Colin McEnroe Show: The Misunderstood World Of Chronic Migraines

Confronting so-called "migraine stigma" and the misunderstood world of headaches

I can haz headache.
Photo:Flickr Creative Commons, eviltomthai
Colin McEnroe Show: The Misunderstood World Of Chronic Migraines
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Colin McEnroe Show: The Misunderstood World Of Chronic Migraines

All of us know migraine sufferers.

Three important women in my life get migraine attacks. You'd think, given that, I'd know a lot about migraine, but it turns out I don't.  I would have said that migraine is a kind of headache, but it now seems to me that that's not precisely true. Migraine is a neurological condition whose most prominent symptom is a headache. Somewhere around 36 million of our fellow Americans get them. Migraine was recently thrust into the news because Michele Bachmann has it, which triggered (pun intended) a national conversation about whether migraine is so incapacitating as to render a sufferer ineligible for the presidency.
As one of her doctors pointed out, whether you like Michele Bachmann or not, she got her law degree, worked as an attorney, raised kids, ran for Congress, served in Congress and launched a presidential campaign. She doesn't seem incapacitated. 
Later in the show, Deputy DEEP Commissioner Susan Frechette explains how a mountain lion from South Dakota ended up in Connecticut. Hear that interview in its entirely and see pictures here.
Leave your comments, e-mail or tweet us @wnprcolin.



I used to use Imitrex but

I used to use Imitrex but found that it only worked if I caught the migraine in time. Now, I swear by regular Excedrin. It works even if I wake up with a migraine and takes care of the pain within about 30 minutes.

E-mail from Kyle

I was diagnosed as a migraine sufferer at a young age at Hartford Children's Medical Center. I have a few questions for the guest:

-I always seem to get an increase in Migraines at every season change. Is that normal? Is it related to allergies?

-Are there alternate medications that I can take than Imitrex? I have a very negative reaction to that drug.

-I recently got a nighttime mouthguard from my dentist and noticed a significant reduction in migraines, is that something you've seen before?

I had to walk away from the radio to write this at work, so if this was covered already I apologize.

E-mail from Clay

Could the doctor help us tell the difference between "sinus" headaches and "migraine" headaches?

I've had headaches my entire life, and they always occur with sinus congestion and/or thick post-nasal drip. But several ENT doctors have said my sinuses look fine.

I finally figured out they are triggered by dairy, wine and humidity. I have given up dairy and wine. But I still need an accurate diagnosis to be able to treat the headaches that I still do get.