▶️ Get holiday migraines? A couple tips from a cognitive neurology doctor

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Migraines can be a debilitating problem for millions of Americans, and the stress, sights and even smells of the holiday season can actually trigger serious episodes

Darienne Segura-Katz loves to host big family gatherings during the holidays. But last year, the wife and mom had to cancel because of her pain.

“I was supposed to do Thanksgiving. I couldn’t because I was in such a bad shape.”

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Like many women, she first experienced migraines in her 40s. Doctors also diagnosed her with a nerve condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Segura-Katz says, “Electric shocks through half of my face to the point that I could not do anything.”

Dr. Shae Datta is the Director of Cognitive Neurology at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island. She treats Segura-Katz snd says she sees more migraine patients this time of year.

“Because of the increased number of triggers we have in terms of food and stimuli and stress and travel is another big one.”

Even bright holiday lights and the strong smell of scented candles can trigger migraines, so Dr. Datta says prevention is key. Hydrate, especially when traveling. Try to sleep at least 7 hours a night, and moderate food and alcohol intake. Sulfates in wine are often a trigger.

Segura Katz modified her behavior to manage stress. She uses prescription medications and gets regular Botox injections. Dr. Datta says, “It basically stops the pain receptors from overfiring.”
She’s doing so much better this year and plans to host her family for both Christmas and Hanukkah.

She wants other people to know migraine are treatable and she’s putting herself first during the holidays to keep migraines at bay.

Doctors say people who have more than 15 headaches a month may be suffering from migraines and could benefit from treatment. And women are more likely than men to experience migraines.

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