The Migraine Solution

Last week the book Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain had me rethink the root cause of my headaches. It made a strong case that the roots of my headache were migraine. So I decided to read up more on migraines. I selected the new book The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management. Now I am really confused.

The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management

This book contradicts almost every major point from the book Heal You Headaches. Both are written by doctors and both are well reviewed.

Heal Your HeadacheMigraine Solution
Are My Headaches Migraine?YESNO
Create headache DiaryNOYES
Importance of Food TriggersHIGHLOW
Caffeine OpinionEVILMIXED

The Migraine Solution doesn’t discount food triggers, but makes a case that unless you can find obvious links, one shouldn’t drive themselves crazy trying to connect dietary triggers with headaches. Regarding the benefit of food restrictive migraine diets, The Migrain Solutions says:

…headache clinics like ours often recognize that for many patients, the considerable effort involved to start and maintain one of these diets is not worth the typically meager results. Furthermore, good-quality research studies often fail to back up specific claims of benefit from these diets.

Heal Your Headaches makes the opposite case which is a highly restrictive diet one must follow for 4 months before reintroducing trigger foods.

Who is right? I have no clue. If I knew that my headaches were migraine in nature, I’d likely pursue the more aggressive Heal You Headaches program. However, I’m not convinced they are. The Migraine Solution lists the POUND acronym as a way to determine if a headache is migraine.

  • P – Pulsating pain
  • O – one-day duration
  • U – unilateral (one-sided) pain
  • N – nausea and vomiting
  • D – disabling intensity
None of those apply to me. Nor do the symptoms of being light and sound sensitive apply. Meanwhile Heal your Headaches makes the case that migraines need not have classic migraine symptoms. I’ll continue researching.


Add yours

  1. my friend started a unique therapy clinic VERY far from you. it may be enlightening none the less.!__headache-treatment

  2. Thanks for sharing your findings. I am rooting for you finding a solution to your headaches!

    My mom has migraines and has identified several triggers for them (allergies and stress, mostly). I am fairly certain my own headaches are also migraines, but they are not debilitating enough to convince me to take extreme measures, such as strong meds or elimination diets.

    That being said, when I switched to paleo eating a couple years ago, the frequency and strength of my own headaches greatly diminished. Where I used to have headaches daily (or just continuously), I now sometimes go months without a headache. I definitely see a correlation between what I ingest and the headaches I get, but nowadays my headaches are usually triggered by other factors such as weather or bad sleep.

    The POUND symptoms are interesting and half of them are why I am only “fairly certain” I have migraines. Unilateral? No way! My headaches attack both sides of my skull!

    Anyway, keep the headache posts coming. 8)

  3. Get a prescription for sumatriptan. If it works, it’s migraine in nature. I had atypical cluster headaches, also called male migraines, misdiagnosed as sinus headaches for two decades. Coffee helped and alcohol triggered. Symptoms are different in all of us.

  4. for many patients, the considerable effort involved to start and maintain one of these diets is not worth the typically meager results

    As an inveterate self-experimenter, you are not the typical patient that this book is aimed at. And if you try all kinds of eliminations and still don’t find relief, well, then that supports the thesis of The Migraine Solution. Since you don’t have to publish or perish, we want to see the negative results too. Down with survivorship bias!

  5. @Chuck – Nice chart on that site.

    @Ali – Bread is absolutely a trigger. I’ve had two exposures in the past 2.5 years. Both ended in very intense headaches.

    @ProudDaddy – I’m not ready for meds….yet. Thanks.

    @garymar – I’m growing tired of this particular experiment. I never thought it would be 15 months with no progress.

  6. You wanted to know if you were having migraines. I told you a way to find out. Just a test. I wasn’t suggesting you take meds every time you get a headache.

  7. @ProudDaddy – I found a site online that sells that med wo/ a script. The description states the medicine is to be taken once the migraine attack starts. Is that how you used it? Or does also work to prevent the migraine?

  8. It is definitely NOT prophylactic. But if you’re responsive to the stuff, the pill form will stop a migraine-type headache in about 40 minutes. I use the term “migraine-type” to distinguish between how clinicians might define migraines and how I define a headache that may not be a true migraine but responds to the same medicines as migraines do.

    I assume you’re more interested in getting rid of the darn headaches than in having a precise diagnosis. Once I started treating my headaches with sumatriptan, they gradually became less frequent and after a few years they went away completely. (This after 20 years of suffering several days each month!)

  9. @ProudDaddy – Thanks for clearing that up.

    My headaches rarely last more than 40 minutes, which is another reason why I am suspecting they aren’t migraine in nature. I can get rid of the headache by moving from a lying position to sitting up. This knocks it out in 20-40 minutes, with the downside being that I have trouble returning to sleep and go through the next day zombie tired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.