Migraines affect about 30 million Americans, and some are frequent sufferers of the debilitating headaches.
Migraine sufferers usually experience sensitivity to sound, light, and experience nausea, along with sharp pains in their heads.
These headaches can be strong enough to send victims to the hospital, and usually disrupt the person’s day, as they have trouble going outside or performing normal activities.
While there are many remedies after the headache’s onset, such as taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, or perscription strength pills like Imitrex.
A set of guidelines release on Monday suggest that the best form of Migraine treatment is prevention.
Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia is the lead author of these guidelines. Silberstein states:
“About 38 percent of people who suffer from migraines could benefit from preventive treatments, but only less than a third of these people currently use them.”
So why do these people not use a treatment that appears to be so effective? Michael John Coleman, founder of the patient group MAGNUM (also known as the National Migraine Association) explains, “You have a lot of gun-shy patients because of a lot of bad experiences.”
Silberstein understands the risks and side effects that the preventative measures, such as the drug Topamax (topiramate) can have on patients, like 26 year old Emily Guzan who began taking the medication in 2008.
Instead of finding relief, however, Guzan instead experienced headaches that would send her to the Emergency Room. She would also experience nightmares, and lost 30 pounds while taking the pills. She has since stopped all preventative treatments, and states she has found more success in lifestyle changes like doing yoga and eating healthy.
Doctor Elizabeth Loder, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston stated that:
“The life toll that poorly controlled headaches take is really underappreciated. You don’t get back the time you lost at work or the time you lost with your children.”
Check out more information about Dr. Loder’s view on preventing migraines here: