NYHC in the Press & TV

Dr. Mauskop introducing Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel at The First International Headache Summit held in Tel-Aviv, Israel, November 14-17, 2008.  Professor Wiesel spoke about his personal experience with chronic migraines.

New York Headache Center in the news:

Shots: Health News From NPR, February 3, 2018 Gone With A Shot? Hopeful New Signs Of Relief For Migraine Sufferers
New York Magazine, January 31, 2018 My Seven-Month Migraine
NEWSMAX Health, December 31, 2017 8 Hangover Remedies That Really Work
SHESAID, December 2017 Here’s Why You Keep Getting Headaches
Allure, August 2017 6 Types of Common Headaches and How to Get Rid of Them
Liputan 6, August, 2017 7 Pemicu Sakit Kepala, dari Layar Komputer sampai Parfum (Indonesia)
Neue Westfälische, May 2017 Experten: Wenn es im Kopf schmerzt, kann Botox helfen (Germany)
Doktorka.cz, May 2017 Mechanismy migrény a role hořčíku (Czech Republic)
Parents magazine, April 2017. 6 Ways to Outsmart a Migraine.
W Radio, March 2017 Remedios para…. Migraña, gastritis, colitis y gripa (Mexico)

NEWSMAX Health, December 30, 2016 How to handle a hangover: 10 Proven Remedies
Men’s Health, November 5, 2015  The Workout that cures your headaches

Superillu – leading German weekly magazine, September 2015 Superillu Teil 2 17.09.15
Huffington Post, March 13, 2013 Sex Relieves Migraine Pain…
Huffington Post, July 12, 2012 Migraine Relief: 15 Natural Ways to Ease the Pain
Fox News, March 5, 2013 Sex May Relieve Migraines
NaturalNews.com, July 17, 2012 Six Natural Remedies to Help Relieve Migraine
Wellness Talk Radio, July 5, 2012 Migraine Headache Prevention

Neurology Now – The American Academy of Neurology’s Magazine for Patients & Caregivers

NOW Toronto’s weekly news and entertainment voiceHead off the ache
Breaking the Headache Cycle Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2011
4 Treatments for Headaches “O”, The Oprah Magazine   October 13, 2009

Mother Earth News – March 2007 (.pdf)


Bottom Line – Natural Headache Help Miserable Migraines, Too!!!

Alexander Mauskop, MD New York Headache Center
More than 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Most people can control the pain and frequency of headaches with a variety of natural remedies.
We have many effective medications, but all of them have potential side effects. Serious side effects are rare, and the risk is worth taking for those who have severe attacks. However, many headaches can be prevented and treated without taking this risk.
Exercise. Walking, biking and other aerobic exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day improves circulation in the brain and triggers the release of painkilling compounds called endorphins. Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to prevent migraine and tension headaches.
Biofeedback helps people lower psychological stress. That, in turn, can reduce headaches. Biofeedback is especially good for children. For most people, six to eight biofeedback sessions to reduce tension produce lasting relief. Ask your doctor to recommend a certified biofeedback therapist in your area.
Magnesium supplements. Up to 50% of people with migraines are deficient in magnesium-partly because stress depletes the body of magnesium. People with cluster headaches may be low in this mineral as well. Dosage: 400mg daily. Slow-release (chelated) forms of magnesium are better absorbed by the body than other types. Magnesium is not a quick fix. It may take a month before you notice any improvement.
Feverfew. This herb can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Some people use fresh leaves, but the dried form is more readily available. I recommend that may patients take 125mg daily.
Limit caffeine. While caffeine relieves headaches temporarily, it often caused rebound headaches when its effects wear off. People who suffer from chronic headaches should have tea, coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages no more than twice a week. Warning: Many over-the-counter headache remedies contain caffeine.
Aromatherapy. The scent of peppermint relieves tension headaches. Rub a little peppermint oil on your forehead whenever you feel a headache coming on. Peppermint oil is available at bath and body shops and health food stores.
Warm your body…and cool your head. Some headache sufferers find relief by taking a hot bath while holding an ice pack on their head. Warming the body draws blood away from the head, and the ice pack constricts the blood vessels in the scalp. This combination can help stop headaches in progress.
Acupuncture. Thin needles inserted all over the body can provide headache relief. Most people need about 10 weekly sessions to start and then return for preventive maintenance. After that, the headaches typically disappear for three to six months…sometimes even longer.
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Alexander Mauskop, MD, neurologist and director of New York Headache Center, 30 E. 76 St. New York 10021. He is the author of The Headache Alternative: A Neurologist’s Guide to Drug-Free Relief (Dell).

Good Housekeeping-New Ways to Banish a Headache

From acupuncture to powerful drugs, there are more weapons than ever to fight the throbbing pain. A guide to the latest-and best-remedies.
Dull or excruciating, short-lived or relentless, the pain of a headache is all too familiar. Although most of us suffer only occasionally (and are quickly helped by an over-the-counter painkiller), for about one in 20 people, headaches are frequent, sometimes even daily, miseries. But they no longer have to be: Thanks to a more sophisticated understanding of underlying causes, doctors now have an arsenal of effective weapons to help. And as nondrug treatments have moved from the fringe to the mainstream, many sufferers are finding relief without turning to medications at all.
Cause: Stress, which announces itself as a steady ache encircling the top of your head. You often have a painful knotting of neck and shoulder muscles too. Women seem to be especially vulnerable, perhaps because of monthly hormone fluctuations and/or the stress of work and family obligations. Tension headaches-the most common type-are usually now-and-then annoyances, but 2 percent of people get them daily.
Treatment/Prevention: GREAT NEW IDEAS
Relaxation techniques. Try one of the following: progressive muscle relaxation (one method involves tensing and then relaxing muscle groups), slow breathing from the diaphragm, visualization (imagining yourself relaxing in a peaceful setting for five to ten minutes, several times a day), yoga, or meditation. Practiced daily, these techniques can cut back on the frequency of headaches by more than 50 percent.
Biofeedback. Can’t get yourself to relax? This is a high-tech way to learn: A trainer places sensors on your head and neck muscles, then attaches them to a monitor, which records muscle tension. As you practice relaxation techniques, your progress flashes on the monitor. Once you’ve mastered the techniques, you can use them on your own, without wires. Biofeedback helps about half of patients who try it, and costs up to about $90 per session; ten sessions are advised.
Acupuncture. The Chinese practice of inserting hair-thin needles into the body can reduce both the frequency and severity of chronic tension headaches. According to Alexander Mauskop, M.D., a neurologist and licensed acupuncturist in New York City, acupuncture should work after five sessions; if it doesn’t, he says, stop. To find a reputable practitioner, contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (800-521-2262).
Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and protriptyline (Vivactil) can help about half of patients. Although they can have unpleasant side effects, they may be ideal for those who don’t want to try relaxation techniques or acupuncture.
Exercise. Aim for five 30 minute sessions per week.
Heat therapy. Use a warm compress or hot shower to apply heat to head and neck for ten to 20 minutes.
Head and neck massage
Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. If your usual aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium doesn’t cut it, try one that contains caffeine-such as Extra-Strength Excedrin, Midol, or Anacin. Caffeine enhances the effects of painkillers.
Cause: A drop in the brain chemical serotonin, which causes blood vessels and nerves to become inflamed. Hormone fluctuations can also be a trigger. The pain, which ranges form mild to agonizing, may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Migraines-the second most common type of headache-usually affect only one side of the brain.
Treatment/Prevention: GREAT NEW IDEAS
Relaxation techniques. They may ease mild migraines (see above)
Biofeedback. For migraine patients, biofeedback usually focuses on “temperature training”: You concentrate on warming your hands, thereby increasing blood flow to them-and away from the painfully swollen blood vessels in your head.
Acupuncture. The practice can short circuit a migraine. Regular treatments can help prevent them.
A potent OTC option. Excedrin Migraine-a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine-is effective against mild to moderate migraines.
Prescription triptan medications. These drugs (starting with sumatriptan) have become a godsend for sufferers whose migraines are extremely painful or long lasting. Three new triptan medications were introduced last year, and sumatriptan is now available in a nasal spray, which acts faster than pills, and is less painful than an injection.
A longer-lasting nasal spray. A nasal spray version of another class of drugs also recently became available: dihydroergotamine (DHE) mesylate(Migranal). The new spray doesn’t act as quickly as the sumatriptan nasal spray, but it lasts longer, according to Richard B. Lipton, M.D., president-elect of the American Association for the Study of Headache. A few warnings: Neither triptans nor DHE can be used if you have cardiovascular disease, because they cause blood vessels to constrict. Also, some patients who take triptans complain of drowsiness, and DHE may occasionally cause dizziness, nausea, or nasal irritation.
Vitamin B2. Some experts have found that vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may prevent migraines. Try 400 milligrams (mg) daily for three to four months.
Magnesium. Half of migraine sufferers are deficient in magnesium, a mineral that helps blood vessels function properly. Try 400 mg.; it may take three for four weeks before you see an improvement. But beware: Magnesium may cause diarrhea.
Antidepressants. These medications can stave off migraines.
Hot and cold therapy. When you have a migraine, your head is usually throbbing and your body is shivering, notes Dr. Mauskop. Reversing that pattern-putting and ice pack on your head while sitting in a hot bath-can bring relief.
Exercise (see above)
Prescription medications. Ask your doctor about the old-fashioned standby, ergotamine. Though the pill form takes a long time to kick in and may worsen nausea, many migraine suffers are helped.
Drug Rebound HEADACHES
Cause: Typically, these strike only patients with chronic tension headaches or migraines. As you take painkillers day after day-even as little as 1,000 mg of aspirin or acetaminophen daily-the drug becomes less effective and the headaches more frequent.
Virtually any painkiller cans cause headaches if it’s overused, but the likeliest culprits are medications that contain caffeine. Why? Caffeine itself can cause rebound headaches.
Treatment: Stop taking painkillers-with your doctor’s okay-even if you feel worse (more headaches, sometimes even nausea and vomiting) for a few days after quitting.
Prevention: Don’t exceed recommended dose and don’t take painkillers more that two days a week.
Cause: A sinus infection or allergies, which can cause a gnawing pain to develop in the nose, cheeks, forehead, and/or temples. Usually, the pain worsens as the day wears on. There are other symptoms too: nasal congestion, thick discharge form the nose (yellowish-green if you have an infection), a cough, possibly fever.
Treatment: Try decongestants or antihistamines; for infection, antibiotics or surgical draining of the affected sinus(es) may be necessary.
Sleep-Related HEADACHES
Cause: Headaches are closely related to the body’s rhythms, so any changes-including too little or too much sleep-can cause headaches.
Treatment: If your headaches occur only occasionally, OTC painkillers should work. But if they’re brought on by insomnia, you need to treat the underlying cause-anything form depression to a thyroid disorder.
Prevention: Try to go to be and get up on a regular schedule-even on weekends

New York Times – Acupuncture for Addicts

To the Editor: In “The Drug Czar’s Mission” (editorial, Dec. 4), you call for a drug to block the craving for cocaine as methadone does for heroin. A relatively cheap and possibly very effective method to block the craving for both heroin and cocaine already exists. Acupuncture has been used successfully at two New York City hospitals, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and is widely used for this purpose in Hong Kong. Advances in understanding the mechanisms of acupuncture give it a solid scientific basis. Efficacy studies can be done with little funding, but none are planned now.
Alexander Mauskop, M.D. The writer is assistant neurology professor, SUNY Health Science Center.

New York Times – Treatment of Pain Should Be Discussed

To the Editor: “When Is It Right to Die?” (Op-Ed, May 17) by Ronald Dworkin misses a crucial point on euthanasia. Many reasonable people agree that a person should be allowed to die, rather than suffer from intractable pain of a terminal illness. The crucial point that is rarely mentioned in any of the debates on euthanasia is that physicians are poorly trained to treat severe pain in cancer and other fatal diseases. With the drugs and technology available, almost all patients can be relieved of their pain, but surveys indicate that many physicians under-treat pain. Before we allow anyone to assist dying patients in taking their lives, we have to make sure that these patients have access to a physician trained in treating severe distressing symptoms such as pain, nausea, cough, anxiety and depression. Such access may not be difficult to provide for in New York City (where many physicians also under-treat pain), but what about those remote areas where no specialists are available?
Alexander Mauskop, M.D, Asst. Prof. Of Neurology, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn New York.

Men’s Health – Health Bulletin Cluster Bomb

Researchers are making progress toward finding a treatment for cluster headaches, those long-lasting skull bangers that strike without warning and most commonly target men. Researchers at the New York Headache Center found low magnesium levels in half of a group of cluster-headache sufferers. When two patients with low magnesium levels were given the mineral intravenously, their cluster headaches quickly subsided. Alexander Mauskop, M.D., director of the center says that magnesium infusion may work in part by opening the constricted blood vessels that cause the headaches. He estimates this treatment-still in testing-may provide relief to 80 percent of the cluster-headache patients with low magnesium levels, 40 percent of all sufferers.

Details – Why Does my Head Ache?

There are three major types of headaches-tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines. Since you’re talking to me calmly, you probably have a tension headache, which is dull, viselike pressure all over your head. They’re often caused by stress…. Stress? Right. Under stress, your body releases adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and increases muscle tension. It’s the old fight-or-flight response, but these days humans rarely do either one: They remain physically inactive and get stressed out. Should I stand and fight? Not necessarily-you should work out. Aerobic exercise three times a week for forty minutes is a great way to cope with stress, and therefore a good way to prevent headaches. It’s the response the body expects after it releases adrenaline. Yoga and meditation are effective stress relievers too. What else causes tension headaches? Fatigue, hunger, exposure to gas or paint fumes, even strong perfumes-anything that irritates the nervous system. If you’re a regular caffeine user and you skip you morning coffee, you may get a headache. So that’s why I get headaches on the weekends. Probably, though it could be a letdown headache. Subconsciously we can control getting headaches. During the week you may not let yourself get one because you have to work. When you relax, the stress you’ve been avoiding returns and you get a headache. How do migraines differ from tension headaches? Migraines are more severe. A migraine feels like a throbbing pain on the side of the head, and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Besides moaning, what can I do? The main treatment we prescribe is biofeedback, a computerized relaxation technique that teaches people to control some of their own physiological functions-such as body temperature and blood pressure-by monitoring them on a computer screen. Come on. Really? Really. Adults are skeptical. They say, “Just looking at the screen will cure my migraines?” But one study found that five years after biofeedback treatment, 80 to 90 percent of patients were still improved. What about drugs? If biofeedback doesn’t work, we often treat migraines and tension headaches with antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in the brain; serotonin inhibits headaches and depression. Another drug, sumatriptan, regulates serotonin and is the first designer drugs created to treat migraines-it can stop them cold. Are men less likely to get debilitating headaches than women? Yes. Three women have migraines for every man. But 90 percent of sufferers of the less common cluster headaches are men. They’re called cluster headaches because they occur in clusters-they’ll come several times a day for months, then they’ll go away for a year. They’re concentrate on one side of the head, behind the eye, which is usually bloodshot. The intensity is so severe that sufferers often consider suicide, even though they know the pain will pass. Wow. So what can they do? Many cluster patients respond to sumatriptan, and clusters are the only headaches that respond to inhalation of oxygen. Most cluster sufferers smoke, so the theory is that their brains don’t get enough oxygen. Migraines and cluster headaches can be caused by a magnesium deficiency, which causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting the flow of blood the head. I’m always getting these sinus headaches… No you’re not-its most likely a tension headache. If you had a sinus headache your nose would be runny and you’d be congested and have pain over one sinus-underneath the cheekbone or above the eye. Sinus headaches are caused by mucus buildup, which causes pressure in the sinus cavity. Assuming that is what I get, what can I do? Usually an over-the-counter decongestant and pain killer will do it. If the sinus is infected, you doctor will prescribe antibiotics. What else might be causing my headaches? Tension headaches imply muscle tension, very often a spasm. That’s why rubbing your neck and shoulders often helps. Foods that can trigger migraines include ripe cheese, chocolate, excessive amounts of caffeine, red wine, hot dogs and other foods containing nitrates, even oranges and bananas. You can get headaches from noise, bright or flashing lights-anything that over-stimulates the nervous system. We weren’t designed to deal with this much noise and stimulation. What causes hangover headaches? One cause may be alcohol withdrawal. We know that’s true with people who regularly drink a lot, because once they have a drink the headache goes away. Headaches may also be caused by toxins in the alcohol. Dark rum, for instance, is filled with chemicals other than alcohol. So you should drink vodka, which is a “purer” form of alcohol. Of course, I’m Russian , so I’m biased. Dr. Alexander Mauskop is the director of the New York Headache Center.

Energy Times – Magnesium for Migraines

Magnesium may help prevent migraines, according to a pilot study of 14 women who suffer migraines. “For the women who say the magnesium worked well, there was dramatic improvement in headache relief,” said Dr. Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center and associate professor of clinical neurology at the State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn. Sven of the 14 women experienced significant relief of migraines with magnesium supplements. Two reported fair results. Migraines result from excessive dilation and contraction of blood vessels in the brain. Hormone imbalances and food allergies are two of the most common causes. Homeopaths often recommend magnesium taken with calcium for migraines because these minerals help regulate muscle tone and transmit nerve impulses through the body and brain. Together, they can help alleviate muscle tension. Women helped by magnesium suffered fewer headaches and reported fewer PMS problems. “Nine of the patients with good and fair relief wanted to continue magnesium supplementation after completion of the trial,” according to Dr. Mauskop. This study was small and Dr. Mauskop stressed the need for further research to examine the usefulness of magnesium in limiting migraines

Cosmopolitan – Natural Medicine: The New Age Rage

COMPLAINT: HEADACHE Natural remedy 1: Biofeedback. “Biofeedback teaches patients how to relax constriction in brain blood vessels, which is often the source of painful migraines,” Explains neurologist Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center and the co-author of The Headache Alternative (Dell, 1997). A 1987 study published in the medical journal Headache found that 80 percent of people who practiced biofeedback reported significant relief of both tension and migraine headaches. :I used to get two to three migraines a month, but since I started using biofeedback, I’ve had two in four months,” says Lindsey Berents-Weeramuni, 28, a New York book-publishing associate. Most often, thermal biofeedback, in which patients are taught actually to redirect blood flow away from the head toward the hands, is used to treat migraines. “Many migraine sufferers complain of cold hands and feet,” explains Dr. Mauskop, “so theoretically, by redirecting blood to those areas, you’re increasing bodily circulation and releasing blood-vessel constriction.” To find a biofeedback specialist in your area, call the National Headache Foundation at (800) 843-2256. Natural remedy 2: Magnesium. “Approximately 50 percent of all migraine sufferers have a deficiency of magnesium, a naturally occurring element in your body that prevents blood vessels from spasming,” explains Dr. Mauskop. The December 1995 issue of the medical journal Clinical Science reported a study with an 85 percent success rate in treating migraines with magnesium injections. Recommended dosage: As a preventive, 400 milligrams in pill form, found in most health-food stores. For instant migraine relief, your doctor can give you an injection.

Mademoiselle – Natural Headache Cures

Yes we feel your pain. Here, five new alternative treatments to conquer it Tired of popping an aspirin whenever your head starts to throb? Nest time, reach for your foot. New research on alternative therapies-including acupressure, which involves touching specific points on your body-has shown promising results for headache relief. Of the five major types of headaches-tension, migraine, cluster, sinus/allergy, PMS-the stress-related tension headache is the most common, affecting at least 75 percent of headache sufferers, according to the National Headache Foundation (NHF), an educational organization based in Chicago. And women are 15 percent more likely than men to get them, according to a recent study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. It’s no surprise that research on nonmedicinal cures is booming. Scientists at Ohio University in Athens are winding up a five-year study on whether stress management techniques are as effective as drugs are in reducing chronic tension headaches. Although the final data aren’t in yet, earlier research indicates that “stress management works as well as or even better than drug treatment,” says Kenneth Holroyd, M.D., professor of clinical and health psychology and part of the research team. “Alternative treatment such as biofeedback and relaxation training, may enhance the brain’s natural ability to control pain,” And, he adds, these methods work especially well on occasional tension headaches. Before trying the techniques below, take a look at your lifestyle. Tension headaches can be triggered by factors like skipped meals, too little sleep, too much coffee, or caffeine withdrawal. You might be able to end your aches by making a minor change. You may also find that engaging in anything relaxing-from shopping to jogging-keeps muscles from tensing up and blood vessels from dilating, which can zap-or prevent-a headache. Biofeedback Biofeedback “is a way to train your mind to regulate your body,” says neurologist Alexander Mauskop, M.D., director of the New York Headache Center in Manhattan and author of The Headache Alternative (Dell, 1997). This technique uses computers to reach you how to control functions of your nervous system, like muscle tension and blood flow. “It’s been shown to be safe, simple and effective means of treating tension headaches,” says Dr. Holroyd. At a session, a biofeedback therapist places electrodes connected to a monitor on you, so you can observe your temperature and muscle activity. She has you evoke different emotions-e.g., anxiety, stress-so you can see that physiological changes that occur when your get a headache. (When muscles tense, for instance, you’ll notice your temperature drop.) Then, the therapist will teach you exercise that can help you control your body’s responses. Dr. Mauskop recommends six to ten sessions (the cost ranges from $50 to $100 per visit). Visualization Visualization, or imagery, is another way to train your mind to control your body. But, unlike biofeedback, it doesn’t require gizmos or assistance. Here are two exercises from the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. Before you begin, advises Seymour Diamond, M.D., executive chairman of the NHF and director of the clinic, find a comfy place to sit, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. * Picture a calm, quiet place , one that gives you a sense of well-being and warmth-like cozy bed. Try to smell and feel the place, as if you were really there. Do this for ten minutes, take two deep breaths, and exhale slowly. * Focus on your arms, legs, shoulders, neck, back and head-one area at a time . Imagine the tension flowing away. Picture each part being warmed, massaged and shaken out. Tell yourself, “My (insert area here) feels comfortable”; “My breathing is slow and regular” and “My (insert area here) us heavy and warm.” Repeat for ten minutes, take two deep breaths, and exhale slowly.Return to top

San Francisco Examiner – Migraine treatment spurs debate

Merit of using magnesium draws cautious optimism, requests for study A scientific controversy is brewing over the pluses or minuses of magnesium, a reputed low-cost treatment for migraine headaches. Magnesium’s migraine-busting merits have been heralded by some researchers, while others have doubts. Magnesium enthusiasts enjoyed the spotlight Saturday at the American Association for the Study of Headache meeting in San Francisco. They drew hope from a speech by New York City neurologist Dr. Alexander Mauskop, who reported a “strong possibility” that magnesium combats migraine attacks and has “minimal side effects.” He spoke on the second day of the three-day conference at the Sheraton Palace Hotel on Market Street. Migraine attacks can last for days and cause excruciating pain, usually on one side of the head. They also can bring vomiting and hypersensitivity to light, sound and smell. In some patients, magnesium alone “can dramatically reduce their (attacks) frequency,” and cut migraine pain by more than 50 percent within 15 minutes, Mauskop said. He is an associate professor of clinical neurology at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn. He and his colleagues-B.T. Altura, R.Q. Cracco, B.M. Altura-tested the mineral by injecting it intravenously into migraine sufferers. However, “a lack of definitive proof” keeps Mauskop from whole-heartedly recommending magnesium as a migraine treatment for now. Also, no migraine sufferer should take magnesium without first consulting with a physician, Mauskop cautions. Excessive doses of magnesium can be dangerous, he warned. What’s needed, Mauskop says, are more careful, “double-blind” studies of magnesium. The mineral can be bought without a prescription at health-food outlets and other stores. In science, a double-blind study is one in which the researchers don’t know which patients received the real drug and which are “controls” given placebos with no medicinal effect. If properly conducted, a double-blind study ensures that researchers’ prejudices about a proposed treatment don’t influence their conclusion. In 1996, the German researcher Volker Pfaffenrath and his colleagues questioned the value of magnesium for treating migraines. They published a report in the medical journal Cephalalgia that concluded, based on double-blind study, the mineral offers no significant benefits for migraine victims. However, Mauskop noted Saturday, Pfaffenrath’s patients tended to suffer diarrhea after receiving the magnesium. This suggests their bodies weren’t absorbing the mineral. Hence they might not have been benefiting from magnesium’s anti-migraine effects, Mauskop theorizes. Exactly how magnesium might ease migraines remains uncertain. One possibility: It might widen blood vessels that tend to narrow during migraine attacks. Magnesium is one of a number of “alternative” therapies for migraines, which afflict more than 20 million Americans-perhaps twice that many, according to one estimate. Three times as many women report migraines as men-although cynics might attribute the difference at least partly to men’s legendary unwillingness to admit that they’re in pain. At the least, Mauskop suggests that doctors show more sensitivity to the feelings of patients who resort to “alternative”-i.e. unorthodox-therapies such as magnesium. Too often, he says, patients fail to tell a doctor that they’re pursuing alternative treatments- say, acupuncture- for fear that the physician will scold or scorn them. And a doctor can best serve his patient’s needs if fully appraised of what treatments the patient is seeking outside the medical office. Of the many popular alternative therapies for migraines, exercise and biofeedback are the likeliest to help, Mauskop says. Biofeedback must have some value, he adds half-jokingly,” because insurance companies pay for it.” He says particular patients may benefit from other alternative treatments, such as meditation and cognitive therapy, if these appeal to them. “If” is the key word, of course. “Some people won’t try acupuncture because of the needles,” he notes with a smile.Return to top

NewYork Post – Magnesium for migraines

Monica Milner, an optician who works in Midtown, is down to one migraine a month. She credits her progress in part to having become a faithful user of magnesium, a mineral supplement that in high doses-400 milligrams a day-is thought to help perhaps half of migraine sufferers.
Milner’s physician, Dr. Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center in Manhattan, says that magnesium helps relax blood vessels and plays a role in pain transmission and regulation of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. In too-high doses, however, it may cause diarrhea.
Milner takes her magnesium intravenously in Mauskop’s office once a month. She also injects herself with a prescription pain killer when a migraine strikes.
It’s claimed that a new class of pain killers called triptans, which includes the drugs Imitrex, Amerge, Zomig and Maxalt, can stop migraine pain in its tracks. A migraine is characterized by a throbbing pain on one side of the head and can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. Many people also experience nausea and vomiting. Triggers include lack of sleep, red wine, too much caffeine and stress.

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