Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Migraine Update & Some Details on Floating

You'd be surprised how frequently people DM me and ask me about my advice on dealing with migraines. Sure, I've had migraines for 25 years. That's...fun. But in October 2016, my mom died and my migraines went chronic AND I started getting chronic neck pain. That's tons of fun. Right after this, I got an IUD put in (Mirena). And then I got 30 days in a row of migraines.



Yep. One solid month of migraines. No pain free days. And I'd just started a new job that September, so I was doing my best to muddle through and impress my bosses at what I was sure would be my forever job (and then I got a whole $422/year raise 15 months after that and I quit not too long after, but that's a different story). And I succeeded. I did great work and people liked me and all was well. Except that I've been writing for almost five years and I couldn't write, and I was a terrible, cranky, under-involved mom for my amazing then 10 year old daughter.

What's a migraineur to do? I had my IUD removed (and whoa boy did that thing HURT when it got put in). I started experimenting with different supplements. I tried meditating. What else did I do? I can't remember. Too much pain.



It's now been almost 2 years since I lost my mom and it's been 8 months since I lost my dad (it was a really shitty period in my life and continues to be a struggle in so many ways). Here's what I've been doing to get my migraines under some semblance of control (except for the really hot and humid summer weeks where nothing mattered because it was almost one hundred degrees in Maine and I was miserable):

  • Supplements
    • Eu Natural's My Brain. Yeah, it has most of the stuff I was already taking. But for whatever reason, it helps. After I started taking this stuff, I went eight days without a migraine. I hadn't gone eight days without a migraine in over a year at the time.
    • Magnesium. 400mg. I've gone as high as 1000mg/day before, and I've gone as low as 325mg/day with Natural Calm, but this is where I'm at now. (I buy supplements from A'zon when I can. I hate A'zon and they're crappy in so many ways, but I'd go broke on supplements if I bought them at my local health food store.)
    • Butterbur. I thought maybe I could go without this one since the My Brain has butterbur. I was wrong.
  • A good contour pillow for my neck. I just spent a weekend away from my pillow and it was awful. I actually woke up bracing my neck with my hand. 
  • Headache hat! Until that glorious day when winter comes, this thing is amazing. It's not really a hat. It's cold and wonderful.
  • Massage therapy! I have a massage therapist. I get deep tissue massage. It hurts/is awesome. Can't live without. I decided to see her more regularly after seeing a chiropractor. He was terrible. It was an awful experience. I'm probably never going to a chiropractor ever again.
  • Yoga. The place near me is $29/month if you let them auto debit your account. MAGIC. Since yoga classes are usually around $15/each, I only need to go twice a month to make it worth it. I love the yoga teacher I was seeing there, but I realized I always felt worse after her class. With the first guy I saw, I always felt amazing after his class, no matter how bad I felt going in. I've been trying some of the other yogis here to see if they work better for me. Of course my favorite so far conflicts with the one day a week my kid DOESN'T start school at the butt crack of dawn.
  • Acupuncture. I found a place that does community acupuncture, so it's a sliding scale starting at $20/session. Basically, there are like 10 recliners in a room and you can have up to 10 people there at a time getting acupuncture. She only places the needles in your hands, arms, legs, feet, neck, and head. I'd love to try this guy that my stylist just recommended, but he's $160 for the first visit, so I see this other person who just took an unscheduled hiatus (grr) so I'm trying...
  • Floating! Yep. Floating in a super salty tank of water. Dark, calming, meditative, take some tension off the neck, magnesium in the epsom salts. I did it for the first time today, which is actually why I started this post. There are private rooms with a shower and a float tank or a pod. I chose the tank because the pods seemed tiny, but they're actually fine. So you take a shower, climb into the tub (they say you can go nude or in a bathing suit. I wore a suit.) and float. I used a little ring to help hold up my head (you don't really need it, but again, neck pain). At first, I loved it. And then I got motion sick! Ridiculous me. So I turned off the light (it was a dim light that was cycling through various colors) and floated in the darkness. By the end, one of my arms and my face were crusty with salt, so I took another shower. It was interesting! I signed up for a 3 pack, so I have 2 more visits to figure out how I feel about that. TRUE STORY: part of the reason I signed up for a 3 pack is because I want someplace super warm to shower/float/shower when it's freezing cold out and I can't feel my toes. 
  • Ugh I quit gluten again except for Ezekiel bread. I'm already sad. I wanted the spicy fried cauliflower at Trader Joe's and I couldn't get it. We'll see how long it sticks this time. If you've recently quit gluten for the first time: every time you eat gluten after quitting, it gets harder to quit. FYI. 
I think that's it. The weather recently took a turn for the colder so I've been feeling pretty good. Of course it's going to be eighty degrees again Sunday and Monday so that doesn't thrill me. Maybe I'll sneak in another beach visit though. I really home I'm on the road even back to where I was. Most people wouldn't be able to handle 8 migraines/month, but that's what I'm dreaming of right now. 




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