National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), headache disorders are some of the most common disorders of the nervous system. The WHO also states that 1 in 7 adults worldwide has migraines and that it can be three times more common in women than men.

Headache is a general term that describes the pain in the scalp, head, and neck. There are many different types of headaches. They may be primary conditions such as tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, or they may occur due to underlying health conditions.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are more common in women. People often experience occasional tension headaches and don’t seek medical care. If you are experiencing tension headaches for 15 days or more a month, consult your primary care provider.

Causes of Tension Headaches:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
  • Dental problems such as frequently grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
  • Eyestrain
  • Keeping your head in one position for a long time.
  • Not getting enough sleep.

Symptoms of tension headaches typically feel like dull pressure around the head. You may also feel muscle tightness in your head or neck. The pain is usually mild to moderate and is not accompanied by other symptoms. Tension headaches can last from half an hour to a week.

Ways to treat and prevent tension headaches:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining good posture while seated and taking breaks from sitting.
  • Managing daily stress

Migraines are a severe, recurring type of headache that is often debilitating. Migraines have four phases which are prodrome, aura, migraine headache, and postdrome.

Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, researchers believe genetics are a factor.

There are a few conditions and lifestyle factors that can trigger a migraine:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Caffeine or withdrawal from caffeine
  • Certain medications or taking particular medications too often

Migraines are more likely to occur in the morning, making it common to wake up with a migraine. Some people have a predictable pattern or migraines, such as just before a menstrual period. Other people may have trouble recognizing what triggers their migraines.

There is no cure for migraines but they can be managed and prevented with over-the-counter triptans and pain relievers.

Cluster headaches are sudden, severe headaches on one side of the head that peak within the first 10 minutes. You may also have a stuffy nose, drooping eyelid, a watery eye, and swelling or redness on the same side as the pain.

The cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but they often run in families and affect more men than women.

Here are some triggers of cluster headaches:

  • Alcohol
  • Being exposed to heat
  • Bright lights
  • Overexertion
  • Processed foods
  • Smoking

Cluster headaches, especially acute ones are often treated with anti-inflammatories, triptan medications, and DHE injections.

If you commonly experience migraines or headaches, you can receive specialized treatment from a neurologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to Prevent Dehydration During the Summer Heat

With the summer and warmer weather upon us causing more and more people to begin to participate in outdoor activities. Before you begin, make sure you drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • The rule that you need to drink eight glasses of water per day is a myth. The Institute of Medicine recommends women should receive 2.2 liters of fluid intake per day and men should get three liters. Keep in mind that fluid intake can come from beverages other than water.
  • While thirst is your body’s way of preventing dehydration, being thirsty doesn’t mean that you are dehydrated. Thirst is our brain’s way of telling us to drink more to avoid dehydration.
  • The color of your urine is a good, real-time indicator of dehydration, but the misconception is that urine should be clear. In truth, urine should be a pale-yellow color.
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or tea will not dehydrate you if consumed in moderate amounts. Caffeine is considered a mild diuretic, the amount of water in it offsets the amount of fluid it will cause you to lose through increased urination.
  • Drinking isn’t the only way of increasing your water intake. It is estimated that we get up to 20% of our daily water intake from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables contain the most, with cucumbers, celery, and watermelon having the highest concentration of water.
  • There is also such a thing as drinking too much water and becoming overhydrated. This can be very dangerous and can lead to a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. To avoid this problem, do not drink to the point that you are full from water alone.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Benefit of Exercise for your Child

The incidence of childhood obesity in the United States continues to be on the rise.  As a result, chronic disease, musculoskeletal issues and self-esteem issues are also on the rise.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is recommended that physical activity in children and adolescents consist of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day to help promote muscle and bone development.

There are various types of exercise that will benefit your child or adolescent.  Some of the more accessible types of exercise are:

  • Outdoor games, such as tug-of-war or relay racing
  • Walking to and from school (when possible)
  • Bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts
  • Sports (soccer, hockey, basketball, swimming, tennis, baseball)
  • Skiing
  • Dancing
  • Rollerblading
  • Skateboarding
  • Walking the dog
  • Aerobics
  • Gymnastics
  • Push-ups (modified with the knees on the floor)
  • Using resistance bands while exercising
  • Playground activities (swings, slides, etc.)

Too often children and adolescents are sedentary; spending too many hours a day on their smart phones, game stations, tablets or in front of the television.

Regular exercise promotes healthy bone growth, strength and mass, as well as raising your heart rate.  In fact, studies have shown that children and adolescents who exercise daily are prone to stronger muscles and bones, have  loser body mass index, are less likely to become overweight, have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and have a better outlook on life.

So dust off the dance shoes, tie up your sneakers, take the bike out of the garage, put the dog on a leash and begin to get healthy!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Yoga Naturally Lower your Blood Pressure?

Practicing yoga can give your overall health an added boost.  Studies have found that it is also helpful in fighting hypertension when combined with other methods of management such as a healthy diet, medication and aerobic exercise.  Research indicates that on average patients who incorporated yoga into their care management routine saw a notable reduction in their systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

It is believed that yoga is an effective complementary treatment for hypertension because it increases and strengthens the body’s ability to take in oxygen.  Additionally it can help improve resiliency to stress; a trigger in elevating blood pressure levels.

If you decide to include yoga as a part of your care, it is important to know that not all yoga poses are created equal in high blood pressure management. There are some poses that are helpful and there are others that can be harmful.

Yoga poses that can be beneficial are:

  • Bridge pose
  • Posterior stretch pose
  • Savasana pose
  • Child pose

Yoga poses that should be avoided or modified include:

  • Bow pose
  • Camel pose
  • Feathered peacock pose
  • Balasana pose

It is important that you speak with your physician before trying yoga.  Your physician will assess your health and advise if you are physically capable.  If your doctor has given you the green light, inform your yoga instructor about your hypertension.  This information will help in the prevention of injuries or the exacerbation of your medical condition.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Finding Time For Fitness

Many people find themselves wishing there were more hours in a day to get more accomplished especially when their day is already crowded. So how do you find time for fitness in between an already demanding schedule? Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Turn your commute into a workout. During months with warmer weather you can take a bike to work instead of the train or bus. If biking isn’t your thing try getting off a few stops before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way to work. For those who need to drive, try parking further away from your usual spot and walk the rest of the way.
  2. Take the stairs instead. For daily transit commuters it’s always tempting to take escalator but taking the stairs instead will get your blood going in the morning. While at work try the stairs instead of the elevator especially if you spend most of your time sitting down at work.
  3. Set an earlier alarm. Carve some time out of your morning to go to the gym or go for a run before work.
  4. Lunch break workout. Some jobs have gyms on site or close enough in the area for you to replace lunch with a workout.
  5. Take the kids with you. For parents with younger children who can’t keep up on a bike or scooter ride there are jogging strollers available to make multitasking easier. This way you can save a few bucks on a babysitter and stay in shape.

You can probably think of a few more hacks to blend your work schedule with working out but these are great starters.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.