Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Migraine anyone?

Terri Reed here and I'm a migraine sufferer. I wish there were a twelve step program for headaches but the closest thing I can find is the team of doctors whose offices I've visited over the past four years since my very first migraine struck. Neurologist, physical therapist, Spinal Pain management doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, MD, Dentist, ENT, Endocrinologist. Oh yeah, and some meds.
Its all so very trying and yet day and after day I seek help. I shouldn't have to suffer, not with the advances in medicine and technology. We're getting closer. Now I only have the real barn burners once a week, sometimes the stretch will be every other week. The mild, dull headaches are more consistent but I've had days without pain!, something I wasn't sure would happen. I'm learning to manage my care better, meaning--I'm more aware of what triggers my pain. Overhead lights, especially fluorescent light-- major trigger. Neck flexing--trigger. Fatigue--major trigger. Clenching my jaw-trigger. Stress-trigger(I hold my tension in my neck and shoulders which then makes my whole upper body spasm). Computer work--trigger( which is a really bad thing for a writer!) But I'm learning that if I write with a cervical collar, ice pack, bite guard, no overhead light, just natural light from the window in my office, drink lots of water, take my vitamins (deficient in D and B2) and take breaks for a little exercise, I can do what needs to be done. Which is a good thing since I have books to write!

Do you suffer migraines? What are you doing to keep going?

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Alison Stone said...

Oh, I share your pain but I am so fortunate that my migraines only strike once every few months. (They used to hit once a month but with the addition of each child, they lessened. I have 4 kids. So I stopped when I was ahead of the game!) Lights are a big deal, too. I've actually held up my hand to shield my eyes from flickering lights. I think people think I'm crazy. But they'd do it too if they thought it could cause a migraine. The worst are when I'm all set to have a nice day and *bam* a migraine aura hits out of nowhere. My stomach flips just thinking about it.

Kelli A. said...

I started having migraines that would last for about 3 days every month and my GYN suggested I was entering pre-menopause and it was a symptom of that. I also take extra Vitamin D for a deficiency and B12, along with thyroid meds. My GYN told me that taking calcium supplements or consuming more calcium-rich items may also help (along with the extra water, etc. that you mentioned). Hope you get through them and can be pain-free long term. Mine have improved a lot - new glasses with the progressives has also helped, I think. Migraines are debilitating!

Anonymous said...

I was a migraine sufferer for decades - here's some good news, at some point while you're aging, they just stop. I have no explanation for it. If I call it the grace of God - I can't help but wonder why He didn't answer my pleas and begging sooner. But I've met several of us 'older' women that have gone through this miraculous advantage of getting older. So, survive your youth, then you can really start living. I found that putting my feet in hot water, especially with ice packs on my head and neck helped. Washing dishes helped too - your hands are in hot water. Anything that draws the blood from your head - (sex helps too if you can manage it). You're in my prayers. Demorol was one of my 'saviors' - but that knocks you out, not helpful when you've got work to do. Maxalt was my second greatest drug aid. God bless you as you write and may be miraculously deliver you from the headaches! In Jesus' mighty Name!

Terri Reed said...

Alison, I shield my eyes too. If you're crazy then so am I. LOL. My headaches started long after I had kids.

Terri Reed said...

Kelli, it could be in part menopause issue. I'm at that age. I know I need more calcium. I don' t drink milk unless it's in a latte. I have some Carmel flavored calcium chews. I'll start taking them more regularly. Thank you for the suggestion. I tried progressives. They made me nauseous. I wear bifocals.

Terri Reed said...

Helen, good suggestions. I'll try heat on my feet.

Ladies, Thank you for your prayers.

Terri Reed said...

Maryrose, reading can certainly take me out of myself too.
Thank you for stopping by

Valri said...

Terri, I certainly share your pain! I've had migraines for 21 years. I've been to so many specialists over that time, it's not funny...tried every medical test and so many meds. I'm in that small percentile now that has "no known cause"...lucky me! Right now I take Treximet and that dulls the pain enough to survive but that's about it! Good luck! I need a dark room with soft noises but I do enjoy reading IF I can see - sometimes I'm just too blind!

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,

My mom, me, and both of my daughters have been migraine sufferers. My mom and I don't get them anymore, but my daughters do occasionally. What we've found always works for us is the instant our vision starts to get funny (for us, it's always big blind spots) we take bone meal (chewable tablets) and feverfew (herb in capsule form). That has stopped the headache every time. But it has to be done right away; once the pain starts you're sunk.

Carol Post

Stephanie Newton said...

I started getting migraines after my daughter was born. They've gotten progressively worse as I've aged and I've been the gamut as far as meds and doctors go, too.

Lights are killer. My son plays sports and I wear a hat and sunglasses even at night because otherwise I end up losing a whole day to a migraine after a game.

Heat on the feet and ice on the head really do help. It sounds crazy, but it works. I take a calcium/magnesium supplement, too. If you want more info about the meds that I take, email me and we can chat.

Migraines are so tough to deal with, especially with work and family obligations.

Terri Reed said...

Valri, So sorry to hear how debilitating your migraines are. I was taking Midrin(which was supposed to be an occasional-when the headache strikes thing but I was getting migraines dail so I was taking the drug daily until the doc figured that out. I had to stop taking that and now take a muscle relaxant and creams. Tried a few other things but they just made me have other syptoms that I wouldn't tolerate. I'll be praying for you.

Terri Reed said...

Carol, I've heard of feverfew. I'll check into it. Thank you for the tip. Hope your daughters' headaches cease soon!

Terri Reed said...

Stephanie, we'll have to talk. Its amazing how many writers(and anyone who works extensively with computers) have migraines. Computers have added so much to the human race both good and bad.

April Belanger said...

I have had migraines for over 10 years. My sister also has them but our ideas of what to do about them differs. She takes whatever medications the Doctor prescribes and hopes for the best. I, on the other hand, would rather find out what it is that is making my body unhappy.

My mother originally helped me by noticing that my migraines started after I ate dairy products. I found my triggers and did okay for a while. Then about 2 years ago, I had a migraine start in February and had it every day until May. My Neurologist tried me on several meds and none worked for me. So, I went to a chiropractor. She is AMAZING! She had me do a food diary and we determined that all of my triggers had changed. Now, I admit I am a hard case in many ways, but now I have maybe 1 migraine a month as long as I avoid a list of foods.

I would rather avoid the things my body hates rather than take medications that cause side effects.

Good luck!