Booster Shots

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D.M.G.Y.H.? (or, Do Mnemonics Give You Headaches?)

May 29, 2008 |  6:55 am

Migraine They do me. Maybe it's the memory of an unsuccessful U.K. 1970s road safety campaign that used the word "SPLINK." The I in SPLINK stood for "If traffic is coming..." The N was for "When there is no traffic near..." And the K? "Keep looking and listening for traffic." Kids, not surprisingly, did not pick it up very easily.

Hey, did I mention headaches? As it happens, the National Headache Foundation has just released its own mnemonic in honor of the 15th Annual National Headache Awareness Week, which kicks off June 1. Its aim is to hammer home coping tools --or, as the foundation puts it, to "get a Head S.T.A.R.T. on your headaches."  (Me, I'd sooner W.A.I.T. on my headaches.)

According to a release from the foundation, the S.T.A.R.T stands for:

Seek diagnosis — Obtaining the correct diagnosis for your headache is the first step toward effective treatment.
Triggers — Identify and track your triggers (e.g., foods, stress, hormonal and weather changes)         
by keeping a headache diary and share this information with your healthcare provider.
Advocate — Be an advocate. Be informed. Be a participant in your headache care.
Resources — Utilize the National Headache Foundation as a resource. Visit
for the latest information about headache causes and treatments, or call (888) NHF-5552.
Treatment — Successful treatment may include medications and lifestyle changes. Work with your healthcare provider to find the right plan for you.

It's not fabulous, but it's better than SPLINK -- and at least anyone trying to recall it won't risk getting flattened by a truck.

You can find more about the events planned for National Headache Awareness Week at the foundation's website.

--Rosie Mestel

Illustration: Stephen Sedam