Friday, June 5, 2009


If you can identify your most common triggers, you may be able to cut off headaches before they start. The best way to accomplish this is through a headache diary. Keep a daily log of foods you eat, stressful events, weather changes, and physical activity. Whenever you have a headache, record the time it starts and stops. This will help you find patterns, so you can try to avoid your personal triggers.

Manage Stress
Many people are able to manage migraines or tension headaches through stress-busting strategies. Although you can't control the stressful events that come your way, you can alter your response to those events. You may need to experiment with techniques such as meditation, massage, and acupuncture to find what works for you.

Exercise Regularly
Moderate exercise is a powerful stress reliever. Walking is a great choice because it delivers an extra defense against tension headaches. When you walk, the swinging motion of your arms tends to relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Breaking up those knots diminishes the very root of tension headaches.

Do not Skip Meals
Eating balanced meals throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar on an even level, this means no more hunger headaches. Aim for meals and snacks that pair a protein with a complex carbohydrate, such as peanut butter on whole-grain bread .Be sure to drink enough water, dehydration is another common headache trigger.

Physical Therapy
Physical therapy combines exercise and education to reduce pain and improve range of motion. In people with tension headaches, physical therapy can help strengthen the neck muscles and establish new habits that lead to better posture.

Aspirins are effective against many types of headaches. But avoid taking these drugs continuously, as this can result in medication overuse headaches or rebound headaches -- headache pain that returns as soon as the analgesic pills have worn off. For frequent headaches, especially migraines, talk to your doctor about prescription medications that help prevent them.

When to See a Doctor
Any new headache that is unusually severe or lasts more than a couple of days should be checked by a doctor. It's also important to let your doctor know if the pattern of your headaches changes -- for example, if there are new triggers. If you have a headache accompanied by paralysis, confusion, fever, or stiff neck, seek emergency medical care.

J.W.Marks MD

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leg Cramps - How To Prevent Them

Few things are as painful as leg cramps, whether they occur in the middle of exercise or the middle of the night. Despite decades of research, it's still not known just why some people get them while others don't. People with circulatory problems or diabetes are more prone to getting leg cramps. Other possible causes include being sedentary, overdoing a running or jogging program, wearing high heels and taking diuretics or other medications.
Here are some suggestions that i managed to gather on how to prevent leg cramps and i hope it will help some of you out there :

1) Stretch your calf muscles two or three times a day, especially before going to bed.

2) If you exercise strenuously, stretch your calves after your workout.

3) Be sure the sheets and blankets in your bed aren't tucked in so tightly that they constrict your foot movement.

4) Try sleeping on your side or on your stomach with your feet hanging off the end of the bed. This will keep your leg and foot muscles stretched out.

5) Don't wear high heels.

6) Drink plenty of water esp before and during exercise.

7) Don't overdo your workouts - if you're increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts, do it gradually.

How to Relieve Them

Few of us have never had a calf cramp - that awful pain that can wake you up from a sound sleep. What can you do to relieve it?

1) Flex your foot, pointing your toes toward your knee. If that hurts too much, grab your toes and pull them toward your knee.

2) At the same time, massage your calf gently.

3) If it's not too painful, walk around, putting full weight on your heels.

4) If the cramp comes during a workout or athletic event, drink water or a sports drink.

5) Ice packs or heat can help relax the muscles - use whichever works best for you.

6) Quinine is the classic drug for relieving leg cramps, but the over-the-counter remedies were taken off the market several years ago because of serious, even fatal, side effects. Drinking a glass of tonic water may help, but there's no way of knowing how much quinine you're getting that way, since the manufacturers don't have to list the amounts on the label. But if you think it helps, keep it up.

Foundations of Wellness, UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. Staying a step ahead of those pesky leg cramps.
UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Fitness - don't let them cramp your game. UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2002, page 6.