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Don’t Give Up on Finding a Treatment

In the last week, four people have told me that while they are comforted to know that other people have similar experiences with headaches and migraines, they are saddened to learn that their headaches may never go away. This is distressing as one goal for this blog is to encourage people to keep seeking relief.

It’s not as impossible as it seems. While I haven’t found a magic bullet for myself, the vast majority do find a successful treatment. Even after you feel like you’ve tried every possible treatment, you have probably only scratched the surface. There are so many drugs and drug combinations that no one has tried them all (including Paula Kamen and me).

Most folks with headache define success as having their headaches disappear. Doctors have a different understanding. A treatment is successful if a person’s headaches are reduced in frequency and intensity by 50%.

Don’t get angry yet. Many people become headache-free, some don’t. No matter how much education and knowledge a health care provider has, they aren’t mechanics. Unlike a car, uniform results aren’t possible. The human brain and body are too complex to expect that.

But you can get relief. Be aggressive, but give new meds time to work — which may be as long as three months. See a headache specialist, not just a neurologist. If he or she is dismissive, tells you your headaches are all your fault, or that there’s nothing left to try, see a new headache specialist. Take supplements that have shown some success for headaches (under the supervision of a doctor).

Visit a sleep specialist, even if you feel like your sleep is fine (advice that I need to follow myself). Getting good sleep can go a long way toward easing headaches. Talk to a nutritionist. Not necessarily about an elimination diet, but about giving your body the fuel it needs. Try massage and essential
oils. Take yoga classes that don’t focus on sweating and breathing hard, but on taking care of your body and nurturing yourself.

You will get discouraged. You will be exhausted. You will be frustrated. Keep trying; wherever “there” is for you, you’ll make it.

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Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

At the grocery store this morning, I walked happily through the produce section, greeting all the employees with a big smile. While I’m generally a friendly person, I was extra perky today.

Why the spring in my step? Because the fruits and vegetables were beautiful today. It’s not that they were brightly colored or smelled terrific, which they did, but simply that they were there.

The season of delicious, plentiful produce is upon us. Artichokes, spinach and radishes are only the beginning. Cherries, berries and peaches are right around the corner.

Of course you know that fruits and vegetables are good for people. But I’m thoroughly convinced that they are especially good for those of us with chronic illness. You only get maximum performance if you put the right fuel in.

In her latest Chronic in the Kitchen article, Jennifer Hess describes the benefits of produce that’s in season now, complete with easy recipes to enjoy the bounty.

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ChronicBabe: In the Kitchen

Jennifer Hess, a ChronicBabe contributor, knows that eating minimally processed foods without many additives helps keep her pain under control. Instead of eating junk when she’s exhausted, in pain and can’t think, she has invested in good kitchen tools and always has easy-to-prepare, good-for-you food on hand. Jennifer shares her secrets in Chronic in the Kitchen! Tips to Keep You Cooking.