From stroke and anxiety, to back pain and Raynaud�s syndrome, migraines are linked to so many conditions! In this issue, we give you facts you can use to help your doctor understand your special health risks�and how to minimize them. We also look at relaxation techniques that can make pain worse, and what to try instead.

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Does Your Doctor See the Other Risks Associated with Migraines?

The more we�re learning about migraines, the more we�re learning how migraines are linked to many other conditions. If your doctor focuses only on managing your headache pain or nausea, he or she might miss key risk factors�and more beneficial ways to treat your migraine and promote your overall health.

To help you have this important holistic conversation with your provider, let�s look at five migraine-linked conditions:

  1. Cardiovascular disease. Migraine sufferers�both men and women�are at higher risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, seizures and strokes. A new study adds to the evidence, showing people with migraines had a 49% higher risk of a heart attack and double the risk of a stroke. Lead author of this newest study, Dr. Kaspar Adelbourg, says it�s important to find out if agents that prevent migraines could also reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.

  2. Chronic pain. Researchers think migraines may sensitize the brain to pain. The more migraines you have and the more intense they are, the more sensitive your brain�s �pain circuits� become. This may explain why migraine sufferers often experience back�and other�pain. Fibromyalgia is also common in migraine sufferers. Clearly, if you can reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines, you may be able to reduce the risk of developing chronic pain.

  3. Stress. It�s well-known that stress seems to trigger migraines. But did you know that the reverse may also be true�that migraines can trigger stress? The fear of having an attack, the unpredictability, the frustration of having to miss out on activities all contribute to chronic stress. As with chronic pain, the more you can do to reduce migraines, the more you avoid the stress-migraine-stress vicious circle.

  4. Depression, anxiety and PTSD. In scientific studies, women who suffer migraines were found 40% more likely to develop depression than women who never had migraines. Migraines are common in people who have anxiety, and people who suffer from both migraines and anxiety are more likely to experience depression. One study also found that the risk of having PTSD is five times higher if you have migraines.

  5. Weight. The more overweight you are, the higher your risk of migraine. In addition, being obese increases the likelihood that episodic migraines could become chronic. You and your doctor should explore how this affects choices about your lifestyle and medications. For example, weight gain is a common side effect of migraine-prevention drugs like topiramate, zonisamide and protriptyline. Well-researched natural preventatives like Dolovent� and Petadolex� do not cause weight gain.
Take-aways: Instead of treating migraines as a single condition, ask your doctor for a more holistic view of your health so you can do more to reduce migraines�and the related risks.

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Another prevention option for both migraines and Raynauds comes without serious side effects: a magnesium supplement.

Magnesium naturally dilates blood vessels. Studies show supplementation helps correct the magnesium deficiencies commonly found in people who suffer migraines. Magnesium deficiencies have also been found in people who suffer Raynaud�s, and supplementation has been shown to be beneficial. Riboflavin supplementation has also been used in treating Raynaud�s.

Note that Dolovent� provides both magnesium and riboflavin to help blood vessels maintain proper blood flow.

To learn more about what happens when blood vessels spasm, click here.

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Relaxation Therapies Can Backfire

With its stress-reducing benefits, a massage is a great way to reduce the stress that can cause migraines, right? Not always. If you suffer migraines plus any type of chronic pain, you must take special care to avoid over-taxing your sensitive nervous system. A balanced life, regular sleep and good nutrition go a long way. So does avoiding certain relaxation therapies that can backfire.

Overly intense therapies�such as rigorous massage and chiropractic sessions, for example�can further stimulate your already over-stimulated sensitivity. Remember, migraines may change the way your brain processes pain signals. In other words, chronic pain makes you hypersensitive to pain. Instead, help quiet these sensitive pain pathways by focusing on relaxed stretching or other gentle relaxation treatments.

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