Migraine – more than just a headache

Elvis Presley, Stephen King, Serena Williams, and Princess Margaret are just some of the famous people who have suffered from migraines.

Migraines are headaches that typicallyimages-14 last from 4-72 hours and you may experience nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light or sound.

There are more than three million migraine sufferers in Australia, meaning that more people suffer from migraine in Australia than diabetes, asthma, or coronary heart disease. It is thought that more women suffer migraine than men due to hormonal factors. Onset of migraine is from childhood onwards but most commonly in the 20s and 30s.

Symptoms of migraine

A migraine headache has different symptoms from other types of headache. Migraine symptoms can include:

  • headache: one sided, throbbing moderate to severe
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to sound
  • affected vision, such as an aura (bright zigzag lines, flashing lights)
  • difficulty in concentrating, confusion, co-ordination
  • stiffness of the neck and shoulders
  • sensitivity to smell and touch
  • numbness of the face or extremities

What causes migraine?

Susceptibility to migraine is normally inherited.  Certain parts of the brain employing monoamines, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, appear to be in a hypersensitive state, reacting promptly and excessively to stimuli such as emotion, bombardment with sensory impulses, or any sudden change in the internal or external environment.  If the brainstem systems controlling the cerebral cortex become active, the brain starts to shut down, a process starting at the back of the brain in the visual cortex and working slowly forward.  The pain nucleus of the trigeminal nerve becomes spontaneously active; pain is felt in the head or upper neck and blood flow in the face and scalp increases reflexly.  Noradrenaline is released from the adrenal gland and causes the platelets to release serotonin.

Want more information about the pathophysiology of migraines? Click here..

Triggers for migraine

No one really knows what causes migraine, however attacks are almost certainly triggered by a combination of factors, such as:

  • diet –images-16 cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red wine)
  • sleep – too little or too much
  • menstrual cycle
  • physiochemical – excessive heat, light, noise or certain chemicals
  • emotional causes – stress, excitement or fatigue
  • relaxation (weekend migraines) – often triggered by a period of stress and overwork followed by relaxation.


Nearly all people who suffer from migraines report a reduction in social activities and work capacity.

Treatment of migraine

images-15There is no cure for migraine and prevention is difficult, but treatments can help reduce the number of attacks. Migraines vary greatly from person to person and so does the treatment. If you feel you suffer from migraines it is important to consult your health care professional to discuss treatment options.

The four treatment options available to migraine sufferers include:

  • prevention – avoiding trigger factors – this can be difficult, if not impossible since migraines are often triggered by a combination of factors
  • pain-relieving medication and medication to alter pressure on blood vessels
  • preventative treatment medication
  • non-medication therapies – including acupuncture, biofeedback, goggles, hypnotherapy, exclusion diets, relaxation, yoga, meditation, herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Information Sources:

Diabetes Basics

Diabetes is the name given to a group of conditions where there is too much glucose, or sugar, in the blood. This glucose comes from the carbohydrates we eat and includes starchy foods (eg breads, cereals, potato, pasta, rice), fruit and certain dairy products. Blood glucose levels are regulated within the body by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the body’s cells where it can be used by the body for energy. Diabetes develops when the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t working properly.



Information Sources:,

The Five Daily Habits of Successful People

Time Management

time-430625__180A great skill to have is knowing what is absolutely urgent and what can wait until tomorrow. This one takes time to figure out as well as a fair amount of discipline, but just remember that not every email needs to be answered the day it is received.

TIP: Write a to­-do list with a time budget next to each.

Once the assigned amount of time is up, move on to the next thing. This ensures small tasks don’t blow out and take half a day.

Minimise Distractions

macbook-606763__180A huge part of making time productive is minimising distractions. Again, this is easier said than done. Keep your phone at a physical distance, stay out of the kitchen to avoid boredom eating and have a clear working space.

The worst thing about being in front of a computer for hours each day means it’s incredibly easy to get distracted by an infinite number of blogs, cat videos and social media sites.

Tip: Turn Wi­Fi off when possible, turn off email notifications and block distracting sites.

Follow A Routine

Whether it’s waking up at the same time every day, hitting the gym early or catching up on business news and current affairs, it’s important to create positive habits to reduce stress and start the day well. Successful people don’t sleep until 2pm on the weekends, or roll out of bed five minutes before a meeting either.

break-18987__180Tip: It’s all about being prepared, relaxed and productive.

They say it takes about three weeks to form a new habit, so start today and you’ll be seeing the benefits in no time at all.

Set Goals

It’s easy to avoid doing things or to get stuck in a rut when there’s no end in sight. From daily to­-do lists to broader long­-term goals, make sure you know where you’re headed.

They could be financial, career ­related, personal or business ­related.

how to set goals (3)

Work Life Balance

Being successful requires hard work, determination and plenty of resilience. But you also need a strong support network and life outside of work. Barack Obama ensures he gets home to eat dinner with his family each night. If he can do it, so can you.

brothers-457237__180It could be spending more time with family and friends, learning a new skill, playing sport, or ensuring you have enough time for a hobby or holiday; the most important thing is that work isn’t the only thing you do.

Tip: Make it a rule to take time out, turn work emails off at home and prioritise what’s really important.

Source: Kochies business builders

What is a ‘stitch”?

Dr Darren Morton, a senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Science at Avondale College of Higher Education in NSW, went on to do his PhD on stitches. These are his findings:

A fraction too much friction

running-573762_640The membrane lining the abdominal cavity is known as the peritoneum. It is a double-layered membrane, with the outer layer lying tight against the front abdominal wall and folding around under the diaphragm, the dome-shaped sheet of muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. The inner layer of the membrane wraps around the contours of the abdominal organs. Between the two layers is a small amount of fluid, which helps reduce friction when your organs shift as your body moves.

Morton’s theory is that this protective system sometimes goes wrong, and there is friction between the layers, resulting in irritation and the pain we call a stitch. The lining under the diaphragm is attached to the phrenic nerve, which refers pain to the shoulder tip region, which may explain why some people get shoulder tip pain with a stitch.

The link with sugary drinks

drink-19202__180The irritation can be triggered by pressure from the inside when organs, such as your stomach, are very full and swollen.

But it can also happen when the amount of fluid in the space between the two layers drops. One thing we know can cause this is drinking concentrated fluids such as sugary drinks.

“What we know is that things like really sugary drinks draw fluid out of that space and are very provocative of stitches,” Morton says.

In experiments where people are given such drinks, like fruit juice or soft drink, and then asked to exercise “everyone sort of keels over left, right and centre with a stitch”, he explains.

Sports drinks, which are around 6 per cent sugar (compared to around 11 per cent for fruit juice), don’t have this effect. In fact, they are no worse than water at bringing on a stitch.

Sugary drinks have a “double whammy” effect – reducing the rate at which the stomach empties its contents into the intestines, which may lead to bloating and further friction through direct pressure.

While high fat foods also slow the emptying of the stomach, and hence help to bring on stitches, they’re less frequently eaten before exercise than high sugar food and drinks.

Tips to avoid a stitch

So what are Morton’s top tips to reduce the odds of a stitch next time you get active?

There’s most evidence for these three:

  • Make sure you’re well hydrated by drinking lots of water in the 12 hours before you exercise. In the two hours immediately before, drink only small amounts so you stay hydrated, but your stomach’s not bloated (and therefore less likely to press on the lining of your abdominal cavity).
  • Don’t eat large volumes of food for at least two hours before exercise (perhaps even three to four hours before if you’re especially prone to stitches).
  • Avoid very sugary drinks, such as fruit juice or soft drinks, before or during your exercise. Sugary foods like lollies may also be a problem.

There’s less evidence for these, but they’re still worth a try:

  • Get fitter: Some evidence suggests the fitter you are, the less frequently you get stitches. Exactly why isn’t understood. But plenty of very fit athletes are still plagued by them.
  • Strengthen your core: Strong trunk muscles, especially the deeper abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominus, may help ward stitches off, probably by offering more support to abdominal organs. Pilates and exercises using a stability ball may help.
  • Improve your posture: “We haven’t yet done intervention studies to see if changing people’s posture makes a difference but we have anecdotal reports of people who’ve done that and it’s been helpful.” A physiotherapist may be able to help.

If you do get a stitch, you might find the following techniques can bring relief:

  • deep breathing
  • pushing or stretching the affected area
  • bending over forward.

In lab experiments, stitches generally disappeared 45 seconds to two minutes after stopping activity. Some people can still feel sore a couple of days later though.

source: ABC health and wellbeing

8 Facts about coconut oil

1. Healthy Fat Coconut oil contains a “healthy” form saturated fat. Our body metabolises these fats in the liver, immediately coverting this into energy rather than it being stored as fat.

2. Lower Diabetes Risk Researchers discovered coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

3. Restore Digestive Balance Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti microbial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion.

4. Boosts Immune System Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats which contain anti fungal, antibacterial, antiviral prosperities to boost the immune system.

5. Boosts Metabolism  Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less. A speedy metabolism helps boost the body’s immune system and keep weight off.

6. Slows Fine Lines Coconut keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.

7. Cooks in High Temperatures Because coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid, it gives it a higher smoking temperature, unlike olive oil which will oxidise at high temperatures, creating free radicals.

8. Stops Sugar Cravings Because good quality fat is more satiating than carbs, if you cut down on sugar and replace with coconut oil you will feel less ‘ravenous’. Most of us do not realise but constant hunger is a major clue that your body is not being fed correctly.  With the proper amounts of fats and protein, you can fuel your energy reserves properly, and come off the sugar roller coaster that many of us are on.

Source: Body&Soul - Michele Chevalley Hedge

Is Food Affecting Our Mental Health?

We live hectic and busy lifestyles, trying to  juggle our work life balance leaves little time to think about what is fuelling our daily activities.

Some recent studies are exploring the connection between what we eat and how we feel.

#1: Eating junk food

Junk food, which basically encompasses anything high in sugar, salt and fat, already has a considerable list of associated health concerns.

A new study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal stated that consumers of fast food, contrasted with those who eat little or none, are an astounding 51% more likely to develop depression.


What Can I Do if Someone Has Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction a person can have and can be life threatening. It can be caused by medication, food, bites/stings and less commonly exercise. The Most common triggers are:

  • Medication
    • Over the counter medication e.g. aspirin
    • Prescription medication
    • Herbal medicine
  • Venom from insect bites & stings
    • Bees
    • Wasps
    • Ants
  • Food –  Some common Food Allergens are:
    • Peanuts & tree nuts
    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Wheat
    • Soy
    • Sesame
    • Fish & crustaceans e.g. prawns

Even a minuscule amount of food can cause a severe anaphylaxis reaction in susceptible individuals.