If you’ve ever mentioned to another human being that you suffer from migraines, you’ve gotten some unsolicited advice. In my experience, the advisors are always delivering their tips with the best of intentions: they want me to feel better. Maybe they want me to know about xyz method that simply “cured” their friend; maybe they are inundated with Botox ads and hope that it will work for me. Whatever the case may be, and whatever the advice-givers’ intentions, I try to remain positive and thankful, even when I sometimes want to scream, “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING TO GET RID OF THESE FREAKIN’ MIGRAINES?!”
Deep breath, Janet. Deep breath.
The truth is, the miracle “cures” I hear about strike me as shiny and luminous—I am tempted to learn more about them, to toy with the ideas in my mind and wonder if they might work for me. (I put the word “cures” in quotes because experts agree that migraine disease can be managed but is not curable.)
Here are a handful of things I’ve heard from concerned folks just in the past couple of months:
“My niece had migraines constantly. She went to the chiropractor a few times and got her neck adjusted. She hasn’t had a migraine since!”
“My mom started getting Botox injections and hasn’t had a headache since. And she used to have them almost every day!”
“Turns out I had the wrong prescription in my glasses. As soon as I got new lenses and could see well, my migraines disappeared.”
Over the last many years I’ve spent as an out-of-the-closet migraineur and migraine health advocate, I’ve been so pleased to hear of many, many success stories. I am so thankful that, for some of you out there, a new treatment or lifestyle change has given you such unmitigated success and good health.
But I’m a little jealous, too.
You see, I want to be one of the miracle stories. I also want all of YOU to have a miraculous discovery that lets you suddenly lead a migraine-free life. I think back to the times I allowed myself to be pie-in-the-sky hopeful. That time I got a mouth guard years ago because I was grinding my teeth? I had the tiniest flicker of hope that maybe I would see a dramatic decrease in my migraines. Last summer when I got new glasses and was told that I’d been wearing an incorrect prescription for years? I secretly wished it would lead to a migraine breakthrough.
So far, there’ve been no miracles for me. The success stories sometimes are what make me courageous enough to try something new, and I’m grateful for that. For most of us, however, there will never be an amazing story like the ones we hear. For most of us, the tidbits of advice we get will not allow us to see a significant improvement in our migraines. Slow and steady is the way to go with most chronic illnesses, including migraine disease, so with this I will encourage myself to continue working on the small, everyday things that will help me feel good. Regular exercise, regular sleep schedule, regular eating. Avoid overindulging in sugar and alcohol. In sum: moderation, routine, and patience.
But, man: it sure would be amazing to uncover a miracle.