Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Headaches and Migraines
As one of the associate directors of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, the largest private headache clinic in the United States, and a member of the board of directors of the National Headache Foundation, it is not uncommon for me to have contact with press interested in headaches and looking for something new on migraines. So when Elaine Magee contacted me and left a message with my secretary regarding information on diet and headaches, I was expecting it to be another such call. I was most pleasantly surprised to learn that the scope of the inquiry was to be more extensive and for a larger purpose: a book on diet and headaches.
The Diamond Headache Clinic has long maintained that dietary factors are important for many of our patients with migraines and other headaches. Therefore, we have developed an extensive series of recommendations on foods for headache sufferers to avoid. We have also conducted extensive research with our colleagues from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science to examine the content of vasoactive amine in foods, especially for those who are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor as part of their treatment. This has led to an easing of the dietary restrictions for our patients who must take these potent medications for their preventive treatment.
But avoiding foods that contribute to headaches only constitutes one of the trigger factors for headaches. So we instruct patients in the roles other factors serve as contributors to their headaches. The use of diaries to record the linkage between these triggering factors and their headaches may serve as an empowering tool for them in their headache management.
All of this occurs in the setting of appropriate diagnosis of the headache disorder and establishment of treatment regimens that involve education, acute medications, and, in most patients, preventive medications to limit the frequency of their headaches.Additional nonpharmacologic modalities are also commonly used as part of these components of treatment.
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