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Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Clothespin

Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Clothespin

In a burst of sudden inspiration, I finally came up with the appropriate name for yet another Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Type.  You know the kind that pinches behind your eye, then releases, then pinches again?  Sometimes the discomfort or pain of the pinch can spur a full-fledged migraine, but oftentimes it just hangs out for hours, pinching and then releasing, pinching and then releasing.

I’d thought about simply calling it “The Pincher,” but I think “The Clothespin” gives a clearer impression of what this particular discomfort feels like to the sufferer.

The Clothespin is especially prevalent for me on those days when I’m using the computer for hours and am demonstrating less-than-stellar posture.  I imagine my neck muscles saying, “She has been pulling on us all day because she’s keeping the computer on her lap instead of on the desk, and she’s sitting on the couch instead of an office chair with good support.  Give her a little pinch, huh? Warn her that we might send a migraine her way if she doesn’t get in gear.”

So then the clothespin squeezes behind my left eye, just a little.  It’s as if whoever’s holding it isn’t fully letting go of the clothespin, so it’s not squeezing with all its might.  It’s a warning, a signal that I need to be more careful.

The other day The Clothespin hung around with me for hours upon hours.  Every time I thought, “Okay, Janet, just go ahead and take your medication, because this could end up bad,”  I would realize the pinch had lessened and I felt fine.  (Are you noticing a common theme among these Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types?  Many of them tease, coming and going and not giving a clear signal of if they’re going to be serious episodes, so I never know when to take the meds and when to lay off.)

It doesn’t lessen the pinch by much to do this, but I do take comfort in the following:  sometimes when The Clothespin is making its presence known a little too much for my liking, I will do some simple yogic relaxation exercises for my neck and back.  I breathe in while turning my head slightly to the left, and I breathe out as I slowly bring it back to center.  Same thing for the right side. Then I do very subtle stretches, turning each ear toward its respective center and leaning my chin toward my chest and then away.  This calms me down and makes me less anxious about the possibility of The Clothespin turning into a more serious and raging migraine attack.

Have you ever felt The Clothespin? How do you cope with it, and how do you decide if and when you’ll take your medication? 

For a current list of all of my Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types, click here

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • RobertCan
    4 years ago

    I experience this migraine type a lot. Coincidentally, it’s happening as I write this. I find it frustrating because its completely unpredictable. It doesn’t always mature into a full-blown migraine, so taking medication can often be a premature response. My insurance limits me to 9 Imitrex tablets per month so I can’t just pop an Imitrex every time I feel a “pinch”. Plus, I’m always mindful about the risk of rebound headaches with triptans, so the less medication I use, the better chance I have of staying off the rebound merry-go-round.

    I use the “clothespin” as a type of EWS (early warning system). I know that on those days, I’m hovering at the threshold of a full-blown migraine and must take extra care to avoid any of my known triggers. I might even take 660 mg of Naproxen if the pinching increases in frequency.

    I have a hunch that today’s “clothespin” will mature into a full-blown migraine. Weather is another of my triggers and we have a storm forecast to hit in the next 24 hours. The barometer has already fallen. We’ll see what the day brings. Wishing you all a pain-free day!

  • Jillian
    4 years ago

    Yes! This is my migraine. Sometimes it feels like the clothespin is twisting and pulling towards the back of my head. I’m sorry that you feel this but it is nice that someone knows what I am talking about.

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