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Migraines Create Financial Headaches

Outpatient Visits, Pharmacy Costs, Used Sick Time Lead to Higher Health Costs

Switch to Preventive Drugs, Calmer Lifestyle

Michael Wasserman, MD, a pediatrician with the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, agreed to comment on Stang's findings. He says it's true: Migraines are becoming increasingly recognized in young and adolescent children. For families, it can be a real hardship.

"If medication cost is an issue, consider switching to generic drugs for migraine prevention," Wasserman tells WebMD. "If migraines are frequent -- more than one or two a week -- it might be worth taking something daily for prevention. You can use older generic medications for that. They could in the long run be cheaper."

Also, look at making lifestyle changes:

  • Stay away from foods with caffeine -- such as chocolate and soft drinks.
  • Get plenty of physical activity to relieve stress. Also, exercise helps establish "a good life rhythm" -- an easier-to-live-with balance of work and play, says Wasserman.
  • Don't do athletics at night. "I see kids who have practice at 6, 7, 8 o'clock at night," he says. "That's too late. They will be too stimulated when it's time for bed."
  • Get adequate sleep. Children need 10 to 12 hours. Adults need at least eight hours. "Sleep allows your body to recover from the events of the day," he says. "Children and adults both chronically don't get enough sleep."
  • Try to diminish the stressors. Cut down on electronic media -- TV, videos, CDs, DVDs, and computers. "It helps slow life down," says Wasserman. So many visual images and sounds clutter our lives, our brains, and add extra stress -- whether we realize it or not, he explains.

Life is stressful enough, for both children and adults. Making it a priority to create a balanced, healthy, peaceful lifestyle could help offset the need for migraine medications.

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