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Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain Hardcover – August 19, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 665 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although headaches are natural, they are not necessary, argues David Buchholz, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In his Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Headaches, Buchholz counsels severe headache sufferers to avoid quick fix painkillers, which can cause rebound headaches. For a more holistic approach, minimize triggers like caffeine, perfumes, certain foods and stress and, for hardcore cases, use preventative medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and others. Buchholz also discusses common misdiagnoses of migraine symptoms and challenges the myth of tension and sinus headaches (these are usually migraines, he argues).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"If everyone read Dr. Buchholz's book, headache would diminish as a problem all over the world." -- Howard Kirshner, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

"This book is clearly written, insightful and filled with useful tips for all individuals with migraine. A must read!" -- Ronald J. Tusa, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Otolaryngology, Dizziness and Balance Center, Emory University

"This is a very useful book that provides a fresh and logical approach to the management of headaches." -- Roy A. Patchell, M.D., Chief of Neuro-Oncology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1st edition (August 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761127984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761127987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (665 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Sykes on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Add my name to the long list of reviewers for whom this book offered welcome relief. I have suffered migraines for over 50 years and am now virtually free [see note below]. The method was not easy. First, you have to stop taking all pain medications that cause rebound headaches. That includes just about everything that you would have ever found useful. Once free of those, you then start working on your personal dietary triggers. For me, it turned out to be a lot of stuff I love. Finally, you find a medicine that raises your headache threshold. For me, it was a moderate dose of nortripaline. The process took four months and included a lot of pain, particularly as I went thru headaches without pain relievers. But it was worth it.

Added July 6, 2004 -- Unfortunately, the relief offered by the book did not last long. Within six months of starting the program I had a major relapse with a migraine that gripped for more than two weeks and left me with tinnitus. I have followed the book's prescription to the letter, but to no avail.

Added October 22, 2004 -- Turns out I missed something. I discovered that a topical hair treatment I was using was a vasodialator and, hence, a headache inducer. I stopped using the product, and my headaches stopped the next day. I haven't had a problem since.

Added January 6, 2013 -- I get a lot of feedback on this review, so I thought I'd provide an update. I remain virtually migraine-free. I get modest seasonal transition headaches, but I haven't needed any migraine medicine for as long as I can remember. There are two thing I have to watch out for. First, I am overly fond of Diet Coke, and drinking too much leads to caffeine withdrawal headaches. I have to limit my intake.
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Format: Paperback
February 27, 2008: I'm still going strong after three and one-half years. I'm generally sticking with Dr. Buchholz's program and try to avoid caffeine, nitrates and other foods with multi-syllable preservatives. In addition, my wife and I try to eat organic foods whenever we can, and this seems to be extremely helpful in avoiding most of my known food triggers. Finally, I now drink a lot more water every day than I used to. When I get a migraine, I tend to get extremely dehydrated. I specifically drink Glaceau SmartWater when a headache comes on and when I'm recovering after a headache, and this seems to help by restoring electrolytes to my system.

By the way, keeping a migraine diary is critical. Every time I get a headache, my wife notes what I ate and drank within the past 12-24 hours, how much sleep I got (too much or too little), etc.

I'm still not cured completely, but my quality of life has dramatically improved over the past couple of years.

May 7, 2007: It's been over two and one-half years since I got with Dr. Buchholz's program, and I'm still relatively migraine free. Once again, I try to stay away from caffeine and any foods with nitrates/nitrites and other multi-syllable non-natural preservatives (e.g., MSG) that clearly can't be good for you. Also, I no longer use any big-pharma migraine meds. Bottom line: My migraines continue to be relatively infrequent and much more manageable.

August 1, 2006: I'm still with the program (i.e., no migraine meds and watching what I eat pretty carefully), and my migraine headaches continue to be under control. As of September 2006, I'll be coming up on the two year mark of following Dr. Buchholz's recommended protocols, and it's been worth it since I've gotten my life back.
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4 Comments 132 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I have suffered from migraines for longer than 20 years. Even though they run in my family, I am the only one who gets them with frequency and severity. I started with just an occasional one in my late teens to having 3 or 4 per WEEK as I approached forty.

Over the years I have been on just about every preventive (or even theorized preventive) migraine drug there was, from atenolol to zoloft. I also had taken the abortive drugs like cafergot and midrin. And NOTHING worked. In the 90s I had a standing prescription for 60 codeine pills per month and there were days that I had to take 5 or 6 of them, and the pain was just dulled, not removed. When triptans came out in the 90s I embraced them eagerly--here was something that took away the pain's source and didn't just numb it! But as happens more often than not, my body became somewhat tolerant of them and it took an ever-increasing dosage to provide relief.

I have been in emergency rooms more times than I can count. And most of the time, the personnel there treated me as if I were a drug addict looking for a fix! They'd usually send me away with a shot of Demerol--which only made me vomit and was just a drop in the bucket for curing the pain.

People had suggested to me before that I eliminate certain foods from my diet. My stock response was, "I sometimes get a headache when I drink tequila, but I also get them when I *don't* drink tequila, so I might as well drink tequila!" While browsing one day on Amazon after a particularly bad spate of headaches over Labor Day 2005, I found out about this book and after reading the rave reviews, decided I could try anything.

The tough part about the plan for me is the diet. No cheese, no caffeine, no fresh breads, no nuts, no sour cream & yogurt...
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