Health & Medical Pain Diseases

CNN Headline News Prime News Tonight Transcript



Updated September 10, 2014.

Erica Hill:
With more than thirty million people suffering from migraines, there?s a decent chance you or someone you know has also suffered through one. And we mean suffer here because the intense pain can be debilitating. Even your hair hurts. But there are ways to not just manage the pain, but perhaps even help you stop it before it starts.

Teri Robert is the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches and she?s been living with migraines since the age of six, so a great person to talk to about this.

Teri, great to have us with tonight. First, give us an idea for folks who have never had a migraine. Is this really just a bad headache? What does it feel like?

Teri Robert, Author, Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches:
Erica, it is more than a bad headache. A migraine is actually a neurological disease and a migraine attack has a whole myriad of symptoms. Some people have them without the headaches, but you also end up with nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light, extreme sensitivity to sound.

Some people in extreme cases even will be paralyzed on one side of their body. So it?s a lot more than just a headache, and if not treated, can actually, in some cases, lead to stroke.

Hill:
So, what are some of the ways then that we can treat it, or even maybe hope to control the migraine before it starts?

Robert:
Well, the very first thing you can do is trigger management. Find out what triggers the episodes, and so then if some of these triggers are avoidable, then you know, avoid them.

But there are going to be those that aren?t, such as barometric pressure changes.

Hill:
Mm-hmm.

Robert:
So, in those cases you can go into what we call preventive medication regimens which can be medications, dietary supplements, a whole myriad of things. There are at least a hundred products that you can use for prevention.

Hill:
You mentioned, Teri, there are some things that can?t be controlled, like barometric pressure. But are there things that we can control to maybe lessen our chance of getting a migraine?

Robert:
For some of us, yes. You know, triggers will vary from individual to individual, but if you do a migraine diary and you discover that sleep disruptions are a trigger, or missing meals, or that certain foods themselves are triggers. A lot of people are triggered by MSG. Then, if you can avoid those, you can really cut back a whole lot. And get to the point where you?re managing the disease and you?re controlling it, instead of it controlling you.

Hill:
Which is exactly what you want. Is stress a big factor here?

Robert:
Stress is a factor, but not as big as one might think. Stress is not an actual migraine trigger, but it does the same thing with migraine as it does have a cold or the flu. It makes us more susceptible...

Hill:
Okay.

Robert:
?to our triggers.

Hill:
And you probably, and you?re probably more aware of it as well. Now, you mentioned there are a number of other treatments, medications, and such. Obviously something you?d want to discuss with your doctor. If you feel like you?re getting to the point where you need to see a doctor, do you go to your primary care physician, or do you immediately ask for a referral to a neurologist?

Robert:
Your primary care physician is an excellent place to start, depending on the severity of your case as well as the knowledge of doctor. Many migraineurs are actually able to treat quite well with their primary doctors. If that doesn?t work, or if you just have more questions than your doctor can handle, then the next step is a neurologist.

And then from that you have to remember that your neurologists are somewhat like family doctors, in that they treat such a wide range of conditions, that it?s hard for them to be a specialist in just headache or migraine. So there are a lot of very fine headache and migraine specialists available as well.

Hill:
Something to keep in mind. Also, uh, one of the folks that we work with here, one of our executive producers said, he really feels like he grew out of migraines. Is it possible to outgrow them?

Robert:
It is. And we see that usually more with men than women. But we can also cycle through them in life. So hopefully he?s right?

Hill:
[Laughs]

Robert:
?and he has outgrown them and they won?t just come back in a few years.

Hill:
All right, Steve. Keep your fingers crossed. Teri Robert. Some great information tonight. And, hopefully, uh, we?ve helped a few people as well. Good to have you with us. Thanks.

Robert:
Thanks, Erica.

_________________
As broadcast on CNN Headline News Prime News Tonight on March 31, 2006.

Interview of 3/31/06. Anchor, Erica Hill.
Erica Hill:
With more than thirty million people suffering from migraines, there?s a decent chance you or someone you know has also suffered through one. And we mean suffer here because the intense pain can be debilitating. Even your hair hurts. But there are ways to not just manage the pain, but perhaps even help you stop it before it starts.

Teri Robert is the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches and she?s been living with migraines since the age of six, so a great person to talk to about this.

Teri, great to have us with tonight. First, give us an idea for folks who have never had a migraine. Is this really just a bad headache? What does it feel like?

Teri Robert, Author, Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches:
Erica, it is more than a bad headache. A migraine is actually a neurological disease and a migraine attack has a whole myriad of symptoms. Some people have them without the headaches, but you also end up with nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light, extreme sensitivity to sound.

Some people in extreme cases even will be paralyzed on one side of their body. So it?s a lot more than just a headache, and if not treated, can actually, in some cases, lead to stroke.

Hill:
So, what are some of the ways then that we can treat it, or even maybe hope to control the migraine before it starts?

Robert:
Well, the very first thing you can do is trigger management. Find out what triggers the episodes, and so then if some of these triggers are avoidable, then you know, avoid them. But there are going to be those that aren?t, such as barometric pressure changes.

Hill:
Mm-hmm.

Robert:
So, in those cases you can go into what we call preventive medication regimens which can be medications, dietary supplements, a whole myriad of things. There are at least a hundred products that you can use for prevention.

Hill:
You mentioned, Teri, there are some things that can?t be controlled, like barometric pressure. But are there things that we can control to maybe lessen our chance of getting a migraine?

Robert:
For some of us, yes. You know, triggers will vary from individual to individual, but if you do a migraine diary and you discover that sleep disruptions are a trigger, or missing meals, or that certain foods themselves are triggers. A lot of people are triggered by MSG. Then, if you can avoid those, you can really cut back a whole lot. And get to the point where you?re managing the disease and you?re controlling it, instead of it controlling you.

Hill:
Which is exactly what you want. Is stress a big factor here?

Robert:
Stress is a factor, but not as big as one might think. Stress is not an actual migraine trigger, but it does the same thing with migraine as it does have a cold or the flu. It makes us more susceptible...

Hill:
Okay.

Robert:
?to our triggers.

Hill:
And you probably, and you?re probably more aware of it as well. Now, you mentioned there are a number of other treatments, medications, and such. Obviously something you?d want to discuss with your doctor. If you feel like you?re getting to the point where you need to see a doctor, do you go to your primary care physician, or do you immediately ask for a referral to a neurologist?

Robert:
Your primary care physician is an excellent place to start, depending on the severity of your case as well as the knowledge of doctor. Many migraineurs are actually able to treat quite well with their primary doctors. If that doesn?t work, or if you just have more questions than your doctor can handle, then the next step is a neurologist.

And then from that you have to remember that your neurologists are somewhat like family doctors, in that they treat such a wide range of conditions, that it?s hard for them to be a specialist in just headache or migraine. So there are a lot of very fine headache and migraine specialists available as well.

Hill:
Something to keep in mind. Also, uh, one of the folks that we work with here, one of our executive producers said, he really feels like he grew out of migraines. Is it possible to outgrow them?

Robert:
It is. And we see that usually more with men than women. But we can also cycle through them in life. So hopefully he?s right?

Hill:
[Laughs]

Robert:
?and he has outgrown them and they won?t just come back in a few years.

Hill:
All right, Steve. Keep your fingers crossed. Teri Robert. Some great information tonight. And, hopefully, uh, we?ve helped a few people as well. Good to have you with us. Thanks.

Robert:
Thanks, Erica.

_________________
As broadcast on CNN Headline News Prime News Tonight on March 31, 2006.

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