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Migraine: A Journey to Rise Above 1 of 10

Updated on March 15, 2012
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Introduction to Migraines

I am diagnosed with chronic daily migraines. I have suffered symptoms most of my adult life, more than 20 years now. I am proactive with my personal health and well-being, including this journey – rising above migraines. I have lived through years when my migraine days severely outnumbered my good days by 10-to-1! As I write this, my migraine episodes have reduced to 1 day out of 10 or sometimes less!

I am not a medical practitioner, nor do I claim any expertise other than what I have researched and learned by experience. Professional medical information is abundant and easily accessible; however, my hope is that by sharing my perspective others may triumph as well. It is important to take a new look and create a new approach now and then when one suffers from a chronic disorder.

What is a migraine?

The simple answer is a headache. In reality, it is a intricate imbalance that begins in the brain; and the process of a migraine can cause a multitude of symptoms, only one of which is pain. Further, a migraine can also be defined as a headache that lasts 4-72 hours and/or by the frequency by which these episodes occur.

It is a medical disorder that has been noted throughout recorded history. Current statistics reflect that, 10 percent of the worldwide population is affected. This is staggering. The cause of this condition is unknown, but it can run in families. My son was diagnosed at the age of 5!

The Symptoms

My symptoms include Prodrome (the “aura” preceding the migraine); irritability; sensitivity to light, sound, and activity; fatigue; severe sleepiness; dizziness; visual disturbance (flashes of light); mental befuddlement; nausea, with occasional vomiting; Postdrome; and of course pain.

There are other symptoms such as intestinal issues, weakness, stiffness, and others that I have had at times, but been unable to directly correlate to migraines.

I have had a single migraines last for as little as half a day to as long as several weeks, including all or most of the symptoms; and, at times, only days between them.

Triggers

Over the years, I have been able to directly associate certain sets of conditions that will cause a migraine, or exacerbate one. My triggers are diet, disruption of sleep, high levels of stress, hormonal changes, and physical structural impediments; so basically most of the triggers posted in the literature. In later sections, I will go into specific detail.

Relief

I have tried nearly every method of treatment: medications, vitamins, herbs, physical therapies, counseling, acupuncture, meditation, and rigid dietary changes. Some of them have worked, some of them have not.

Before any treatment I had to visit several doctors, including a neurologist, and have medical tests prior to getting a final diagnosis. One thing I quickly learned to do when meeting with any doctor is to prepare a list of questions and keep a notepad with me in the appointment. This way I could maximize my time spent with them and be clear about following their instructions later.

No severe abnormalities were found in my tests, but I will discuss some additional diagnoses in later articles.

Another “before treatment” necessity was to gather data. This meant keeping logs. It was a grueling process. I had to track my sleep patterns, diet, and migraine symptoms. Regardless of the difficulty, this information was imperative for the doctors and to me. It’s one thing to feel poorly day after day. It’s entirely different to see what that looks like as a pattern, on paper, in a calendar. Realizing the severity of my disorder, prompted me to be more involved in my treatment.

In the next articles, I detail specific areas of work, discovery, and struggles as I continued this journey.


Thanks Dr. Piercy!

My neurologist gave me positive feedback on my articles. Her comments:

"it is so great that you were able to gain so much insight and experience...I think your story will be an inspiration for other patients in similar situations....Also, you should consider writing about Botox or Toxin injections for migraine treatment. This could be helpful and informative for other patients."


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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      interesting hub. I've never suffered from migraines but know several people who have. Thanks for sharing!