Reminding Myself What's Already in My Migraine Arsenal

If you’ve been dealing with migraine disease for years and have refused to give up on treatments that may work, chances are you have tried a LOT of techniques to improve your health.  Off the top of my head, I can tell you I’ve experimented with the following treatments (some of which I fully committed to, some of which I only dabbled. Note that some of these things involve lifestyle changes, others are preventive measures, and others are acute care measures. I am pretty sure this is not an exhaustive list, though I got pretty exhausted just writing it—until compiling this list, I actually had no idea that I’d tried SO much! They are not presented in any particular order, which sort of reflects how I have gone all over the map over the years in treating these attacks.

What migraine treatments have I tried?

AcupunctureAtenelolLamictalElavil (amitriptyline)
PropranololEffexorZonegranTiger balm
St. John's WortMagnesium glycinate tabletsTopical magnesium sprayBen-gay muscle rub
Excedrin MigraineAleveIbuprofenTylenol
B2 (riboflavin)Nutrient 950Exercise 5 days/weekMassage
Therapeutic yogaMindfulnessEnergy healingPhysical therapy
ImitrexAmergeMaxaltRelpax
FrovaFlexerilAspirinCaffeine
Capsaicin nasal sprayButterburOmega 3/6 oilPeppermint/lavender oil
Feverfew teaIce packsHeat packs

(As a side note: the majority of these therapies are mentioned, if not fully described, on migraine.com.  I encourage you to use the search window in the upper-left corner of the website to search for any terms you’re particularly interested in.)

An ever-changing and evolving disease

Yesterday afternoon I was thinking about how long I’ve been coping with migraine episodes, from the mild attacks that come and go quickly to the ones that have me violently sick to my stomach, lying on the bathroom floor for days.  Frankly, I am kind of shocked to see the number of things I’ve tried to improve my health (as listed above).

You know how your migraine patterns change as you grow older and introduce new factors in your life?  You know how treatments that were once miraculous suddenly don’t work anymore?  You are NOT alone in these phenomena.

Will things that didn't work before work now?

But what if we could flip that issue and get the wiliness of migraine working for us?  What if treatments and techniques that didn’t work for your former iterations of migraine may now work for the migraine patterns you face today?  I know that this was true for me in the case of Imitrex. It was the first migraine-specific medication I tried when I was first diagnosed in 2001, and it was a miracle worker for me then. Over the years, its effectiveness waned and I switched to other triptans.  Imagine my surprise in 2010 or so when my neurologist recommended I try it again, and it worked like a charm!  What a fascinating concept: a medication my migraine had stopped responding to suddenly worked again after a break.

What tools have I neglected or given up on?

This got me thinking: what other tools in my already-established arsenal might be effective in treating the types of migraine attacks I have now?  Of course, I don’t have old prescriptions lying around (that’s a no-no, guys), but I do have non-expired vitamins on hand as well as various tools (both concrete ones like ice packs and more abstract ones like knowledge of mindfulness-based stress reduction and gentle yoga).

I feel empowered this morning. I feel as if perhaps I have some tools in my migraine tool belt that I have neglected for awhile that could still be of use to me, and it won’t hurt to try.

Catch y’all later—I’m strapping on my sneakers and going for one of those walks that improve my quality of life dramatically.

Have you ever stopped a migraine treatment only to discover that, months or years later, it worked again for you? Do you have any tools in your migraine arsenal that may be of help to you now, ones you have neglected for awhile? What skills, vitamins, exercise regimens, or techniques do you have at your disposal this moment that you could give another go?

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