Migraines & Headaches Community
Headaches following alcohol consumption ...
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This forum is for questions and support regarding migraine and headache issues such as: abdominal migraines, headaches caused by allergies, cluster headaches, headaches, headaches in children, migraine headaches, sinus headaches, tension headaches, visual disturbances.

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Avatar_m_tn
Good news everybody, I've found relief without having to take something before/after I drink!  Unfortunately, there are 2 possible fixes here and I don't have any solid evidence that it's one versus the other, just a hunch.  The 2 things that may have helped are seeing a chiropractor(for stress relief) and killing off some of the excess candida(yeast) in my gut.  I believe it's candida, but I'm not 100% sure.  Also, I should note that I stopped taking Kudzu Root as I found I had withdrawal symptoms if I forgot to take it, which I took as a very bad sign.

When I finally visited a chiropractor for the first time in my life in an attempt to help with headaches that were starting to happen daily unrelated to drinking, they told me that I had 3400% pressure in the muscles in my neck when the normal range is 20% to 30%.  This could be a stress or posture problem, but my posture is decent; not perfect, but not 3400% wrong.  After a couple of adjustments, within the first week, the daily headaches were gone.  Unfortunately, I wasn't drinking during this time as I had started taking Candex, which helps kill off candida, and probiotics.

Now, I've done a ton of research on candida, but long story short, it is yeast that exists naturally in your body and is usually kept in check by healthy bacteria.  If, however, you feed the yeast too often(by eating high carb foods most meals and/or drinking a lot of alcohol, especially beer) and/or have low counts of healthy bacteria, then the yeast can grow out of control.  There are a number of symptoms of this when it gets really bad, which is when the yeast outgrows the gut and reaches other organs, but I believe that I only have a mild case at this point, thankfully.  In addition to taking Candex(or some other candida killer) and probiotics, it is suggested that one changes their diet to not feed the yeast; The Candida Diet(http://www.thecandidadiet.com) has a solid guideline.  You're supposed to strictly follow the diet for a month or more, but unless you have a really bad case of it, I've found that you can cheat every few days without much backlash.

As I said, I'm not sure which really helped...and maybe both did to some extent, but I believe candida is the main issue because I had headaches for 2 days after starting Candex(a well known sign that it's killing off the yeast). Then after taking Candex for a week without changing my diet I was able to drink 1 day without issue, but not 2 in a row. And after changing my diet for 1 week along with taking Candex, I was able to drink 1-3 beers for a week straight without issue(while not taking Candex nor probiotics), but on day 8, after 1 beer I started to get a slight headache 30 minutes later.

Regardless of which one fixed it, I'm going to continue with both of them for the foreseeable future.  If there's anything more to report, I shall return, but if anyone has questions, feel free to e-mail me: ***@****

Best of Luck,
Dayle
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Avatar_m_tn
Err, it bleeped out my e-mail address: xierosoldja at hotmail *******
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Dayle...while my migraines can occur anytime, they often occur most aggressively after drinking alcohol.  Many times in my life I have thought I may have candida overgrowth due to taking a lot of antibiotics for acne control in my youth.  Did you go through the whole candida diet process?  I have tried and failed so many times, but I'm about to get married and I really want to start off my married life migraine free!  You mention taking candex.  After doing some research, I am going to try Syntol.  I figure I have nothing to lose.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have only gone through the diet process for about 10 days and I cheated minimally on 1 meal every 3 days or so(for example, I had a banana one day).  Luckily, my case was only mild, so I was able to get a lot of relief with a not so strict regimen.  From my understanding, though, when the overgrowth is more severe, the diet needs to be followed longer and more strictly to get relief.  I have also heard that candida can be the cause of daily migraines, so if candida is the cause then I would assume you have a more severe case than I do. My suggestion would be to take the candida killer; stay away from eating breads and sugars at all costs; also stay away from fruits and starchy vegetables as much as possible; and lastly, be sure to get plenty of probiotics each day(pills, greek yogurt, cultured coconut milk, etc.).  Also, be sure to not to ingest the probiotics within 2 hours before or after taking the candida killer.

Even if you cheat every few days, don't get discouraged, that's perfectly natural. Just stick to it to the best of your ability for at least 10 days and see if you get any relief.  If it helps you at all, the migraine relief alone might be enough to encourage you to stick to the diet better and longer.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you Dayle!  I cannot believe the change in my system after taking Syntol AMD for about 2 weeks now.  I've also been seeing my chiropractor regularly.  My migraines have decreased to a tenth of what I was experiencing before.  I cannot believe that between all my clinical and homeopathic doctors none of them ever brought up candida as being a factor.  Even in NAET testing, I've been told to steer clear of gluten, but they never brought up candida.  Anyway, so far so good with bi-weekly chiro treatments and Syntol AMD 3x a day between meals.  I'm not following a candida diet but do limit breads and starches to a minimum.
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Avatar_m_tn
So glad to hear it's working well for you!  I can now report that this has definitely been helping me!  I'm still trying to stick with the diet to some extent; regularly eating greek yogurt and plenty of vegetables, while avoiding bread, beer, and sugary foods for the most part.  In the past 2 weeks, I've drank varying amounts of alcohol each night and the only sort of headache I've gotten was the normal dehydration based hangover the next morning if I failed to drink a few glasses of water that night.  Extremely mild compared to the horrendous pounding migraine I used to get 30 minutes to an hour after drinking.  If you guys haven't tried this, yet, you owe it to yourself to at least see if candida is the cause of your ails.
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363682_tn?1299492962
   This is an interesting departure from our previous posts.
   I have to say that, since starting this in 2008, I think we've all gradually run out of steam, having seemingly exhausted all pills, potions and posture theories.  Personally, I have around a dozen or so now-discarded 'miracle cures as we've all tried to search a cure for this.
   I really do think, after those five years of trawling, collating and postings though that a large part of our problem has been that some of us are 'simply' suffering from pure migraine or cluster headache problems - which I am starting to believe do not have any common relevance apart from being exacerbated by alcohol.
   For myself, I am pretty much convinced now that the posture you mention in one of your posts is the root cause of my problems - once again, accentuated by alcohol in some way.
   I have been diagnosed with the same sort of cervical degeneration I suppose we all start to suffer from as we get older (in my case, C2).  It seems to be accepted that one of the most common referral pain patterns from the upper cervical facet joints is pain going into the head. Typically, this pain begins at the base of the skull and radiates up the skull and sometimes to the eye.  Familiar?
   I also have Type 2 diabetes and am still not convinced that varying blood sugar levels don't play a part somewhere in the equation either.
   But this is where I think we can all fall into the trap of just lumping all headaches together maybe?  There are many different causes for them...it's just unfortunate for all of us that booze makes 'em worse!
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Avatar_f_tn
For the past 5 years I've suffered from debilitating migraines after drinking any amount of alcohol ( usually wine).  It didn't happen every time, but enough that I would only have a drink on a very special occasion. I also got migraines from rapid swings in barometric pressure... I always thought  there was some connection between weather and alcohol triggering the pain.  I recently switched  to a gluten free diet and my migraines COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED!  In hindsight it was never the alcohol, but the bread, pizza, pasta, pastries etc. that all contained gluten that were causing my migraines.

I can drink wine now without any repercussions!  Obviously beer is out of the question because of the gluten (barley).

If you haven't already tried eliminating gluten from your diet, give it a try for a few  weeks and see how it goes!
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363682_tn?1299492962
   That's yet another suggestion we haven't seen before - and therefore just as interesting to see just how many of our sufferers benefit from going 'gluten-free'.
   Keep it all coming - we WILL succeed people!  Who needs medics?
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Avatar_n_tn
http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/2322/The-Sinus-Flush


This is the answer to sinus headache caused by drinking.
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1688067_tn?1351544669
Last night I was just beginning to think that sinuses seem to play a part. I had just been cycling, which is another trigger for my migraines, and as I was cooling off I clamped my hands around my neck to stop the pressure. As I did so I could feel pressure in my sinuses.

The link looks informative, some handy tips in there. This is definitely a line worth pursuing. Thanks for the info.
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363682_tn?1299492962
   This is really interesting from the point of view that sinus/nasal congestion has always come in at #2 in our 'causal' chart (republished below), although I haven't had the time to update this for a while.
   And the references to pressure on the back of the neck at the onset of 'The Feeling' rings true in a lot of our posts as well Buzi_blu.
   Having said that, I don't think we're looking at a 'cure-all' here because there are too many variables - although I think this nasal thing looks a likely source for an awful lot of us sufferers.
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1688067_tn?1351544669
Just a quick edit: when I restricted the blood in my neck, the pressure was immediately felt in my nose and eyes, an effect that doesn't normally happen if I feel fine (now for example) and came as quite a surprise.
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Avatar_m_tn
One way to see if you are sensitive to Gluten is you can try Gluten free beer- here in the US "Redbridge" by Anheiser as well as many other brands you can get at e.g Whole Foods kind of grocery stores. These beers will typically not give you a headache- the downside is that like all Gluten Free products , the taste is not the same and requires getting used to. Also if I'm not mistaken the alcohol content is lower too or at least feels lower.
GoodLuck to all
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363682_tn?1299492962
   Not sure we had the gluten-free suggestion before, but we did have reports of non-alcoholic beverages causing the same problems. Despite that, I don't think many of us labor under the misapprehension that it's almost exclusively alcohol causing our problem (dammit!).
   Speaking personally for a second or two, I have noticed a definite easing of my own symptoms over the past few months, regardless of the fact that I haven't changed my 'habits'.
  This, of course, gives rise to my own speculation that we can either grow out of this problem...or, temporarily maybe, have a physical 'malaise' that, for whatever reason, rights itself again...  
   Anyone else noticed this or am I alone?
   (Yes, I HAVE touched wood!) ...
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363682_tn?1299492962
P.S.:-  I think it may help move us on if anyone out there has had a lasting effect from any of the many 'temporary cures'.  If so, they may well have just abandoned this site - if not, it would be good to save time and cross them off everyone else's 'must try' list...?
   In the meantime, my own 'remedies' are still a) a topical analgesic such as Icy Hot, Head-On or 4-Head applied in lines across the forehead (just above the eyebrows) and across the back of the neck ... and b) - in combination with leaning back with the rim of a bath or chair pressed hard into the back of my neck whilst, at the same time (in my case at least) stretching back as if looking over my left shoulder.  
   This combination seems to have been at the root of my own lessening of symptoms - although it would obviously be foolish to think it would work for everyone.
    
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1688067_tn?1351544669
Yes, I have had an easing of my symptoms for no obvious reason, but I do now take an ibuprofen before sleeping after drinking as a matter of course and take more at any sign of problems.

Interestingly, my physiotherapist has prescribed exercises that closely match those you describe and so it would seem we have similar neck issues.
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363682_tn?1299492962
   Hmmm - that's interesting...at least for the two of us!
   I was told that I had an age-related (probably) degeneration of a couple of neck discs.  Since then, manipulations such as those we've tried have certainly made a difference - both to any discomfort in the neck and to the alcohol-associated headaches.  It may be coincidence, but a happy one nonetheless!
   Overall though, as I think I started this thread way back in 2008, I really want to see it through as far as I can.
   So...although the two of us may be the only ones currently posting, I am really looking forward to hearing whether the 'treatment' we've discussed (and a possible cause) may be of benefit to the rest of us...?
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Avatar_f_tn
It's nice and sad to read this thread. My boyfriend is a 31 years old, from East Europe, having the same problem. He used to drink socially, stopped about 4 years ago completely. His last cluster headache was triggered by two small rum candies...I taste every drink for him to be sure that the barman understands the "virgin" part from the cocktail order. Sometimes he will act like having an allergy, sneezing one hour and having a stuffy nose. We didn't discover the trigger (this is not related to alcohol ingestion), but he tested negative for allergies, CT is clean, blood test perfect, doing a lot of sport. The only medical advice that worked was stop drinking...The pain is right side of the head only, back of the eye and followed by a numbing sensation of that part of the head. We used to believe that is a vascular issue but it's strange that he doesn't get it from the sun (we spend lots of time on the beach) or from intense physical exercise. The symptoms are  not like those of a migraine, where you'll fell the need to rest in a quiet dark room. The pain brings tears in his eyes and sounds or lights have no influence, good or bad. Ibuprofen seemed to help relieving the pain after 15-20 minutes, but he would take 400 mg each time the headache begins so  we don't know for sure if it's the medication action, placebo or simply the headache going away by itself. We will discuss some advices found on this thread with the doctors, maybe try them, and keep you posted.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you. I will post here to share what this forum has taught me about my affliction.
I am almost 62 and have been an avid alcohol consumer for many years. By avid I mean I have a fairly regular nightly routine. After dinner I usually sit in front of the TV with a shot or 2 of tequila and a beer.
I watch TV until bed time around 10 PM. I never get drunk and never drink outside my home and I do not consider myself an alcoholic by any stretch.
Both my wife and I became ill with an upper respiratory infection a few weeks back and were prescribed antibiotics by our Dr. . I got off my normal routine while ill and this bug was a real hanger on. Last week I finally got back to feeling pretty good and poured myself a drink with a beer. After about an hour watching the TV I started getting a headache. It came on quick and in 15 minutes I was in the bed, on my knees with my head in the pillow and the entire right side from jaw to the top and behind my eyes just pounding while I rocked back and forth hoping for relief. WOW was that scary. I finally fell asleep and woke the next morning feeling drained.
This same thing happened again last night, had a drink and a beer and then a massive headache. That sent me searching this morning and landed me here. Very interesting info and I must thank those who came before me with their stories.
OK, so, My doctor prescribed the antibiotic Levofloxacin which is a Fluorquinolone. While taking this medication I never associated this but my vision became rather blurry like my eye glasses were not cutting it any longer and needed to be stronger. While on the mend I refrained from all drinking and did not feel very good at all. It took about 3 weeks to get back to feeling better but now I can absolutely associate alcohol as the trigger that causes my very debilitating headaches. I can also assume the medication I took caused some sort of physiological change in me that is making me intolerant to alcohol. I will wait a few weeks and try a drink again to see if it works its way out of me but I sure will be fearful because these massive headaches close to life threatening.
I do hope this helps some here.
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363682_tn?1299492962
   Your symptoms are certainly the most graphic example of what afflicts us that I can remember seeing here and I think most of us can only imagine what you went through - although with some degree of empathy.
   None of us would pretend to take the place of the medics, but I think we've come to accept that we have to self-medicate, given the lack of input from any of them here.  I've always found it irritating that they cannot see their way clear to admitting they're as much in the dark as we are about this.  They just seem to leave us to it  So...if you've found one who is at least trying to sort it out, you're very, very lucky.
   For myself, I would be using a combination of a couple of  aspirin/ibuprofen/caffeine-based tablets before and after a drinking session in addition to a 'stick' topical analgesic such as 4-Head, Icy Hot or Head-On across the forehead and the back of the neck after a session - although it's obviously not a long-term ideal.
   If you don't like the idea of any pharmaceutical input, try about ten minutes of continuous pressure on the back of the neck on the affected side - repeated as many times as necessary.
   I'm sure our many 'co-sufferers' on here will have other suggestions, but these things work for me in the absence of a permanent cure.
   Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
i posted on here a few years ago as suffered head aches when any sort of pressure like sneezing or straining ect..  After many tablets and treatments over 6yrs . i was reffered to a spine specialist who did an mri on my neck and spine and it turns out i have chiari 1 malfimation !  its a part of the brain that is too big for the scull and is pressing on the top of the spine . Just thought would update incase any one else is thought to have this.Im sure this has an effect when i drink too as only 2 drinks sets it off too.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Mark,

well done on managing this thread.  Your occasional summaries are very helpful - and confirm why doctors don't like to get involved with "headache" unless it has very obvious cause and/or significant implications.

I posted a couple of years ago with headaches coming on during night after light drinking - with associated right neck pain radiating down into shoulder.   Alcohol was always a trigger - although other episodes of headache where no alcohol involved made me wary that it had multi-causes - especially after periods sitting with dad posture.   Anyway, I sorted the headaches by taking two paracetamol + caffeine tablets before drinking and hey presto - no nighttime headaches.  However, it soon felt like I was taking a lot of these and getting headaches outside teh drinking zone.     Had been monitoring my blood pressure which has been staedily rising from 120 over 80 (good) to 145-50 over 95-100 over recent years.    GP decide to put me on an ACE Ramipril 5mg as I was consider pre-hypertensive and family history not good.   Blood pressure dropped to 120 ish over 75 ish - and no headaches at all these past 4 months.  Enjoying alcohol again - beer and wine - in sensible quantities.  In my own case, I have always suspected a vascular cause - blood vessel constriction and release from stress etc - which as I got older (now 53) and blood pressure rose - alcohol triggered headaches.    That's my story - the medical literature is not supportive of "blood pressure induced headache"- but I can only relate the immediate impact of beginning medication to lower my pressures and the immediate absence of alcohol induced headache.  best regds.
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363682_tn?1299492962
  and .... 'some have greatness thrust on them....' !
   Thanks for the compliment, but have to say that the medics would earn more far more respect within their communities if they could occasionally concede they haven't got a clue about things such as this.  If there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow though, we may have solved it by now.
   As before, your symptoms seem to put us on that 'ring road around the city' looking for the best passage to the heart.
   A lot of triggers - apart from the obvious one of alcohol - seem to revolve around the same general areas:  posture and blood vessels ... along with the temporary relief afforded by topical and other analgesics, including those you mention.
   Overall, I think it would be very easy to forget all this and simply accept 'our lot', but I don't think we're a million miles away from sorting it.  Variations on a theme abound, but one day we'll find that common one that'll be key.
  
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Avatar_m_tn
Worth sharing my perspective after suffering for more than 18 years from CH. If there is one obvious trigger, it is alcohol consumption and it does not take a glass, even a sip can do the job and knock you off. It does not prevent to drink socially, but you have to stay away from alcohol when you run through a CH episode. Unfortunately for me, they have become more and more frequent to a point where I am a lot more living with CH crisis than without.... For years, I brought it under control using a wonder combination of isoptin / lithium carbonate. If a CH period was coming, just start the combo and after 2-3 days, symptoms are gone. After 2-3 weeks, treatment can be stopped. In my case, alcohol was actually the way to verify the crisis was over : stop the treatment, have a beer, no migraine, cool; if migraine, back to the treatment.
Bad news though.... I have reached a point where the treatment is no longer as efficient as before and it takes ages to get out of a CH crisis. Until I can find something else, zero alcohol is the way to a normal life.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi everyone.
I'm 33. I drank a lot between the ages of 21 and 30, before the headaches began.

If I have more than two or three drinks I get a headache the next day.  I can tell it's coming on in the early morning and it's there by 11am.  I've tried to cut out different types of alcohol, like brown liquor and wine, but have gotten a headache even after only drinking beer and vodka.

Length -
When I began getting these 4 1/2 years ago, I would get one every six months and it would last for around 48 hours or less.
Now I get them  whenever I drink and they mostly last for 72+ hours.
The last two times when I've taken the Immigran very early on, the headache did not come back.  Other times however, I would take Immigran and the headache would come back even worse the next two days. I know that if you take Immigran a lot it can cause worse/more frequent headaches so I try to hold off on taking it.  I also wondered if taking the Immigran is making the headaches last longer.

Pain -
It's mostly a dull, nagging pain that swells in and out of being more painful and sharp. They used to peak, where toward the end of the headache the pain would get really bad and then the headache would fizzle out.
For the 24 hours after the headache I get flashes of pain in the same areas where the headache occurred. Now I also get those flashes of a feeling/pain/a sensation in those areas between headaches quite frequently.  

Area of the head -
They are ALWAYS in the exact same place.  On the right side of my head behind my eye, and on the side of my head half way between the tip of my ear and the tip of my skull.  Then the headache moves in to the inside of my ear, where the pain is worse.  

Pain relief
The only thing that helps take the pain away is Immigran. However I'm afraid that taking it too often will cause more headaches, so I'm trying to quit drinking......which is not working!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi everyone.
I'm 33. I drank a lot between the ages of 21 and 30, before the headaches began.

If I have more than two or three drinks I get a headache the next day.  I can tell it's coming on in the early morning and it's there by 11am.  I've tried to cut out different types of alcohol, like brown liquor and wine, but have gotten a headache even after only drinking beer and vodka.

Length -
When I began getting these 4 1/2 years ago, I would get one every six months and it would last for around 48 hours or less.
Now I get them  whenever I drink and they mostly last for 72+ hours.
The last two times when I've taken the Immigran very early on, the headache did not come back.  Other times however, I would take Immigran and the headache would come back even worse the next two days. I know that if you take Immigran a lot it can cause worse/more frequent headaches so I try to hold off on taking it.  I also wondered if taking the Immigran is making the headaches last longer.

Pain -
It's mostly a dull, nagging pain that swells in and out of being more painful and sharp. They used to peak, where toward the end of the headache the pain would get really bad and then the headache would fizzle out.
For the 24 hours after the headache I get flashes of pain in the same areas where the headache occurred. Now I also get those flashes of a feeling/pain/a sensation in those areas between headaches quite frequently.  

Area of the head -
They are ALWAYS in the exact same place.  On the right side of my head behind my eye, and on the side of my head half way between the tip of my ear and the tip of my skull.  Then the headache moves in to the inside of my ear, where the pain is worse.  

Pain relief
The only thing that helps take the pain away is Immigran. However I'm afraid that taking it too often will cause more headaches, so I'm trying to quit drinking......which is not working!
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363682_tn?1299492962
   This really does sound incredibly debilitating for you...but, to my untrained ears at least, it seems to fall outside the general pattern we've been discussing on here for years now, although it does bear some similarities.
   It seems to come across that your symptoms are already present - and are only exacerbated (as they probably would be) by alcohol...?
   Whatever else, we CAN say about it, almost all of us bar the shouting find that the cessation of alcohol consumption equals the cessation of the headaches - i.e. alcohol is usually our sole enemy.
   I'm sure this is a stupid thing to suggest, but I can't see any mention of medical opinion over your symptoms...?
   Have to say that if they were my own symptoms, I don't think I'd be leaving the doors of the medics.  Of course, it could well be some sort of migraine variation - but it could also be a whole lot more...?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Mark
Thanks for the response. I'd also like to thank you for managing the thread after all of these years.  Having debilitating headaches can make you feel alone and helpless as times (as you all know!) and it's nice to be able to connect with people on some level about this stuff.  I appreciate all who have shared so much useful info over the years.

Also, I realize my post was confusing - I too only get the headaches after drinking.  The sensations that I feel after the headache seems to be like the 'hangover' of the migraine (or whatever it is!). It's very hard to describe because it's not really pain, but just 'something' that I feel - and that which I never felt before I started getting these alcohol related headaches.

Would you say that the other major differences are that:- my headaches last for two to three days, they are on the right side of the head and ear, and they don't show up until the next day?

I'm going to investigate some of the remedies I've read in the thread.

Also - someone mentioned a while ago that putting pressure on the neck seems to relieve some of the pain.  I find that (I know this is weird) if i pinch the back of my neck, it does relive some of the headache pain.  Honestly though, this is probably just diverting the attention to my neck (ha!).

I've been to a few different GPs, none of whom have been helpful. 'It's a Migraine' 'Those are commonly caused by drinking' is the answer I get, as you would expect.

I'm out of Immigran (Sumatriptin) so this might be a good time to go back to the Doc. I also need to take advantage of the cheap healthcare while I'm living in Australia :-)

I'll report back after testing some of what I've read!

Thanks again everyone,
Sarah

PS - this is all very heart-braking as I am an avid home brewer!
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363682_tn?1299492962
   I'm really pleased that you've managed to glean something out of this Sarah.  In my opinion, the fact that we have been on here since 2008 says it all.
   To my mind there's three choices:-  a) either the medics know full well what's behind this comparatively recent phenomenon of 'non-hangover' headaches following alcohol and are in cahoots with the distillers/breweries/food industry;  (b) they all share the same 'if-you-get-a-headache-don't-drink' philosopy ...or c) in the same vein, they haven't got a clue what's causing this and don't want to show themselves up in public...?
   In your own case, I really do think it would be worthwhile for you to go back through the threads - or, at least, the precis I did on here in January 2012.   If my memory serves me correctly(!), it seems that our sufferers fall into two main categories:  those whose headache onset is around a couple of hours after alcohol ingestion or those, like yourself, for whom the onset can be as far away as the next day...and then continue for some time.
   As before, however, I can only really speak for my own symptoms.  There is no doubt whatever that pressure on the back of my neck with something hard like the rim of a bath or similar (for around thirty minutes if possible) alleviates my symptoms.  Then, coupled with a topical analgesic like 4-Head (UK) or Icy-Hot or HeadOn (USA) across the brow and back of the neck usually sorts me out.
   Additionally, I have found changing my seating from a soft sofa with no support for my back to swinging my legs up and resting with the arm of the sofa in my back for a while helps considerably. Also I've noted that when I continue to move around after a drink, it seems less-likely to be that intense.  It's only when I 'slump' somewhere that it really is a 'banger'.
   Of course, all these 'temporary fixes' are just that whilst we continue to look for a proper cure, so perhaps we should ask our new correspondent from Oz to keep us in touch...?
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Avatar_m_tn
I just found this site and have read every post since its inception, as I was thrilled to find other folks in the same boat as me.  As background, I am a 59 year old personal fitness trainer, in great shape.  No lower back pains (which may just be a very common situation with all people due to how they sit all day and not related to these issues).  I get a severe migraine about 3 hours after any consumption of any alcohol, even as little as a rum soaked pineapple slice.  The pain has all the similarities of a migraine, severe pain localized on my left side of my head, nausea and almost feverish feelings.  Yes, not good.  But in addition, I believe it is a sinus blockage, as I also get congestion on the left side as well.  I take sinus medication and it does help a lot. An allergy doctor suggested that alcohol is a muscle relaxant and may cause the muscles in my nose to enlarge, and cause the blockage.  
I miss my wine.  I was only a one glass wine drinker before, and not every night, but my life is just not the same without little alcohol.
I tried staying on clariton D for a few days before a drink and it did not really help.
Any other ideas?
Desperate to get my life back
Cathy
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Avatar_m_tn
Started drinking mildly at 18 yo then joined USAF for 20 years  married since 21 yo. Then at 42 started getting migraines and before that only headaches and if I drank to much hung over with a headache. So now I rarely drink cause after a couple drinks then the migrain starts. Once in a while I can have a couple and no headache and I think the problem is gone, just fooling myself. Then the next time I have a couple and get a migrain. I have thought about trying grass as an alternative but I did that in High school and never again. I heard eating brownies without smoking will not get you stoned like smoking. Its hard cause I raised two kids and always told them how grass will side track your goals and could get you in trouble. It did me at 16 yo. Well I am 54 maybe when I get close to retirement I will try eating brownies (grass). I figured out how to control migraines pretty good now-its sleeping well-not getting angry over small stuff and drinking a 16oz Gatorade daily. Laughing more also helps; watch comedy type movies, too. STRESS is the number one problem and unless you move to the counry you will only reduce your headaches by controlling stress. We all cant afford to move to the country because the jobs are near big cities. I live outside of Seattle and to many people,cars crime on tv =stress. When you are in your twentys you dont care as much and had less stress and drank as much as you wanted. We cant rewind the clock. So dont embrace technology so much cuase it adds stress. Sometimes when people start getting migraines they also get them from alcohol, then they stop drinking and the migraines pick up because the alcohol was always a stress reliever. Its a ***** because I think this was also the case for me. We are all different and this info is to maybe help some of us. D  
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363682_tn?1299492962
Hi Cathy ...
In a nutshell, there are no easy answers to this...and none that seem to spring out and hit you between the eyes.
The 'headaches following alcohol' issue seems to be a comparatively recent affliction in terms of decades but, as you will have seen from my precis, the suggested causes are a lot more concentrated than the temporary cures.
No need to mention alcohol as the exclusive trigger, but sinus congestion and posture coupled with existing back and/or neck problems feature strongly.  Having said that, it would appear that a considerable number of our correspondents may be unaware of these - i.e. they don't always throw up obvious symptoms.
On a personal basis, it has to be said that, whilst I still get these headaches, my own aversion techniques seem to be keeping them at bay and lessening the severity of them more and more.
I was never very comfortable with the 'pop-a-pill' reaction for obvious long-term reasons.
However when I noticed that (primarily) not sitting on a 'yielding' seat - but rather choosing one that gave firm support to the length of my back - plus firm pressure on the back of the neck on the side of the pain and the application of a topical analgesic to the forehead and neck gave more effective and noticeble results.  
In addition, on the occasions I kept moving through my own 'onset' times (usually two to three hours after alcohol consumption), it was again noticeable that the symptoms were usually less severe.
So...in essence, my sedentary lifestyle following alcohol (sometimes for obvious reasons!) seemed to be the exacerbating feature every time.
The jury's obviously still out on why this appears to be very much a 21st century affliction (not many hereditary connections have appeared here) and I, personally, would discount the theories of additives to our favourite tipples on the basis the headaches seem to happen with ALL of them.
My own thinking leads me (currently at least) towards the pollution / less effective immune systems (due to over-reliance on pills maybe?) / general food additives area.  Our systems are simply not conditioned / unable to cope any more.
But, hey, what do I know?  As has been mentioned many times, the medics seem to have a distinct lack of interest on this subject for whatever reason...and you have to assume they are the only ones that could maybe get to the bottom of this.
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363682_tn?1299492962
Although there's nothing funny about any of this Whoareyou53 , I had to chuckle at your post due to the apparent fact that, although you've suffered the same as the rest of us, you seem to have chosen some unique routes in diversionary tactics!
Nevertheless, totally agree with you that 21st century stresses and strains don't help situations like this.  
I once read an article by a certain Dr. Curtis Graeber of NASA which stated that, although we had now invented aircraft which could go halfway round the world without stopping, we hadn't invented an aircrew or passenger body to go with it.
In other words, given the incredible increase in technology - especially over the past century or so - the humaan body had not evolved at the same rate.  
In other words...something has to give...and maybe, just maybe, it's US !
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7238298_tn?1389461353
Symptoms:
After any amount of alcohol, the next morning I 'sometimes' have a terrible headache that can last for several days.  The pain is behind my left eye and in lower part of the back of my head where it connects to my spine.  It seems sinus related and I can tell that there is fluid in my upper sinuses and I suspect that it is creating pressure and thus my headaches.  Dark beer and whiskey almost always cause headaches.  Champagne almost always causes headaches.  Sugary drinks seem to cause headaches. I think the sinus pain causes me to tense up in the my neck and back of my head and causes kind of a vicious cycle of pain.  I've also gone to a chiropractor who told me that he thought that I had whiplash and that my neck couldn't hold up my head effectively.  He's done some adjustments but I've gotten headaches immediately afterward, so I stopped going.

Things I've tried that have 'worked' but not consistently:
Neck adjustments by chiropractor
Ibuprofen or aspirin before drinking and afterward
Claritin
Hydration
Multiple hot baths and showers with my head under the water (gives temporary relief)
Inversion - hanging over bed with my head pointed toward the floor
Heavy duty electric massager in sinus area and on back of head.  
Wet, hot washcloth over eyes and back of neck
Breathing steam from boiling water with salt in it
Sudafed - Antihistamines
Aspirin
Wheat beer instead of regular
Straight shots of clear alcoholic beverages (no mixers).  i.e. tequila, vodka, rum.  (Darker liquor seems to always cause headaches.)

My thoughts:
I think that weather, humidity, pollution and pollen are all contributing factors but not the cause.
All of the above 'cures' have helped at one time or another but the only thing that I've found that will get rid of the headaches is somehow draining the sinuses and getting oxygen to the sinus cavity.  The only way that I've found to do this is the put a heavy duty massager on my nose with a towel or something under it (sometimes causes bruising) and forcing air out my nose at the same time.  The vibration loosens the 'snot' and it comes pouring out.  I keep a roll of paper towels to collect it.  This is really gross, but it does work for me.  While I'm doing this I'm 'popping my ears' at the same time to get some oxygen into my sinuses.  Once my ears pop I usually feel better immediately but the headache only goes away once I get almost all of the mucous out of my sinuses.  I know that it's not good for my brain or my nose to have a huge electric massager on it but at that point the pain is so bad that I'll try anything to stop it.  I usually try all of the other 'cures' before I resort to this.

I'd prefer a less dangerous method of clearing the upper sinus cavity.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
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Avatar_m_tn
I also have 2 day long headaches, around my right eye, after drinking as little as 1-2 glasses with dinner. One beer won't usually give me a headache, but 1 glass or wine will. It is worst if I start drinking on an empty stomach.

These only started a few years ago, I am a 51 yo female. I thought it was due to menopause, but apparently not from reading all the stories.

These headaches come in the morning, but I feel them coming on slowly. There is a mild nausea and a feeling of constant hunger, even after eating a meal. The headache will usually go away on the second day, after lunch. It seems that food is the trigger to make the headache go away.
I was hoping to find the magical cure by reading these posts, but it seems that we are doomed.
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363682_tn?1299492962
  I recognise that feeling Olive!
  Nevertheless, it's only by sharing experiences that we will eventually beat this scourge...and I know we will,,,eventually!
  Sounds a silly question, but what do the medics say about your particular systems - because they seem to vary slightly from the average ones listed here - i.e. the food references?
  Of course, there is probably no connection and you're probably enduring much the same symptoms as the rest of us.
  Speaking personally, I've had an interesting variation in my own situation since I changed seats in my living area so that, when I watch television (for example) I am looking to my left instead of my right.
  Sounds stupid I know, but my headaches have diminished considerably.
  May be coincidence...but .....?
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Avatar_m_tn
This was the exact posting i was looking for!!  I am male 48 and i have had migraines since i was about 22.  Usually once a month or so, every two weeks.  For years i would drink almost every night, usually 4-5 drinks, and then party a lot on the weekends.  But it had little effect on my migraines.  Then i slowed down quite a bit for a year or so, and now when i drink i get a migraine the next day almost every single time!!  It is so frustrating.  I do take midrin and butalbital for my migraines and it works very well, but it is so frustrating to have to do go through it.  Have you experimented with any different types of alcohol?  Lately i have been having better luck with Grey Goose and orange juice.  Dave
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363682_tn?1299492962
   I did a precis earlier in this thread of the answers we'd had since I started it back in 2008 Dave and it showed that there was probably absolutely no difference in reaction to any kind of alcoholic intake.
   The reaction still came, albeit at different time intervals, after consumption of ANY kind of alcohol.
   The only constant appears to be that there are, possibly, basic underlying causal factors - maybe variable from person to person, maybe not - which are exacerbated by 'fermented liquor ingestion'.
   I know...I know...this doesn't really help that much, but it seems to be where we're at right now.
   In essence, I think we've gone through just about everything on here from symptoms to temporary cures...and the only thing we seem to be agreed on is that we all like a drink...and it's drink that is causing our problem!
   Nevertheless, as history will show, it's perseverance that eventually wins through.  
   Let's hope I live that long !!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Great community you have going here.

I'm a middle-aged male, very fit and healthy all my life. My migraines began seven years ago. Finally after several doctors, blood tests, headache journals, myriad prescriptions, figured out the trigger was alcohol. An ounce and a half of vodka, Half a glass of wine, one beer, will trigger. The headache will begin, 24 to 48 hours later, last for three days.

Earlier in my life I was able to drink two to four ounces of alcohol without any headache whatsoever, not even a hangover. Of course as many of you know, these are much different from a hangover. Especially with the duration and the delayed onset. Kind of headache that a Tylenol 4 barely takes the edge off of. The other trigger for me is when I get a lot of chlorine in my sinuses after a lap swim or if I have a bacterial infection, such as Giardia. Fact, that's when I first got this kind of migraine, was with an episode of Montezuma's revenge about 10 years ago.

Very strange, nothing like this runs in my family.

Small dose (2.5 mg 3 times a day) amitriptyline is the only thing that has helped consistently but caused me to add 10 pounds weight gain.  On very rare occasion, I can imbibe if at the same time I am simultaneously physically active, such as dancing. Whatever, the most successful regimen has been avoidance altogether, or when I want to have one drink at a social occasion, I might increase the dosage of amitriptyline in advance, along with an NSAID.

He sharing your findings everybody! None of the doctors and neurologists I have seen can solve this. We must do it ourselves!


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363682_tn?1299492962
   Couldn't agree more that we have to solve it ourselves.
   The thing that I find strange (and may add fuel to the conpiracy theorists) is that, in my limited experience, the medics usually rush to expound their thoughts about any relatively new health issues...but not in this case.
   And it's no surprise that you have no family history of this problem - neither does anyone else it appears.  Which all gives credence to the thought that this IS a very recent phenomenon.
   So... does the food industry hold the key?...is it pollution? ... or maybe something you wouldn't immediately think of, like nasal sprays (for instance)?
   As always, we persevere.
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1688067_tn?1351544669
I think it is fair to say that none of us have found a solution, other than abstinence. For me there was one other way of avoiding migraines, and that was to drink regularly (in moderation). If I went 3+ days without alcohol then the next time would be high risk. Conversely, if I drank the day after a migraine then I would almost certainly be fine.

Can anyone else confirm this behaviour - that drinking alcohol on a daily basis stops the extreme headaches?
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Avatar_m_tn
This same exact severe headache just started happening to me within the past 3 weeks.  Happened with craft beer, wine, and then finally vodka.  Excruciating headache on the left side of my skull.  I've read through many of the posts and started tracking some of the different symptoms or causes that people thought might be the trigger.  Here are the ones I noted: sinus, posture, aspartame, gluten, HPV, candida

So I studied the list and thought about each one as it applied to me.  I do have sinus congestion.  My posture isn't the best and in fact I have had a bad knot in my shoulder blade that causes pain up to the base of my skull (on the left side where I've been getting the debilitating headaches after drinking).  
The third one is the only other new change in my life in the past few weeks: aspartame.  I had tried to avoid it over the winter by chewing Glee gum which does not have artificial sweetener.  Well, I ran out of that stuff and went back to my old favorite "5" gum, by Wrigley, which contains aspartame.  

I now believe it is directly related to this new headache phenomenon. On the past 2 headache occasions (both within the past week) I was on my way to meet someone for a drink on my way home from work so I wanted to freshen my breath with some nice minty gum.  I chewed some "5" gum immediately before the drinks.  And then the ensuing miserable headache occurred within an hour.  At the 2 hour mark, it was agonizing pain.  At the 3 hour mark, I was in a fetal position on the floor at home. (This was just last night).  And though I still have a mild residual headache and was ready to swear off drinking, I will wait a few days to make sure the aspartame is out of my system and then try to have a few drinks again.

I will post my findings to see if I'm headache-free after drinks (without aspartame in my system).
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been following this discussion for some years now in an effort to find a cure for my headaches.
For me, it started about ten years ago, when I was 50, and has continued ever since...
Up to then, I could drink alcohol moderately without any problems, only getting a 'hangover headache'
after consuming (very rare) excessive amounts. The headache was always in the same place, across the right side of the head
and the pattern was always the same: one or two (usually only one) glass of wine, everything fine going to bed
but I would wake up with the headache and it would take 6-8 hours to dissipate, after taking several doses
of pain killers. The pain killers became less effective over time - initially just one dose would clear the headache
after an hour or two, then two doses took four hours to work and eventually the daily maximum dose working
in 6-8 hours. I went to my doctor on numerous occasions but he just fobbed me off, saying "Don't drink
and you won't get a headache". Eventually, that's what I had to do but then I found that other things started to
cause EXACTLY the same headaches - Chinese food (MSG, I presume), cheese, chocolate (especially in the evenings or at night)
and red meat (especially beef). It was all very frustating and I simply could not understand how things which I had consumed
all my life were now causing day-long headaches. I tried many of the 'cures' already mentioned in this topic but none of them
made the slightest difference. The headaches were caused by all types of alcohol - wine, beer, cognac, etc.
About two months ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) and given medication.
I began to feel 'calmer' after starting the medication and began to hope against hope that maybe the pills would
help with the headaches. After a week or so, I tried some chocolate one evening - no headache the next day.
I tried more chocolate on another evening - same result. I had some cheese on a few occasions - no problems.
I started to eat Chinese food again - no headaches. I dared to even eat some beef on another occasion - no headache...
And then (for me) the acid test: I had a glass of white wine one evening, followed by copious amounts of water -
no headache the next day. I tried a TWO glasses of wine another night (again with plenty of water) - same result, no headache.
Finally, I took the plunge and split a bottle of wine 50:50 with my wife at dinner one evening (something I had not dared
do in nearly 10 years!), followed by much water (a litre or so) - no headache. I am now drinking 'normally' again and
I am now (hopefully) back where I was ten years ago. The hypertension medication seems to have helped enormously.
I know that this will not be the solution for many of you but I wanted to share this experience with everyone
in the hope that some might benefit. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for starting
this discussion and for staying with it for so long. My very best wishes to you all. Greetings from Ireland...
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363682_tn?1299492962
   That's pretty comprehensive Omega 53, but, speaking personally yet again, I'm also on BP medication (amlodipine) and I had been wondering whether this and other drugs may actually have caused my headaches rather than alleviating them!
   It's reallly gratifying to hear that you feel that your BP medication brings you relief - long may it be so.
   Nevertheless, overall, none of the threads we've had have addressed the perennial question of why this is such a comparatively recent 'phenomenon' ...i.e. no records of it until the last decade or so.
   My own feeling is starting to center more and more around things that have only more recently been introduced into our diets and lives in general as being the root cause - for example, food processsing / additives / pollution, etc., etc.
   Either way Omega 53, as you're just across the Irish Sea, I may well come and join you to crack a few of your BP pills along with a few pints of the black stuff!  Cheers!
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Avatar_f_tn
Mark congratulations for this forum. It is really an invaluable  source of information, full of people's experiences and pain. I would love to be a student of medicine and/or psychology and use all this information in my research! It would be also lovely to write a novel about every one of us who wants to get wasted and he can't because he or she gets a terrible headache right from the beginning.
Anyway, I would like to add only a little piece of more info to his endless thread...
According to my experience, headache is always related to a threshold of alcohol intake, which is an amount if alcohol during a certain period of time.  However, this is dependent on the time of the day when I have a drink. When I have a few drinks at noon or early afternoon, I rarely get a headache.  If however I drink at night fast and especially on empty stomach, next day -noon- I suffer like someone who never had a drink.  I also used to be a partier and be able to drink along with Irish guys for a couple of days but now it is like It was somebody else in my place. I believe it is a combination of age and maybe a change in lifestyle.  My painkilker is plain aspirin and tons of water. Also mesulid (nimesulide NSAID-excellent painkiller - would be nice if it wasn't toxic to the liver...)
Nice job Mark! Keep walking!
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Avatar_m_tn
An update:

I did amitriptyline, with success for a year. It was the only thing that prevented the migraines. Unfortunately I gained 15 pounds and was groggy much of the time. Three weeks ago my neurologist switched me to butterbur extract, which seems to be working, without the grogginess, and I've shed four of those pounds. And have more energy for working out and other activities. Try it, it has no side effects for me. Just make sure you get it from a high-quality manufacturer, because if it is not formulated properly, it can cause liver damage.

Still a little too early to tell for sure, as we all know of the placebo effect. But I am cautiously optimistic, and the positive affect on my energy level of going off amitriptyline is definite.

Good luck to you
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Avatar_m_tn
Re: your comment: "in my limited experience, the medics usually rush to expound their thoughts about any relatively new health issues...but not in this case. "

Hi asked my new neurologist this very thing. He said, paraphrasing: it isn't fatal and people seem to manage. Basically saying they have bigger fish to fry.  Which I vehemently disagreed because this affects work , home, fitness, social, sleep, weight. And with findings of moderate alcohol extending lifespans, it is robbing us of longevity as well as good times!

We'll keep sharing our findings and let them catch up. But at least they're now taking herbals more seriously now.
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Avatar_m_tn
Looked this up as a fellow sufferer. Also have a varied health background.
Found some good answers through tons of research.
Think good information can be found in the book, Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, MD. He is a neurologist and specialist in nutrition. His studies as well as many of the latest medical studies seem to point to Inflammation causing neurological damage. This inflammation is a result of long term diets of highly processed food especially forms of sugars/carbohydrates. Along with alcohol, aspartame, msg, and other toxins, these sugars cause the body to create free radicals instead of normal energy in the form of ATP. Over time they build up and cause a chain of chemical reactions in the body leading to cell damage and disease process. He describes Alzheimer's as diabetes of the brain.
The headaches seem to be related to migraines, which is really neuralgia-nerve pain. If one looks at the nerve involved in migraine it travels to the eye socket, edge of the nose (sinus-area), jaw and initiate from the top of the neck. They are associated with vascular/blood vessel constriction and then dilation. So, when one takes a triptan or other nerve medication in addition to an anti-inflammatory to decrease the arterial pressure in the area, relief is usually found. Neck structural issues add to the nerve irritation and so that explains why adjustments can help.
Recommendations by many of these medics are that we try to change average diet to more natural foods, vegetables, some fruit, fish and other healthy protein. A supplement of Omega 3 is highly important as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. And provides Essential fatty acids to repair some of the damage we have done. This will aid enormously in the diabetic condition. As for alcohol intake as a sugar, this may need to be reduced significantly, sorry to say. When you do imbibe, maybe try the triptan and Advil combo, but remember how hard it is on your liver and kidneys.  The timing can be explained for most of us because our diets over the last several decades have consisted of increasing levels of processed foods filled with sugars and preservatives. For convenience and taste. Trust me, I am a sufferer and as guilty as the next person for consuming this way.
Hope this helps.



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