The book begins with "Headache and Migraine Disease Basics" and provides specific information about types of headaches, descriptions of symptoms and current treatments. Occasional case histories personalize the text and offer insight into the debilitating pain of headache and migraine sufferers. Covering a great deal of general information, the book necessarily touches only lightly on some issues, leaving it up to the reader to pursue individual clues for a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment. For the most part, this book addresses the types and treatments available to the patient. Although the author is not a physician, there is a thorough discussion of headache categories, symptoms, particularities and treatments, a guide through the confusing jargon and essential details for an accurate diagnosis. Part Two addresses the most important element of successful treatment: "Your Health Care Team and Treatment Regimen". The patient must chose the right doctor, ask the right questions and remain informed, proactive in his own treatment. When dealing with triggers and stress control, the author combines positive reinforcement and patient anecdotes, suggesting rigorous attention to diet and daily exercise, both critical for those seeking to alleviate constantly recurring headaches.
There is a comprehensive list of medications used for various types of headaches and a short discussion of Botox, which has proved to be quite effective for some patients, offering as much as three months of pain relief, an area to pursue with your doctor when personalizing your treatment. There is also a chapter on the triptans, specific medications (like Imitrex) that work to abort the migraine, "selective serotonin receptor agonists." A growing number of headache sufferers respond to these drugs, a light at the end of the tunnel for those who have been restricted to pain medications and the rebound headaches that occur from the use of such medications. Personally, I have had great success with triptans, allowing both physiological and psychological relief from the constant threat of headache pain. However, the use of triptans must be carefully monitored and may be mitigated by blood pressure.
"Emergency Care and Pain Management" speaks to the occasional need for an Emergency Room visit. There is a form (included) for your pain management physician to fill out, confirming the diagnosis, your regular treatment and suggested emergency room treatment. The form is helpful in avoiding the common suspicion of drug seeking behavior that is a common problem for ER staff. A glossary, frequently asked questions, recommended reading and various appendixes complete the volume. This book is helpful for the individual who needs basic information about treatment and diagnosis of chronic headaches. At the very least, the patient will be more knowledgeable and able to help the physician treat the problem as successfully as possible. Luan Gaines/ 2005.