- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Migraines and How They Ruin My Life
Living in a Migraine
Notice I didn't say living with a migraine. That would imply that I have the migraines under control. No. They have me under control. I have more days with a migraine than I have days without a migraine. Then on the migraine free days, I almost always have a headache. Yes, there is a difference. A headache doesn't stop your daily life. When I have a migraine, I can do nothing but lie still in a quiet dark room. I am losing days out of my life here. I am sensitive to light, sound, smell when under the spell of a migraine. I do not want to be touched or even have anyone in the same room with me it hurts so bad. I have unbelievable nausea and often vomit from the migraine.
There are many triggers for migraines. It took me a long time keeping a migraine/headache diary to realize what my triggers were. Some of my migraines are caused by food additives. That means I can have no MSG, no artificial sweetners, no nitrates or nitrites and I cannot consume much salt at all. Those are just some of my triggers. The list is rather quite long of things I avoid so as not to be sick with a migraine, including most dairy products, yeast products or even chocolate. With all of these food triggers, eating out is nearly impossible. Smoke, extreme heat, extreme cold, rain, bright lights, flashing lights, strong perfume or cleaners, loud noises, too much exercise or lack of exercise are some of my other triggers of a migraine. Too much caffeine or not enough caffeine can also cause a horrific migraine. Exhaustion and stress are two of the major contributors. It's a fine, thin line that I try to balance so I can continue with my life and not watch it go by from my vantage point in the bed. Most times, I am not successful in finding that balance.
I have tried several remedies for relief. I have been on prescription medications to prevent migraines and prescription medications to treat migraines. I have been on blood pressure medications and antidepressants all in the search to cure my migraines. I've tried every over-the-counter migraine or headache solution there is. I have found that B vitamins offer some relief, especially B6 and B12. Drinking a bottle of Powerade with the B vitamins is helpful. Taking calcium and magnesium help some too. So does rotating the types of pain relievers I use. I may take Tylenol in the morning, ibuprofen in the afternoon and naproxen sodium in the evening. Or any combination thereof. If the nausea isn't too bad, orange juice helps because of it's potassium content.
Some of the migraines are hormonal. Around the time of my period, they get way more severe. Also, as I get older they get worse. Menopause starts early in my family and it's quite possible that I am in perimenopause which can start as early as 10 years before actually going through menopause. If that's the case, some of these migraines are definitely due to shifting hormone levels. The best remedy I have found is sleep. But too much sleep to make the migraine better and I'll have a rebound headache which then develops into a migraine. It's a viscious cycle. One that I wish I could get out of. What I hate the most about these migraines is the exhaustion that always follows. I am so drained that when I finally get over a migraine, I cannot function and participate in life to the level I want or need to.
Some of the worst migraines I have are migraines with aura. I see silver worms swimming across my field of vision or my eyesight goes blurry. I know when this happens, it's best to load up on B vitamins and head to bed or at least change my activity to something quiet because I'm in for a doozy of a migraine.
That's all for now. I have to go lie down. I feel a migraine coming on.