Chronic migraine headaches are not pleasant at all. If you suffer from migraines, there is bad news and good news.
The bad news is that there is no cure for migraine. Apart from what you might see on TV or hear on some radio infomercials, migraines cannot be cured.
The good news is that in some cases you can prevent them (preventive care) or at least modify their severity (failed treatments).
Foods that can trigger migraines
The first form of preventive care is to cut foods that can trigger headaches such as those containing tyramine, nitrite or monosodium glutamate.
In fact, a quarter of headache sufferers say that certain foods trigger their headaches. This is because many foods contain substances that can trigger the release of neurotransmitters involved in causing headaches.
Food with tyramine
Headaches can be triggered by foods containing tyramine, which are members of the amine group of organic chemical compounds. Thus, it can affect the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin – which, in turn, can trigger headaches. Common foods that contain tyramine include:
Vinegar (happy, salad dressing, dressing, dressing)
Meat organ (kidney liver)
Alcohol (especially red wine)
Foods with nitrites
Headaches can also be triggered by foods containing nitrates as preservatives. It is estimated that in the United States there are 12,000,000,000 pounds of nitrite which is currently used to give meat a pink color and enhance its taste. Foods that contain nitrites include:
That old devil, monosodium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate (commonly called MSG) can also cause headaches. This is a flavor enhancer that is often sold under the trade name Accent. An estimated 20,000 tons of monosodium glutamate are used every year to add flavor to food.
NSAID. NSAIDS are most often used in preventive medicine for those suffering from chronic migraines. Typical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) or aspirin can help relieve minor migraines. There are also medicines in this family that are marketed specifically for migraine headaches. This is usually a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. One example of an over-the-counter combination drug is Excedrin Migraine.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of prescription drugs to be used in preventing migraines. These include cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants and alpha blockers.
The most popular cardiovascular drugs used to prevent migraine headaches are Inderal, Depakote and Sansert. Some migraine sufferers also find that they can prevent headaches by blocking calcium channels such as Verapamil, Wellbutrin and Nimotop.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) do have anti-migraine effects, but are not usually considered the first choice in preventing migraines. However, they may be able to help some migraine sufferers, especially those who suffer from migraines and tension type headaches. The most commonly used antidepressants in the treatment of migraines are Elavil, Sinequan, Vivactil. Norpramin and similar SSRIs (Serotonin Update Inhibitors) such as Prozak, Xoloft and Paxil.
Clonidine is an alpha blocker whose efficiency in migraine prevention is not as good as beta blockers. The second alpha blocker that has been used successfully in the treatment of childhood migraines is Cyproheptadine.