if you haven't read the literature available...

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Posted by pinksharkmark ( on September 04, 2000 at 14:05:42:

In Reply to: Your Humble Response posted by VD on September 04, 2000 at 07:54:40:

... then I am not surprised you have the opinion you do. It is a very reasonable conclusion to reach in the absence of sufficient information. I have no doubt at all that if you invest the time to research the subject as thoroughly as some have, you will alter your opinion - you seem to be an intelligent person.

One of your recent posts shows that you have at least gone so far as to investigate the link between decreased serum magnesium and headache pain. Further investigation will unearth more facts. While it is certainly true that some types of headaches can be eliminated through lifestyle changes, it is also certainly true that others cannot.

Researchers no longer spend time trying to discover whether or not cluster headaches are linked to abnormal brain chemistry, since that fact is now well established. Their efforts are now concentrated on discovering a physiological mechanism to explain the imbalance. Dr. Goadsby's research revealing structural differences in the hypothalamus of clusterheads is an example. It is not clear yet from his research whether these differences are the cause of cluster headaches, or whether the same imbalance of brain chemicals that causes the pain and other symptoms also causes the hypothalamus to enlarge.

Disorders involving brain chemistry do not respond to exercise, diet, etc. Let's use psychiatric disorders as an example. Some of these disorders can be treated using psychotherapy alone. In fact, for some of these disorders, medication is not only useless, but can actually make things worse. Other disorders, such as schizophrenia, can ONLY be treated through medication. The best psychotherapist on the planet is completely helpless in the face of schizophrenia. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. Schizophrenics are schizoid because, through no fault of their own, their brain chemistry is out of whack. Clusterheads get cluster headaches because, through no fault of their own, their brain chemistry is out of whack.

While it is almost certainly true that living a healthier lifestyle will help you better deal with the headaches WHEN THEY COME, as does inhaling oxygen, abstaining from msg and alcohol, taking magnesium suplements, etc., changing your lifestyle will not prevent the headaches from coming in the first place. Lifestyle changes will not repair the faulty mechanism in your brain that lets the proper mix of brain chemicals get out of balance periodically.

It is possible that one day a surgical procedure may be found that will repair that faulty mechanism. It is also possible that such a surgical procedure may never be found. Either way, since we have no such procedure at the moment, the ONLY way to currently stop the headaches from coming is chemically.

Some chemical approaches are more effective than others. None will prevent the headaches from eventually returning. Why? Because there is something FUNDAMENTALLY and IRREPARABLY wrong with the physiological mechanism that regulates our brain chemistry. Even the best medications can do no more then RESET that mechanism for a while. Sooner or later, it will get out of whack again, and have to be reset again.

No amount of exercise, diet change, or meditation will reset that mechanism. These lifestyle changes may or may not reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of the headaches that result from our faulty chemistry, but they WILL NOT and CANNOT alter that chemistry. In other words, they address the symptoms, not the cause.

As for the personal attacks on you, VD... well... people who have invested a whole lot of time, money, and pain in finding out the best way to handle this horrible disease tend to get a little hot under the collar when told by someone (especially when that someone admits not having done any homework) that their own tried and tested solutions are incorrect.


By the way, at the risk of getting slammed by my fellow clusterheads, I agree with you that a 10 on the Kip scale may not be the worst pain known to man. How in the world can anyone know that for sure, since we cannot experience another's pain?

I can tell you from personal experience that badly infected third - degree burns rival and perhaps surpass CH pain. From the descriptions of many medieval (and modern, for that matter) tortures I have read, I can easily envision pain worse than a Kip 10. Being skinned alive, or having a blowtorch caress certain sensitive body areas can't be a walk in the park either.

But so what? It still hurts enough to drive many to end their lives. They're not called "suicide headaches" for nothing, you know/

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