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Ocular Migraine - Secret Coping Strategies

Updated on March 10, 2012

Triggers/Cures Video

Migraine symptoms, triggers and treatment

Symptoms

Migraine can present itself in a number of ways. Some people suffer with a migraine aura, this occurs when the blood vessels in the brain contract and cause strange symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be visual such as a temporary loss of vision in one eye often accompanied by a blind spot with bright wavy or zig zag lines, these bright moving lines will start small and get bigger and bigger until they are filling all of the vision , once they have got as large as they are going to get the begin to recede and eventually you will be able to see again. This stage can be accompanied by other aura symptoms which can include a numbness and tingling feeling on one side of the body , most commonly effecting the fingers toes nose and mouth. You can also experience a loss of ability to talk properly , you may try and speak but you words won't come out as you wanted them to , they will be jumbled. Very occasionally someone will lose all control of one side of their body during a migraine and find it is temporarily paralysed.

Migraine Triggers

I have been suffering from migraine since I first hit puberty and I remember the first attack as if it were yesterday because it scared the living hell out of me. I am now in my forties and I have really only in the last couple of years felt I have identified all of my triggers so it's not an easy thing to do, however you must try.

Now the doctors always give you the main triggers from their text books, cheese, chocolate and red wine ( none of which are triggers for me by the way ) but they don't live with migraine and I genuinely think unless you have experienced how it feels you can't really fully know the sensitivity of the condition.

Ok, so some of my triggers are:

  • Heat - if it gets too hot I am in for a migraine, but also if I am in a room where the temperature is comfortable and I suddenly feel hot for no good reason then I know I am about to have a migraine.
  • Bright sun shine - certain lights really bother me , not the strobe lights as we have come to expect from what those doctors again say , but sunlight that makes me squint, often times I have been a passenger in a car or on a bus and I knew I was becoming uncomfortable from the dazzling light of the sun and I would get a migraine.
  • Not eating properly - If I skip meals this is likely to trigger a migraine. What I mean by meals is a proper healthy meal, when I am feeling lazy or working I tend to graze, I will drag packets of crisps and chocolate bars and cans of pop back to the computer with me and eat them while I am working . This will cause a migraine.
  • Oversleeping- I don't sleep fantastically anyway due to an unrelated condition but if I am so tired that i decide one morning after being up for an hour or two to go and get some rest I may as well just write myself out for the rest of the day/evening because that nap will bring on a migraine.
  • Snow and Storms - I could predict the weather by my migraines I swear I could. I know the day before when we are going to have snow because I will be struck down with bad migraine , the same applies to storms, I believe this is something to do with pressure changes in the air.
  • Hormone changes - The week before I am due my period, without fail.
  • Strong smells - nail varnish I cannot tollerate, paint and glue are other common triggers for me

Ok so these are my triggers , I wonder if you share any of them? I would be interested to hear your own so do leave a comment if you have time with regards to this.

Migraine Cures

OK now for my cures/prevention strategies, some of these might help you, again I would love to hear other peoples remedies.

My migraines always start with the aura and for the most part it's visual for me. I loathe this part the most it makes me feel sick to the stomach. I don't get sick with my migraines anymore but I used to as a child. So let me tell you what I do to manage my migraine in steps.

  1. Take Pills - The second I know I definitely have a migraine I get my meds inside me, its really important if you are going to take medication to do it as early on in the migraine as you can. This is because during a migraine you body shuts down, your gut stops working , this is why often in the very early stages of migraine you will often get sick,or need to use the toilet urgently. So I take my meds, I have found the best meds for me are an anti sickness pills along with a codeine based pain killer. You will know what works best for you so I am not going to go into that. There are a lot of preventatives on the market and I was reading that there is a new migraine treatment being researched at the moment that sounds exciting, read more about that in the website I have linked to on this page.
  2. Drink 2 glasses of water - One of the possible reasons you get migraine is because your body is dehydrated, drink two glasses of cold water along with your medication.
  3. Get Air - I go and stand at my back door and get some cold air as I am drinking my water. I understand this might not be possible if you are in a bus/in class/at work but where possible do it , cool yourself down and take some deep breaths.
  4. Square breathing - use this method to calm yourself down , if you panic which many of us do when we are having a migraine you will prolong the migraine. Breathe in for the count of four and out for the count of four slowly and keep repeating this , it will calm you down , loser your blood pressure and will also help to get oxygen to your brain, oxygen is in short supply in your brain when you are having a migraine so this will really help.
  5. Microwaveable heat pad - Take one and rest it on the back of your head/neck it will comfort and help with the pain.
  6. Ice cold water - If your have one of the horrifically painful thunderclap type headaches after your aura you need to get to your shower, if you don't have a shower find a large jug and lean over the bath and pour cold water straight from the tap.shower over your head, keep doing this until some pain is relieved, when you are feeling a little better wet a towel with the cold water and wrap that around your wet hair and keep it there. This works brilliantly.
  7. Distraction - try and focus on something other than the migraine , try and talk to your friends/partner, if you find it possible go on the internet or watch something on TV ( of course this is after the aura has gone. I am not one for believing that a darkened room is a cure all for migraine, unless you have exceptional photophobia then a believe distraction is a better method
  8. Massage - Get someone to rub your skull and the back of your neck for you, if you don't have anyone to help then do it yourself, this will be massaging the blood vessels below the surface and thus aiding blood flow and encouraging them to begin to work correctly

And there we have it symptoms, triggers and remedies. Remember we are all individual and what effects one person may not bother another. It is also important to remember that is you suffer from migraine with aura you are more at risk of having a stroke so cut out smoking and other stroke triggers to give yourself the best chance of avoiding this happening. It has been said that doctors believe there is likely to be a small percentage of migraine sufferers who have had a 'silent stroke' without even knowing about it. If you migraine changes in the way it presents itself get yourself to a doctor as soon as possible.


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    • ABWright profile image

      ABWright 4 years ago

      TrahnTheMan,

      I hope your attacks have become less frequent. Be very mindful of the aura migraine combined with the "shocking one-sided headache". This is exactly what I experienced just hours before a hemmhorhagic stroke at 38. Do not settle for doctors telling you this is "normal" for migraine sufferers. The consequences can be very serious.

    • profile image

      Revitalise 5 years ago

      Hi Xonica, just read your article. I have suffered from migraine since the age of 10, now I am 42, and the migraine changed to chronic daily headaches. I take a wide range of medicines to manage my daily life. Yes I can predict snow, thunder and also humid weather really affects me. I have found sumatriptan to be the most helpful med. Taking good supplements is also very helpful, as it pushes my attacks to much later into the evening. Good luck.

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 5 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      THANK YOU for writing this Xonica. I am a 40 year old male and have only first started having migraines in the last few years, and even then they were very rare, maybe one a year. IN the last 6 months they have increased in regularity and intensity to the point that i would now call myself a migraine sufferer. Your opening description of the aura with visual impairment is exactly what I experience, followed by a shocking, one-sided headache. Your article has inspired me to get serious about understanding migraine better and proactively managing it. THANK YOU. Needless to say, voted up!