Headache Management

This is a class of chronic headache sufferers. They are learning how to prevent migraines.

Sherry Gaunt, migraine sufferer:
“They are so bad that you hurt and you say ‘Make it stop.'”

Sherry hopes to make it stop with what she learns at this headache management class in Fontana, California.

Sally Schultzman, Ph.D., preventive medicine dept., Kaiser-Permanente, Fontana, CA:
“People who suffer with chronic headaches often feel like they are the only people who suffer with that.”

Participants learn how to reduce stress and watch what they eat. For example, if they are sensitive to nitrates or nitrites they might want to stay away from leafy vegetables.

Sally Schultzman:
“Salads have a lot of naturally occurring nitrates in them, and nitrates are something a plant will get according to the growing season.”

Reading labels on food packages can also be the best medicine to prevent a headache. Students keep a diary of when their headaches occur and what triggers them.

Karen Stark, headache sufferer:
“When I found out on weekends, when I didn’t get up early enough to have my coffee at the same time I usually had during the week, the caffeine absence would kick in and immediately give me a headache.”

Whether their headaches are caused by food or stress, those who come here leave this two-hour class knowing that the source of their pain is not just in their head.

Sally Schultzman:
“They are not nuts. They are not crazy. They are not being written off. There are things that they can do.”

Researchers find that many times the frequency, severity and duration of headaches can be controlled without drugs, by making simple lifestyle changes.

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