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Free Migraine World Summit Starts Wednesday!

Migraine World Summit

Want to learn more about migraine and headache disorders while you’re social distancing? The Migraine World Summit starts tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, with online video interviews with 32 experts, including headache specialists and patient advocates. They will share new treatments, research, and strategies to improve the lives of people with migraine and other headache disorders. The event is virtual and the daily videos are free, so you don’t have to leave home or pay for a thing! Click here to register now for your FREE access.

WHY ATTEND?

  • World-Leading Experts: At the Migraine World Summit, you’ll learn first-hand from 32 of the world’s top migraine and headache experts from leading institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medical School, and Johns Hopkins.
  • Full Access: Many of these world-leading experts have long waiting lists and fees that are beyond what the average insurance policy would cover. Skip the waiting period and get straight into the room with these experts.
  • Free: The event is entirely free while live from March 18-26. Each day, four new interviews are available for 24 hours, after which they are replaced by the next day’s interviews. After March 26, transcripts and interview copies are available to purchase.

Join more than 100,000 new and returning attendees and tune in to 32 NEW interviews to find the answers you need to help better manage migraine and chronic headache. Questions answered include:

  • How does migraine affect memory and cognitive abilities over time?
  • What is the best diet for migraine?
  • How can chronic migraine be managed?
  • What is the relationship between migraine and autoimmune or inflammatory disease?
  • What new treatments are available or coming soon?
  • What new non-medicinal alternatives are now available?
  • Is CBD a proven migraine treatment?
  • What advice do experienced patient advocates have to share?
  • How did someone win Olympic Gold while battling migraine?
  • Is migraine a genetic disorder?
  • How does trauma (physical or emotional) affect migraine?
  • Which celebrities also have migraine?
  • Is there a proven surgery for migraine?
  • What is mindfulness-based stress reduction?
  • Which supplements can help reduce migraine?

The virtual Migraine World Summit is free from March 18-26, 2020.

Register now for complimentary access. Once again, here’s the link to register for the Migraine World Summit.

(Note: If you decide to pay for access to the videos beyond the day they are published, I will receive a small portion as a referral fee. That’s not why I’m sharing the link—the Migraine World Summit has great information that everyone should have access to—but I wanted to be fully transparent.)

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Migraine World Summit Starts Sunday!

Imagine hearing from 36 different migraine experts, from physicians and researchers to patient experts, all in one week. That’s what you get with the Migraine World Summit, a free online event that runs from Sunday, April 23 to Saturday, April 29.

The Migraine World Summit will address topics like:

  • The best migraine treatments
  • What do do when you feel like you’ve tried everything
  • The most effective non-drug treatments
  • Coping with anxiety, judgment, and social stigma of chronic migraine
  • New treatments on the horizon
  • Migraine myths (and what the truth really is)
  • Hurdles that people with migraine face

Peter Goadsby, MD, David Dodick, MD, and Richard Lipton, MD, are just three of the renowned physicians interviewed for the summit. Joanna Kempner, PhD, (author of the fantastic Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health) will talk about changing perceptions of migraine. Vidyamala Burch, who book You Are Not Your Pain, I highlighted in last summer’s series on mindfulness-based stress reduction, will speak about using mindfulness for chronic pain. And I just finished my interview about creating good doctor-patient relationships. The full lineup of Migraine World Summit speakers is impressive.

New videos will be posted each day of the week and are available for free for 24 hours. You can purchase permanent access to the videos (and get audio-only recordings and transcripts) for $79 until April 22 ($99 after that date). This is an affiliate program, so the referrer gets a portion of that fee. I’ll donate whatever I earn to the American Migraine Foundation.

Here’s the link to sign up for the Migraine World Summit. Then poke around on the website for the full schedule and speaker bios. It’s a great lineup.

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Migraine Information and Advocacy Video Series: Call for Participants

A national news anchor is putting together a five-part video series on migraine for a major health website and is looking for people who have migraine to participate in several segments. In addition to talking about basic migraine information and treatment, the series will also share what migraine is really like and how it affects our lives (and our loved ones). They want to hear the stories of people with a broad range of migraine experience (chronic or episodic) and of different ages, genders, and life circumstances. Travel may be required, but not necessarily.

I’ll be participating and would love for you to join me! If you’re interested, please fill out the form at this link and submit it by midnight Pacific time on Sunday, March 12. The questions are to help the producer find participants best suited to different videos and figure out where filming will take place. I will forward the information onto to her and she will contact you directly if you fit what they’re looking for.

Speaking with the producer has me excited about the project. They are genuinely interested in educating people about migraine and are earnest about these videos being used for advocacy. They also clearly want to get it “right”—to portray migraine and its impact accurately. I believe the videos will a great tool for spreading the message about migraine.

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Sarah Hackley: Staying in Tune with the Body When Life Gets Hectic

Happiness with Migraines by Sarah HackleyIn this guest post, Sarah Hackley shares tips for keeping migraine attacks at bay by staying in tune with your body. Sarah is the author of Finding Happiness with Migraines: A Do It Yourself Guide. Win a free copy of her book by leaving a comment on this post or emailing kerrie[at]thedailyheadache[dot]com by 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Friday, September 23. (The contest has ended. Congratulations to Brian for winning the book!) 

Life gets hectic, and there are times when it becomes downright overwhelming. This is particularly true for adult women, who too often feel the pressure to be superwoman. Unfortunately, it is these same women who make up a significant portion of the migraineur demographic, and it is these overwhelming times that are most likely to push us into an escalating series of migraine attacks. One way to help combat this cycle is to stay in tune with our bodies.

What does that mean, exactly? What does it look like?

Being in tune with our bodies is largely about self-trust. Trusting our body to tell us what it needs, and trusting ourselves to hear those messages, understand them, and respond to them. Our bodies will always do their jobs. They will send those messages. That’s what bodies do. It is up to our minds to do the rest.

Cultivating the body awareness needed to respond appropriately to our bodies takes time and attention, but it is something we can all do using a variety of methods, exercises, and intuitions. One great exercise for beginners involves a kind of mindful meditation known as a body scan.

For the body scan, position yourself flat on your back, either on the floor, your bed, or a mat – whatever feels best and most natural to you. Then, gently close your eyes and breathe. Once you are present in the moment, move your attention to your feet, noticing any sensations in the toes, the heels, the soles, the ankles, and the tops of your feet. Invite curiosity to the practice, as if you are paying attention to these sensations for the first time.

Once you are sure you have experienced each sensation in your feet, move your attentions slowly up to your calves, attending to each part and sensation in the same manner. From there, move to your thighs, then your hips, then your torso, then your arms, and finally your neck and head. This exercise can take anywhere from three minutes to half-an-hour, depending on your personal preferences. When you are finished scanning, remain still and return to your breath. Finally, open your eyes, and slowly bring yourself to a sitting position.

Regular practice of this technique will strengthen the bond between your mind and your body, thereby ensuring you notice the body’s quieter messages. This gives you the tools necessary to act to protect yourself before major problems arise. Other ways to keep in tune with the body throughout the day:

  • Be mindful of any aches and pains that crop up and try to ease them with self-message or gentle stretching.
  • Watch your posture, and realign when you start to slump or hurt.
  • Pay attention to your energy levels, especially peaks and slumps, to see if you can uncover a daily cycle to work within (also ask yourself what foods or activities, if anything, may be contributing to that cycle).
  • Go to bed when you are tired and eat when you are hungry, without regard for the clock.

Deep body awareness takes time, but tuning in at any level will dramatically improve the connection between mind and body, which will help prevent small problems from becoming large ones. This will also help you receive your body’s subtle clues that a migraine attack is coming on, hopefully well before any of the overt signals make themselves known. And advance notice always makes prevention and treatment easier – especially in the midst of hectic times.   

For additional self-care tips on how to live well – and joyfully – with migraine, please check out Finding Happiness with Migraines: A Do It Yourself Guide by Absolute Love Publishing.

To keep up with and reach out to Sarah directly, here’s where to find her on social media:

Win a free copy of Sarah’s book by leaving a comment on this post or emailing kerrie[at]thedailyheadache[dot]com by 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Friday, September 23.(The contest has ended. Congratulations to Brian for winning the book!)

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Migraine and Stroke, Heart Disease: Understanding the Risks

Learning that research has found connections between migraine and stroke and heart disease can be chilling. Fortunately, the news is not as bad as it might first appear. I spoke with headache specialist Gretchen Tietjen, M.D., about an article on the connection between migraine and an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease that she wrote for the American Migraine Foundation. “From a patient’s perspective, this information is frightening,” I told her (because I have no poker face, even on the telephone). Dr. Tietjen soothed my worries tremendously by putting the information into perspective.

“It can be very scary when you read things like this,” Dr. Tietjen said. “Study after study shows this little bit of increase.” However, the risk is very small. The most important takeaway is that patients should keep migraine in mind as part of their overall risk for stroke and heart disease. If you have migraine and are at increased risk of stroke or heart disease, it’s extra important to be aware of and manage those risk factors.

Migraine Increases the Risk of Stroke and Cardiovascular Diesease (But Only a Little Bit)

Yes, migraine does increase the risk of stroke, particularly for women who have migraine with aura. But the risk is very, very small. Less than 1% of all strokes in women have any connection to migraine. And the presence of a connection is not proof of a causal relationship—that is, just because the two are linked doesn’t mean that migraine causes stroke.

The article reports that a recent study found “that migraine increases the risk of stroke, coronary events, and related death by about 50%.” At first glance, that sounds terrifying, but Dr. Tietjen’s clarification was soothing. She said, “This sounds worrisome but to put this in perspective only 1% of the total population in the study had a cardiovascular event over the 20 years of follow-up. The take home message is that having migraine does not mean you will have heart disease or a stroke, only that it appears to slightly increase the risk.”

Risk Factors For Stroke and Heart Disease

Dr. Tietjen highlighted risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. She said that in people with migraine, these factors have an additive effect—the combination of more than one risk factor is worse than any one by itself. If you have any of these risk factors in addition to migraine, quitting smoking, lowering your blood pressure and/or cholesterol, or getting your diabetes under control could lower your risk of heart disease substantially. Smoking is the risk factor that stands out the most to Dr. Tietjen. Studies of migraine and smoking have shown that the combination of the two increases your stroke and heart disease risk more than either one on it’s own.

Learn More About Migraine, Stroke and Heart Disease

Dr. Tietjen’s article, Migraine, Stroke and Heart Disease has in-depth information on who is at increased risk of stroke, differentiating between symptoms of migraine and stroke, the physiological links between migraine and stroke, and ways to lower your risk. As you read the article, keep in mind that the absolute risk is small and that you can modify your risk factors for stroke and heart disease. And make a list of any questions you may have so you can ask your doctor at your next appointment.