4 Advances in Headache Relief
Breakthrough findings from studies offer new hope to headache sufferers, particularly those suffering from the debilitating pain of a migraine. Here are four promising treatments.
Cluster Buster: Kudzu
Cluster headaches are excruciating and can be treatment-resistant. But in a recent Yale survey of sufferers, kudzu-the infamous Southern vine- popped up as a promising alternative treatment. Among those using this herb (in pill form or as a tea), about 65 percent reported fewer headaches. Kudzu seems low-risk, but talk to your doctor before giving the remedy a try.
New Rx for Migraine
It's been 17 years since there's been a major new drug for migraines. Now one is up for FDA approval, and specialists are calling it a breakthrough. Research indicates telcagepant is about as effective as the widely used drugs known as triptans but without the side effects like chest discomfort or throat tightness. More important, because triptans constrict blood vessels, they can be dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. Telcagepant doesn't affect vessels and may be an option for patients with both headaches and heart woes.
Sticking It to Pain
A major review of studies says it pays to give your headache the (acupuncture) needle. The analysis, published in the highly respected Cochrane Library, pulled together data from 33 trials involving more than 6,700 migraine and tension-headache patients. Its conclusion: Acupuncture plus medication worked better than drugs alone. Among patients who got the traditional Chinese treatment, 40 to 50 percent saw their number of headaches drop by half, compared with just 16 percent of those who took drugs alone.
An Ounce of Prevention
Shedding excess pounds could relieve migraines, hints a new study that looked at the measurements of more than 21,000 people. Those with larger waistlines were more likely to experience the headaches -- up to 30 percent more in some cases. That doesn't prove cause and effect but is a clue worth pursuing, researchers say.