl

  5. Teri Robert says:

    He’s also wrong when he says “The impression of most doctors that dietary modification doesn’t work to control headaches is based in part on misunderstanding and in part on misuse of the dietary approach.” Most Migraine specialists DO recommend working to identify food triggers. But, many Migraineurs have NO food triggers. Buchholz goes overboard with the strictness of his “diet,” which means most Migraineurs wouldn’t stick with it. There are other elimination diets that are just as effective, and far less draconian.

    Then there are his absurd comments about medications…

    “Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium do not cause rebound headaches.” Yeah, right. All of the true clinical trials on rebound and the peer-reviewed journal articles that say they do cause rebound are wrong, and he’s right. I think not.

    Plus, he says that triptans and opioids have to be limited to two days a MONTH to avoid rebound. No, two days a week will keep most people out of rebound. Wouldn’t you hate to be one of his patients with frequent Migraines? What does he tell them? To go home and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen?

    Ugh!
    Teri

  6. Barbara K. says:

    I was lucky to have a pain doctor who said every individual is a case of “N.” — meaning that the world of medicine really knows very little about pain management and the infinite variables associated with any one person make it almost impossible to definitively know what type and dose of medication will work for that person. So you try, change, try again, change, and hopefully find a combination that works. One thing that worked for me was this doctor’s combination of great knowledge and genuine humility.

  7. Karen says:

    I have been reading this blog for only a short while and I haven’t read the book, but two things stand out for me.

    1- I don’t see how any doctor could say that OTC drugs do not cause rebound headaches. But I even cringe at taking a triptan drug twice a week. I’ve had rebound from those and it isn’t pretty.

    2- In my opinion, food triggers are not the whole story on food and migraine. It is possible for a migraineur to think they have no food triggers because they do not see a correlation between food and their headache within a two hour time frame. Delayed food allergies or intolerances can cause a reaction 12-24 hours later or even 2-3 days later. In my case, I couldn’t see the correlation until I was tested for IgG allergie and gluten intolerance (I was positive on the latter). Then I saw a good deal of it. Food intolerances do not cause chemical changes in the brain the way that neurologists think chocolate does. Instead, the immune system responds to something it thinks is a toxin. Each person’s response is unique to them. My body’s reaction is to cause inflammation, water retention and swelling, nasal congestion, tooth and jaw pain that eventually triggers a headache that will only be relieved by a triptan drug. I have also gotten migraine with aura 12 hours or more after eating yogurt.

    The other thing about food allergies is that moderation will not always work. Even one speck of an almond or piece of ginger and I am getting a headache for sure…maybe not immediately, but in the next 24 hours.

    Just something to think about. You may not like this guy’s book, but don’t dismiss the whole subject. I think there is something there that can help. You might be surprised to see how many migraineurs are out there on Celiac and food allergy sites.

  8. Kelly says:

    Kerrie, I love you. It seems that whenever I’m having a horrible time, you write something that reminds me that I’m not alone. I 100% agree about the book. It’s one of the 100s that I have bought with my limited disability income trying to find a way to get rid of this hellish headpain, only to be told by an author that if the pain doesn’t go away, I must really want to stay in agony, trapped in my house, having lost a job I loved (and the hefty six figure income that went with it:() If I hadn’t found Vipassana (insight) meditation, which is a school of Buddhist meditation and teaching, and your blog, I think I would have killed myself or someone else by now. I’m torn between hoping you keep up the great writing and praying that you’re relieved of your suffering. I’m going to have to go with the latter – I pray that you will be relieved of your pain and suffering.

    Thank you again for your inspiration. Namaste and metta,

    Kelly

  9. Melody Burns says:

    I found your site while doing my “usual” headache research for my newest headache and it is comforing to know I am not alone.
    I started having them in my 20′s but they became frequent in 30′s and now I am 48, they occur every couple weeks. The worst for me is that I am unable to take any pain meds for them as I become violently ill on them. One of my last headaches lasted 5 days, and I finally broke down and took two baby asprin and ended up in the hospital for several days. They ran all sorts of tests trying to find the cause. They suggested feverfew and it actually works a little. It takes away some of the intensity. Migraine meds didn’t work for me either. I recently went gluten-free and am very strict about it ,too. I thought I finally found the answer , but I had a headache yesterday from eating a gluten-free
    rice crust pizza. Right after eating it I started getting a reaction. It was weird. I am back to researching food allergies and such. I definetely know what you mean about condesending doctors. I have been so fed up with all of it. I was told I must be depressed at one point. I told the doctor the only thing that was depressing me was the headache. I can really relate to your housewife blog. I have expressed alot of the same feelings about not working full-time. Thanks for your supportive site.

  10. Gabrielle says:

    Just found this site an love it. I was beginning to feel alone in my daily struggle to figure out what drugs to take and which ball to drop because my brian is being held hostage by the big M.

    The GP that I saw was trying to tell me to spend two weeks on a rice and water diet…and to take 800mg motrin during the monthly cycle breakthrough. I won’t be spending my money on this book, it is still obvious that there isn’t enought concrete evidence and everyone’s body chemistry is just different enough that these things aren’t likely to work for most. And the root cause of migraine headaches are still just elusive enought thatthese ideas are just ideas at best.

  11. Karla says:

    I have my first neuro appt. tomorrow evening to start finding out about these headaches. They don’t fit the profile of either migraine or tension… they started after repeated cases of strep throat and then a really bad sinus infection, and never went away. The ENT says there is nothing on the sinus CT scan that would be causing these headaches (even though there are some abnormalities). I’m scared, very scared about going tomorrow. I don’t know what to ask or what they will say/do. I also take meds for depression/anxiety so I hope they don’t put this headache off on that. If anything I was doing OK and these headaches are now causing me to be more depressed and anxious b/c I am grouchy with my family and don’t feel like the best wife or mother. I hate being this way, but I don’t know what to do about it. Sorry, just scared and worried and venting.

  12. kate says:

    Hi Kerrie!

    I am SO glad that you are posting about this book again. I have commented in the past about it. I continue to be totally bewildered when people discuss this guy’s dietary ideas but never mention his harmful attitudes. Yes – it’s Chapter 9 that I’m talking about. I’m so relieved to see so many people writing to you re: his insulting “hidden agenda” theory for those who don’t get better. This guy is a real piece of work.

  13. Heather says:

    Wow, I’m lucky – two of my favorite migraine bloggers in one post. Kerrie — you always have amazing information and I read your blog every day. And for those of you who don’t know who Teri Roberts is — you should check out her sound advice and info also.

    FYI: I have been doing a migraine elimination diet. It hasn’t really helped the migraines or triggers, but anyone who suffers from Chronic Daily Headaches may want to rethink their eating habits. I’ve found so far that I have a problem with soy and wheat (i.e. everything I used to eat as I don’t eat meat). So although the migraines are necessarily gone, the daily headaches are down to a dull roar (major improvement!).

  14. Karen says:

    I read the book over the weekend. The guy is a piece of work. I can see why he pushes so many people’s buttons. But…I think he may have a point about rebound and I am giving it and the elimination diet a try. I am already eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, some nuts, yogurt, caffeine, etc. so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to add the rest. I have recently come to the conclusion that I need to eliminate chocolate, although it pains me.

    I suffered through the weekend with a low to moderate headache and took nothing for it. It finally went away on Monday and with it the neck and shoulder pain and the sinus congestion and all the rest of the migraine-like symptoms. I seem to easily slip into rebound situations, so I think I am a good candidate for this. We’ll see if it works. Luckily, I haven’t had a full-on migraine with aura since May.

  15. Teri says:

    Heather, Thanks!

    Karla, New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH) sometimes starts after an illness and sounds a lot like what you’re describing. It’s worth asking your doctor about it.

    Teri

  16. Joe says:

    HELP.
    I have had daily migraines (I think this is migraine) for 17 years. Each time it is triggered by sleep. I feel well before I fall asleep..sleep a short time..wake up with extreme temple pain, sinus fullness, heart symptoms, and now lung tightness and achy body. I have tried everything it seems…

    Anyone heard of a migraine always triggered by sleep. I have had 3 sleep studies and they say I have abnormally high amounts of deep sleep. My mom has migraines but not like this. My life is a shell of what it could be due to severe pain and symptoms every day for 8+hours each day.

    Thanks.

    ********
    Sleep can definitely be a migraine trigger. I’m not sure how high amounts of deep sleep interacts with migraine, though. Have you shared your sleep study results with a neurologist?

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  17. Kerrie says:

    Excellent comments, everyone! Thanks.

    Joe – sleep is a very common migraine trigger. It is definitely something to talk to your doctor about.

    Kerrie

  18. Kerrie says:

    Excellent comments, everyone! Thanks.

    Joe – sleep is a very common migraine trigger. It is definitely something to talk to your doctor about.

    Kerrie

  19. Bliss says:

    I have been suffering with Migraine that included Vertigo and aura. I didn’t have pain but now that the doctor has put me on channel blocker, I am having very bad headaches but no vertigo and aura. I am not sure what you is worst. Thanks for the info.

  20. Christina P says:

    Here’s the thing: we are FINALLY doing research–yes, actual research–on migraine. And the genetic studies done to date suggest that there are going to be multiple types of migraine sufferers. Now, mind you, we are just in the early stages of this research. So we don’t have all the answers yet.

    But it appears likely that each of us with migraine inherits several genes that lower the migraine threshold. However, I may have a different batch than you do. So, I might have different food tiggers than you do. Or no food triggers. Or a food trigger that is active only in the presence of another trigger, like sleep deprivation or something.

    And yes, gluten intolerance is a special case. But that’s not really what Buchholz is addressing–which is too bad. It’s worth discussing in detail, and without blaming anyone–patients or colleagues. Our understanding of it is evolving.

  21. I read the book after a recommendation from my ENT doctor who suggested that the neurological issues I was having (which did not include headaches specifically) might be migraine-activity. I was skeptical, but read the book & surprised to find that “migraine” doesn’t always mean a headache, but can include so many of the problems I’m having. So the book was helpful in that for once I found someone who thought my symptoms actually added up to something other than heart disease or a blood clot. Not to say the book gave me any helpful advice on how to control this…I’m still looking for those answers.

  22. sharon says:

    I have to say, while I found his personal attitude to be a bit pompous, I am two months on his diet and it is working. Did not happen right away. But my headaches are down to about three a month from 20 a month and I feel I have my life back. It is the combination of triggers that reaches a tipping point and thus a migraine event occurs. I understand that now. I am off all meds. Now I could care less if he is pompous,egotistical or a just an arse…what he says is valuable.

  23. neelie says:

    I have just read the book, hoping for a positive outcome. I have eliminated all medicine (I have tried everything and nothing helped) and ready for step two. I am having trouble preparing meals for my spouse and I that eliminates the certain diet items. Does anyone have any recipes? If so please please share. Neeb5688@hotmail.com I went to a whole foods store a week ago and it was mind boggling.

  24. Tim says:

    It’s ok to be upset or angry, but don’t take it out on Dr. Buchholz. Most of what the initial blog posted were based on the messages the poster believed to be implied – but Buchholz doesn’t actually say or write it. Buchholz NEVER blames the patient – in fact, his point is that OTHER doctors blame the patient. He repudiates THEM – not the patient.

    I have had the privilege of both reading his book AND being treated directly by him, thanks to my proximity to his offices and I must tell you that all of the negative character points made in ANY of the above blogs are simply misinformed. He’s actually a very kind and gentle individual – and I will admit that it almost surprised me after reading his unwavering comments in the book.

    IF YOU ARE SUFFERING from headaches, and you have tried everything else and it didn’t work – try his method. Don’t try a little bit – or even 90% of it – and then bemoan his perceived lack of sensitivity. DO it. Do the whole thing, and recognize that you have to do it for MONTHS – not days or weeks.

    I have seen 6 different neuros the last 4 years in which I have had migraines EVERY DAY – really EVERY day. The first week of Buchholz’s program, I was out of work I was so debilitated. BUT, the clouds began to lift and I just had my four month follow up where things have so dramatically improved. I’m not done yet and I’ll have to continue to be militaristic about the diet for probably another YEAR minimum, but I am no longer controlled by the headaches.

    Buchholz is not for the faint of heart, and his writing is so pointed that it will ruffle some feathers, but DON’T let that stand in the way of what may be … truth.

    Blessings, Tim

  25. Brigette says:

    I to suffered from migraines for years and then they got tremendously worse, daily migraines for hours. I went to a regular doctor for months and then a neurologist for months. We tried all kinds of meds and nothing worked. Then they recommended I read this book and give it a try. Within a month I was migraine free and have only had one REAL migraine since then and that was 3 years ago. My trigger was artifical sweetners.

  26. Paul says:

    At first i found some of the comments very condescending, but then i realised he has just written it so it is easily understandable for the majority of readers, and not just fellow md’s and neurologists. You have to accept a certain amount of arrogance from him as he hasnt ever had a migraine. HOWEVER, the ultimate outcome for me(and it may be different for others) is that i worked out my main triggers
    citris being the big one. Maybe im stupid for needing this book to find my triggers, but it has succeeded in eliminating most of my blinding, paralysing and agonisingly painful migraines where expensive neuologists and drugs have failed.
    TIP : Ur not looking for 1 migraine trigger, ur looking for a list of prolly about 10, where a combination of 5 in a 48 hr period results in a migraine.

  27. Potta says:

    I thought for awhile that you had read a different book than I did because I didn’t find this book to be anything but helpful. I was pleased to see the more recent comments posted. I did not find Dr. Buchholz to be arogant and disagreed with many of the points about his book published on this site. I find his approach and the diet to be liberating, as in freedom from daily migraine, and I am forever grateful that he took the time and effort to write it. I just hope the negative things written here do not keep someone from trying his approach and finding the help they deserve.

  28. Steve says:

    Interesting comments about sleep being a trigger. I think it’s just common sense that food sensitivities are some more of the more common triggers, but so is stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, etc. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of you probably prefer to sleep (or can only sleep) on your side or stomach.

  29. Dizzie says:

    David Bullholz is giving me a migraine!

  30. DD says:

    Dr Buchholz saved me. After becoming paralyzed and in the hospital for almost a week, with an eventual diagnosis of “you’re completely healthy except you had a rare type of migraine – hemiplegic – that caused this.” So off I went to see Buccholz after determining through cat scans, mri’s epilepsy testing, heart tests, et al, that I had no disease at play, and after seeing Buchholz who reviewed all my medical records, and changing to a diet of his parameters, I have completely erased almost 100% of the time all of my health problems I was having due to the elimination of migraine triggers. In addition, I take extra magnesium because lyme bacteria may be active in me, and they thrive of magnesium, depleting it in the host – so I supplement. In addition, if I do feel a migraine event coming on, I take advil and butterbur from petadolex – and within two hours I am feeling complete relief. Sure, Buccholz may have some condescending elements to him = but after personally experiencing the relief I know have when consistently abiding by the migraine-free diet, I’ll take his attitude on the side because the payoff is so incredible with days after days of incredibly great health now. He’s never claimed the diet cures all – EVER. And he mandates a 1-2-3 program that has been proven to work over and over again. I’m a patient of his, and have spoken to many others in his office while in the waiting room. He is a lifesaver for most people – remember not all problems are solved with the diet – and what most people seem to have difficulty with understanding is that the amount of potential triggers they ingest within a given period of time, lowers their potential migraine-triggering threshold and increases their chance of having a migraine. Here’s what I would ask each one of you to consider – first of all, know that Buchholz is passionate about helping people because he has a solution that REALLY works for MOST migraine sufferers and potentially DOES NOT include medication – just changing what you spend your grocery dollars on – he’s not about making money – PLEASE! He wrote the book to help the many who cannot come to his office – with a simple change in diet. MOST migraine sufferers WILL benefit to some degree! Now whether or not it is THE ONLY solution is based on a VARIETY of factors, which Buccholz acknowledges himself – so please see past the condescension and look to the motivation – to really help people get OFF medicine and live a quality of life so vastly improved by diet. He DOESN”T want people suffering. The bottom line is this, it’s a lifestyle change of commitment, I’ve been at it 16 months now and will never turn back because of how amazingly great I feel day after day after years of crippling migraine events. Ask yourself, have you truly committed to 100% per cent sticking to the program as outlined? If you have not honestly, then you haven’t honestly given his dietary recommendations an honest shot. Most people that know me have commented that they could never stick to it the way that I have. I tell them that if they suffered what I was, and know daily lived with the relief, then yes, they would find a way to make the change. My best to all of you migraine sufferers – remember triggers are individual, only some things on his list may be your triggers, not all, but you will need to do the elimination diet to make it work.

  31. DG says:

    I encourage you to take a look at reader reviews of Buchholz’ book on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0761125663/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    Hundreds if not thousands of readers and patients have found success with his approach. I got off all abortive drugs other than the occasional Advil, got put on a prophylatic (Verapamil), stuck religiously to the diet have been almost entirely migraine-free for more than 5 years. This after a decade of debilitating headaches and dizziness at least once/week.

    True it might not be for everyone, but as a long-suffering migraine patient whose earlier doctors had NEVER discussed rebound headaches from medications and NEVER discussed food triggers beyond the obvious caffeine, red wine, etc., this book and Dr. Buchholz were a godsend.

    I’ve spoken to countless migraine sufferers since having success with this approach, and have been suprised to find many were NOT willing to trade life-long eating habits for a potentially migraine-free life. On at least 3 occassions people who had spent months debilitated from migraine said things to me like “I can’t give up my Snickers bars,” or “Pizza? Can’t live without that” or “Without my glass of red wine at night? Forget it.” So to me the problem seems to be less one of an arrogant doctor, and more one of patients not willing to — for at least a month — make radical changes to their diet and medications.

    Most of all — IF YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IT, HOW CAN YOU DISMISS IT?

  32. Sue says:

    When I met Dr Buchholz I had lost all hope. I had suffered from tradition migraines for 25 years, when the symptoms suddenly changed and I began vomiting every 3-5 days for up to 10 hours without the traditional migraine ‘headache’. This would land me in the ER with dehydration far too often. This persisted for over two years with 17 tests from multiple doctors, none with answers. It came to the point of gconsidering and trying to get into the Mayo clinic. Then I met Dr Buchholz…who informed me that I had a rare condition of stomach migraine. Within four weeks of fully committing to the diet and getting off of medications, I began to see improvements. It has now been 9 months and I can go for long stretches of time without getting sick. When I do find myself sick, without fail it was from not exercising or traveling/ eating out where I have less control over ingredients.
    There is no bigger fan or believer in this method. It works for me. Dr Buchholz’s personality holds little relevance to me when compared to the impact he has had on my life. What I do know is that he has my respect and appreciation for being so passionate about helping others with these very difficult conditions.

  33. Kayla says:

    So… Almost finished with his book. He pisses me off too. But you know what pisses me off more? All the BULLSHIT i’ve been fed about migraines and allergies by Dr.’s that don’t know what they are talking about over the years.

    I’ve ignored his attitude, cut out all the B.S. in the book, and looked straight at what he is trying to say to the reader. Ignore what you’ve been doing, it’s not working. Ignore what you’ve been told, it’s wrong. Here’s another aspect, and another point of view, and ya know, it makes a lot of sense. He doesn’t say that EVERYONE has all triggers – he says that avoiding all triggers is the easiest way to determine what causes your headaches. If you start with a blank slate you can add things back in, and keep them if you they don’t mess with you. It’s a good plan, and it makes sense.

    Personally – I can’t follow it. I don’t really eat anything on his list, except peanuts and some dairy – my allergist said I needed more protein because I was having issues with being Hypoglycemic. Turns out that’s part of migraine as well, and the peanuts and dairy were making my headaches WORSE. Oh well. I have a milk allergy and my boyfriend has a peanut allergy. Guess i’m just a step 3 kind of girl.

  34. Andi says:

    Wow. I’m a teenager who has been struggling with regular migraines for a few years now. I read the book and found it very helpful.
    Its interresting to read your opinions and compare them. Hm…

  35. Stephen says:

    DG your right!!! “Most of all — IF YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IT, HOW CAN YOU DISMISS IT?”

    I’d love to know how many of the negative posters actually stuck to the diet. He’s arrogant and sounds like an a-hole? WHO CARES!!! I’m 28 and have had migraines all my life. It really sucks and I feel like I’ve missed part of my life to them. Why wouldn’t you want to try his diet if so many had success with it?

    I read the book and am on week 2 of the diet and you know what? IT SUCKS! And its tough not to eat pizza when your at a pizza party but tough s@#t. Or to go to a restaurant and can’t eat anything everyone else is eating. But unfortunately we were all dealt with the wrong cards regarding our craniums.

    Just got a headache today and usually it would last 48 hours but after about 8 hours it was gone! Gone with no meds! I’ve read every post on Amazon (233) about the book and there are MANY positive posts. So please dont knock the diet until you try it. Please try it, it will help.

  36. Donny O'Smokem says:

    “Heal Your Headache” changed my life. I had incapacitating sinus headaches several times a month. I changed my diet and paid attention to the “stacking” of triggers and have had a 90% reduction in headache frequency.

  37. This is my first time on the website and I guess I am not surprised at the comments on Dr. Buchholz’s book “Heal Your Headache” since I am a have had migraines for 36 years and have been through 4 neurologists. I have been seeing Dr. Buchholz for the last 3 years and I have to say that he has changed my life. I have gone from chronic daily headaches to just recently having one or two a month. I follow the diet religiously and take daily preventatives recommended by Dr. Buchholz. Dr. Buchholz is the most attentive neurologist that I have had and truly understands how all of these medications and foods affect your system. If you haven’t 100% followed his plan, don’t knock it. It has taken me 3 years to get to this point, but I feel the best I have felt in many, many years. I try to tell other migraine sufferers to get the book, read and follow it, but few are willing to implement it 100%. It is a huge commitment, but in the long run, it will change your life.

  38. Alison in Fairfax, VA says:

    I am seeing a neurologist in Alexandria, VA who has read Bucholz’s book, but doesn’t recommend the diet (too restrictive, he says). I can actually stick to the diet, it’s the going off the meds that scares me. I am alone in a new city with my daughters (ages 5 and 2), my husband works in Utah, and I’m afraid that if I don’t take the triptans that I’ll be incapacitated and unable to care for my daughters. I only started getting migraines 2 1/2 years ago, at age 37, and they were far and few between, until this fall, when I started getting them frequently. I am now up to once a week. Has anybody found success with steps 2 and 3 without first cutting down on the triptans? (I only take one dose per migraine and don’t take OTC pain killers unless I have a migraine)

    ********
    The people I know who have had rebound headaches from triptans take them at least three times a week, usually more. A triptan once a week doesn’t seem like a problem. What does your neurologist say?

    Kerrie

  39. Vicki says:

    I had severe migraines for over 10 years and went to see at least 12 doctors including a well known neurologist, an internist, and 3 pain clinics. Finally I stumbled onto Dr. Buchholz’s book and did exactly as he recommended and my migraines stopped immediately after the initial withdrawal headache from caffeine that he cautioned about in his book. I had no migraines during the two months that I eliminated the trigger foods and drugs from my diet like he recommended in his book. When I slowly started reintroducing his trigger foods into my diet I found that caffeine (including chocolate), msg, citrus, nitrates, and sulfite gave me migraines. Now that I don’t eat or drink any of them I don’t have migraines. I also get migraines from certain pain meds like vicodin, midrin, imitrex as he states in his book. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Buchholz for the research he did and the book he wrote. I was close to suicide — the migraines had gotten so severe that I had quit my job and almost living like an invalid. To all the doubters out there, get a copy of the book and do exactly what he says to do. It gave me back my life. Also I don’t miss the trigger foods AT ALL and and have even found a wonderful organic wine from South Africa that I buy at Central Market and Whole Foods that doesn’t have sulfites that I can drink without risk of headaches — Stellar Organics Shiraz

  40. Vicki says:

    Allison,

    I took triptans too for years and was scared to leave my house without them. I stopped taking them cold turkey after reading Dr. Buchholz’s book. At the same time, as I stated in my post #39, I also stopped eating the trigger foods he listed in his book. I haven’t had a serious migraine since then in October 2005. The only headaches I’ve had were when I started introducing the trigger foods back into my diet or I occasionally eat something at a restaurant with msg in it that causes a headache. My migraines became severe in the 90′s when Starbucks opened so many stores and I frequented them about twice a week. Also after a trip to Italy I fell in love with red wine.
    Also after an injury I was taking vicodin for pain, then midrin and imitrex for migraines. I was getting a triple whammy of caffeine, sulfites, opiods, and triptans. I was in bad shape. So in answer to your question, I stopped all triptans and pain meds at the same time I eliminated all trigger foods just like he said in his book. I am so grateful to him for his book and live a full life now. Don’t be afraid to stop the triptans! I was afraid too, but so glad I took his advice.

  41. Linda says:

    I am trying to find more information about triptans and rebound. Would it be a rebound if it has been 5 or more days since your last dose? On page 48, Buchholz describes how the blood vessels swell when the med has worn off, which would make me think that it is only a rebound if the migraine starts soon after the triptan has worn off. What has your experience been going off of triptans? My experience is that once I get a migraine going, they last from 2-7 days, whether I take the triptan of not. I seem to have anywhere from 5 to 12days in between these marathon migraines, which makes me think it is not a rebound issue, but I would appreciate hearing from others about their cold turkey experiences. I’ve been sticking to the diet, but may have other triggers.

    ******
    It can take as long as six weeks to reset your system from rebound headaches. Sorry, I know that is a mix of good and bad news.

    You can ask others about their experiences with rebound headaches on the forum: http://www.thedailyheadache.com/forum/

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  42. Jen says:

    I just read Dr. Buchholz’s book this past week. I was having severe migraines every day. I have had migraines now for the last 5 years. I recently got off of the birth control that I was taking for the last 5 years. I also stopped taking the “quick fixes” he referred to. Before this week, I needed a Maxalt, Imitrex, or Relpax to even function. I took one at least 6 days days a week. Sometimes I had to take two a day. So far, I have experienced 3 migraines this week. They were all severe, but I resisted taking anything but ibuprophen, tylenol, or naproxen for them. I also used an ice pack and have been getting to sleep with Diphenhydramine. Does Diphenhydramine cause rebound??

    Thanks,

    Jen

  43. corina says:

    Have had headaches for some 18 years off and on and have never had any help in explaining to me about migraines until I read “Heal My Headaches” by David Buchholz`s. It has given me so much understanding and control of what I can do to help myself…..as many doctors and other treatments I have tried haven`t worked. I am still working on my headaches but I think its a great book.

  44. katarina says:

    Me too!

  45. Tsia says:

    i found buchholz’s book really helpful but can understand that one size does not fit all with migraines. in fact 100 sizes wouldnt work.

    one note here: the diet he recommends matches almost item for item the ayurvedic diet i had been practicing previously for migraine, IBS etc. i thought that was a curious correlation.

    the trigger for me is caffeine. once i eliminated that completely i no longer needed fiornal. i still get them as frequently but the intensity level is way way down.

  46. Dean says:

    I want to know how many people were given this book by a KAISER doctor? I’m guessing this is the majority of patients out there! Prove me wrong.
    Dean

  47. pam says:

    Has anyone has success with hormonal migraines? The kind that aren’t triggered by food but are triggered by monthly hormone shifts? I used to get simple headaches with an occasional migraine, but since perimenopause set in I can count on being in bed for 2-3 days every month. I’m tired of it.

  48. John says:

    Hi fellow headache sufferers,
    I’ve been having headaches since my teens and recently they have got a whole lot worse. I’ve been on a low fat (weight watchers) diet for past few months and although I’ve dropped 3 stones in weight my headaches have become really intense.
    So I thought I’d see what mr Google could magic forth for me. :) Which took me to Amazon with the very well reviewed book you mention in your blog.
    I’ve been diagnosed for donkeys years with sinus headache but on a recent ent exam and camera up nose jobby I was told that whatever my headaches are they are not coming from sinus as although not fully clear, it is also not that bad.
    Back to the GP who basically said that with headaches over many years it’s highly unlikely that a cause or diagnosis can ever be found and thus no treatment beyond pain killers. And with no flashing lights or visual disturbance its definitely NOT migraine.
    I was less than happy with this and insisted on a hospital appointment which I am waiting for.
    In the meantime I thought I’d do a bit of my own research.
    The book you mention above does present a radical new view that I have not heard before. Of the 3 reviews on Amazon UK they all say they have benefited a great deal from the therapy. The first reviewer says that when he bought the book off Amazon there were 250 reviews with 245 all positive comments. So your review seems in sharp contrast. In my own case I can say that I have altered my diet considerably to go on the diet and also that during this time my headaches have got a whole lot worse. I don’t know if there is a connection there somewhere in diet but I think i will buy the book and give it a go. It does seem to work for many people even if you don’t like aspects of this doctor’s ideas or attitudes.

    On another discovery I made recently on Google was a news item on the BBC web site that said that doctors in a London hospital were trialing a new treatment for migraine that has come forth because many migraine sufferers that had had heart attacks were seeing that there migraines had totally gone after the heart attack. This was theorised to be because the cause of migraine is small blood clots that get fired into the brain and then cause a bad migraine as the body fights to clear them. The magic treatment that is pointed to is a heart / blood anti clotting drug called clopidogrel. This is being trialed now in the London hospital. I don’t know if you or your readership were aware of this but I thought I’d tell you about it.
    Check out this news item in the Independent Newspaper: http://bit.ly/K5els

  49. Gena says:

    I’m about halfway through Dr Buchholz’s book. my husband of 3 years has suffered from migranes since he was 8, he’s now 30. I’m learning a lot from this book. The way he explains the threshold and the stacking up of avoidable and unavoidable triggers makes so much sense to me. It explains why sometimes my husband gets headaches from chocolate or wine one time and not another. The book describes food triggers as one of the “avoidable” triggers that a patient can control in a list of things they may not be able to control such as stress or weather. I do most of the cooking and shopping in our house and I’m finding it difficult to find things that don’t contain various forms of msg (I had no idea it was in so many things by other names), sulfites, nitrates. But realizing how many of the trigger foods we were eating is incredibly eye opening.
    He’s also tried all the migrane meds out there (triptans). All give him rebound among other terrible side affects. Nothing worse than seeing your loved one writhe in pain for hours or days and not be able to do anything to ease the pain. My husband has been treated by doctors in the past the way Dr Buchholz described and it has stripped him of hope when they throw a new drug at him and tell him to stop drinking coffee and eating chocolate. This book at least gives a more explanation of the why and how.
    Some good news is that we have found a new Dr who has been very patient and listened to everything my husband had to say without making him feel like he was making things up or not doing what he was suppose to. She has put him on Lyrica taken him off everything else that past Dr put him on (triptans, oxycodone). He is feeling better, less pain and the other day he even said he didn’t have a headache. We’ve stopped the OTC stuff as well, no more excedrine for him. The daily headaches are a little more manageable and the worst migranes are shorter in duration. I’m hoping for even better results when we go on the Headache diet.
    Tip for other headache sufferers: Not a cure but a comfort is a little aromatherapy. My husband likes lavender and especially peppermint when he’s having a headache. some applications: peppermint lotion on the feet, a little essential oil on the temples or an aromatic hydrosol to spritz your face and/or pillow, a few drops of essential oil in a bowl in the shower for a sort of aromatherapy steam.

  50. Laurie says:

    I found Dr. Buchholz’ book tremendously enlightening – his threshold/trigger theory just makes sense to me. I went cold turkey today on eliminating the triptans… I’m scared because I have a big headache and want to take my Zomig badly, but I’m going to hang in there as long as I can. If I don’t find something that works, I’m I’ll end it all.

  51. Annette Lalonde says:

    Hi,
    A friend of mine lent me her copy of David Bucholz book 6 years ago and I haven’t had a migraine since. Six years ago, I was taking 10 to 12 triptans per month. In addition to the pain, I had extreme nausea sometimes vomiting over 12 hours at a time. The nausea was worse than the pain. I once passed out while vomiting.

    I’ve since suggested the book and even bought it for many people. Those who seem to have success with this method are those who have severe nausea. It makes sense since the body is trying to expel something that it doesn’t want.

    I don’t find it hard to eat according to the recommendations in the book. In fact, I think my meals are wonderful and healthier than before.

    I’m truly sorry for people who haven’t found relief from their headaches. I know how much you are suffering. I hope that you find a solution.

    Annette Lalonde

  52. joe says:

    I know why you get headaches now…

  53. Laurie says:

    I’ve just starting reading Buchholz’s book and was so happy to find that finally someone was recognizing all my odd symptoms as migraine. I can’t even count how many doctor’s I’ve been to and how many tests I’ve had (all normal) because of my sudden onset of daily headaches and migraines, vertigo, passing out, tinnitus and others that started 3 months ago. No other doctor wanted to put one illness to cause all of the separate problems until I read Buccholz. I’ve been on the migraine elimination diet for 2 months now and while the frequency of migraines is about the same, the chronic daily headache is pretty much gone. Now that I’ve started his book, I’ve eliminated the triptans, so we’ll see what happens- I admit I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

  54. Margaret says:

    I stumbled across Dr. Buchholz’s book while I was going through a menopausal stage of increased migraines (3-4 per week) that I was treating with Imitrex. Actually, I think the Imitrex was causing rebound headaches, since the number of headaches increased after I started using them; my cardiologist suggested that the triptan could also have caused/contributed to my sudden appearance of mitral valve prolapse, which I had, no doubt, inherited but was dormant until then (the triptans all warn against heart-related side effects). This was the first publication I found that completely described the whole migraine syndrome I had experienced since childhood and also addressed the possibility of rebound from medication. So I decided to try the diet recommendations; cheese and caffeine were the hardest to eliminate, and I admit to using decaf coffee and tea still. The intensity and the number of the headaches lessened immediately, and I was able to continue my job, which is fairly stressful. I may still get a headache every 7-10 days, but I can usually take ibuprofen and continue to work. If they get severe, I take an Imitrex which works in an hour, but I limit myself to 1-2 per month. I think the remaining headaches are triggered by perfumes, chemicals, and other inhalents. I just found out that I have a gluten sensitivity, so I am adding that to my elimination diet and may have further food senstitivity testing, in hopes that I can determine specifically which foods are most problematic. One other interesting benefit of the diet was that my fiance who also the same food at lunch and dinner got terrific relief from GERD. It turns out that the anti-inflammatory dietary recommendations for this problem are quite similar. We read labels, mostly use fresh foods, and cook simply from scratch to make delicious, quick meals.

  55. Helena says:

    Pam, Apr 27: A couple thoughts about migraines with hormone changes. That’s how mine started when i was 27. So i thought no matter what I did to treat migraines, that wouldn’t change (meds didn’t prevent them). 1- A friend found a gyn who got her on natural progesterone and estrogen creams for menapause symptoms and her migraines disappeared. She used one in the a.m. and the other in the p.m. She’d had a couple migraines/mo prior to menapause, but they’d gotten worse with menapause. 2- I’m about 4 months into Buchholz’s 1-2-3 diet and experiencing much relief, even during my hormone changes. My period no longer guarentees a migraine.

  56. Thank you all so much for your comments! I’m so happy to see that many other people think that this man is crazy!! Unfortunately, the neurologist in my PPO is a follow of this Dr. and requires his patients to read and follow this book. I read the book and was horribly offended by the attitude put forth by Dr. Buchholz. I did go ahead and eliminate “trigger” foods. My migraines are just as intense and frequent as ever. I really need help!! What do you do if you have a doctor who believes you basically “want” to have migraines? Trust me…this is not the life I want to live!!

  57. rita guthrie says:

    Read ( along with his book ), ” Battling the “MSG Myth” by Debby Anglesey, and anything Michael Pollan has written before you decide any of them are off base. They are ‘right on’ and I am SOLD. I am one of the fortunate ones who already knew ( by my own trial and error ) just what triggered headaches and irregular heartbeats in me. I was affirmed by all three of these folks ion their writings!
    Michael Pollan is ‘my hero’ ! Sorry others who have written here are having misgivings and continued problems.
    p. …..triggers aren’t always food though…and YES sleep is a trigger too as are lights and sounds.

  58. Nina says:

    I don’t care about his attitude. Almost all doctors have an attitude. His book saved my life from daily pain that I suffered for 9 years. It’s so worth reading and trying. Anyone who can read analytically can see through the bias and get to the meat that can really help them. Even if there is NO evidence to support his claims, I’ve got the evidence in myself of being able to stand up out of bed in the morning without falling over in pain.

  59. Terrie Ray says:

    All I know is that Heal Your Headaches…worked for me. To my way of thinking, if it doesn’t work for someone else, that doesn’t mean that the information contained in Heal Your Headaches… is incorrect–it means that something else is going on for those who don’t get relief. Buchholz came off to me as knowledgeable, not egotistical. But whether he’s egotistical isn’t important; whether the Heal Your Headache…plan works IS. It is a difficult regimen, true; there’s very little that I like that I can eat anymore. But the plan reduced my headaches overwhelmingly after 13 years of blinding pain. I do empathize with those who try the plan and still don’t get relief–but it gave me my life back–and according to blogs, has done the same for many, many others.

  60. Kim says:

    I haven’t read all of the previous comments, but I get the general idea that most of you think that the migraine diet is rubbish. Well, I am assuming then that either (a) you have all successfully gotten rid of your migraines or (b) have tried the migraine diet “to the T” and it failed. If not, then I ask you, why not try it out? I have been getting migraines for years, and I have just started this diet and almost immediately felt my head clearing. So he takes a hard approach to his diet, well maybe we all need a kick in the backside every now and then to stop us from feeling sorry for ourselves as we consume another cup of coffee/chocolate/glass of wine/what ever it may be.

  61. lifeskeptic says:

    I know this an old article, but I stumbled on it during some research I’m doing to assist someone I know who has chronic pain. They have this book, and because of following it have become quite sick in ways because the removal of certain things had helped diminish their pain, but alternative steps were not properly taken and the book was accepted as doctrine. Not the author’s fault for excess, but I saw many holes in the book right from the jump, as well as decent info on certain things he mentioned. Overall, my initial take on it is that it is a narrow, close-minded approach that doesn’t show enough alternatives for things removed from the diet and doesn’t tell people who to remove the problems, only the triggers, not that it doesn’t help alleviate pain, symptoms, or help identify triggers for some people.

    I don’t agree with most doctors, including this guy, but only in part. To me their problem is that they have a very narrow approach to “treating” symptoms. They don’t look for root causes, or correlations between deficiencies and triggers. Rarely do you see them cure or heal people in the true meaning of the word.

    I’ve noticed that many (if not all) who follow this pattern of jumping to the finish line without running the race ignore things that seem blatantly obvious to me. They look at headaches, or whatever the ailment is, as if it’s in a vacuum. They seem to completely ignore the overall health and function of every part and system of the patient’s body and how they live their lives. Why? Examining the playing field is a great way to properly diagnose things and rarely do you see these “doctors” doing that. The person I know has been to so many doctors and specialists in the past 15 years and hasn’t found any help, and it seems half the things I find on my own were never even mentioned to them by these people who are supposed to be experts.

    But doctors in general are not often researchers, which seems retarded, so they don’t go through logical steps prior to treatment or diagnosis. They follow the same bad patterns they were taught and never grow.

    If someone eats something with tyramine, it might not be the tyramine agitating the nerves and causing a headache. They may in fact have poor eating habits or built up damage to the digestive system and ailments to the intestines which prevents efficient protein breakdown, allowing the tyramine (and a host of other toxic chemicals and pressor amines) to be released into the body. If you don’t find out about their digestive system, and just tell them to eliminate tyramine, well you’re probably just eliminating protein rich foods which their body has a problem breaking down, the headaches subside or diminish, yet the problem still persists in the person’s body.

    Ego is always a problem with doctors, and regardless of who they are, or how many plaques they have on their wall, they need to start sucking up their pride and start doing better jobs of thoroughly investigating their patients before claiming to have all the miracles. Just as great teachers say they never stop learning, doctors should always be researching, and they need to not only focus on eliminating symptoms but get down into the nitty grit of what is going on by reverse engineering the pain an examining all of the variables before forming a conclusion and spreading the word to the world.

    It’s funny though how people who claim others are close-minded, turn around and have close-minded theories of their own.

  62. willowwren says:

    Like the poster before me, I stumbled on this blog while doing research on migraines. Despite it’s age, I felt complelled to post regardless.

    I have suffered from migraines since the 5th grade. I have many other relatives that are also migraineurs. Migraines are debilitating and vastly misunderstood as I am sure you will all agree. However, unlike the author of this blog, I was greatly relieved and validated to find “Heal Your Headache”. Let me explain why.

    In my early twenties, after growing up witnessing my mother bedridden with excrutiating headaches and many, many trips to the ER, my own headaches began to worsen. My family doctor gave me a pamphlet on migraines that mentioned food triggers and the importance of avoiding them. The literature futher explained that what is a trigger for one, may not be a trigger for another, and due to the varied body chenistry of each of us, we need to learn, via trial and error, what directly affects us. I was never one to rely on medication, so I attempted to learn what my own triggers are in order to take control of my disorder/disease/issue whatever you like to label it.

    Over the years (I am 38 now) I learned that my body is very sensitive to sugar, salt, and caffeine. I cannot eat sugar substitues or salt replacements. Even decaffeinated beverages can trigger a migraine. In short, I learned to make a lot of foods from scratch, avoid prepackaged foods, stay WELL HYDRATED with water, and get plenty of rest. This allowed me to live relatively migraine free with the occasional use of asprin and acetaminophine (sp?) to ease headache pain. Sound familiar folks?

    While I was online doing reasearch for a cookbook, I stumbled on “Heal Your Headache” and checked it out from my local library. I was thrilled to find a doctor out there who had 20 years of practice with headache patients who finally UNDERSTOOD my issues. I felt so relieved and validated!

    I understand what you folks refer to as arrogance, condescension and ego. Yes, I notied that in his tone of voice, too. But don’t dismiss what he has to say. Please, please give his methods a try perhaps keeping my own experiences in mind, and maybe you can find a difference in your health. It is not impossible!! TRUST ME! I do it every day…just stay patient and keep the faith. God Bless.

  63. Roni says:

    I have just finished the Buchholz book recommended by my newest neurologist. I have suffered from “migraine” since my late teens in various forms. I came to a similar conclusion, from trial and error, that there has to be a “mechanism of migraine” and that “threshholds” exist. With my headaches, it was rarely a 1 trigger = 1 headache equation (unless it was MSG). I began reading labels, paying attention to what preceded my headaches and when they occured in my cycle etc… From then, I only got them infrequently, during particular periods of stress – until recently.

    I believe if you detox, you can lower your threshhold for migraine – I’ve done it. However, what happens if your uncontrollable triggers are plotting against you?

    I have been told I have developed “sinusitis” – yet I have no official allergic reactions to anything. My headaches are returning in full force (minus the arm numbness)- which I will admit to being less stringent on my diet… While no doctor can confirm it, I feel I must be entering menopause and I have developed epilepsy – which means daily anti-convulsants (did I mention most claim headaches as a common side-effect?). I cannot take most other drugs as they interact with my epilepsy meds… so, what do I do?

    Buchholz is very anti “alternative aides” – like massage therapy and relaxation, heat/cold compresses… Well… I haven’t heard of “rebound massages” (frankly, I wish I had! 2 for 1!) or “rebounding stress from relaxation”, and if the body is “inflamed” then it logically seems “ice” would help. I have to use all of these to keep my head “above threshhold (water?) with all the other factors warring in my body.

    While I think his general premise is workable, there are a few kinks to sort out; some help for the fringe people who do follow “the diet”, but require some “non-rebounding” help. It is a good explanation of the many faces of migraine (maybe too many faces… I don’t know) and how a dietary approach can solve a lot of headaches – especially for those who do not eat well (fast food, processed etc…).

    I will attempt to take out all the dietary triggers he lists even if I have never had the slightest reaction to them before. Why? Especially for women, we change. Our chemistry changes with time – mine in particular with time and meds. Perhaps this will reset my “new chemistry” threshhold to zero… I’ll let you know.

  64. Kristy S says:

    I was very skeptical of “The Migraine Diet”. I am still skeptical as I have been dealing with Migraines for 20 years now. I have been on the “Diet” for about a month now and still working on Detoxing. I have Detoxed our home of ALL chemicals that may trigger migraines as well as my diet. I think the cleaners, candles, body wash, lotions, etc. have helped more than the diet so far, but I am hopeful. The company I found is on the internet and I order monthly or bi-monthly all household products. It is amazing how much that has helped…I have never had a Dr. tell me to take Toxin’s out of my home to help my headaches, I found this on my own. It may help other’s of you on this site. I can recommend the company to anyone who wants information. johndksr@yahoo.com

    I have been to so many Doctors, clinics, and pain specialists it is unreal! Not one wanted to “help” me. I have tried every drug that has been created and used to help Migraines. They would work for a few months and then I was back where I was before so the Doctor’s would up the dosage. I am under 100 pounds and at times I was on a dosage for someone 3 times my size! Needless to say I was either a Zombie or had all kinds of other problems from so much medication. I finally came to the conclusion I was sick of not “being myself” and I stopped taking ALL migraine prevention medications and stopped relying on the ER for a quick fix. I do suffer more, but am hoping that by deleting most triggers it will help. I know I cannot control the weather, and I live in Kansas, but I can learn to hopefully raise my threshold so I can live somewhat normally.

    I have shared the book with my sister and a few other people that I know who suffer Migraines. I do believe though that each one of us is different and every headache sufferer has different triggers. It is a hard road to suffer and an enormous burden for our “families” and friends to bear. I know how I suffer when I get one, but I also how hard it is for my family to have to leave wedding’s early, or Christmas. I am filled with guilt and I also have considered giving up at times. Because no one believed I was actually in pain. I had so many Doctor’s tell me I need to relax I stress myself out too much, or you just need to find a new job, or learn to deal with pain better. I literally thought I was alone and losing it and started to believe I made myself “sick” on purpose. Dr. Buchholz’s book did show me that I am not alone, there are so many people who “silently suffer”. I do see how the book seems to be written somewhat condesending but I also know it changed my own personal view on “what headaches are”. I understand that I can’t help them and I need to learn to “find” my triggers if I can. I was recommended the book by my umteenth Neurologist, she also advised me to start taking B-12 twice daily, magnesium 400 mg daily-preferably 200 mg twice daily, and CoQ10 twice daily. I take daily vitamins that are all natural only. I do NOT sleep more than 2 hours past my normal alarm time on the weekends, and I try to stay more active in the evenings and on weekends.

    I want to live more normal and not have everyone worry about me being “okay”. I am at the point I will try anything that is NOT medication. I am glad I found your blog Kerrie, I hope you are doing better and have found some sort of relief. I wish there were support groups for people like us…I live in a rural community and everyone just “deals” with things on their own, so I look to the internet for support.

    Thank You all for posting and I wish everyone well and hope we can find a way to help ourselves.

  65. Mary says:

    I have to say that I am so grateful Dr. Bucholtz for writing his book. It has changed my life! I have suffered from migraines since I was a child, I am now 40 years old. The past two years I have been treated at a very reputable headache center on the east coast and was just getting worse. I have heard of Dr. Bucholtz a few years ago and found his book on-line. After reading it I strictly followed the diet. I went through 10 days of living hell. I was taking triptans 3-4 times a week. I have had 2 triptans in the past 2 months! I am having headache free WEEKS! That is unheard of. I tell everyone I know about his book. I just don’t know why anyone with migraines wouln’t follow the diet. Amazingly people I know that do have migraines tell me “It is too strict” or “I can’t give up coffee.” Well if they truly suffered like I did I think they would do anything. My goal is to get off all medications and control my headaches through diet and a healthy lifestyle. So I thank Dr. Bucholtz for writing his book and sharing his infinite knowledge in trying to reach out and help so many migraine sufferers. I hope anyone suffering from HA would be able to see the advice he is offering to help and take the positive from his book and utizile that. Getting angry will do nothing but add to your migraines. Best of Luck!

  66. Kristen says:

    Have you followed his 1-2-3 plan? I have to say that although I was skeptical at first, I have been following his program for about 2 months now. After years of trying to control my headaches while watching them worsen, my migraines have improved dramatically; in fact, the only migraines I’ve had since have been caused by factors I can’t control (ie, hormones), but I’ve gone from having about 15 migraines a month to 2. Pretty amazing. The biggest factor has been cutting out the triptans (in my case, Frova). But I know that discontinuing my daily regimen of 3 cups of coffee, followed later by several ibuprofen and a microbrew, didn’t hurt.

  67. boni says:

    I agree with those who say that Dr. Buckholtz’s diet is worth a try. I can be strict with my diet, no problem. The problem for me is this: What do I do in the meantime since I can’t take my resuce meds?? I’m still having daily migraines and I have to, HAVE TO, work. I can’t just stay at home with an ice pack. Dr. Buckholtz says to suffer through all of this, but…jebus. It’s tough. The diet can take up to weeks or even months to show improvement. What about the 40-50 headaches I’m going to have until then??

  68. Tivesse says:

    I read this book Oct 31, 2008 and just cried with relief. Finally, someone understood the hell I had been going through and all the weird range of symptoms from acute vertigo to inflammation and sensitivity of my neck.. From Nov. 1, 2008 to today I have followed this to the letter and have wonderful relief. Not all at once. I became his patient Nov. 2009, and found him to be a very gentle, caring, listening, and respectful doctor. I didn’t sense any arrogance!! Meeting with him regularly we worked through additional triggers of Nexium, and my getting enough sleep, etc. This isn’t a diet…it is a lifestyle that acknowledges that I have migraines and I have to manage that. Please stop with the self-pity. Discipline is good for the character. Yes it was difficult in the beginning to figure out how to do this…but I’ve got plenty of foods I can eat. I’m figuring out how to eat out… Life is so good. It is scary to be different than societal “norms” and the foods that are labeled “good” but are actually potentially hurtful to migraine suffers (avocados, bananas, nuts) but we aren’t all the same and there are rarely any easy answers. If you are tired of the pain, incapacitation, please try ALL of the book — INCLUDING EXERCISING EVERY DAY. And, then, think about meeting with him personally so he can find anything else that may be holding you back from being You! I wish all my fellow migraine sufferers health, peace, and joy.

  69. boni says:

    Tivesse: “Please stop with the self-pity. Discipline is good for the character.” I’m sorry, but your lack of empathy as a migraine sufferer is kind of off-putting. Most of us would willingly eat only brown rice if we knew it would help our migraines. I know I would. I have been following Dr. Bucholtz’s diet and advice on meds for over three weeks now–24 days to be exact and have been VERY strict about it, too. Out of those 24 days, I have had a migraine for 15 days, without taking medication except twice. This is not self-pity; this is determination. I’m glad these things are working for you, but for me, not really (so far, anyway). Basically, I am suffering a lot just to find out if this will work for me.

  70. nurse with headaches says:

    I’m a nurse and a migraine sufferer. I found Buchholz both full of it and useful. I recommend him to my patients that have migraines. But I tell them to use what they find helpful and throw away the rest.

    I think his theory about triggers stacking is very useful, why one time you can gorge on chocolate and be fine but another time you can’t. I think his recognition that all headaches are vascular, his recognition of climatic pressure etc.

    I tell my patients to look at this food lists and see if any of them make them realize that its a trigger for them. That his diet is pretty unrealistic but they might recognize a food from the list that they didn’t realize was migrainogenic and cut it out with good results. The one food that really helped me from his list was cutting out the fresh yeast breads.

    His advice to only use triptans 2 times monthly, especially bullcrap. I think most of us know when we’re getting rebound. If you’ve got a life to live, you’ve got a pill that allows you to function you’ve got a right to use it. Especially those of us whom doctors have been attempting to get us to take narcotics 3 and 4 times a week as if that was going to help anything. NO I don’t want narcotics, I want my headache to go away and if imitrex works I’ll take it as often as I need to.

  71. BS says:

    I am fortunate in that Imitrex solves the problem for me nearly 100% of the time. I went from agony to complete relief. So which is easier, pop a pill once a day or go on this strict diet?

    I had been limiting amount of Imitrex usage, so have been getting by for a few years with Excedrine taking the edge off and only using Imitrex when that didn’t work. But lately my stomach has been acting up so I am thinking I should stay away from Excedrine and use just Imitrex. But this is almost a daily occurance.

    I order my Imitrex from India so it is cheap enough, less than $1 a dose. I just went to the internet to see if there is a reason why Imitrex is limited to 9 or less doses per month? It looks to me that it is just because Insurance doesn’t want to cover more. So hopefully I will be OK with using more frequently. I am going to give it a try at nearly daily usage.

    I don’t have a lot of faith in the elimination diet. I completely fasted for over a week and still had migraines. I also tried just fresh juicing machine diet for 10 days and still had migraines, so it doesn’t look like food is triggering my problem.

  72. Still learning says:

    To BS – Fasting or insufficient food intake causes migraines for me so I wouldn’t consider it a useful approach to finding out what your food triggers are, if any. I’ve also found that if I can manage to get a decent meal inside me during a migraine that the migraine is less debilitating. (Sadly, I rarely want food when I have a migraine.)

    One of the best pieces of advice my doctor gave me is to try and keep all things in moderation and as regular as possible and this includes sleep, exercise, food intake, etc. This certainly helps but by no means prevents my migraines, doubtlessly because they are usually hormone triggered and I get two per menstrual cycle, my cycle usually taking around three and a half weeks. That said, I’ve just had a blissful almost four weeks with only threats of migraines and no migraine and am expecting to be free for another week at least. I haven’t resorted to any medication.

    Since I also appear to suffer from Vestibular Migraine (also called Migraine Associated Vertigo, I believe) I suffer more from more than just the headaches. These symptoms also seem to have receded during this time and the only changes I have made are in my diet. I am eating less cheese and yoghurt, etc. and am eating legume and alfalfa sprouts regularly. So it makes me suspicious that there are more factors at play diet-wise than I had realised and I will be buying that book and reading it cover to cover. Maybe it won’t help all of us but that doesn’t mean it’s no good.

    I don’t expect to find a lot of trouble with following the diet because I’m already very strict in my eating due to food allergies and dropped tea, chocolate and chocolate drinks in pursuit of less migraines, which I think reduced the severity, although not the number. A lot of people have said over the years how sad it is for me that I miss out on so many nice foods but I always reply that it’s no real hardship since I much prefer my better health over the foods that make me ill. Quite frankly it amazes me that people would prefer to keep their coffee, wine and chocolate when dropping them could give them an enormous boost in their health.

  73. Deborah says:

    Kerrie – Your website is wonderful for us migraine sufferers. I realize I am making a comment on your blog re: Dr. Buchholze that you wrote four years ago, but I am struck by the fact that you said that you stated that you felt that you had food triggers, but that “none had been identified through an elimination diet.” I am not sure, but does that mean that you shot this guy down without even trying his program? I am about to try it, and was just curious.

    *********
    I have tried many elimination diets, but have never been able to identify a trigger during one of them. It’s been more about noticing patterns in my regular eating — i.e. I notice I get a migraine every time I eat peanut butter — then seeing if the migraines get better when I stop eating it.

    Kerrie

  74. Brad says:

    All these people with negative comments about Dr. Buchholz and his book are misinformed as to his message and methods. My daughter started having migranes when she was 9. We went from specialist to specialist and got nowhere. None of them would treat her because she was a kid. Then we got an appointment with Dr. Buchholz. He helped us identify her dietary triggers, which we eliminated and he prescribed a calcium channel blocker to mitigate the symptoms. Dr. Buccholtz explained that the biological mechanism for causing migranes was a constriction of the capelaries in the brain and that the calcium channel blocker aleviated the pressure there in the same manner that they would alleviate high blood pressure. The drug he prescribed, Verapamil was inexpensive and safe, unlike all these designer migrane drugs. Within several months there was a noticible difference in the frequency and duration of my daughter’s headaches. She is now 18, and has learned to manage her migranes so that they don’t control her life. She doesn’t consume caffine and steers away from MSG. Those two substances seem to be her triggers. It takes a really smart doctor to identify a medication that is approved for treatment of one condition and apply it to another effectively because he understands the microbiology behind the condition. If not for David Buchholz’s help, she would have endured a childhood of suffering.

  75. Lynn says:

    Does anyone have vestibular migraines with vertigo and head pressure? Any suggestions? I have been suffering from them for 1.5 years now and I cannot tell what the triggers are. It is pretty much present 24 hours a day (the dizziness/vertigo) but some days are worse than others. I have cut out chocolate, caffeine and red wine and it has helped maybe a tiny bit. I have read the book but need to follow it more closely.

  76. Anissa says:

    I am not sure about the whole “blathering doctor” part but Dr. Bucholz’s book literally saved my life. Being a migraine w/aura sufferer I was addicted to not only Excedrin Migraine but to numerous other meds. Once I read his book… I went cold turkey with everything! I stopped the Excedrin Migraine, the birth control pills and all the other meds that my Neurologist had me trying. I also corrected my diet as he recommends. I am sure that his book is not for everyone but to be so ridiculously negative is, well, rather childish. I now have “headaches” around that time of the month that I subdue with his regiment of Advil and Tylenol only. I have ruled out numerous food triggers and I feel great. Good luck to anyone out there that reads these negative posts.. try to not buy off on what is posted and do try it for yourself to make your own judgement as to whether his methods work for you or not.

  77. Marianne Richardson says:

    Dr. Bucholz’s book has been one of the most important resources for me on my road to improving on migraines, which were incredibly severe. There is no doubt that, if you follow his regimen, you WILL identify any food triggers that you may have. Of course, you must then be religious about avoiding your food triggers and about reading all food labels. Once in a while, a new trigger will present itself — for me it was inulin, which is now used in a number of products. I must follow a strict sleep schedule and get regular exercise. Because my migraines got worse after menopause, I recently began going to a gynecologist specialist who prescribed for me a low dose bioidentical estrogen replacement, which has been helpful. I also just started botox injections and take a have taken a low dose of Topamax and a muscle relaxant, all prescribed by a headache specialist. But — ultimately, as migraine patients, we are ON OUR OWN to do the research and ASK for certain regimens, because doctors won’t volunteer it!

  78. Susan says:

    I, too, have had severe migraines since 1995. And they have been diagnosed as hypnic or the alarm clock headache. I’ve tried Melatonin, Inderal, Topomax and Elavil as preventives. And I’ve used Amerge, Trexamet and Zomig as acute meds. I’ve kept a log for years and my trends were stable – least number in a month was 10 (summer), most was 18 (spring and fall). I got the book from a friend. I, too, went cold turkey on Zomig. I thought about what he says about food triggers. Because the only food trigger I had not cut from my diet was coffee, I cut it out entirely. And I put back in everything else. As he discusses in the book, it’s not all dairy, but certain types of dairy (smoked, aged, fermented), etc. I got that, that makes sense to me. I’m into my 5th week of NO migraines. My life has completely changed, I feel I have a life now. So I don’t care about his arrogance or his specious science, I’m so relieved to not get migraines, right now, this week, that I would recommend the book to anyone.

  79. Lyn says:

    I would have to agree with you that David Buchholz’s attitude leaves somewhat to be desired. I intend lending my copy to my doctor (if he hasn’t got his hands on one by the time I’ve finished reading my copy) but it will be with a very clear comment that I dislike David’s attitudes and disagree with them. My doctor has never made me feel like I’m a problem patient and we’ve certainly had some spectacular failures while trying to manage my migraines. (On one occasion I had to be admitted to hospital due to a rare but highly adverse reaction to a drug.)

    However, it seems there has been enough anecdotal evidence of foods that can trigger migraines and that is the important part of the book. I’ve only been on the diet a short while but already seem to be getting extremely good results.

    Bear in mind that there are triggers which are almost impossible to avoid and for some people, diet modification won’t make any difference due to their sensitivity to those other triggers. I know a girl who has notices up at her local church to explain to people what to avoid in the way of perfumes, et cetera to enable her to attend without adverse reactions. (I love visiting that church! :D )

    So it’s a matter of balance; don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. For some of us following David’s advice works and for some of us it doesn’t. Hope those in the latter category get some answers soon.

  80. Jackie says:

    Heal You Headache has been extremely helpful to me. I am still working out which foods are my triggers, and trying to get 8 hours sleep/nite, which Dr. Buchholz recommends. I wonder if anyone knows a good list of tyramine levels in foods. There must be a website, book, or organization that publishes this! Tyramine is a BIG trigger for headaches, according to Dr. Buchholz. But he doesn’t give a complete list. Thanks for any help! Jackie

  81. Merna says:

    David Buchholz’s book seems to be a a fantastic god-send for me so far..(got a hold of it only 3 weeks ago)…I’ve been gradually eliminating the foods he says are triggers. It seems the most important one for me is the coffee (even though I’ve only had about 12 oz. a day for years and it was always 1/2 Decaf)…I’m now totally having Decaf..8 oz. a day; I’ve gone from 3 headaches a week for a long while now to 6 days without them and a slight one in between…and I’m very optimistic. So far missing only Sharp Cheddar cheese and bananas…I’ve been Gluten Free since July although this isn’t mentioned in the book but I decided not to stop that at this time. Does anyone know what the difference is between fresh baked bread and bread that is a day old…I didn’t get what that was all about. Also, any input about the Tyramine??? anyone? This is a great blog…I almost didn’t read further because I was so turned off by all the negative remarks which mostly sounded like they were written by folks who either didn’t try the program, or did’t like the idea of the program, or were just angry in general…Anger offers no relief for headaches IMHO…

  82. Carol says:

    I agree with Merna. The plan outlined by Dr. Buchholz has been the ONLY help I have found in suffering with decades of chronic migraine. If anything, the only snarkiness I found was in the attitude of my current neurologist (a top Boston neurologist I might add) who discredited any potential help that Dr. Buchholz’s recommendations could give because it is not scientifically proven and because the diet is “too restrictive” and I should try to “eat local.” This said even in light of the relief I expressed I was finding following the elimination diet after years, like most of you, of a merry go round of in my case OTC overuse, fioronal abuse, triptans, precription NSAIDS and narcotics, ED visits, yoga, acupucture, chiropractic, craniosacral, biofeedback, etc, etc, etc. Dr Buchholz is very up-front in his book that there is not the science (YET) to prove some of his ideas, but it is his patient’s relief and successes that prompted him to write the book. He’s not selling anything, not asking you to make an appointment with him…..so why all the resistance here?

  83. Amy says:

    I had the read the Buchholz book after years of migraines and months of daily migraines. I started with the diet and after a 6 month wait had the misfortune of meeting him. He is an arrogant, self-important insensitive, never had a migraine in his life, doctor. His whole attitude, in person and in the book, is he knows the answers and if you don’t get relief it is not his fault. He offered no support, sympathy or empathy. He could figure out why my migraines went from being managed to suddenly going out of this world, without any change in diet or use of medication. He did not want to hear about my particular patterns or how my migraines might differ from the other patients he sees. he didn’t care; he has it in his bloated head what to do and nothing about the individual matters. When I, naturally, I expressed concern/fear about getting off the ‘rescue’ meds cold turkey, given that I had to keep working and I was already losing days)that I should re-read chapter three (which talks about anticipatory anxiety and why people fail…it is their own fault). For hundreds of dollars I was sent back to a $20 book. So today, I no longer have rebounds; now I have daily headaches that I medicate with mega doses of ibuprofen. When I called his office to get some suggestion of other medications to take, since I want to keep my stomach and liver, I was told he was out of the country (on my dime!)and…this is what I was told: “He does not prescribe or recommend medications. Instead, he provides a list and asks that I take it to my primary care doctor and discuss it with that doctor, while educating them (again the arrogance of this guy) and explore my options.” So in other words I spent hundreds of dollars to be told: I have migraines; I have rebound migraines; I have to read his book; he is not going to follow my treatment and offer suggestions for medication substitutes as I get off the ‘designer’ meds and continue to suffer, rather I now need to spend more money and see my regular doctor. He wasted my time, took my money which I wish I could get back so I could afford to take a vacation and relax after a stressful year. Sure, his ideas are worth reading…but he is NOT worth seeing!! If I sound angry and resentful, I am. I expected more from the ‘expert’…at the very least compassion, understanding, treatment recommendations…anything other than being told after years of suffering that it is my fault and he can’t help me unless I follow his program to the ‘T.’ I am and now thank you doctor I went from migraines a few times a week to a daily chronic headache that won’t go away. My diet remains migraine free so, now I guess it is my fault and I cannot and will not expect anything from him. In the response to Carol…don’t make an appointment. read his book; save your money. As for web sites there are lot that offer the diets and foods with tyramine to avoid (which I have followed religiously for 8 months. One is:
    http://uhs.berkeley.edu/home/healthtopics/pdf/triggers.pdf A second one comes from a site where Buchholz is interviewed. It is: http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2006/apr/migrainetriggers2.pdf I have been researching migraines and support groups and anything I can find for months because I couldn’t get in to see a doctor. Hope these sites answer the question of foods to avoid.

  84. Merna says:

    sorry to read Amy’s experience with Dr. B…the npr link doesn’t work but if you search Dr. B on that site you’ll find a few active links. I’ve been getting frustrated again over headaches…still following Dr. B’s “diet” which are reducing my headaches (?), but I’m not sure about what foods trigger them…my nephew in law (a neurologist) said I might try 400 mg vitamin B-2 and 500 mg. magnesium daily. (i googled all of that afterwards and bought the B2); started taking 100 mg for a week and gradually increasing and now am taking 400mg daily. found a good price on Amazon after talking to my other nephew. He has been taking B2 400 mg for 6 years! he says he hasn’t had a migraine since then! who knew? and he doesn’t follow a particular diet.. well maybe B2 is working for me; I had 1 headache in the last 11 days…however, today had a doozy of headache and I broke down and bought Peet’s coffee in the store; strong/black, and 1/2 decaf..finally feel human..at any rate 2 headaches in 12 days is darn good for me…(a very close friend just passed and I’m not sleeping too well…so maybe that’s a trigger). so it might be a good idea to check into vitamin B2

  85. Kari says:

    That is interesting about the B2. I think I will too into it as well. Any side effects?
    I have been on the 1-2-3 diet since January 15, the same day I experienced vertigo along with a killer migraine. Today I had a disappointing doctor visit, where I went through extensive testing for BPPV and Menierer’s disease. I was not surprised the results were inconclusive. I thought migraine all along. The doctor gave me a handout on migraine & vertigo as I left but didn’t talk to me otherwise about my migraines, so my only hope is this diet. Twenty three days in, I’ve been migraine free only six days. I admit jealousy reading others successes. I know stress and hormones are triggers, and I’m waiting for the diet to balance out these triggers or raise my threshold, whatever is supposed to happen. I’m trying to manage the stress, but the hormones…what can I do? I’m still trusting the diet, no matter his attitude. I’ve been given no other proactive advise to date, and I’ve tried many things over the last 25 years.

  86. Amy says:

    Well, I guess I was just a little :-) angry with the Dr. when I wrote what I did. I can’t say my opinion has changed; I cancelled my follow-up appointment. After continuing to suffer with headaches/migraines/headaches…I finally sought help from my doctor (and have an appointment with another neurologist who is thought very highly of and I know someone who gets treatment from this doctor). As for me, I am now on a daily preventative Verapamil, take B complex vitamins too and have stayed true to the anti-migraine diet and probably will indefinitely. I can say that the frequency of headaches/migraines has gone down, although they go in cycles or days in a row then nothing for a couple days. I still have to take an occasional ‘rescue’ med, but I accept that as part of what I need to do to get by. It is not daily that I get a blow-out put me in a dark room migraine. I still try the ibuprofen first, but it is more like placebo than useful. In any case, I want to apologize for my rant…I can’t imagine it was particularly helpful to read me go on and on about my experience and demean a doctor that someone might be holding out hope that he will give them the answers to their particular issue. I do know people that are treated by him; so he can help some, just not me. I wish everyone luck and hope that they find the right combination, because I believe in the end it is going to be a combination of things, that makes a difference and decreases the migraine nightmares.

  87. Stormy says:

    I began having migraines 8 years ago. After a battery of exams including MRIs, spinal tap, eye exam, it was determined I had Pseudo Tumor Cerebri. My body thinks I have a brain tumor but there isn’t one there. My spinal fluid either proceeds too much or the body doesn’t “handle” the production very well. I went through a period of almost daily migraines. I tried food elimination, gluten free, no caffefine, etc. When I took a combination of Topomax and Diamox for preventives, my migraines almost went away except for one once every two months. I did find a B-Complex vitamin (500 mg) a day helps too. I use Frova my migraine medication. Light/sound/smells do not affect my headaches either. Hopefully, on day my condition well be gone and my migraines along with it.

  88. Merna says:

    regarding Vit. B2 side effects: none that I have noticie except that urine is more yellow; my nephew who takes it says the same thing; for my part,right now I’m very discouraged; went from 43% of the time headaches to 20% which was good; but now i’ve had headaches 4 days in a row…still continuing with the diet; the B2 and have taken Advil for 3 of these 4 days…and feeling poorly. I’d be interested if Vit. B2 is helping others.

  89. Greta Gail says:

    Just wanted to add, I found this book in Mayo Clinic’s Medical Store here in Rochester, MN. This was the only book they had on Migraines. I’m pretty sure my neurologist doesn’t agree with 100% everything he says but if Mayo agree’s to sell it, they can’t 100% disagree. I personally, found it to help me a lot! For the first time I understand what I need to do much better and feel empowered to take control of my own migraines even though my condition is rare. But appreciate both viewpts on this book.Thanks.

  90. Kari says:

    I’d like to hear more about B2. I take 100mg of Topamax daily and wonder if I should add this. I have been on the 1-2-3 diet since Jan 15 and still suffer from headaches. I have not cheated. Allergies and hormones are, I think, difficult to control triggers.
    The hormones might be a major trigger. Irregular cycles led me to my gynecologist who prescribed a birth control that is made of only a progestin, no estrogen. There is a part in the book where hormones are discussed, and he seems to say this is ok if your are irregular. Does anyone recall this section? Here’s my problem – the drug says do not use if you have…migraines, leaving me confused. I just don’t feel like I am getting enough relief from the diet. It’s only been 38 days so maybe I am not being patient enough.

  91. Amy says:

    Hi Kari,
    I’ve been on the migraine free diet since July 2011. I haven’t cheated, although I did try reintroducing something and bang it will never be apart of my diet again. I think the diet is just the beginning…clean your system of any triggers and then later reintroduce to see if they are. I think it is just, like he says, step one of a multiple step and in my opinion complicated process of trial and error. I see my third neurologist Monday. I am excited because I have heard good things about him and most important to me…he is a migraine sufferer himself so I am hoping he will be more empathetic to the chronic and unrelenting nature that these migraines have taken and how they have taken over my life. I hope he will listen.
    I will ask about the B vitamins. I take some, and I guess I take it because I don’t believe it will hurt. I would ask your gynecologist about the pill and the contraindications. Sometimes it is a warning, but not necessarily something you can’t do. Personally I am on a medication that would in theory prevent me from taking a lot of the ‘rescue’ meds like Imitrex which I took for years and Relpax. I have never had a reaction and the doctors all know what the other is doing. So I would check with your doctor to see if it is dangerous and could send your migraines into an even worse place.
    As for the vitamins, I will ask this doctor about B2 or B complex vitamins and come back to share what he says next week. I would encourage you to stick with the diet even though it doesn’t ‘solve’ the problem. I think ultimately, at least in my case, in got rid of many triggers that I didn’t know were triggers. good luck.

  92. Kari says:

    Thanks Amy, and good luck with your new doctor. I look forward to hearing from you. My regular doctor is retiring, I think I mentioned this, so I visited another. He turned out to be nurse practitioner, but what I liked was that he had suffered from migraines too. I had yet to talk to a doctor who could empathize, as you said, and it was a unique experience. I hope your doctor offers you the same.
    His son has celiac disease so he talked to me about his experience with gluten free living and how he is now migraine free. He talked about some research concerning migraines and gluten free diets, and said I could just try to avoid wheat, as long as I was doing the migraine free diet. It is difficult, to say the least, and I didn’t last two days. Now I try to buy gluten free things when I can, but will just stick to the diet.

    Has anyone heard of or know anything about Dr. Robert Nett?

  93. Amy says:

    Hi Kari,
    Well my experienced was mixed to say the least.First when I told him I was taking vitamin B he smiled and asked why…if someone had told me I needed it or if I was told it would help. When I said the latter, he pretty much dismissed it as of any use. He also dismissed barometric changes as a trigger for headaches, which I couldn’t believe since I have known this to be a trigger, for me, for years. In the end, he laid out my options: to try to work on decreasing triggers…sleep, food, coffee (i confess i still drink a cup of cafe/decaf), etc. or go up on my Verapamil and take the Relpax as needed. I told him I was tired of trying to find the ‘reason’ and just needed relief; I am tired of daily headaches and weekly migraines I explained. He didn’t seem surprise and I, who never used a prescription med for headaches until 10 years ago and that was rarely used, felt like a drug seeker. I have come to the conclusion that the doctors just don’t get it. So I am taking 240mg of Verapamil; he was generous with the samples of Relpax (that he takes himself)and told me to give up that last cup of coffee. I will try to give up my last pleasure since being on the diet, try the increase of preventative and ignore the rest. I wish I had better news about the vitamin B…I am going to still take it.
    As for the gluten free diet I know someone with headaches/migraines who went on it and did find relief. Personally, I’m not going to try it (what would be left to eat?) Good luck.

  94. Kelly Smith says:

    I just wanted to share my story, as simply as possible.
    I’m a highly educated indvidual, so know I did my research. I have had migraines for 25 years, the last five years have been daily, yes you read correctly, 5 years without a single headache free day. I have had 18 neurologists. I have taken had as many as 14 prescriptions at one time, taking up to 28 pills in a single day. Not one of my highly trained doctors ever suggested that food was a contributor, and not one suggested that the pills meant to help were the ones hurting.
    In November of 2011 I had my first seizure, a week later a second one put me in the hospital for 3 days where every test known to man was done and ruled out. Two days later, I found Dr. Buchholz and his book. I actually cried when I started reading, hoping that it was that easy.
    I follow it to a T and have been headache free for 3 full months. Not a single pill for 3 months. Not a single doctors visit or repeat MRI. No kidney stones from preventative meds. No vomiting. No more missing my kids activities. No more FMLA.
    Dr. Buchholz, this book, and his methods do work! I have yet to find something that he wrote as inaccurate. I am well informed and I make the right decisions about what I eat and as a reward i have no headaches. zip, zero, zilch!
    Good Luck to all of you, I hope you give Dr. Buchholz and his methods a try.

  95. christine says:

    I read Dr.Buchholz’s book after a recommendation from my Ear/Nerve Specialist doctor from John Hopkins who was a coworker of Dr.Buchholz, there. I had recently suffered a stroke in my ear after catching a virus in my brain which caused a migraine which in turn caused my stroke. I lost my vestibular system. The headach was the worst headache when compared to headaches I had had in a lifetime of headaches. I tried the elimination diet to a T as mentioned in “Heal your Headache.” I did not cheat, not once. That means at work when everyone ordered pizza out, I had cereal as ok’d in the book. I am living proof that I had each symtom mentioned in the book-from the headaches, to the migraine syndome headache symptoms. I had ear drainage, creaking and crunching in my neck, head pain, nausea, stuffy nose, ringing in my ears, eye and nasal pressure, vestibular disturbances, visual disturbances. I am here to tell you that one day before the 4 month elimination diet trial was over, I was symptom free. All the symptoms. No creaks no headaches no any thing at all. If I had not done it I never would believe it would have worked. Once I lowered my threshold with this diet, then I was able to have the foods I wanted like chocolate, and I got no headache. Funny thing is, I did not crave all those prediet foods anymore.

    TRY THE DIET. GIVE IT 4 MONTHES. YOU ARE WORTH IT AND IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

  96. Kari says:

    Wow! Congratulations Kelly and Christine. I am excited for you. I haven’t cheated, but I can’t say I have been stress free or exercised, but I do have fewer headaches after two months. Did you both exercise during the diet? I actually have promised myself to start exercising this week again since I have been without any vertigo a few weeks now. I feel somewhat confidant about it, and my last appt. with a therapist left me feeling that I need to “live” my life.
    Congratulations on your success with the diet, I am really happy your are both headache free!

  97. Lisa says:

    This book literally saved my life.. I will try to be brief, but it is a long story, so much like all of you.. My ENT at Mass Eye & Ear in Boston recommended this book to me 5 months ago. I had been seeing her for 3 years for sudden hearing loss and due to vertigo was dx with Meniere’s. She never once suggested, nor any of my other MD’s, including PCP, allergist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and cranio sacral therapist that I could possibly have migraine.
    I was in her office in tears and was rambling all my symptoms as she was politely walking me out, and she suddenly burst out that I had acute migraine… I was stunned. We were just discussing a risky treatment for the vertigo (episodes 2-3x per week that lasted 6-24 hours) and she said I needed to get my “Migraine” under control. I bought the book and devoured it, and still reference it all the time. I had every single symptom going back to my late teens – I am now 44. I actually never understood that all these chronic symptoms related to Migraine because I only admitted to having an actual migraines every once in a while. The diet, while restrictive has been easy for me to follow because it has given me back my life. Not a single episode of vertigo since I began in Nov. I still get mild migraines and we are experimenting with preventative meds, but I feel so much better. I am left with over 80% hearing loss in the affected ear. My new Neuro – Migraine specialist originally said hearing loss in one ear was not possible and stuck firm with the Meniere’s dx, but since having a vestibular exam that was normal now admits I can’t have that condition. He and the ENT concur the constant pressure in my head caused the loss and I finally have a real dx, one that I can treat with diet, exercise, and temporary preventitive meds. Good luck to you all.

  98. Kelly Smith says:

    Kari, like you I was told to exercise however, I couldn’t imagine doing it when the headaches left me so exhausted. I started the lifestyle change, I refuse to call it a diet, I told myself that if I made it to the 4 month mark in good control I’d start a program. Well, I did make it and 3 weeks ago I started at lifetime fitness, which is awesome, and last week I met with a trainer for the first time and I feel great! Not all is perfect though, at first, I got headaches while I was exercising, some went away about a half hour after and some lingered. These were not major headaches but still I wondered if I was doing something wrong. I started taking an Annaprox (naproxen sodium) about a half hour before I worked out and by the 3rd week I no longer needed it – so, I guess the exercise does help! Good Luck to you!

  99. amy says:

    Hi all. It has been a while since I wrote and I wanted to share my good news. I found a neurologist who was able to recommend a new preventative and a new rescue med. I am now on Neurontin and Treximet as needed. The good news is that I think I have my life back. Granted it has been less than two months, but in that time I only had a few blow out migraines, one which lead me to get shots for the pain. This is in contrast to the daily headaches and almost daily migraines that took away my feeling confident that I could get through a day or wake up and feel okay without taking mega meds. I am still on the migraine free diet and have told myself if I stay migraine managed for a couple of months I might start adding some of the ‘safer’ foods not cheese, caffeine or chocolate, but maybe a citrus fruit or two. Anyway, what I wanted to share is the medication I am on because for me in one year and one month I saw four neurologists, was on five different preventatives and four different rescue meds (I know Buchholz doesn’t like them…I did go off of them and now use them very sparingly)before I was able to have a doctor listen to me and find the right treatment. I still don’t know what my ‘trigger’ was; I know the diet didn’t take them away; neither did changing sleep or work habits…so from my point of view it is a mystery and I don’t care to explore the reasons anymore. That said, I don’t plan to stop working on my sleep patterns, exercising as I can, staying on the diet and crossing my fingers that I am not being overly optimistic too soon. I think maybe what I have for the first time in the 13 months since my bottom fell out (although I have been a sufferer for over 30+ years) is hope. Good luck to you all.

  100. amy says:

    Hi, I have a question and I have no where else to turn because my neurologist questions the validity of my symptoms and I have read so much my head hurts even more. So I was overly optimistic, but then who can blame me. My migraines are back with a vengenance, daily headaches/migraines, rebounds and I ended up getting shots for a migraine that was so debilitating I could not move for 12 hours. I can’t tolerate higher doses of the medication I was on because it makes me dizzy and loopy so I will probably have to look at other options. The triptans are a nightmare and no longer even touch the pain at this level.

    This is however is my question: Does anyone else have issues with their sinus as either a trigger to or precurser to the onslaught of a headache/migraine? I am trying to assess if my symptoms of what feels like an allergy attack right before the headache or as the headache comes on is just part of my ‘syndrome’ or is it seasonal or food allergies that I have to explore as a possible trigger to the migraines. I would appreciate any feedback as I am not sure whether this something to pursue with an allergiest or just symptomatic warning signs of what is to come. I am sorry to keep posting, but no one else I know suffers; and there is almost TOO much information out there for me to make sense of it anymore.
    Thanks in advance for any thoughts. Amy

    • Amy,

      I’m so sorry the migraines are back. I’m afraid I can’t be too much help about the allergy/sinus symptoms. They could be part of prodrome, but they could be separate, too. Could something as simple as taking an OTC allergy medication help you sleuth it out?

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  101. TW says:

    My heart goes out to anyone who is not assisted in healing from migraine through this source or another. The book made me feel advocated FOR. I follow the diet and medication recommendations religiously and have reduced headaches from 11-13 headaches per month to ZERO. He listens to his patients and passes along their experiences, testimonies, and successful practices to a wider community, and I am tremendously grateful for the book, and the author, and the healing that I am experiencing.

  102. MAE says:

    Although the book is written like an infomercial, the material is the most helpful information i received. This was the first and only book I bought about migraines. I was luck for it to appear on top of my search on amazon.com. I feel badly for others who encounter your severe criticism which appears much too easily when doing a search about migraines. I wish all migraine suffers peace.

  103. Kari says:

    I haven’t written in while. Hope everyone is doing well.

    The diet seems to working for me, and in May I didn’t have any headaches, which is amazing and surprising. I had one in April and July is clear so far. I am keeping a headache dairy to see the decreasing number from when I started and my potential triggers. Well, I can’t see past mid February -in 13 days in Feb, I had seven, so the numbers are getting better for sure. I also have worked on my stress, so this is fluid, and these past few months have been fairly easy-going for me. I hope to maintain this outlook.

    I’ve been nervous about adding foods back, but so far I learned onions, goat cheese, and small bits of mozzarella are ok. I still haven’t had actual pizza, just flat bread that doesn’t have a lot of cheese. I am still unsure about the small bit of Parmesan. I am super nervous to try foods, I admit. Oh yeah, I am drinking one cup of decaf. coffee most mornings now, and its great. I learned raspberries are a trigger by accident. I thought it was safe, and after suffering with a headache that got worse for days (I found myself dreaming of rescue meds), I finally looked in the book and realized I had made a mistake. I began working out after finally getting past my fear of experiencing vertigo again. The therapist who showed me what to do if it were to happen again told me I couldn’t stop living my life. I guess it sunk in.

    Amy,
    I also suffer with allergies and take maintenance meds for these, as well as my daily Topamax for my migraines. My regular family doctor, who diagnosed me with migraine, was also the first to tell me my allergies, specifically my sinus issues, could be related to migraine. I have a difficult time assessing whether my headaches are related to sinus/allergies or not too. I’m doing pretty good with my migraines after almost six months on the diet. When my seasonal worst comes around this fall and winter, maybe I will be able to tell the difference a bit better and report back to you then.

    Take Care Everyone,
    Kari

  104. amy says:

    Hi Kari, thanks for the update. I am so happy you are doing better. I spoke to my neurologist about the sinus issues and a wooshing sound I get in my left ear prior to a migraine (Buchholz mentions the sinus issue as a migraine side effect)…he knew exactly what I was talking about and I guess this is my pre-migraine ‘aura’ that other people talk about. I also lose the ability to talk, form a sentence or a have a coherent thought; such fun. For better or worse, while I was at the doctor’s I experienced a migraine (my fault, totally stressed and heat induced) so he saw first hand how bad they get. I have also had at least one or two more visits to the clinic for shots (frequent flyer :-)) In the end, he put me back on the Verapamil along with the Neurontin (rescue is still Treximet and the goal is to not take them). I am still suffering too often, but I am hoping eventually something will settle down my system.
    Like you I remain on the diet; because I am not stable so I am very weary about adding anything although I would kill for a chocolate bar or pretzel :-). I have added little things like a splash of lemon with no obvious issue. I never thought food was a trigger for me (except for alcohol which is permanently out of my life), but still I am afraid to stop.
    As for allergies, there may be a connection since it seems April is a bad month (it was a year ago April that my bottom fell out and this April the same thing happened.) I used to have severe seasonal allergies but grew out of them…so who knows. I will wait until April comes around again and if the patterns persists then I then explore seeing an allergist.
    Thank you for thinking of me. I really am so happy to hear that other people are having success and getting relief. No one else I know gets migraines like I do so it is so reassuring to hear that people are able to get past the worst and for me if it means I have to take this much medication to get my life back…then I guess that is what I will be doing.
    Best of luck to all.
    Amy

  105. Michele says:

    I just started reading this book, and what really confuses me is how to not take medication when getting a migraine. The last time I did that I vomited and vomited and dry heaved and dry heaved non-stop, literally only a few seconds between each time, for about 8 hours before getting taken to the hospital, and he says not to go to the hospital. I have had migraines in the past (before I was diagnosed and got medication that worked) that lasted for up to 3 days and no less than 1.5 days. At the time I was given phenergran (sp?) and something else for the vomiting at the hospital so at least I was able to sleep through a lot of it and hold sips of water down. So he is saying I should not go to the hospital, but can’t I get really sick or die from dehydration?

  106. Kelly says:

    Hi Michele,
    The reason he wants you to stop your medications is because more often than not, the stuff that is meant to help get rid of your headache is the stuff that causes the headache (rebound, that is)
    Phenegran is great for upset stomach, keep it handy. As for your stay at the hospital, you are the patient, you can tell them you don’t want certain meds, I spent 21 hours in the ER with a kidney stone, they wanted to give me this drug and that drug and I asked for only naproxen sodium – though in higher dosage – you have that right. Like you, my headaches were measured in weeks, versus days or hours, if you find that they are difficult to get rid of you can always request steriods – only to be used while you’re getting your diet under control and not long term.

    Give the book and Dr. B a try! I am coming up on my one year anniversary and while I am not headache free (pms still rules that time) I am able to function in life!

  107. Rosemary says:

    Hi,

    I just want to say that I had migraines every 3-5 days for about a year while doctors probed, waited and tried different tablets for it to stop – at the age of 19 it is very frustrating. Then, they gave me the tablets that worked for about 2 months – during which time I was working at a school camp (uber stressful). When the tablets stopped working, I started to look for alternatives – I hate being on high dosages of anything.

    So, this book was my next hope. I can honestly say that it saved me: Moving to Spain was no longer a worry for me because I don’t have to worry about migraines that make me dizzy, sick and light sensitive as often. I have stuck to the diet rigidly for 3 months now with the occasional migraine – a miracle compared to how it was.

    I understand the issue about the tone of the book and the lack of research, but sometimes we have to be the guinnea pigs with this type of thing. You don’t know if you don’t try. Also, remember that he has never had migraines before – although he treats them, he lacks the empathy. Trust me, the amount of times I have told work I have a migraine and they think I can still do my job as a teacher! It’s only when they saw me walking along leaning against the wall that they realised how bad it was. But they still don’t know what it’s like.

    He was the first person who tried to explain what on Earth a migraine was for me and it honestly makes sense. I haven’t drunk, eaten chocolate (except for kinder – which is white chocolate and tastes like milk chocolate NOM) and I’ve kept away from all the foods on the list – it works, especially with a good bed routine. I find, for example that when the weather changes, due to the pressure difference, I still get migraines, or when the painters and decorators come each month.

    As for stopping medication, it’s probably easier to step down the amount you take, which would take a while, rather than stop completely. I didn’t get too far with taking medication because I got annoyed at how arsy the doctors were about it.

    STAY STRONG everyone who has migraines – it’s a horrible feeling when migraines appear. Try the book; especially the diet – that’s really been key for me (not just one or two, but all the mentioned foods). It’s tough but think as positively as you can and don’t give up – it takes a while to reap the rewards.

    ONE THING I STRONGLY RECOMMEND IS TO KEEP A DIARY – of food you eat, weather and health – any medication and when you take/eat it etc. Also the brand of foods – I’ve found some are ok and others aren’t. That way you can see what may have been a possible cause. You could check in the book whether it mentions that food and learn to avoid it if necessary. Or, learn if your migraines are linked to weather and avoid more of the triggers at that time. It’s especially useful if you want to reintroduce CHOCOLATE. I am learning that I can eat chocolate in the morning but not in the evening because the effects happen while I sleep and the evening, rather than the next morning. It’s experimenting, but it is paying off.

    Also, look online – there’s plenty of helpful advice – most of which is similar to that written in the book (save yourself a few quid).

    I wish you all well and remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel xx

  108. amy says:

    Hi. Unfortunately my situation has deteriorated significantly. While I continuet to be on the diet, exercise (when I can), monitor my sleep and try to prevent overusing the triptans I have had a headache almost none stop for a month. I have now been on Topamax, had to get off because of dangerous side effects. Butterbur, didn’t help. Verapmil, didn’t help then added to Neurontin. The doctor took me off Verapmil and wants me to go to 600mg of Neurontin. I will never make it; at 400mg I can barely stay awake and can’t think straight to remember words. He has now thrown out Depakote as my next option (when i was in an er they gave me a depaken (sp) drip…5 meds in 5 hours).
    My question is this: has anyone had any success with this drug and not gained an enormous amount of weight? I know this site is intended to support Bucholtz’s approach, it just didn’t work for me and I have no one else to ask…so I apologize. I am at the point where I can barely function, have to take narcotics to try to break the pain cycle, and am generally exhausted. so if anyone has had a positive outcome with this medication I would really appreciate knowing this.

    Thank you and I am happy for all of those who are able to have the advice from his book make the difference.

  109. Kari says:

    Amy,
    I take Topamax, and yes the side effects are also a challenge but only in the beginning. while slowly building up the dose I did deal with tingling in my hands and feet but it did pass. You must build up though. I’m on 100mlg and have been for a few years with success.
    Just wanted to let you know in case it made a difference. Good luck!

  110. Aimee says:

    Just getting to this website. I am one of those who have not been properly diagnosed or recognized as having migraine, and I sincerely disagree that David Buchholz victimizes patients or speaks with too cavalier an attitude. Rather, I found “Heal Your Headache” very empowering. I did not feel criticized as a patient. I might imagine doctors becoming defensive as they are called out on their poor attitude toward patients like me who need to be heard instead of hurried. He comes across to me as someone offering me help. I read the same passages as those quoted here, and it’s all about the context in which it was written. A self-defeating belief is just that, not a judgment.

  111. Kimberly says:

    I found Heal Your Headache and it literally saved my life. I had some sort of headache for at least 5-6 years straight. The diet worked for me and while I don’t love following it, I do because it makes my life better. I also know what triggers me now so if I do eat something, it is with open eyes. My body’s response to food can be anywhere from instantly to the next day.
    I have now found out that weather can trigger my migraines too.
    Everyone is an individual and you have to do what is right for you and not everything works for everybody. Good luck.

  112. Michelle says:

    I just read Heal Your Headache. Have chronic migraines. I generally get at least 3 headaches per week and try to work through them at my professional job. Sometimes the migraines are simply unbearable. I’m taking Amitriptyline,, Namenda, and Propranolol as daily preventatives. For rescue, I take indomethacin, excedrine, or Amerge. No, I dont take them every day. Don’t want rebound problems. I’ve been following the diet for about a week. Actually went about 6 days without a headache, but got a whopper of a migraine today. I think I’m gonna have to take my triptan. I so hope this diet helps. Will see my headache specialist (Mayo clinic) in a couple weeks and will ask him about this book.

  113. MAE says:

    I am so thankful every day for the past year that I found this book. The list of food triggers is more extensive than any doctor gave me. I was more informed when talking to doctors about my migraines. I did not follow several doctors who said “You can try this. It might help.” Instead I found a doctor who told me exactly what would help and I had the knowledge from this book to confirm it.

    *******
    I’m so glad it has helped you. I totally agree that the way most doctors approach food triggers is very dismissive. It is great that you had someone lay it all out for you.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  114. Shae Spitzer says:

    Hey,
    I just found this site while I was looking up the name of the book I bought (Dr. Buchholz’s book) so I could email the name of it to a friend. I have read it and I have been on the diet for 1 month and a half now. I also have the “migraine-free cook book” that a woman wrote that backs his book-excellent cookbook! I am still on Bayer Migraine EVERYDAY but I’m going to stop it next month. I work at a school and we will have a full 9 days off. I have a lot of family support and I plan to get out of this “rebound” cycle. I believe in what the book stands for. Saying this, I realize that everyone is dif and there still might be people out there that will not bennefit or will have to look for other solutions as well. My mom for example has “trauma migraines” that started after a suergon clipped somethign he wasnt supposed to in her 4th back surgery almost 20 yrs ago. Since her migraines come from her spine and are not “normal” migraines, she has found noone that can help her. I realize there are exceptions, but I do believe that this book could help the majority of ppl. I know I’m still rebounding, but the migraine diet is soooo healthy that my acid reflux has gotten a lot better, I’ve lost 10lbs, and I have more energy. I walk 4-5 times a week. I have traiend myself to only eat/cook migraine free so that when I’m drug-free I can rely only on that and go from there. I will follow it completely for 4 months and then try introducing certain things-one thing one week at a time—-it can take 2-3 days of eating one thing for it to trigger a migraine. There are a few things that Dr. Buchholz (and I agree) tells you not to add back in….and Caffiene is high on that list…it’s a rebound drug in itself. I don’t want to preach about MSG but for everyone that has tried dif diets, but has not COMPLETELY cute out MSG, that might be a big part of your problem. I have done soooo much research on MSG and it’s a major TRIGGER. It causes lots of other problems to. If you look it up and look at all the names its under (thanks to our wonderful government) you will find its in 70-80% of the stuff in the grocery store and it’s in almost every fast food place and restaurant. It’s the hardest things to dodge..but I work VERY hard at it. So many ppl talk about eating healthy and complete dismiss the fact that they are ingesting MSG all the time. Look it up. I don’t want that stuff in my body—-and my head sure doesn’t need it. I know his list of foods is strict but look at a lot of other websites and they are the same. You can’t know “your” food triggers until you cut ALL of them out for several months…it takes patience. I feel that ALOT of ppl are affended by Dr. Buchholz, because they know how much of a pain its going to be to change their lives…but I’m sure game for trying something that gets to the root of the problem and trying to heal without dangerous strong meds that fuel the fire…….aside from preventitives (i think these are great) if you need them. I know I wont try one until I’m done rebounding and I’ve been on the diet for a few months (free of meds) to see if that alone will help. If you read the fist 40-50 pages, he insults “other doctors” that blame patience…he is not blaming the patient. I love that he gives SO much info about EVERYTHING ….I’m not lost when I talk to my dr now….I’m not at the mercy of whatever he decides to give me……I’m educating myself…also with sources outside of the book. To end, Everyone is dif; their are exceptions; but mostly I believe most ppl could bennefit from his book if you followed it to a T. That’s just my opinion. After all; we tend to critisize what we don’t WANT to do.

  115. Hojney says:

    Wow! Just found this website, I’m thrilled and buoyant to see such a great forum for us migrainers.

    A short bio will help explain my opinions, I think…..

    No migraine history (maybe 3 bad headaches before age 40), then boom, combo of misteps broke my head, (I’m resigned nowadays) never to be really fixed. I had bad head cold, did RX decongestant, sudafed, boiled wine, chinese and indian food in 48 hr time span….I thought I was dying, I wished I was dead. My temp was 99.9, I was red as a beet, I sweated and shook and was generally freaked out. I could not lie down, had to sleep sitting up. I vomited and cried rivers.

    Docs did everything possible, spinal tap, MRIs of my head, neuros and ENT guys, every possible drug and test, even massive doses of steroids….after 3 weeks, I was a basket case.

    Found out my thyroid was destroying itself, went on replacement hormone.

    Found Buchholz.
    Went on his diet, quit drugs that made me far far worse (hydrocodone). Went on Nortriptyline, increasing doses, up to 150mg. My headache broke after 7 months. That is right, a 7 month headache…began as blinding squeezing kill-me-now pain, ended as annoying distracting brain-too-large-for-my-skull thing.

    12 yrs later….And I still get them. I’ve often a sort of low grade headache. Sometimes I wonder if my head is ever pain free, I almost always feel something too tight, ice pick in temple, or dull throbbing.

    But I have a life. And have had one since I started avoiding my food triggers, began using mostly ibuprophen (800mg) when pain is unbearable.

    I have learned what no no foods I can tolerate and I cheat almost daily on the diet. I try to limit the cheating, today onions, tomr a little lemon juice on my fish, next week I will have gorgonzola. Ahhh. (I miss wine badly)

    I know there has been a trigger,an unknown factor, from the very beginning. I can be happy, eat nothing bad, exercise on a sunny beautiful day and boom! crushing headache. I long ago stopped trying to analyze what gave me a headache this time…I move on, knowing it will never be as bad as it was at first, and I will survive to smile again tomorrow.

    I know there is a correlation between my thyroid and my migraine, but I am unable to prove it. No MD, even Buchholz is much interested in this theory. But that is ok, I move on. I am no longer just a vessel for migraine.

    As to Buchholz, he is just a man after all. He has flaws. But he helped me, and I think there is quite a bit of truth to his theories, because I have seen them work in many people.

    Even a friend who had brain surgery and developed migraine afterwards benefitted from the diet and ibuprophen approach.

    I read how well most of us are coping, and how wonderful it is to know we are not alone. I am proud of us!

    Eat well, live life, love. We suffer and survive migraine, we are more, so much more than vessels for pain.

    All the best!

    Hojney

  116. Susan says:

    I’m happy I found this site. I went to an Endocrinologist for the first time last week and he mentioned this book to me…it honestly ticked me off but I’m trying to be open minded.

    It’s just that I have chronic migraines and tension headaches. There is never a day that my head isn’t hurting. I cannot work because more days than not I cannot focus to see well enough to leave the house. My neurologist has me on Topamax…which is giving me issues with my kidneys and my memory. I have fioracet to take along with axert and Phenergan when a migraine hits. I Hate taking all these drugs! Hate it! We are trying to get Botox approved as my last resort.

    On my own, and at great cost, I have tried chiropractic, accupuncture, meditation, biofeedback, and have been tested by an allergist and identified TONS of food allergies! So for anyone to suggest maybe I could cut a few things… There isn’t much left that I can eat! I don’t do sugar, don’t do caffeine, no liquor, wine or beer…I mean you name it I’ve done it.

    So any suggestion that I need to “try a little harder” isn’t going to be met with open arms and a smile. I am at my wits end. I may try this book… Maybe. But honestly it will be after I find out if I have Celiac disease. Even now, I cannot eat dairy, soy, eggs, wheat or buckwheat, and that’s the short list!

    But at least I now feel less alone with my pounding, screaming head that I would love to remove and throw into the woods somewhere! :)

  117. Amy says:

    Hi,it has been a difficult year, but have learned more and want to share. My own experience is not encouraging. I have continued to have chronic headaches/migraines so that I have finally given into the one medication I never wanted to take Depakote ER 500mg. Now I think I am having side effects on it. Has anyone else ever been on it, who is not Bipolar, and experienced serious bouts of rage? I find I am getting irrationally angry…anyway I thought I would ask before this med, number 6 or 7 goes by the wayside like the others.
    As far as new research I have not been following this blog (too demoralized), but I found new research findings about migraines (not vascular) and whether food is a trigger to the degree we have all been led to believe (that said I am still on the migraine free diet and was just tested for celiac disease so I am not throwing in the towel and exercise when I can). I will give the link to a specific article, but I encourage others to check out some of the other research:
    http://www.news-medical.net/health/Migraine-Pathophysiology.aspx or
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123164856.htm

    I continue to try to find answers. The research is going in a different direction. I thought as ‘fellow’ sufferers it is nice to know that there are people out there that are trying to understand or do understand and want to find some relief for us.
    Hope this is helpful to someone. And if anyone has had similar response to Depakote I would appreciate knowing since I feel like, in addition to have head pain…I am losing my mind.
    Thanks…take care all

    *******
    Hi Amy,

    Sorry things are still so tough. I’m sorry the blog has been too hard to follow, but don’t lose hope. After more than a decade of ever-worsening migraines, I’ve had a lot of successes in the 14 months. I’m on a high dose of magnesium and cyproheptadine is the first prescription preventive that’s ever worked for me. I also started Ritalin about six weeks ago and that is helping, too.

    I’m on a strict diet and believe naturally occurring food chemicals called salicylates and histamine (present in food) may be triggers for me. The typical migraine diets don’t include either of these chemicals, so I’m doing this all on my own.

    I didn’t have that trouble on Depakote (never got that high in my dose, though), but can seizure meds can definitely have mood effects. I had suicidal thoughts on Lyrica and will never take any of the current antiepileptics again because of it.

    Hang in there. I know it is frustrating and exhausting to search for treatment when you’re so sick, but there’s are many different options. For example, I can’t remember if you’ve tried Botox — it works wonders for a lot of people.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  118. Sam says:

    Dr Bucholtz is my doctor and he is a miracle worker. Yea he is tough…he gives you an assignment before your first appointment and that is read his book. Then you go to the appointment and he asks you if you can committ to the process…that means get off birthcontrol pills, stop drinking caffeine, go on the migraine diet, stop taking cold medicine, and basically detox your body from all the crap you are putting into it…I suffered from migraines so severe every day of my life that one day I was driving to work I lost all feeling in the right side of my body and my previous neurologist rushed me to the er as they thought I was having a stroke! Then I found Dr Bucholz and his method works….stop putting the garbage in your body and the body stops reacting in a horrible way….the MSG, aspartame, caffeine, depakote, migraine shots, vicoden….UGH all that does it cause headaches…rebounds and more headaches…I would suggest trying to eliminate the garbage and you will see a major difference…3 years ago I was drinking a ton of diet coke, was heavily medicated for migraines and today I can honestly say I don’t know when the last headache was!!!!!!! I stay away from MSG, Caffeine, hormones, narcotics, aspartame, cold medicine, too much aged cheese, citrus, wine in moderation, light on the gluten, basically nothing processed…LIFE is pretty good!

  119. Margo says:

    Once upon a time, back in the late 80′s early 90′s I was a patient of Dr. Buccholz. I followed the diet he gave me back then. I did what I was told to do, too young not to buck the Almighty Doctor. When all was said and done, he literally told me that there was no cause that he could find for my headaches and that they were all in my head and that I should lower my stress. I was a single parent living on $8,000/yr. How do you lower your stress? I should also tell you that I have suffered from migraines since I was 5 years old.

    Go forward to 2013 and my current neurologist, with whom I have a good working relationship with, recommended that I get Dr. Buccholz’s book and follow the diet. I am already on a diet for IBS so adding a few more ingredients shouldn’t be too difficult. Well imagine my surprise when reading his book and in the beginning he basically brags that he used to tell his patients that their headaches were their fault. His arrogance is undeniable. But if it works the arrogance is well earned. I have been on his diet for a month now. Also, per the request of my neurologist I have taken my diet a step further to include or exclude: all sugar, soy, dairy, & gluten. After the initial detox headaches from caffeine withdrawal. I was doing pretty well for about a week and then a week ago the mild nuisance daily headaches turned into 8-10 scale headaches. I broke down and took my cocktail of meds on Monday night, but by Friday night the headache had ramped up again to the point of wanting to scream. So here I sit on Saturday trying to occupy my mind from anything but the pounding in my head.

    So I sit confused. Knowing on one hand that I definitely have certain foods that cause my headaches and on the other wanting to take something to make them go away, because I have a life to live.

    Thanks for this blog. It has been interesting reading. Stay positive people, even thinking happy thoughts has helped me from one moment to the next when I have a horrible migraine.

  120. Alison says:

    His advice about dealing with a migraine child infuriated me. That’s child abuse and I lived it. I’ve had diagnosed migraine since toddler-hood and was first diagnosed with headache at 9 months, when I pulled myself up in the crib and was banging my head against the wall while screaming. This, of course, upset my mother and she rushed me to the doctor; he said I had a headache and was reacting as an animal would. Some of my earliest memories are throwing up in the toilet, which reached my chest, while my dear mother held my head with one hand on my forehead and one on the back of my neck.

    Both my mother and father had migraines.

    As for the rest of the book, much of it affirmed what I had been trying to tell doctors decades ago. They, of course, knew better. /sarc

  121. Jen says:

    I just finished reading this book. It really made me think, as it obviously flies in the face of current accepted headache information. I have had headaches since childhood, and they never really fit into the migraine classification. Aside from some very occasional nausea/vomiting when they are at their worst, I have always been classified as tension headaches, with a potential musculoskeletal cause. BUT I have had physical therapy, chiropractic, and structural/fascial work without much change. What appealed to me about this new information is the idea about degree of migraine, as well as the sinus symptoms. I often have facial pain with headaches, and I have had what was considered olfactory hallucinations (ie smelling something that wasn’t there). I can see why people with classic migraine may not agree with the book, but I’m considering trying the diet.

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