We hope you've had a good start to the year.

This might be the perfect time to take a fresh look at your prevention toolkit, especially since preventing migraines can dramatically reduce your exposure to the potentially life-threating side effects of even "safe" drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. We know that research shows that regular use of supplements like butterbur, magnesium and Vitamin B2 can help reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks-without putting you at risk of serious side effects. Now, maybe your phone can do the same! In this issue of the newsletter, we look at apps our readers say do help with prevention. We also take a look at the link between football and migraines.

We appreciate the feedback we're getting from so many of you! Thank you for sharing such good tips and comments about your own experiences -it's valuable to us and to all our readers.

Tina Sanders

Linpharma Customer Education

Apps That Warn You a Migraine Is Coming

It's unlikely you experience just one migraine in your life ... or even one a year. Instead, these debilitating headaches tend to be chronic. The more attacks you experience, the more you reach for over-the-counter or prescription relief. That could put you at significant risk from even seemingly "safe" drugs. For example, did you know that taking too much acetaminophen sends as many as 78,000 Americans to the emergency room each year, results in 33,000 hospitalizations and is the nation's leading cause of acute liver failure? No wonder it's so important not just to treat migraines, but to prevent them so acute medication isn't needed.

A good migraine prevention plan can include everything from stress reduction to taking supplements such as butterbur, magnesium, Vitamin B2 and CoQ10. Now, a new suite of smartphone weather apps can expand your prevention toolkit by forecasting when a migraine is likely to occur. With this early-warning system, you can take preventive action in time to make a difference.

Fight migraines with your phone's barometer!

The new iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air2 and iPad Mini 4 are all equipped with a barometric pressure sensor. Wherever you are, the app gives you the local atmospheric pressure, along with climatic conditions. There is also a trend report that alerts you to where the barometer is headed from the next few hours up to the next 30 days. This is an extremely valuable tool if-like so many people who suffer migraines-changes in the weather often trigger your attacks.

One of our newsletter readers told us that changes in barometric pressure trigger horrible headaches for her daughter. Using the Barometer & Altimeter for iPhone/iPad developed by Steffen Bauereiss (available free at the iTunes store), she can look at the app's trend report and know ahead of time when these pressure shifts are likely to occur. She can look ahead a few hours or even days and pre-medicate to prevent attacks from developing. She says it's a great app!

Barometer apps are available for Android phones, too

If you have an Android smartphone, try Accurate Barometer Free, developed by AR Labs. Like the iPhone app, it's free. There are many barometer apps for Androids, but we like this one because it has the pressure trend reporting feature. Search the app store on "barometer" and you can browse what's available.

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, it's well worth looking into these barometric pressure tools. Because where weather triggers are concerned, an "app" of prevention can literally head off a pounding migraine.

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Other Apps for Fighting Migraines

While you're looking at barometric pressure apps, here are other apps that might be helpful in your migraine prevention toolkit:

Migraine Buddy by Healint (free). This is one of many digital migraine diary apps that are available for iPhones and Androids. This has good ratings and features, including custom reporting.

Music to Beat Migraines by Times Music (free). Soothing sitar music based on neuro-hormonal research and the principles of Ayurvedic medicine.

Acupressure Heal Yourself
($1.99). There are many free and paid acupressure apps available. None of them should be used in place of professional care. However, this app can be helpful in showing you how applying pressure to certain points may help ease a headache or help keep a migraine from developing..

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Vitamin Deficiency Finder by YantraMind (free). Again-this is no substitute for talking to your doctor, but deficiencies of key nutrients like magnesium, Vitamin B2 and CoQ10 have been linked to migraines. This app lets you enter symptoms, find possible vitamin deficiencies and learn what types of foods can help address them. Note, however, that diet alone may not be sufficient to supply the level of nutrients necessary to correct a true deficiency, so it may be advisable to talk with your doctor about using a supplement.

Epocrates Rx or Medscape Mobile (free). Do you take triptans, beta blockers or other Rx drugs for migraines? Do you regularly use ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen for pain relief? Then use these apps to understand the risks and side effects that can accompany those drugs.
What's the Link Between Football and Migraines?

Last December, New York Jets punt returner Jeremy Kerley left the field during the game against the Giants and didn't return. The reason? He was hit with a blinding migraine and was being treated with intravenous fluids and oxygen. Kerley, it turns out, is among the many football players who suffer severe migraines.

In fact, when neurologist Dr. Tad Siefert studied high school football players, he found that 33.8 of them suffered from migraines-twice the rate in the normal population. What's interesting is that among these football players who had sustained multiple concussions the rate rose to almost 41%. Siefert will soon publish a study on college football players that is expected to show a similar link.

While the research is still being conducted, parents and football players themselves may want to become proactive in creating a plan to prevent migraines. The upside of preventing migraines is clear. Plus, there can be very little downside to being proactive, especially since natural options such as magnesium and butterbur supplements can be used by adults and children, and they come with mild (if any) side effects, compared to some of the drug-based prevention regimens. If you have a child who has migraines and/or plays contact sports, you should talk to your doctor. It can also help to understand more about what doctors are saying about possible links between migraines and concussions. Dr. Siefert's comments on his own research provide a good starting point. Here's a link to a MedScape Medical News article on Dr. Siefert and the results of his study of high school football players:

(If you don't want to sign up for a Medscape account to read the article, Google: Dr. Siefert Migraine Medscape and the direct link to the article should appear at the top of the search listings.)

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