Managing Headaches Without Medicine

May 3, 2013
Michael Teixido, MD

Sandra had suffered with headaches for years just like her mother and two sisters. She knew she had to do something about them because her headaches had gotten worse and were interfering with her work and her ability to care for her 2 young children. She did not want to start taking medications though because she had always been sensitive to medicines and could see the side effects her family members were having.

She consulted Dr. Michael Teixido, Delaware’s leading hearing and balance specialist, and Kelley Lester-Garrett FNP, who have partnered to treat headache patients, and was happy to learn there are many sound treatments for migraine that require no prescription medications. She was asked to become familiar with different kinds of migraine triggers and to keep a diary of her headaches. When she returned eight weeks later she was not surprised to discover that many of her headaches occurred on days she did not sleep long enough but was surprised to find her headaches often occurred after eating certain foods. She had included bananas, yogurt and peanut butter into her diet as a part of her health initiative but found instead that they were giving her headaches. Other headaches occurred with weather changes. Kelley Lester- Garrett FNP suggested that Sandra avoid her food triggers and become careful of her sleep schedule and her headaches were reduced to only a few per month. Her remaining headaches were associated with changes in the weather and were milder than before, were easily tolerated and did not interfere with her activities.

“Sandra’s experience is typical” explains Dr Teixido. “Most migraineurs can experience tremendous improvements simply by identifying and avoiding triggers: it’s the ABC’s of headache therapy. Doctors are often too busy to effectively educate their patients about migraine. Under such pressure, patients are often sent away with medications, but no real understanding of their problem. This is particularly unfortunate because often even severely affected migraineurs can be treated without any medication at all.”