Posted by Bobbie P. (188.8.131.52) on September 28, 1999 at 20:26:30:
I have been researching cluster headaches for 16 years now with me as the guinea pig. Call me a gluton for punishment I guess. I have narrowed the source down to the endocrine system. If there is a problem with the pituitary, thyroid, hypothalamus, or adrenals, then a hormone imbalance is created as well as a host of related problems. This imbalance could have many different sources, such as adrenal fatigue or thyroid problems from major stress, allergies, environmental pollution, or even a hereditary weakness. ( I think there is a link between the auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cluster headaches. ). When this imbalance happens, in some susceptible people, cluster headaches are created. By susceptible, I mean that each person has a different area of his or her body with a weakness. This explains why one person can eat greasy fried food, smoke 3 billion cigarettes, and live to 102, and yet another person will eat only organic pure foods, not come within a foot of a cigarette and die at 32 of a heart attack. Hormones play a major role in the interaction of brain chemicals such as seratonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisone, histamine etc. If just one of these chemicals is out of whack, it could cause a chain reaction any where along the line. In fact, I believe this is exactly what happens.
In my own case I have noted that indeed, major adrenal stress as well as lack of sleep will bring on a cluster session. (I also know that I definitely have a hormone problem, have had for years!) To check out my theory involving the brain chemicals, I started with the chemical histamine: During a cluster session, I took regular to maximum doses of an antihistamine. Low and behold, the headaches were temporarily averted, aborted or milder. Unfortunately, with time the antihistamine lost its effectiveness on the headache. I do not know why except that many things that I have tried have worked for a while and then lost their effectiveness (almost as if the brain were learning and redirecting these chemicals away from the receptors). My next experiment was with a natural supplement to replace cortisone in the treatment of arthritis. It contained glucosamine sulfate and natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. The idea was to correct the adrenal exhaustion, sooth the irritated blood vessels etc., correct the hormone imbalance, and basically create a healthy chain reaction. This was by far the most effective on my headaches and I was able to use it for two consecutive bouts. Unfortunately, the company changed the formula and my body became oversensitive some of the ingredients and I could no longer take it.
The relationship of the seasons, weather and our bio rhythms also fits into this pattern created by the hormonal/chemical imbalance but I do not want to make this message to long and tedious. I hope somebody out there gets my drift. In fact it would be great if someone out there in the world of scientific research might see this and find out whether my theory will hold water or not. I know there are probably lot of holes in it, but what can you expect from someone who has had their brain assaulted for 16 years! For the rest of my fellow sufferers, perhaps your key to locking up the monster may be found somewhere in this hypothesis. Bon Appetit!
Anyway, Thanks for letting me air my views.
P.S. My family used to call me Prof. Onion head, something to do with my need to explain or find the answer to everything!
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