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Everything You Ever Wanted to

Know About Chronic Headaches

(And How To Cope With Them)

by Douglas Hanna

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“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Please Read this First!

Terms of Use

This Electronic book is Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved. No part of this

book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any

means; electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,

without written permission from the copyright holder(s).

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might not be suitable for everyone. The

author only provides the material as a broad overview by a layperson about

an important subject.

The author obtained the information from sources believed to be reliable and

from his own personal experience, but he neither implies nor intends any

guarantee of accuracy.

All claims made for any product, treatment or other procedure that is

reported in this book is only the author's personal opinion. You must do you

own careful checking with your own medical advisor and other reputable

sources on any matter that concerns your health or that of others.

Research is constantly changing theories and practices in this area.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice,

diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other

qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a

medical condition.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it for any

reason.

The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting, medical

or any other type of professional advice. The reader must always seek those

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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services from competent professionals that can review their own particular

circumstances.

The author, publisher and distributors particularly disclaim any liability, loss,

or risk taken by individuals who directly or indirectly act on the information

contained herein.

All readers must accept full responsibility for their use of this material.

Any pictures used in this book are for illustrative purposes only. People in the

pictures are not associated with the content or the author, publisher or

distributors. People in the pictures do not endorse the content in any way.

No pictures in this book may be used by anyone for any other purpose

without prior written permission from the rights holder.

Images are © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation.

All Internet links in this book are all provided without warranty of any kind.

The author, publisher and distributors do not guarantee the safety, reliability

or correctness of the links, websites or content.

Your use of this information and any consequences must be completely at

your own risk.

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Table of Contents

Please Read this First! .......................................................................................2

Terms of Use ...............................................................................................................................2

Disclaimer....................................................................................................................................2

Table of Contents................................................................................................4

About the Author ................................................................................................9

Introduction .......................................................................................................10

What You will Learn from this Book .......................................................................................10

1. Facts about Headaches ................................................................................13

Headache Myths .......................................................................................................................13

2. General Information about Headaches .......................................................17

What Causes Headaches? .......................................................................................................17

One New Theory .......................................................................................................................18

Headaches and Hormones ......................................................................................................19

3. Types of Headaches and Their Symptoms .................................................20

Non-chronic types of Headache..............................................................................................20

Major Types of Headaches and Their Symptoms .................................................................21

Migraine Headaches .............................................................................................................21

Cluster headaches................................................................................................................22

Chronic Daily Headaches ....................................................................................................24

Tension-type Headache .......................................................................................................26

Rebound Headaches ............................................................................................................27

4. Headache Triggers........................................................................................29

Eating and Sleeping Patterns..................................................................................................31

Environmental Factors.............................................................................................................31

Vision .........................................................................................................................................31

Medications ...............................................................................................................................32

Physical Exertion......................................................................................................................32

Diet and Foods..........................................................................................................................32

Tyramine................................................................................................................................33

Nitrites ...................................................................................................................................33

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Monosodium Glutamate.......................................................................................................34

Other Foods ..........................................................................................................................34

Non-food Headache Triggers ..............................................................................................34

5. Getting the Right Diagnosis.........................................................................36

A Headache Diary .....................................................................................................................36

The Initial Visit ..........................................................................................................................37

Questions You Need to Answer ..............................................................................................38

The Physical Examination .......................................................................................................38

Other Diagnostic Tools ............................................................................................................39

6. Coping with Migraines..................................................................................41

Choosing a Treatment..............................................................................................................41

N.S.A.I.Ds...................................................................................................................................44

Prescription Drugs ...................................................................................................................45

Cardiovascular Drugs ..........................................................................................................45

Antidepressants........................................................................................................................47

SSRIs .........................................................................................................................................48

MAOI’s .......................................................................................................................................48

Alpha Blockers..........................................................................................................................49

Techniques for Treating Specific Types of Migraine ............................................................49

Prolonged Migraine ..............................................................................................................49

Migraine Headaches with Tension-type Headaches .........................................................49

Hormonal Headaches ...........................................................................................................50

PMS Headaches ....................................................................................................................51

Pregnancy .............................................................................................................................51

Breast-feeding.......................................................................................................................51

Menopause ............................................................................................................................51

Relieving or Stopping a Migraine............................................................................................52

The Triptans ..........................................................................................................................53

Ergotamine Tartrate..............................................................................................................54

DHE (Dihydroergotamine Mysylate) ...................................................................................55

Isometheptene Mucate .........................................................................................................55

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)...................................................................56

Phenothiazines .........................................................................................................................56

Intranasal Lidocaine .............................................................................................................56

Over-the-counter Analgesics ..................................................................................................56

Narcotic Analgesics .................................................................................................................57

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Anti-emetics (Anti-nauseants).................................................................................................58

Cold Packs ................................................................................................................................58

7. Coping with Cluster Headaches ..................................................................59

Preventing Cluster Headaches................................................................................................59

Stopping the cluster headache after it has started...........................................................61

Other First-line Treatments for Cluster Headaches ..............................................................61

Triptan drugs.........................................................................................................................61

Dihydroergotamine...............................................................................................................61

Sumitriptan............................................................................................................................61

Lidocaine ...............................................................................................................................62

Cold Showers........................................................................................................................62

8: How to Fight Chronic Daily Headaches ......................................................63

Preventive Medications........................................................................................................63

Antidepressants....................................................................................................................64

SSRIs .....................................................................................................................................64

Beta-blockers ........................................................................................................................65

Anti-seizure Drugs................................................................................................................65

Muscle Relaxers....................................................................................................................65

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents) .............................................................65

Cox-2 Inhibitors ....................................................................................................................65

Others ....................................................................................................................................66

9. Treating Tension-type Headaches...............................................................67

Episodic Tension-type Headaches .....................................................................................68

Chronic tension-type headaches ........................................................................................69

Preventing Tension-type Headaches..................................................................................69

Regular Exercise...................................................................................................................69

Managing Stress ...................................................................................................................69

Preventive Medications............................................................................................................70

Tricyclic Antidepressants ....................................................................................................70

Treating Tension-type Headaches ..........................................................................................71

10. Alternative Treatments and Self-help Techniques ...................................74

Alternative Treatments Chart ..................................................................................................75

Alternative Treatments.............................................................................................................76

Oxygen Therapy....................................................................................................................76

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Acupuncture..........................................................................................................................76

Detoxification Therapy .........................................................................................................77

Colon Therapy.......................................................................................................................77

Chelation Therapy ................................................................................................................77

Enemas ..................................................................................................................................78

Fasting ...................................................................................................................................78

Hyperthermia.........................................................................................................................78

Herbal Bowel Cleansers.......................................................................................................78

Environmental Medicine ......................................................................................................79

Ayurvedic Medicine ..............................................................................................................79

Naturopathy...........................................................................................................................79

Hypnosis................................................................................................................................80

Herbal Medicine ....................................................................................................................80

Energy Medicine ...................................................................................................................81

Imagery ..................................................................................................................................81

Guided Imagery.....................................................................................................................81

Behavior Therapy .................................................................................................................82

Light Therapy ........................................................................................................................82

Cold Laser Therapy ..............................................................................................................83

Reflexology ...........................................................................................................................83

Neural Therapy......................................................................................................................83

Chiropractic...........................................................................................................................83

Osteopathy ............................................................................................................................84

Psycho/Emotional Therapies ..............................................................................................84

Magnetic Field Therapy........................................................................................................85

Biofeedback ..........................................................................................................................86

Homeopathic Medicine.........................................................................................................86

Flower Essence Therapy .....................................................................................................87

Aromatherapy .......................................................................................................................88

Self-help Treatments ................................................................................................................89

Relaxation Exercises............................................................................................................89

Relaxed Breathing ................................................................................................................89

Deep Breathing .....................................................................................................................90

Three-part Breath..................................................................................................................90

20-cycle Breath .....................................................................................................................90

Wu Breathing Exercise.........................................................................................................90

Pulse Breathing ....................................................................................................................91

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation...........................................................................................91

Lifestyle Changes .................................................................................................................92

Self Massage .........................................................................................................................92

Carotid Artery Massage .......................................................................................................92

Neck and Shoulder Massage ...............................................................................................93

Sinus Massage......................................................................................................................93

Ice and Heat...........................................................................................................................93

Meditation..............................................................................................................................94

Nutritional Therapy and Diet ...............................................................................................94

More Tips for Reducing Food-Related Headaches ...............................................................95

Compresses and Steams .....................................................................................................96

11. Using Supplements to Treat Your Headaches .........................................99

What are Natural Supplements? .............................................................................................99

Who takes Supplements? ..................................................................................................... 101

Cluster Headaches ................................................................................................................ 102

Migraines ................................................................................................................................ 103

Chronic Daily Headache ....................................................................................................... 104

Tension-type Headaches ...................................................................................................... 105

Headaches in General ........................................................................................................... 106

12. Online Resources ..................................................................................... 107

Forums.................................................................................................................................... 107

Websites ................................................................................................................................. 108

Newsgroups and Groups ...................................................................................................... 110

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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About the Author

Douglas Hanna is a retired advertising and marketing executive. He lives in a

suburb of Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs.

Douglas has written more than 225 articles on a variety of subjects. He has

done extensive research on chronic headaches as he has been a headache

sufferer since his teen years.

Douglas knows from personal experience the profound and disabling effect

that chronic headaches can have on your life as he had them since he was a

teenager.

Sometimes, these headaches were so severe that he couldn’t even function

and had to spend hours sitting in a dark room. Or, he would try to sleep,

hoping that he would feel better when he woke up.

Today, he rarely experiences headaches that debilitating. Instead, his

headaches are usually on the milder side; "just serious enough to put a

damper on my day, or to make it difficult for me to sleep."

He saw several different doctors about his headaches but could never get a

definitive diagnosis. The closest he came was one doctor who said that his

chronic headaches were in the "migraine family".

Given these experiences, he decided to learn everything he could about

chronic headaches; what they were and how to best prevent or treat them.

His book is dedicated to all those of you who live with chronic headaches like

Douglas used to.

© 2009, Douglas Hanna All Rights Reserved

“Everything About Chronic Headaches” by Douglas Hanna

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