It’s not just a ‘headache’ ~ It’s ‘CHRONIC MIGRAINE’

These chronic migraines are not “pop 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” headaches……

Image Source: “Making Migraines Visible” image included in a slideshow by: Teri Robert on HealthCentral.com

Chronic Migraines

That’s me, that’s what I suffer with.   Winter has been unkind to me, especially January through March, where very few days did I escape not having a migraine headache.   The pulsating, throbbing head and face agony had me bedridden most days, and other times unable to wear my glasses due to tenderness over the bridge of my nose.

Since thoughts of jumping over the balcony crossed my mind to end this crap and a trip to the emergency isn’t an option anymore (wait times approx. 10-14 hrs. and their refusal to use narcotics), I had to ‘suck it up’.

My neurologist suggested Botox treatments, but I’m unsure of this method for chronic migraines, and the research I’ve done has shown some people were worse off with the treatment due to constant stiff necks and even more pain + medications.  I am considering chiropractic or acupuncture methods, but for this past week, I’m experimenting with a natural herbal medication which has shown good progress so far.  Fingers crossed!

This wonderful link provides a more in-depth look at migraines @ HealthCentral.com http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/cf/slideshows/migraines-visible#slide=1

(updated and reposted)

My chronic migraines ~ I’m cranky

I’ll admit I’ve been cranky with an awfully short fuse lately, however, I’ve also been bedridden with ice-packs stuck to my head, isolated, and living in dark spaces for months. Winters in Canada aren’t kind to me, the barometer changing from day to day and week to week promotes wicked chronic migraines. Weather changes are my triggers.

I’ve posted previously about my 40+ year struggle with these crappy recurring headaches doing anything to prevent a trip to the hospital emergency for an IV drip to end the agony. The waits are lengthy (8-12 hours), torturous and almost always have some nitwit beside me who wants to chit chat.  Leave me be, please!

Currently, in my city, though, migraine sufferers cannot be treated with narcotics relief at any hospitals only providing Toradol which is comparable to placing a band-aid on my forehead.  Best to remain at home and suffer in peace.

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Hey, are you filling my prescriptions properly? Beware!! 4 Pharmacy errors that can spell danger

This is critical information for everyone.  Each time you pick up your prescription – check it!!

How to avoid pharmacy mix-ups that can mean serious consequences for your health

How often do serious pharmacy errors happen? Actually, nobody knows. There is little data tracking the problem across Canada.  So what do you need to know to stay safe? Here are four errors to watch out for that can have serious consequences for your health.

CBC News and Marketplace have been investigating pharmacy errors for several months in the largest hidden-camera test of its kind in Canada. Follow our continuing coverage at cbcnews.ca. Watch the complete investigation, Dispensing Danger, on Friday at 8 p.m. on CBC TV and online.

According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada, medication problems are often caused by a combination of factors. Here are some problems to watch out for:

Illegible prescriptions

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Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication?

Those struggling with Bipolar Disorder and substantial weight gain will be especially interested in this article!

This article appeared on a new site I found Science20.com discussing Bipolar Disorder.  The words ‘Lithium’, ‘weight gain’ and ‘olanzapine’ are mentioned which are all too familiar to me.  Having gained about 60 pounds, I never put two and two together that meds were contributing to my expanding waistline.

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.

UK guidance for the treatment of bipolar disorder has an emphasis on medication. However, more than 60% of people with the diagnosis stop taking their medication at some point. This is often because of the common and severe and unpleasant side effects that drugs such as lithium and olanzapine can produce. These include dizziness, diarrhea, slowed movement and substantial weight gain.

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9 Things only you will understand living with Chronic Pain

Wow, I identify with all nine of these with my chronic migraines

As many as a third of Americans suffer from chronic pain—a full third! If you’re one of those people for whom low back pain, headaches, arthritis, or one of a long list of other conditions make your daily life a struggle, these nine experiences probably ring way too true.

http://www.prevention.com/health/symptoms-chronic-pain  provides details.

7 Outstanding Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

Image result for back pain

Back pain has millions of sufferers and traveling can be horrendous.  Sitting in one position for a long flight or lugging heavy luggage around just increases the misery, but who doesn’t wish to travel and explore the world?

These are some excellent tips to help lessen your pain while traveling:

1. Schedule your flights wisely

Traveling with back pain can be miserable, especially on a plane.  You are sometimes the one stuck in an economy-class seat, with little room, leaving your spine feeling out of whack.   To minimize time in the air, some travelers choose to book non-stop flights if available.

2. Get up and move, move, move

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Blister Packs for Medications

As far as medication goes, remembering to take the required doses morning, noon or bedtime was causing chaos.  I would forget to take this med or that med, refilling prescriptions in time, and each med had it’s own pill bottle. Filling that 7-day plastic organizer every week was a pain in the neck.

My doctor suggested a Blister Pack – pure bliss!  My pharmacy fills them bi-weekly without a fee, and he calls the doctor for refills (saving me a trip to the doctor), I pick them up, all sorted, neat and tidy.  I still have to remember to take them!

Image source: google.ca
More on blister pack usage @
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_pack

Painkiller rip-off: Pills for Migraine, period pain, backache ‘are identical’

image: capecodpainrelief.com

If this research is accurate, well then I am pissed off.  For me this really isn’t new news, I’ve heard this before with painkillers, but for all of us who struggle with chronic pain on a daily basis, just searching for a moment of relief we encounter yet another rip-off with a pricey medication.

This article appeared in Telegraph.co.UK News  By , Consumer Affairs Editor

Research suggests patients are paying three times too much, as Nurofen is banned in Australia for selling identical painkillers for specific ailments

One of Britain’s biggest painkiller brands, Nurofen, uses identical ingredients in pills that claim to tackle different ailments, a court has found, prompting experts to warn that patients are overpaying for so-called “targeted” medicines.

Nurofen offers different packs of branded drugs depending on whether the buyer is suffering from migraines, period pains, tension headaches or back pain.

It’s targeted pills are different to standard Nurofen as they contain salts that break down more quickly in the digestive system, providing faster pain relief. They are also more expensive.

But a court in Australia ruled that the products should be removed from the shelves there after finding that, apart from the packaging, all the targeted pills were identical to each other.

Each contains exactly the same amount of ibuprofen, is put together with the same ingredients – and even has the same drug licensing code.

Separately an investigation by the consumer group found that the Nurofen “targeted” tablets contained the same drugs, in the same quantities, as pharmacy and supermarket own-brand versions that were a third of the price.

Richard Headland, editor of consumer group Which?, said: “You might think Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache caplets would target your migraine and tension headaches respectively, but you’d be wrong: ibuprofen can’t target pain in specific body parts.”

arthritis-treatment-and-relief.topfoodnews.info

With the fast-acting Nurofen painkiller range due to will stay on sale in Britain, he advised shoppers to opt for cheaper versions in pharmacies and supermarkets.

Each caplet of Nurofen Migraine Pain contains 342mg of ibuprofen lysine – a fast-acting version of ordinary ibuprofen – and costs 22p. Nurofen Tension Headache caplets contain the same ingredients but cost 23p.

By contrast, Asda Migraine Relief also contains 342mg of Ibuprofen Lysine, but costs 11p. Wilko Express Pain Relief containing the same quantity of ibuprofen lysine cost just 8p – around a third of the price for the Nurofen version.

‘Risks outweigh benefits of painkillers’

Researchers at consumer group Which? said the ingredient list in Nurofen was slightly different to own-brand painkillers, due to different binding ingredients that make up the pill. But crucially they contained the same amount of “active” ingredients to dull pain.

Mr Headland said: “It’s a waste of money to buy so-called targeted painkillers, and potentially dangerous as you might be misled into taking a double dose, thinking that they’re different medicines.”

See complete article @
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12050638/Painkiller-rip-off-Pills-for-migraine-period-pain-backache-are-identical.html

Migraines ~ Appropriate Treatment

image: pinterest.com

I found this article on Migraine.com showing a research study which included people who met the criteria of chronic migraine for appropriate treatments.

There are three vital components for appropriate treatment of migraine:  1. consultation with a health care professional, 2. accurate diagnosis, and 3. adequate treatment. If any one of these areas is not fulfilled, a person’s chance of treatment success is diminished. A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual conference in April found that only 4.5% of people with chronic migraine receive minimally appropriate treatment. Researchers considered a person to be receiving minimally appropriate treatment if they used at least one recommended acute migraine treatment and one preventive treatment.

The study included 1,254 people who met the criteria of chronic migraine. Of those, 512 (40.8%) reported currently seeing a health care professional for migraine treatment. Of those, only a quarter (126 participants) had been diagnosed with chronic migraine or transformed migraine. In people who had been diagnosed, 44.4% were receiving minimally appropriate treatment. Only 4.5% met all three vital components for appropriate migraine treatment.

In the study, the likelihood that a person had seen a health care professional for migraine increased with age, frequency/number of migraine symptoms, degree of disability, and having health insurance. Getting a diagnosis was more likely for women, for those with multiple migraine symptoms, and for those who saw a headache specialist.

Another study presented at the same conference showed that only 28% of primary care providers were aware of the American Academy of Neurology’s guidelines for migraine preventive treatments and 40% knew of the Institutes of Medicine’s Choosing Wisely campaign, which provides migraine treatment recommendations. Medication overuse headache was known to 79% of primary care providers, but only 54% knew that products containing butalbital (Fioricet) can cause MOH and only 34% knew narcotics/opioids can. All this translates into fewer diagnoses and suboptimal care for migraine.

image: tumblr

The findings of these studies are deeply disturbing, but they’re also helpful. With this knowledge, doctors can help fill the gaps in treatment and find ways to improve patient care. Patients can act on this information to take charge of their own care by learning about migraine (which you’re doing by reading this article) and advocating for themselves. In her article on the headache specialist shortage, Tammy outlines excellent strategies for getting the best care possible. I recommend taking all her suggestions to heart. All I would add is to take an ally with you to your appointments, if possible. A partner, family member, or friend can help you get your questions answered, can clarify your doctor’s recommendations if you’re too brain-fogged to do so yourself, and can advocate for you if you’re too sick to advocate for yourself.

The research findings are dismal, but that doesn’t mean that people with chronic migraine are out of luck. Instead, it means we have to take and active and proactive role in our care. This can seem daunting and can be exhausting at times, but it’s the only way to ensure that you’re trying the treatments that are best for you and are managing your migraine attacks most effectively.

Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication

This article appeared on a new site I found Science20.com discussing Bipolar Disorder.  The words ‘Lithium’, ‘weight gain’ and ‘olanzapine’ are mentioned which are all too familiar to me.

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.

UK guidance for the treatment of bipolar disorder has an emphasis on medication. However, more than 60% of people with the diagnosis stop taking their medication at some point. This is often because of the common and severe and unpleasant side effects that drugs such as lithium and olanzapine can produce. These include dizziness, diarrhea, slowed movement and substantial weight gain.

A recent review also suggested that medication only helps a small proportion of those it is prescribed to. The review looked at 12 different medication regimes used under several different circumstances and found the highest success rate was just 33%. And lithium, a drug that NICE recommends as the “first-line, long-term pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder” was found to benefit only about one in seven patients. It is also a very toxic drug.Recent research has found that around one in three of those taking lithium over many years will go on to suffer from chronic renal failure.

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Doc, should I be on this many psych meds?

image: The 104 Homestead

I have the luxury of a blister pack now which is filled by the pharmacist for all of my medications.  It also provides me with a record of all medication prescribed, when to take them, dosages, repeats etc., and as I gaze at the list I shudder questioning “ should I be on this myriad of medications, and for how many years now?”  According to my psychiatrist, I should.

Maybe it’s time to reexamine just what I’m taking, but need to ensure there would be no huge regrets.  Previously, at my appointments, it was considered, yet over the years I’ve struggled with some very dark times and meds required adjusting. I’m coping better now, so perhaps time to reassess the meds and also my psychiatric diagnosis from 1994.

An article on PsychologyToday.com talks about this subject, written by Eugene Rubin, M.D., Ph.D.

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Obesity & Bipolar Disorder

This article was on PsychCentral.com. 

If you’re like half the population of the United States, you’ve been worried about your weight at some point recently. That stands to reason as 39% of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 13% are obese. I am one of those people. In fact, when I came across the research on bipolar disorder and obesity, I didn’t want to write about it. It’s too personal.

I spend a lot of time worried about my weight. It’s not just vanity. Let’s be real, vanity is at least one factor for most of us who want to lose weight. I tell myself that if I were thinner people would respect me more, that my weight makes them think I have no self-control or self-worth. Well, the latter happens to be true sometimes because I have bipolar disorder; so there’s that. My focus is also on my health. I just want to feel better overall.

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Having Bipolar, does this make me a Genius?

New study claims to find genetic link between creativity and mental illness

Results imply creative people are 25% more likely to carry genes that raise risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But others argue the evidence is flimsy

In a large study published, scientists in Iceland report that genetic factors that raise the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are found more often in people in creative professions. Painters, musicians, writers and dancers were, on average, 25% more likely to carry the gene variants than professions the scientists judged to be less creative, among which were farmers, manual labourers and salespeople.

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News Item: Blogger with torturous migraines has brain fog and taking a break from social media to clear head

Well, I’m confessing, I have some type of “brain fog”, that I’m sure is related to these migraine headaches.  Summer has been crappy.  Writing thoughts are not flowing, and my fingers on the keys aren’t cooperating either, so I’m giving my head a time-out for awhile and taking a break from social media.  I’ll be checking in, so feel free to leave comments.

I’ve lived with these migraines for over 40+ years, assessed by countless neurosurgeons and oodles of tests, end result: “You have bilateral migraines” and that’s that. Translation: Live with it.  I take preventative meds and a med if I snag one coming on.  Currently, zilch is helping.

Thanks to new followers/viewers for checking out this blog, and others that have taken the time to comment on my posts. Be back soon.

Deb

Depression: Combo of antidepressants and painkillers risky

Science Daily, Jul 15/15 ~  Taking a combination of antidepressants and common painkillers is associated with an increased risk of bleeding soon after starting treatment, finds a new study. The researchers say their results may have been affected by other unmeasured or unknown factors and should be interpreted with caution. However, they suggest special attention is needed when patients use both these classes of drugs together.

The researchers say their results may have been affected by other unmeasured or unknown factors and should be interpreted with caution. However, they suggest special attention is needed when patients use both these classes of drugs together.

Depression produces the greatest decrement in health of all common chronic conditions and depression in older people is an important public health problem.

But concern exists that antidepressants may interact with common painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to increase the risk of bleeding inside the skull (intracranial haemorrhage).

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Obesity & Bipolar Disorder

This article was on PsychCentral.com via Twitter this morning:

If you’re like half the population of the United States, you’ve been worried about your weight at some point recently. That stands to reason as 39% of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 13% are obese. I am one of those people. In fact, when I came across the research on bipolar disorder and obesity, I didn’t want to write about it. It’s too personal.

I spend a lot of time worried about my weight. It’s not just vanity. Let’s be real, vanity is at least one factor for most of us who want to lose weight. I tell myself that if I were thinner people would respect me more, that my weight makes them think I have no self-control or self-worth. Well, the latter happens to be true sometimes because I have bipolar disorder; so there’s that. My focus is also on my health. I just want to feel better overall.

Continue reading

Blister Packs for Medications

As far as medication goes, remembering to take the required doses morning, noon or bedtime was causing chaos.  I would forget to take this med or that med, refilling prescriptions in time, and each med had it’s own pill bottle. Filling that 7-day plastic organizer every week was a pain in the neck.

My doctor suggested a Blister Pack – pure bliss!  My pharmacy fills them bi-weekly without a fee, and he calls the doctor for refills (saving me a trip to the doctor), I pick them up, all sorted, neat and tidy.  I still have to remember to take them!

Image source: google.ca
More on blister pack usage @
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_pack

“My Head REALLY Hurts” ~ this is what I mean……

This was posted on Twitter.com (just today) by Chronic Migraine Aware @CMAware. Interesting for those who suffer with migraines, such as myself and now aware of how many blood vessels in and around the face area, which mine often go, and even wearing glasses is too painful.

https://www.facebook.com/ChronicMigraineAwareness

Lithium: Still best med for preventing bipolar relapse

I was on Lithium for about 10 years, and I do have to admit that it stabilized my moods for the most part.  Strangely though, when I changed psychiatrists, he did some tests and explained my lithium level was at a “toxic level”, and suggested I lower this medication, then slowly started to wean me off.  I am completely off Lithium now, didn’t seem to affect me at all, but I still remain on another mood stabilizer.  (I don’t miss the dry mouth and heat/sun problems that are side effects of Lithium).

This article on (MedScape.com) VIENNA — Naturalistic studies may reveal outcomes that randomized clinical trials miss. After hospital discharge, a 4-year, naturalistic follow-up of patients with bipolar disorder (BP) shows that even with prophylactic medication, relapse rates are high and are correlated with alcohol use, psychiatric comorbidities, life events, and the type of maintenance medication used.

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Mentally ill more likely Victims than perpetrators of Violence

I found this interesting article on ScienceDaily.com that is interesting, yet not surprising.  The article goes on to say ~ New research shows that almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period, and that adults with mental illness who commit violence are most likely to do so in residential settings. The study also finds a strong correlation between being a victim of violence and committing a violent act.

The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University; RTI International; the University of California, Davis; Simon Fraser University; and Duke University.

Beware!! 4 Pharmacy errors that can spell danger

How to avoid pharmacy mix-ups that can mean serious consequences for your health

How often do serious pharmacy errors happen? Actually, nobody knows. There is little data tracking the problem across Canada.  So what do you need to know to stay safe? Here are four errors to watch out for that can have serious consequences for your health.

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Doctor’s appointments, do you really ever get in @10:15?

I doubt it.  Success in seeing your doctor at the scheduled appointment time is like a crap shoot, and typically not my luck.  I’m forever on time, I don’t know why, she never is and I keep forgetting to bring my camping gear to set up for the day.

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Tinnitus causes: Could my antidepressant be the culprit?

Mayo Clinic psychiatrist  Daniel Hall-Flavin, M.D., answers:

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can be caused by many medications, including antidepressants such as Zoloft. If your antidepressant causes tinnitus, switching to another medication may alleviate the problem.

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Is growth in ADHD ’caused by marketing’?

I thought this was an interesting article on ADHD, however, I’m curious to see how parents and others who are caring for ADHD children feel about what these “experts” say.

“The global surge in ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts,” the Mail Online reports.

But these experts are sociologists, not clinicians, and they present no new peer-reviewed clinical evidence.

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3 WOMEN……And Mental Illness

3-tall-women

I had conversations with these three courageous women, while an in-patient on the psychiatric floor of a medical hospital a couple of years ago.  Mentioning my blog and my articles, they agreed for an informal interview as long as I didn’t use their real names.  I was able to converse with each woman separately where they shared their stories.

Note:  I was discharged earlier than any of these women, however, I revisited three weeks later to chat. 

~~~

Clara – Age (46)

Clara’s eyes well up as she recounts her story of anguish and to her, humiliation.  Both wrists are bandaged from a botched suicide attempt, and she stares downward at the floor as she speaks to me.  She has been in the hospital for over three weeks.

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Hypersomnia: What causes it?

On the website MayoClinic.com, they explained the term:  Hypersomnia as characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep.  People with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times, despite getting adequate sleep.  Hypersomnia has many potential causes, including:

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FIBROMYALGIA AND DEPRESSION IN WOMEN

The WashingtonTimes.com reported that research from Sweden has shed some light as to why women are more likely to suffer from depression, chronic pain (CPS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) than men.  Also the same study discovered why women are prone to depression and mood swings from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and post-partum depression.

Serotonin production, re-absorption and normal levels in many women are not sufficient and wreak havoc on the mind and bodies of those affected. The effect on female hormones is broadly significant. Serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone,’ plays a significant role in pain management.

Chronic or clinical depression can be causation of chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to chronic or clinical depression, so healthy levels of serotonin play a significant role in managing depression and chronic pain.

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