Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Oh, Migraines. Migraine sufferers know all too well of the horrifying, incapacitating pain of a migraine. Those who've never had one are divided into two groups - those who are grateful to have never had one and those who think we're making a big deal out of not so much.

I have suffered with migraines since I was 16 - that's 17 years of migraines. My first one was after a horrible driving lesson with this jerk who made me drive endlessly back and forth over the Gold Star Bridge in Groton, CT at rush hour, into the setting sun. I got home, cried in pain, and took a 4 hour nap.

My mom took midrin, so I would sometimes take one of her pills. Much later in life, I realized that midrin gave me horrible rebound headaches - I would start by taking one every week or two, and soon it was 6 pills a day to keep away the pain. I felt uncomfortable when I didn't have enough pills, so my doctor at the time (a PA from Wake Forest, NC, whose name I still remember) gave me endless refill prescriptions for bottles of 100. Of course I realized that was really bad, so I went cold turkey and got it out of my system, and I quit caffeine (soda, at the time). As near as I can recall, I spent a few years almost entirely pain free!

Before the midrin, my boyfriend at the time's parents used fioricet, and I tried some of that. Not helpful. Also not helpful? Incompetent doctors who kept throwing high dose pain killers at me.

The pain came back at some point - I can't remember when - and I got a prescription for relpax. I was nervous about that because I'd tried imitrex before, and whenever I did, it would make my heart hurt - really. But Migraine sufferers know that sometimes, a few minutes of chest pain is better than continuing with a migraine. But relpax has been much more helpful.

I've tried non-drugs too - I've walked around with WellPatch on my head, smeared on the HeadOn (it's vegan and it works!), and used essential oil "Headache Relief" (which also works a bit). I use a contour pillow, I take generic allergy pills everyday (some of my migraines start as sinus headaches), I have a mouthpiece for sleeping in that I used to use every night. I've found that taking 4-6 spirulina pills a day can be helpful (Earthrise is the least stinky/yucky spirulina I've tried) and of course I always try to drink lots and lots of water. I've requit coffee a few times for over a week each time to see if the headaches stopped (almost 3 weeks once) like they did years ago - they didn't.

My headaches are weird. I get more on Thursdays than other days. Frequently, they just go away by 8:00pm.

The past few weeks, I've had what I'm fondly (HA) dubbing "tension-migraines" - they're a happy combo of both.

That's all for now! I'm sure I'll add more to this post later.

How do you help your pain? Suggestions helpful!

eta: Yesterday mid morning I took some liquid feverfew drops in apple juice, and not until the very end of the day did I get a very tiny ache in my head, and it was barely noticeable. Needless to say, I just took some more feverfew.


Jennifer said...

Hi Sarah;

I feel your -migraine- pain :(
Having had bad reactions/lack of results with Rx I've pretty much given up that route. After haveing pretty good control through monitoring and avoiding triggers, OTC pain relief, hiding in a dark room when necessary -for most of the last 5 years I've had a terrible time this past year. I can't figure out the new trigger or whatever is causing the prob. Arg!
Anyway I'm going to try the Eat 2 Live migraine diet and see how that goes. Have you ever (or know anybody else who has) tried this kind of diet as a headache solution?

Hope your week is headache free :)


Sarah said...

Hi Jennifer! Sorry I forgot to reply sooner - bad me!

I don't know anyone who has tried diet for migraines but it certainly is something I'd be willing to try. Also, I recently bought Eat to Live ($4 barely used at the used book store!)!

And thanks! It wasn't, but alas :)

Carissa said...

I hate those. I get them often as well. There are a number of plants you can buy that help. I grow wormwood, catnip, and I believe toothache plant and they are all good for migraines. Also, what seems to be helping mine is drinking bentonite every other day and drinking LOTS of water. I haven't gotten a bad headache since I started that, so it has to be doing something!

Manda B. said...

That really sucks. I'm sorry you're dealing with that. My mom's been getting awful migraines for as long as I remember, some lasting weeks as well. She takes Imitrex, but her tolerance is so high by now she has to take endless amounts to rid the pain.

Have you tried acupuncture at all?

Rita said...

Migraines suck. They make me want to roll over and die.

I know what you're talking about with doctors prescribing endless bottles of pain meds. I've taken Vicodin so many times that my stomach can't tolerate it anymore.

Back when I had heath insurance, I used to take Maxalt which worked about 60% of the time. Now I take Excedrin to relieve the pain.

I also suffer from caffeine withdrawal headaches, so I've cut out the daily energy drinks and coffee.

I also discovered that being deficient in vitamin B12 can cause migraines. The very first day I began taking the vitamins I noticed a difference in the way I felt.

When all else fails, I try to fall asleep with an ice pack on my head.

Good luck!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

I feel this so much! Fortunately, I don't get migraines quite so often. I usually get them due to my TMJ or my allergy/sinus problems.

If it's TMJ related, I rest my jaw and lay down in a cool and dark room. If it's sinuses, I have this essential oil I breath. I usually take an excedrin migraine (only if it's so bad I can't take it anymore). Isa told me this great trick of filling a bag of ice and placing it on top of the head (not the forehead, but the actual crown).

Generally, I try not to take medication and just do a lot of massaging of my temples, head, etc. But once it gets to throbbing, nausea territory I have to pop pills.

Honest Convo Gal said...

I know this is an old post..I happened upon your blog via a google search. But I wanted to offer you a possible insight into your Thursday migraines. I get chronic headaches. Mine are mostly caused by sleep disturbance. Late in the week headaches are usually caused by fatigue according to my neurologist, who is nationally recognized headache researcher. I was able to cut back on the number if end of week headaches I was having by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Sarah said...


1. Old info always appreciated, especially if it helps my poor head! :)

2. Thanks! This definitely seems possible. I do try to stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, but I'm single parenting a 4 1/2 year old and the sleep disturbances sometimes run high, and disturbed sleep definitely makes it worse. Also, I have to keep the house cooler because if the house is at all humid/hot then I wake up with that head fog.

Thanks!! :) I'm having a bad week, but it was 111ยบ with the heat index today and I have my period, so itwas expected at least.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from Migraine headaches since I was 14-16 years old and now I am 43. I do a treatment with a neurologist and take Topiramate 50mg daily to reduce the frequency of headaches. But since 2 months ago I started a VEGAN diet and the migraines started to disappear. Now it has been 30 full days with NO headaches at all. Not even once and I used to have it 12-14 days per month. It is worth trying and not as bad as it sounds. Look at the positive side of it! Give a try. I am going to see my doctor soon to see if I can stop with the medication too.

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