Chronic Headache Sufferers Beware: The Easter Bunny is Coming!

April 3, 2012

What is a migraneur to do when even the cute little Easter Bunny becomes a migraine trigger?  For the approximately 28 million chronic headache sufferers in the United States, chocolate Easter eggs delivered by our special furry visitor may be followed by pills for migraine treatment… ironically looking like a miniature version of the bunny’s pretty nest in their hands.

The Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) recently reported that a chocolate-migraine connection might represent a small but significant percentage of migraine cases.

And don’t think you’re off the hook if you celebrate Passover instead…  we all know that members of the tribe are sneaking a little chocolate-covered matzoh and kosher-for-Passover brownies during the week.  Not to mention our meaningful dietary restrictions during the week of Passover and the month of Lent, combined with changing weather and holiday stress,  can additionally wreak havoc on our delicate systems.

Don’t worry–if you experience migraine attacks, you may still be able to look forward to enjoying the upcoming holiday weekend with your family and friends — and with a little preventative migraine treatment strategy.

Just print out this list of known chronic headache triggers, which can initiate a migraine attack, as a reminder:

  • Stress – work, personal, physical
  • Certain Medications – OTC pain medication overuse, blood vessel dilators
  • Hormonal Changes – estrogen fluctuations in women
  • Sensory Stimulation – bright sun, overbearing odors, loud noise
  • Certain Foods – caffeine overuse, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate

Is chocolate the cause of your migraines?

Avoiding the triggers that affect you is the best anticipatory migraine treatment.  It’s possible that chocolate isn’t your trigger, if you are prone to craving sweets prior to the onset of a migraine.  “Unless your attack starts almost immediately after you consume the chocolate, then more than likely it is not your trigger,” says Donna Ryan, Information Officer at MAI.  If in fact chocolate is the problem, organic and dark chocolate varieties may be a great option for a chronic headache sufferer.  Milk and additives in certain chocolates may be the actual trigger.

If you suffer from a chronic headache condition and suspect a chocolate connection, start a migraine diary, as part of a holistic migraine treatment plan, to identify your possible migraine triggers. Track foods that you eat, daily routines, weather and sleep habits.  After a couple of months you may be able to identify patterns.

With a little preventative planning, you will be ready for the Easter Bunny and his chocolate eggs when he comes for a visit to your home this holiday!

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