I’ve suffered from migraines on and off for years.
When I say ‘migraine’, I mean the lose-vision squirgly aura light-and-noise-sensitive throw-up in pain for hours and then feel hungover for a couple of days afterwards, kind of migraine. Apparently it’s the ‘classic’ migraine. Most people don’t get all those symptoms, they ‘just’ get a thundering headache.
I first got them when I was about 12, puberty. Hormone disturbances are a trigger for some people, and apparently for me. The migraines faded after a few months.
I got them again when I migrated to Australia and got married. Again it could have been hormone disturbances as I went on the pill and tried a few different ones. And again, the migraines faded after a few months but I then suffered from tension headaches for a few years.
When I was 26 my eldest brother was killed in an oil rig disaster. I had a six week old baby at the time so yes, hormones were all over the place. Migraines for a few months.
All this time I managed them with the strongest painkillers I could find. When I was breastfeeding my doctor managed my medication closely because medications cross into the breastmilk. I used Mersyndol in small doses, which made us both sleep very well! The migraines faded away after a few months.
Some years later I had thyroid surgery and hit early menopause at age 32, and another bout of migraines. I was seeing a new GPO who put me into Imigraine, a nasal spray at $36 a pop. It only worked if I used it during the 20 -30 minutes of the ‘aura’ phase. “Honestly,” she said to me, “I find it’s just as effective to hit the migraine with Aspalgin (300mg aspirin combined with 8mg codein phosphate – I take three at a time) as soon as the vision thing starts; get quiet and dark and it short circuits the whole thing, you’ll be over it in a few hours.” She was right, and that’s how I managed that phase of life with migraine, and how I’ve managed it ever since. Oh, and acupuncture – it seemed to me to reduce all the menopause symptoms and keep the migraines in check.
When I notice the eye thing, the next thing that happens is a wave of terror, because I know that I’m in for! I tap for that, rub a couple of acupressure points and get home as fast as I can. I also carry Aspalgin in my bag with me and get some into me as fast as possible, with whatever food I can find, even a biscuit (to mitigate the effects of aspirin in the gut).
I have never been able to identify a food trigger though for many people are triggered by foods like chocolate, bacon, some wines, some cheeses, cigarette smoke, perfumes or stress. Triggers don’t cause a migraine every time, and avoiding triggers don’t always avoid migraines. So it’s tricky to identify.
My trigger seemed to be hormonal. The other cause of course could have been stress, and now I’m post-menopausal with fewer hormone fluctuations, stress does seem to be the trigger. Since my husband was killed in a traffic accident in January 2012, migraines have been a reality every few weeks. And Aspalgin x3 combined with a dark room and consciously relaxing helps.
But, I prefer to have a drug-free life. That’s probably why the Aspalgin works for fast for me, I don’t use any other drugs. In the past three weeks I’ve had three migraines. Even though the pain is reduced to just a few hours, the couple of days afterwards when I feel really seedy seem to me to be life-limiting. I’ve been having acupuncture and it has helped, but apparently I don’t have the classic migraine pathology. So I started to look at some other ways to manage the thing – it surprises me that I’ve never looked further.
Apparently a migraine is caused by a sudden dilating of the blood vessels in the brain. No particular reason has been found for it yet so there are no 100% effective drug treatments. I did find that some people have severely limited lives because of migraine; mine aren’t all that bad in comparison.
One thing I noticed is that my feet get really really cold while the migraine is on. And my reading explained why: all those blood vessels dilating cause the blood to rush to the head and the feet get really cold.
So one solution suggested is to warm the feet, and put a cold pack on the back of the neck. The foot warming will bring blood back to the feet and out of the head, the cold helps to ease the inflammation.
A couple of days ago I started with the eye thing. I am working at home so I quickly dropped some aspalgin in water and while it was dissolving I microwaved my wheat bag because yes, my feet were cold. Icy, actually. I decided to give myself ten minutes of foot warming before taking the drugs so I headed to bed with the wheat sack and my eye mask, and rubbing the usual acupressure point.
Ten minutes later it was gone!
I was gobsmacked! I still felt hungover, bleary and sluggish, but no vomiting. No pain. No pain.
I had a nap to sleep off the icks, then did a meditation to ease the current stress. Then still in bed, with my ipad, I went looking for more answers. Apparently supplements of Coenzyme Q10 have been found to help prevent migraine, as does supplementation with magnesium. I’m into prevention, life is too short for days out with migraine! So I picked up some CoQ10 and some magnesium yesterday and started them this morning. I’ll write again in a few weeks about how I’m going.
Meanwhile I’m going to make a couple more wheatsacks so I can have one for each foot, and a smaller one in the fridge for my neck and another for my eyes, in case I need them again.
Latest posts by Sandy (see all)
- In ten years…. - May 17, 2013
- Julianna Suranyi – Be Who You Are - May 16, 2013
- Michelle Marie McGrath – Self Love and Self Criticism… - May 14, 2013
- Are You Thirsting for a Man’s Approval of Your Body? - May 11, 2013