Is It Working?

When my loving, good-natured friends and family ask me about my healthcare regimen, I try to remain energetic as I list the things I ingest each day and the activities I try to do to keep the migraine attacks at bay.

Vitamin B2 and magnesium

I take 400 mg of vitamin B2 each day - that's about 23,000 times the recommended daily allowance. Ha! I read a study online linking that daily intake over a long period of time to an overall decrease in migraine frequency. I started taking the vitamins each day not because of this Googled study but because of my neurologist's very strong suggestion - the search is what came after his suggestion.

Along with the B2 is a capsule of magnesium — 500 mg of it, to be exact.

Other oral regimens

Added to that daily list of fun things to swallow?

  • 300 mg of Zonegran/zonisamide (which is now finally generic, I suppose, for the price went down from $100 for a month's supply to about $40 at my local grocery store pharmacy)
  • Omega-3 (fish oil)
  • 20 mg amitriptyline (Elavil), which I was on long ago, got off, and just recently re-started

Cranial sacral therapist

I go to my massage therapist/cranial sacral therapist whenever I can afford it. Unfortunately, this hasn't been too frequent of late. For my last few appointments, she hasn't done much cranial-sacral therapy because my visits have been right after a migraine headache, and she is unwilling to manipulate my cranium at all and possibly trigger another attack. (Thank you, wonderful woman.)


Of course, exercise is always recommended, as long as I don't overexert or overheat myself and get a migraine that way. I definitely don't get as much exercise as I should; this I know.

Avoiding triggers

Minimizing exposure to triggers is something I've gotten quite deft at; managing stress is another lifelong issue I'll never master, but I am coping pretty well (for me).

So, is my migraine regimen working?

So back to the subject of this entry. Back to the question that I am always faced with as soon as I tell my friends and family about my lifestyle changes, my new (or old) medications, that new trick I read about in a medical journal:

"So, is it working?"

How can I tell what's working?

I feel like I don't know what it is that's doing the trick - or not doing the trick - anymore. I have so many elements in my life, so many chemicals running through my system. How am I to tell which one is the one that's working? Is it their complicated, complex relationship with one another that does the trick, at least most of the time? If I removed just one of the pills each day, would the whole system come grinding to a halt and leave me in pain, or would I feel even better than I do now?

Have I gotten better on my own?

I am not in a well-controlled scientific study. I cannot aptly determine which medication is the one that's working best for me. Part of me thinks that my body has gotten a bit better on its own over the years and that I could cut out all this expensive treatment and get just as many awful migraines as I do now - and have just as many gloriously pain-free days as I do now.

What am I sure of?

But most of me is pretty sure the medication's helping, that I need the neurologist's words, reassurance, and comfort, that this disease is certainly way bigger than me, and that I may never know what it is, exactly that's working - or how well it's working at all.

I don't know

So my answer to family and friends remains the same. I don't know. I just don't know.

Were this a personal essay, one with sparks of humor and hints of charming self-deprecation, my answer would provide you with an amazing conclusion that would make sense of it all.

But it's just not the case here. I just don't know what's helping, and I'm too scared to take something away to find out if it hurts.

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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.

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