The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Migraines Just Suck!

I have not been as diligent about posting lately because I have been having an increase in migraines these past two weeks and I can't figure out why.  The main thing that motivated me to start this quest for health is the fact that I have these terrible migraine headaches.  Those of you who have them know how all about the intense pain as well as the nausea and depression that accompany them.  Also, you know how frustrating it is when people who don't have migraines think you're just being lazy.  They have no idea!

I have woken up with a headache every day for almost two weeks now.  This is upsetting because I have been REALLY careful about what I've been eating.  Some days, I can still go to work and function with the pain (after taking Maxalt), but some days (like today) I just can't get out of bed.  The pain is what I call "active" pain.  If someone hits you in the head with a baseball bat once, the pain will throb for a while and will be kind of dull.  BUT - if someone hits  you over and over again with a baseball bat, you just cannot ignore it!  The pain renews itself.  This is what a migraine is like.   The worst part is that in addition to the pain, I always lie in agony and feel supremely guilty.  I think about all the things I should be doing and all the people I'm letting down.  It's hell.

I have been working with a Functional Medical Practitioner in order to stop them.  My goal is to figure out how to NEVER have a migraine again!  The diet and supplements she has put me on have helped me lose almost 30 pounds.  This is an awesome side-effect, but that's not why I'm doing this.  Here are some things I have tried.  Some of these have kind of worked (in that they reduced the frequency of the migraines), but some of them really have not.  If you are a migraine sufferer, some of these might work for you.

Remedies I have tried:
1.  Avoiding common migraine triggers - coffee, wine (esp red), avocados, tomatoes, vinegar, chocolate, bananas.  (This did reduce the frequency of my migraines.)
2.  Seeing a Chiropractor - they can help if the migraines are due to a structural problem.  If not, then they can't.
3.  Massage - didn't seem to do anything.
4.  Aroma Therapy - also didn't seem to do anything.
5.  Giving up wheat, dairy, and sugar - seemed to  help at first, but these past two weeks have been confusing.
6.  Putting my feet in hot water - an old wives' tale someone told me about.  Didn't seem to do anything.
7.  Medication from my neurologist - the first thing he prescribed made me really depressed.  Now, he prescribes Maxalt.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  Also, he says to take Advil as soon as I feel the pain start.  If you take it before the headache "grabs hold",  sometimes  you can prevent it.  (Sometimes.)
8.  Yoga and exercise - although is makes me feel better in general, it doesn't seem to affect the migraines.
9.  Hypnotherapy - it was worth a shot!
10.  Getting glasses - they say sometimes your eyes could be the problem.  (It wasn't with me.)
11.  Getting a special TMJ mouth splint that I wear at night - this helped reduce the frequency.  (I can tell a difference if I forget to wear it.)
12.  Ultrabath - this does seem to reduce the frequency and can ease symptoms sometimes.

As you can see, I have tried several things.  I'm not just sitting around being a victim here!
Here are some things I'm going to try this week:

1.  Acupuncture - a friend told me her mom is having some success with this for migraines.
2.  Get hormones tested - apparently, migraines can be hormonal.  Maybe mine are out of whack.
3.  See my Functional Medical Practitioner again.

If I figure out a cure, I will definitely let  you know.  I would love to hear from other migraine sufferers.  Are there any remedies, which you have tried, that work?


  1. Is your neurologist not that interested in trying different medications? Another friend has serious migraines as well and sugar triggers them so she cut that out but also has a neurologist who has been trying several different things to find something that just prevents it (not just treating it when it happens).

  2. My neurologist is willing to try different meds, but so far we have not found one that works all the time (and whose side affects I'm okay with). He doesn't seem to go for the preventative approach though. I forgot to say that I did cut out sugar, had sinus surgery, and tried taking Magnesium supplements to no avail. I'll keep trying!

  3. Well, GOOD LUCK. I cannot even imagine what it must be like. I'm a huge baby when I get a regular tension headache once in a blue moon.

  4. Physical therapy, with special emphasis on relaxing the neck muscles, helped me some. Not just twisting when they're tight or a headache is coming, but regularly doing these relaxing/warm-up exercises.

    Hormones? I'll be very interested in hearing about that. One of my doctors -who I left after this- pointed out that, at the time, the migraines were associated with my periods. Just that. Not, here's what you can take to help stop the pain or keep it from happening, but, "You have migraines because you've got a regular period."
    I had hormone testing done for the CFS, 20 years ago, and was told I was going into menopause. I think it was low LSH. Again, I was having almost-to-the-hour regular periods. It'd be interesting to find out if you have a similar hormone issue.

    I've had luck with Prodrin, prescribed by my family doctor. I was using pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) to control the inflammation, but had gotten into a drug-pain cycle.

    And, although I've given up most caffeine, including milk chocolate, I am enjoying the heck out of dark chocolate.

  5. Hmm....physical therapy. Hadn't thought of that. Thanks, Kayla.

    I'll keep you posted on the hormone levels. I did have a thyroid levels checked a few months ago and it turned out fine. (My Dr. said that there have so many new advancements in thyroid testing in the last year that people who think they have a thyroid problem should get it tested again even if it came up normal in the past.)

    I was also on pseudofed for a while and Allegra-D (which made me feel great for a while) but I also became concerned about addiction. (Plus, they started to not work after a while.)

    Mmmmm..... dark chocolate! I'm off it at the moment but you enjoy the heck out of it! :-)