I have just had my third migraine in two weeks. They are debilitating, depressing, invasive and can destroy my day. It certainly did on Christmas Day, of all the times you do not want a migraine! It is a mystery because even these days its cause is not fully known or understood by the medical profession.
I clearly remember my first migraine, I was 9 and it was as though I had a vortex in my head. It was very frightening, fortunately my Mother, also a migraine sufferer, knew what to do. I don’t recall how many or how often I had them after that but I know I had some dreadful attacks in my early teens when I was at school.
They had become such a part of my life, I can’t recount when and where I suffered again in following years but there were many and frequent attacks. I do know I have memories of suffering a migraine after twice moving house and put the trigger down to relaxation after a stressful period – this is still my major trigger point. Exercise and missed meals are also triggers. I learned this to my detriment when I used to rush off at lunchtime to play squash. After several migraines on the trot I decided that perhaps a frenetic game of squash on an empty stomach was not a sensible idea. The problem is, as many migraine suffers will identify with, I became apprehensive about playing squash completely and gave it up, for fear of another attack.
When I was younger coping with two small children, they have struck while driving and I had to pull over until the aura had passed and then drive home fighting back the nausea. There is no respite from a migraine with children. I would just collapse once they were in bed. It is heriditary and as my mother suffered, so too do my daughters.
As I grew older I thought I was growing out of them with only the occasional migraine attack, although they still took me out of action for approximately 36 hours.
Once, in my 40’s, I lost the power of speech during an attack which was terrifying. I knew what I wanted to say but it came out garbled, as though I was having a stroke, a very scary thought. Recent research has shown that there is a greater chance of a migraine sufferer having a stroke, which doesn’t surprise me because it is all brain function related.
In the last couple of years they appear to be on the increase. Probably because there is more stress and worry in my life, so when I do relax, bang, another attack. I have given up coffee, which I used to love, but that is guaranteed to set one off. Red wine is something else I have stopped drinking – again a drink I used to enjoy. These are well known food triggers along with cheese, which fortunately I can still eat, although I should not eat because of cholesterol, but that is another matter.
WARNING! If you are a migraine sufferer you may not want to look at this picture. I made it using a photographic effect on Picnik and is pretty much a good example of what an aura can be like.
There are two types of migraine:
A Common migraine, with a throbbing one sided headache, nausea and/or vomiting and a sensitivity to light and noise; and
a Classical migraine, with all of the above plus visual disturbance, such as zig zag lines, blind spots and numbness/pins and needles in your arms or legs.
I suffer from the classical migraine. My warning signals used to be what I would call the ‘Alice in Wonderland effect’ with my arms no longer mine, almost as someone was standing behind me and waving theirs around in front of me. These days I get blind spots and visual disturbance followed within about 10 minutes with zig zig lines which last about 30 minutes. The banging headache follows after that for about 24 hours. There is never any knowing when or where they will hit. In hindsight I always think how I felt full of energy when I woke up that morning, but at the time it doesn’t register as a pre-emptive signal of what is to come. I do know that if I am suffering from a cluster I am on edge worrying when the next will be.
I have had most types of prescriptive medicines over the years, the latest was Sumatriptan which makes my whole body feel fuzzy and is almost as debilitating as the migraine itself. Early last year I was prescribed Pitzofen (a serotonin inhibitor). The problem with this one is that it causes drowsiness and I have great difficulty in waking up in the morning, so I stopped taking it. I have now downloaded a diary from the Migraine Trust website which might help but I know after 50 years of suffering that they don’t always follow a pattern. I suspect the key is to learn to step back and take a more relaxed attitude to life. Also to have my neck checked out because it is grinding and crunching as I move my head. A GP appointment is arranged for Wednesday.
In the meantime, can anyone who also suffers, or knows anyone who does suffer from migraine give some holistic/complimentary medicine advice. I would rather not have to keep taking drugs if I can avoid them.
- Migraine With Aura
- Children… Adults… Migraine… So Many Thoughts!
- Migraine 101: What to Include in Your Migraine Journal / Diary
- Mom with a Migraine
- Really?: Really? Migraines May Be Eased by Exercise
Posted from WordPress for Android