HomeHealthy LifeHow Kristin Chenoweth Overcame Years of Chronic Migraine Headaches
How Kristin Chenoweth Overcame Years of Chronic Migraine Headaches
August 4, 2022
Kristin Chenoweth – who is perhaps best known for creating Glinda Evil and her recurring role as April Rhodes on Fox joy– is loved for her spunky spirit and high energy. But, says Chenoweth, she’s battled for decades with a health problem that was sometimes so debilitating it once threatened her career: severe migraines.
Chenoweth, 53, recently wrapped up filming Schmigadoon, an AppleTV+ parody of musicals from the 1940s and 1950s. And while she’s busier than ever, she tells The healthy @Reader’s Digest how her career was almost cut short by her first migraine at age 25 while performing in a sold-out show with the Virginia Orchestra. “By the break,” Chenoweth told us, “I was just crawling off the stage thinking I was going to give up.”
Luckily for legions of Broadway fans, Chenoweth somehow held out despite the intense pain … but it took her a while to find the courage to speak out about her battle with migraines. “I felt stigmatized and ashamed for so long,” she says.
Recently Chenoweth chatted with The healthy @Reader’s Digest about how she finally found a way to deal with it, along with her efforts to empower other people to find the best migraine treatment for them.
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In recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that 148 million people worldwide are living with chronic migraines — headaches that occur 15 or more days a month and last four or more hours. The WHO also ranks migraines in general among the 10 most disabling medical conditions in the world.
So what causes chronic migraines? According to Larry Charleston IV, MD, director of headache and facial pain at Michigan State University, chronic migraine is “a neurological disorder associated with symptoms (such as nausea or vomiting, headache, and sensitivity to light and sound, to name a few). couple) and can significantly interfere with patients’ daily activities.” Charleston also talks about what many migraine sufferers know all too well: that the condition can have a significant impact on daily activities, leading to missed days at work and being away from friends and family.
Chenoweth says she ticked every box, and then some. “I got kaleidoscope eyes and that brain freeze you get from eating ice cream — but it never went away — and nausea,” she says.
How did she finally get relief? Botox injections for migraines. A version of the same shots that often help smooth wrinkles are also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to help prevent chronic migraines.
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Of using Botox for migraines, Chenoweth says, “It works for me” — adding, “It’s not a cure, but I didn’t have to withdraw, and it has cut my chronic migraines in half.” She reports that every 12 weeks of treatments to maintain relief.
dr Charleston says other preventative treatments for chronic migraines include calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists.
“We’ve come a long way to better understand chronic migraines and the treatment options for this debilitating disease,” he says.
dr Charleston adds that there are now multiple FDA-approved acute treatment options as well; However, the goal of acute treatment is to stop the symptoms of a migraine attack once it begins. In contrast, preventive treatments like Botox for migraines work to stop headaches before You start.
Leading a healthy life and avoiding migraine triggers also helps her keep headaches at bay. “Of course, stress is a trigger, but stress comes in all ways,” says Chenoweth. “There’s bad stress and there’s great combat stress, like getting ready to go on stage.”
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Chenoweth revealed that she manages this “bad stress” through prayer and meditation. Likewise? “I don’t drink alcohol and eat a low-salt diet,” she says. Read here are 8 surprising foods that can trigger migraines
When things seem overwhelming, she tries to embrace the uplifting things in life. “I’ll go for a walk in Los Angeles, where I don’t have to wear a mask, and notice this cute snail or see a hummingbird,” she says. “Be in the moment and live your life.”
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Kristin Chenoweth, Actress and Singer Larry Charleston IV, MD, Director of Headache and Facial Pain at Michigan State University in East Lansing