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Acing Tennis Her

Migraine Champion Biggest Monica Off

Pain Seles the Talks Court about


ByDamaris Lasa
This March, thousands of tennis fans flooded Key Biscayne to watch the world's top-ranked tennis players go head-to-head at the NASDAQ-I00 fought it out. In what some might call a bit of irony, just a few miles down the Key, Monica Seles, one of the world's most accomplished women's tennis players, kicked off a battle of her own. I sat down with Monica at the Ritz Carlton to talk about her recent decision to go public with her struggle with migraines.
DEBILITATING As any adult within Monica PAIN an earshot of a TV set in 1993 would know,

fan stabbed Seles during the Hamburg Open in Germany. It's hard to mention her name without remembering the horrific attack. What the world did not know then was that the tennis star was facing another painful ordeal in private. Seles was having debilitating migraines. "1 suffered for several years with what I thought were just stress or tension headaches.There were times I had to miss practices -and of tournaments -because were unbearable," said Seles. The Yugoslavian-born athlete, known for her trendy outfits and heavy grunts during games, says the losses were far more than just professional. "It wasn't just tournaments and practices I missed. Many times I missed out on personal things too, like parties or special times with friends." The pain got so bad that Seles had to stay in a dark room for days at a time. The condition went untreated for nearly six years, a pattern doctors say even pullout of a couple the pain and sensitivity to sunlight

Open. Sports lovers packed the 14,OOO-seat

Tennis Center at Crandon Park as the biggest names in tennis

Seles is no stranger to pain. 1993 was the year a crazed

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"Too often people with migraines mistake their pain for stress headaches or sinus pressure," says Dr. jan Lewis Brandes from the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "Because migraine can present itself in various ways , receiving an accurate diagnosis from a health care professional and getting appropriate treatment is critical." An estimated 28 million Americans suffer from migraines. As with Seles, the condition can lead to missed days at work, lost time with family and friends, and disrupted daily routines. The
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disorder is characterized by symptoms, including moderate to severe headache pain, throbbing pain on one side of the head, head pain aggravated by routine activity, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Left untreated, migraines can last up to 72 hours. IN DENIAL

Doctors say as many as 14 million people who have migraines have never been diagnosed by a physician. According to Dr. Kenneth Shulman, senior regional medical scientist for GlaxoInc

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SmithKline, this is partly because some people get used to living








with the pain. "Many people do not seek treatment because they tell themselves they have 'normal' pain, but normal is no pain." Frustrated and misunderstood, many people just try to tough it out. In Monica's case, the people closest to her had no idea how much pain she was in. "There were people who couldn't understand how a headache could be so disabling and thought I just didn't want to play tennis that day," said Seles. That is why awareness is so important. TYPES OF MIGRAINES

people to live pain-free. Sometimes people have simply learned to live with a degree of pain and discomfort. 2. Do not overuseover-the-counter medications. By the time a patient comes into the office complaining of a headache, they have probably already tried every over-the-counter medication available. Overuse of these medicatiops can cause "rebound headaches," which will make the situation worse. Don't have them try over-the-counter graine therapy.
RETURN TO TENNIS play, the winner in the world of nine grand by age 17, says

medications again. Look into mi-

The exact causeof migraines is still unknown. Research points to changes in the brain and genetics. Studies show that women are more affected by migraines than men, and that 25 percent of women with migraines have four or more attacks a month. There are two major types of migraines: those with aura (visual distortions) and those without. Migraines without aura are more common, occurring in 80 percent to 85 percent of people with migraines. Several hours before the onset of the headache, one might experience vague symptoms, including anxiety, depression and fatigue. Seles has migraines without aura. The pain usually strikes the left side of her head and she can sense when the migraine is coming on. She can now take action before the headache takes over. ACING MIGRAINE PAIN

As for her return to tournament slam titles, who was ranked No.1

she still has big plans. She has her sights set on the French Open. She is waiting for a minor getting injury to heal and then she will be

back on the courts when a migraine room anymore,"

ready. "I don't have to stop my life

comes on, and I don't have to gb into a dark said Seles. "I have been given my quality of life

back, and I want to help others find the same relief." For moreiiformation aboutmigraines, onto log .

Armed with the knowledge she has gained, and the medication that has changed her life, Monica says she is now ready to face her toughest opponent head-on. Seles will be making appearances throughout the country in 2004 to share her personal story and to motivate others to "AceMigraine Pain.""I hope that by talking about my struggle with this condition, other people suffering from bad headaches will recognize their symptoms as part of a real medical condition and see a doctor to get the proper diagnosis and treatment." She urges anyone .who thinks they may be suffering from migraine headaches to log onto to take a headache quiz.
HOW Dr. help DOCTORS Shulman migraine CAN says there sufferers HELP are a few things get the help they all doctors need : other can do to

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of patients

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In the review of systems, make sure you ask questions about and pursue the issue. There is ample opportunity for

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