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Your Recurrent Headache Could Be Migraine -Get Help Now!
News Date: 30th August 2012

Over the past month I seem to have developed a passion for writing about pain, but I cannot fault myself. Our world is running on painkillers and every day we all hear people complain about pain. Migraine happens to be one painful condition that even health professionals have difficulty diagnosing. It is not easy distinguishing migraine headaches from other headaches such as tension, sinus and cluster. The symptoms of these headaches are often the same and before settling to write this piece, no test could diagnose headaches. You hold the key to helping your doctor make the right diagnoses simply from what you tell him.

Headache that interferes with your daily life and is associated with a stuffy, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes may sound like a sinus headache (sinusitis) but do not jump to a hasty conclusion, this could be migraine headache especially if it is recurrent.

Let's begin with the bad news, and then we can relax and absorb the refreshing bit about migraine:

1. There is NO cure for migraine but you can reduce the frequency or prevent them

2. People having a bad bout of migraine will tell you "I do not wish this even for my worst enemy" but unfortunately if you suffer from migraine, your children may "inherit" it from you. As many as four (4) out of five (5) migraine sufferers have a family member with migraine.

3. The sack load of painkillers you swallow during an episode of migraine may give you temporary relief but they could also be the cause of the extended pain through a phenomenon called rebound headache.

4. That excruciating pain may last for about 4 hours but in certain instances it may last up to one week and I bet it will feel like a lifetime.

The pain of migraine headaches can be pulsating and throbbing and may feel like a sharp knife is piercing your head. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and not only does it prevent you from functioning normally, it disrupts your sleep as well.

Types of Migraines

There are two main types of migraines; those with aura and those without.

1. Migraine with aura

a. This type is less common. Aura is a warning sign that a migraine is about to begin. Can you just imagine the impunity?

b. The aura may be bright flashing lights or dots, blind spots, distorted or loss of vision

c. Changes in smell, taste or touch

c. Ringing in the ears (please do not confuse with your phone ringing)

2. Migraine without aura

a. Occurs in about 80% of sufferers.


They occur in various combinations and they include:

Pounding or throbbing headache

Sensitivity to light, noise and odours

Nausea and vomiting, stomach upset and abdominal pain. Diarrhoea

Loss of appetite



Blurred vision.


You may be able to reduce the frequency of your attacks by identifying and avoiding triggers. Avoiding some of these triggers is no child’s play but remember that with perseverance and the will you can get some relief.

Some factors that trigger headaches are;

Certain foods

o Certain preservatives, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, cheese, alcoholic beverages, chocolates, onions, citrus fruits, nuts and peanut butter.

Emotional stress

Changing weather conditions

Menstrual period

Excessive fatigue

Skipping of meals

Changes in normal sleep pattern

Some odours

Your trigger factors may be different from these, so list all the things you eat or do before you experience this pain and overtime you will be able to have your own compilation.

Migraine sufferers seem to have fewer attacks when they eat on a regular schedule and get adequate rest or practice relaxation techniques. Regular exercises performed in moderation can also help to prevent migraines. Acupuncture and biofeedback have been tried by people with amazingly good outcome.

Together with your healthcare professional, you can find a way to reduce the frequency of your attacks and also adopt an appropriate plan to combat the pain once it starts.


Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

Moms' Health Club


*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week - "I endorse the 1 million-man peace march scheduled for Friday September 21st. All our health clubs in Accra will be closed on that day and our club members will take part. I encourage all my readers to be a part of this historic endorsement of peace. You can't be healthy in the midst of conflict"


1. www.patienteducationcenter.org

2. www.webmd.com

Source: Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

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