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Dr. Steinberg's Story


Dear Friends,

Hello and welcome to headache sufferers (and those who love them). I want to share with you my story. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Health Educator and Columbia University graduate school professor. I treat patients with anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship concerns and I also teach integrative headache prevention, and I love my work. However, there once was a time in my life when my future seemed very uncertain…

Throughout my childhood, I was troubled by facial and eye pain and visual disturbances. My parents (not doctors) took me to physicians of many different disciplines (including ophthalmologists, neurologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, ENTs, and allergists), and though each ruled out all sinister disease related to their fields, they never could explain what was causing my symptoms. Over and over I heard from the doctors “when you hear hoof beats, don’t think zebras,” as they tried to prevent me from worrying that I had some rare, very serious illness. However, since I had no diagnosis, I didn’t receive treatment (except for the pulling of four non-impacted wisdom teeth -- which didn't help one bit)…and my symptoms persisted.

To distract myself from my discomfort and worry, I studied endlessly. I was admitted to the Johns Hopkins University, one of the most challenging academic environments, where I studied biology and neuroscience. Almost as soon as I arrived, most likely in response to the stress of the tremendous workload, my facial and eye symptoms worsened and I experienced severe vertigo which lasted for months . Eventually I was seen by the world famous Johns Hopkins Hospital "dizzy group," a collection of physicians with different specialties that could be related to dizziness. One of these brilliant doctors concluded that migraine was responsible for ALL of my 20+ years of symptoms and that because the migraine mechanism was active in my brain stem, I felt dizzy. I learned that it had been so hard for physicians to diagnose my condition because I never had a textbook head "ache,” but rather a wide array of disturbing neurological symptoms. At last -- a diagnosis!

A Johns Hopkins
neurologist put me on prescription medication, and my symptoms dissipated sufficiently to allow me to succeed academically and graduate. I will forever be grateful for his expertise which helped me feel a lot better -- though not all better. Furthermore, the side-effects of the prescription medication became more than just a nuisance – it dried out my eyes (causing sharp pains and burning) and my mouth, caused tremors, leeched calcium from my bones causing me to have "osteopenia" (low bone density) which likely led to stress fractures in my feet, and they caused me to gain weight, lose hair and have nightmares. I later found out that the medicine caused devastating birth defects if taken during pregnancy, or while trying to become pregnant! I knew that there had to be a better, side-effect free way to prevent my headache condition…and I was determined to find it! So I did just that.

I spent the next 16 years scientifically experimenting with diet and lifestyle and its impact on headache and related neurological symptoms. I learned not only what NOT to eat to prevent headache but also what TO eat, and most importantly how to live and think to prevent headaches by elevating my Headache Threshold. I also learned how to quickly cleanse my body of accidentally ingested food triggers by nutritionally supporting my digestive organs. This painstaking work, plus my graduate training in Applied Psychology at NYU, Columbia University and the Albert Ellis Institute, and my travels to Thailand, China and beyond, where I mastered the arts of Biofeedback, Mindfulness Meditation, Aromatherapy, and other forms of Complementary Alternative Medicine Therapies (CAM), enabled me to design a unique, proprietary protocol called "The Headache Preventive Lifestyle." This is a program that reliably prevents the activation of the headache mechanism, and puts headache sufferers back in control of their lives.

I know how easy it is to inadvertently and continuously trigger and maintain a headache condition…but most importantly, I now know how EASY it is to prevent headache without the use of (potentially side-effect inducing) medication. Once I learned how to prevent my symptoms, I started really living for the first time.

I feel terribly sad when I hear about people who suffer with debilitating headaches. I founded The Center for Integrative Headache Prevention to give others all of the Behavioral Health tools to heal themselves so that they, too, may once again enjoy their lives. It is my great honor to be able to teach this program, a set of beautifully complementary methodologies and techniques -- to those who are suffering needlessly from this happiness-draining affliction. I look forward to helping you!

Sincerely yours,
Laurel Steinberg, Ph.D.
(a.k.a. "The Headache Preventionist")