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Posted by Miguel ( on June 01, 2001 at 08:55:51:

In Reply to: I propose recognition of the number of former clusterheadache sufferers. posted by Donna on June 01, 2001 at 07:56:29:

I have not been frequenting the board much lately, at least not posting would be a better term. My CH is episodal. I have been in remission for a while. I do not consider my last episode a real one. It lasted a very short time, and the pain, although nearly as unberable, seemed to be less acute than historically.

What did I do to change things?

There are several things that I feel contributed toward the improvement. Among them, vigorous exercise. Also, a good disposition, no matter what! Dietary observance is another factor that I feel helps. Cutting down on smoking helped me as well.

Exercise - I got into windsurfing in July of last year. The sport is exilariating, as well as physically demanding. I am drained after a 4 hour session. the higher the winds, the greater the physical demands and intensity. I am sure that endorphines rule after a session. My CH cycle stopped dead in its tracks a week after I started this sport. I noticed that my mood was excellent, as well as my body feeling the calming effects of exercise. The short-lived recurrence I experienced about two months ago came after a period of no windsurfing for 6 weeks (!#$#@$# work!). All it took was two 30 and 45 mph winds sessions to stop this crap in its tracks!

Disposition - In all the things that I read about CH, it seemed quite clear that the mechanisn by which depression occurs, holds many similarities with that of CH, including suicidal attitudes. I felt that maintaining a great attitude, no matter how bad things may seem, was very important. I think that the old saying applies here very well - Don't let them see you sweat. In my case was don't let my brain know...Focus on pleasant things that make you happy. Build upon the happiness by indulging as much as possible in things that improve moods. Drecrease stress levels at all costs. The exercise, or sport is great way to accomplish this. I am yet to see someone getting out of the water after a 35 mph winds session without a grin so big that the corners of the mouth touch in the back of the neck!

Dietary - Stay away from all known triggers. Absolutely no triggers attitude. For me, and after a couple of decades of this crap, I have been able to determine most of mine: Booze, sugar, chocolate, milk, milk products, animal fat in large quantities, MSG, processed meats with nitrites/nitrates, other preservatives, insecticides, fertilizers, chemical solvents and cleaners, etc, etc.

Smoking - Stress obviously brings a lot of this, at least a significant increase. Considering that the expression of the ailment is pain from vascular disfuntion, namely excessive vasodilation of localized cortical blood vessels, O2 is a must. You can either buy it, or increase its content in plasma by cutting down or quiting smoking all together (the later easier said that done :).

Sex - Have as much as possible with a partner (or several, since the frequency required may wear out a single partner rather quickly). I noticed that climax stops the attack immediately most of the times. So...indulge, even if it takes 3x to 5x/day. Obviously, the laternative is much less fun and significantly more painful.

All in all, even if the above don't help someone much, although it helped me, you will be able to laugh and grin as you more phisically effectively thrash around during an attack, while being totally sexually satisfied, spend less in drugs to cure those nagging coughs from smoking-derived respiratory problems, and loose some excess weight.


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