Living with migraines

It’s Monday afternoon, I’m on my second migraine in 24 hours after spending the morning getting over yesterday’s one! MIGRAINES!! The bain of my life, the silent terrorising pain inside my skull. Yesterday I didn’t see it coming, I decided to go out for a run, 3 minutes down the road and the vision in my right eye was blurring, immediately came the swirling feeling in my stomach, I lost my peripheral vision in both eyes and yes… we had a migraine starting. Because I’m stubborn and it had taken me 3 weeks to go out for a run, I decided in my stupidity, that this migraine wasn’t going to stop me, it always stops me, so I thought I’d just going to keep going, for 15 minutes. I did, I’m not a glamourous runner anyway so what would it matter. By the time I got home, and my heart rate calmed down the head pain really kicked in, and I spent the next half hour upset that no matter what I do migraines still strike, even when I try and be healthy

I mainly find living with migraines frustrating, as the trigger list changes whenever it feels like it, this is my list of migraine triggers, and this Is a pretty typical list for most people but I want to highlight this to show how complex and in balance your entire world needs to be in order not to get one.

  • Alcohol,
  • Certain foods, ones that contain nitrates and sulphates
  • Red meat
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Intense work outs
  • Hormonal surges or drops

 

  • Thunderstorms (Changes in barometric pressure causes migraines in some people)

I have found that migraines are impossible to control, I’ve been down the preventative prescription medicine route before and nothing would work longer than 3 months, some drugs felt like horse tranquilizers, others were muscle relaxants, so I would get out of bed in the night and fall over, others would give me constant thirst. So, I decided to come off any medication and just deal with them.

For me a migraine will last about 2 days, the first 30 minutes I deal with the aura, and loss of vision, its at the point that if I’m out I need to head home, lie down in the dark, with a heat wrap around the back of my neck the only medication I now take is 2x Rennies and 2-3 Aspirin. It sounds crazy, but I swear by taking an antacid, sometimes it really helps reduce the intensity of symptoms. I’ve found that taking triptans cause more nausea and side effects on top of the migraine so If I’m able to be at home it’s easier to just ride it out. After 30 minutes the head pain kicks in, some days the pain is worse than others, but there’s no way to tell. The pain will continue until I fall asleep that night. The second day is like the migraine hangover, foggy head, dull ache, upset stomach, fatigue, shaky and off balance…. By day 3 I’m generally back to normal, whoo hoo.

What is the worst thing you can ever say to a migraineur?

How’s your headache?

Let me tell you right now, that is no normal headache, not even close. Imagine Ice picks being slowly gouged through your skull into your brain, and tilted just behind your eyes, or a hammer constantly whacking you on the head. The hours when your dealing with that is un-bearable but you know later or tomorrow there will be less pounding and just a dull ache. Then there’s the nausea, I feel for those who get sick with migraines it happened to me the first time ever last month, that was on another level, one I don’t wish to return to. Dizziness, fatigue, limbs feeling like lead, shaking, numbness in the face or arms, pins and needles are all part of migraine process, some come and go, some last for hours.

“Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.” Professor Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology, King’s College London; Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, King’s College Hospital London; Trustee of The Migraine Trust

-Taken from the Migraine Trust.

I have my migraines to thank for giving me the push to start Toe to Soul Therapy. 2 years ago, I was suffering with constant migraines, always feeling unwell, never having any energy, taking a whole load of different tablets and supplements, and it was starting to affect my work.

My partner suggested we convert a room in his barber shop and set it up as a treatment room for me to give reflexology treatments, and so Toe to Soul Therapy was born. I stripped back my working hours, reduced my stress levels and as the months went on continued to make small changes. I cut out all alcohol, and meat. Cutting out meat was a game changer; my migraines went from 1-2 a week down to 1-2 a month!! The couple migraines a month are hormonal which I can’t do too much about. Now I set my alarm clock and have a regular 8-hour sleep schedule, I drink 3 litres of water a day, avoid any known triggers, and the second a migraine starts to come on I take myself off to bed and go with it.

Living with migraines still effects my life in a negative way, I can lose at least a couple of days a week, once or twice a month to them. I cancel social plans last minute, my diet and exercise suffer. Its’ frustrating at how sudden they can come on with no warning, sometimes I’ll know one will be coming that day, because I will feel off and normally freezing cold, often, I’m taken by surprise. It can be hard to keep a positive mindset and motivation however, I’m still in a better place with them than before and for that I’m grateful.

Unfortunately, there is no cure and no definitive cause. I have my own suspicion about auto immunity triggering reactions in the body, through the gut and therefore firing off the wrong signals to the brain, but that’s another story…

For more information or help if you too are living with migraines check these out:

http://www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk/

https://www.migrainetrust.org/

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