Monday, October 20, 2014
Saturday, September 18, 2010 pinkpatty, Community Member, asks

Q: How do you do the elimination diet for Chronic Daily Headache??

I get migraines and chronic daily headaches 24/7.  I am on topamax and effexor xr for the migraines and don't get them often.  I am trying to come up with something to help with the CDH (between 5 and 8) since I've had a headache for over 8 years now every day and it's getting harder to deal with.  We've tried everything.  I was thinking that one thing that the neurologists at Jefferson Headache don't do is look at Nutrition and was thinking maybe I should try an elimination diet.  Looking at the elimination diet at this site, I can't figure out how to do it for CDH since it would take a few months to know if it helps and it would cut out almost everthing you can eat.  I was going to do a gluten free diet but don't have signs of having celiac disease, though my Mom had it.  I could get the blood test to find out I would think but there are so many more things listed in the elimination diet like avocados, and other healthy foods I would think would be what you would eat to try to find out if grains are a problem.  I'm not sure how to do it.  Do you know what to do to try to help CDH?  I've gone to 4 different doctors, 3 Headache Specialists and still have gotten nowhere with my CDH, I'll try anything.  Mri, Mra, botox, nerve blocks, lumbar puncture, sleep study, chiropractic, 3 day out-patient IV infusions, tons of OTC meds, I don't respond to meds once I have a headache or migraine, the only thing I can take is a barbitol med to numb me to the pain.  Any ideas?  Thanks.

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Answers (3)
Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
9/21/10 11:23pm

Hi pinkpatty,


It sounds like you may have more than one type of Migraine and/or headache disorder but only your doctors can tell you that for sure, and it is possible for this to be the case.


I guess first would be are you having daily chronic "headaches" or Migraines? You say you "get Migraine and chronic daily headache 24/7." YUCKERS! There is a difference and it gets kind of confusing to separate the two. Chronic Daily Headache (CDH) is basically a headache - not Migraine -  that occurs more than 15 days a month. Continue reading CHronic Daily Headache The Basics for more information.  Do you take any other medications every day to help with pain? Any chance MOH (medication overuse headache) or rebound going on here?


How about a sleep study? Lots of time CDH suffers have sleep issues, so this is something you may want to talk to your doctor about. For more information on this, read  Transformed Migraine Related To Sleep Problems  and you may want to take a look at this Video Podcast: Migraines, Headaches, and Sleep.


I hope this helps, let me know, ok?


Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
9/21/10 11:30pm

DARN! I forgot to tell you about the elimination diet. Never fear -  here it is.


This is how you do an elimination diet (keeping a Migraine diary is a really good way to find out what food triggers you have):  you eliminate all the potential trigger foods from your diet, then add them back in one at a time, giving each food a week between adding the next one.  It's important to note that a Migraine can occur up to 48 hours after eating a trigger food. Take a look at Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods. And yes, it takes a while to figure this out, but look how long you have been in pain? There really is no quick and easy way to do an elimination diet if you are so inclined. Keeping an accurate Migraine diary is essential to identifying trigger foods and may be just as useful.

PinkPatty, Community Member
9/22/10 3:25pm

Hi Nancy,


Thank you for answering.  I've read all the information you mentioned, I've been reading on this site for quite a while now and have tried everything I can think of and everything anyone suggests.  I had a sleep study back when the Chronic Daily Headache started.  Yes, I do have 2 different things going on here.  My migraines which hit and leave are controlled by the Topamax pretty well so I am not as worried about them.


I was going to attempt going on an elimination diet or a Gluten free diet to see if it would help with my chronic daily headache.  My doctor considers them to be transformed migraines because I am always light sensitive and noise sensitive which are migraine  traits.  I do not take anything and have not taken anything for over 5 years that could be putting me into a medication over use category.  When this CDH began I was using ibuprofen often which may have caused it but when ibuprofen stopped working for the pain I stopped using it, the pain continued.  Tylenol never helped my headaches, aspirin sometimes but I've not taken either of them in years.  I now have a prescription for Butal-apap-caff which I am allowed to use 1 day a week because if I have to go somewhere and have a bad headache this is the only thing that will numb the pain a little.


No other triptan or med has helped at all.  I've tried many,many, many.


Do you or anyone else know if the elimination diet can be adapted for CDH which is there every day 24/7?  Would I just eliminate everything and see if eventually the CDH went away?  Then see about adding somethings back?  It would be really difficult to do, has anyone done this before for CDH which you have each and every day all day long??





Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
10/19/11 3:49pm

OMG! I am so sorry I never answered you! Have you seen our information on Chronic Daily Headache - The Basics? 


And basically you would follow the same elimination diet as stated for CDH. Do you drink coffee or tea or soda? In a small group of people as little as a half cup of caffeine a day for seven days can make us dependent on it. Caffeine is a drug we really never think about, especially for us CDH'ers...I've tapered off all caffeine. Still not sure of the results but it certainly doesn't cost/hurt anything to try it. 


Migraine as well try the elimination diet, right? Do you know where to find the info? If not, here it is: Managing Migraine Food Triggers.


Again, I am so sorry I didn't see this and reply back to you. I hope you are hanging in there.


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By pinkpatty, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/19/11, First Published: 09/18/10