I’m setting aside the selfies and lists today to get serious for a minute (right) and talk to you today about migraines. Nothing like a nice, upbeat, topic for a Tuesday huh?
A large reason behind why I started this blog was to share my experiences as I learned to manage my health and wellness, and learning to manage my migraines has been a large part of that (let’s be honest managing these makes Celiac look easy).
I had my first diagnosed migraine over 2 years ago now (diagnosed by the ER doctor) though looking back with my neurologist at the number of “sinus” headaches I’d been experiencing since high school I’d probably been having low grade migraines for much much longer.
Since then I’ve been to the ER on 2 other headache related occasions, tried various combinations of emergency and preventative medications and supplements, read pretty much every book in the library on the subject, had 2 CT scans, 1 MRI, and thankfully had a wonderful neurologist throughout it all.
I still don’t have my headaches completely under control, I’d been going good for months back in November and suddenly BF had to take me to the ER at 4am because my headache had gotten so bad I thought I was having a stroke (scariest headache to date so far I actually lost function/sensation in my arm for a while).
That being said I haven’t had a major headache since then, and I’ve only had two minor ones. I rank a minor headache as one I can cure with a half dose of my rescue medication and a nap, a major headache requires at least a full dose, an anti-nausea pill, and usually a full night’s sleep.
I don’t claim to have all the knowledge when it comes to headache, and truly everyone is different, but with the help of my neurologist I have hit on a few key things that work for me. These are not meant to be medical suggestions and you should talk any concerns you have for your health over with your doctor.
- Water. Nothing is more important for your body in general than to stay hydrated, but it’s especially important if you’re headache prone.
- Getting enough (7-8 hours) sleep on a consistent schedule.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet, and not going too long between eating (this one has been hard with my current schedule but I try my best).
- Yoga, and relaxation in general. When a headache gets really bad I try my best to calm my breathing so that I keep my overall body calm. It’s also been great for stress in general which is my biggest trigger.
- Hot compress. Some people swear by ice but that never worked for me. I have a wonderful old tube sock (not as gross as it sounds) filled with rice that I heat in the microwave for a few minutes. The heat combined with the heavy pressure either on my head or the back of my neck always helps to relieve some of the discomfort.
- Vitamins. Many migraine sufferers tend to be magnesium deficient. On top of that I take a multi-vitamin on a regular basis to cover my bases on those days when school really does keep me too busy to eat. I also take Maca powder to help with hormone regulation since that seems to be one of my regular, monthly, triggers 😉
I know that I am probably going to have headaches for the rest of my life, but I am glad that I have gotten them to a manageable state. Compared to the near daily headaches I was having at the end of college I’d say I’m doing well, but I’m always going to be on the lookout for ways to improve my overall quality of life. With the approval of my neurologist of course.
Any other migraine sufferers out there? What’s your go to for when a headache gets bad? Any lifestyle changes you feel have helped you?