Ruling your unruly migraine

Here in the Midwest we don’t get many idyllic spring showers. We don’t often get foggy drizzle either. It’s too bad though, because that kind of rain actually makes my head feel better. No, right here in the land of Dorothy and Toto, we get hazardous thunderstorms complete with torrential rain, flash floods, loud cracks of lightning and thunder, powerful gusts of wind, bouncing barometric pressure, and…TORNADOS.

Growing up in Kansas, I learned early on not to get too worked up over tornado warnings. The preferred location to ride out a warning is sitting on the front porch, scanning the horizon for funnel clouds, waiting for the sky to turn green, listening for the sound of a freight train (all signs you have waited much too long to take shelter). As you can see, I have a misplaced sense of invulnerability when it comes to these monsters. Unfortunately, my head does not agree.

When the wind howls, gutters overflow, and the sirens roar – that’s when migraine is at its worst. If it’s an isolated storm, I’m usually okay. But that’s not how things work here in the heartland. No, we get several consecutive days of tornado-producing thunderstorms resulting in week-long migraine attacks. After that second day, it becomes useless to try to abort attacks that just won’t quit. That’s when I dip into my arsenal of rescue and comfort treatments to help me ride out the storm in my head.

I have this mental flow chart that helps me know when it’s time for a specific intervention. Some situations call for ice while others warrant heat. Certain foods are chosen because they are easy to digest and nourishing. There are pillows, blankets, scarves, hats, and even clothing that I choose based on how I am feeling throughout an attack. I don’t stop taking medicine (although I may stop pain meds), but I certainly do more than just swallow pills. As with any emergency plan, my flow chart has “last resort” options that include calling my doctors, going to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. Oddly enough, since creating this mental list, I haven’t needed to use my last resort options.

When migraine misbehaves, we can feel like giving up. With our energy reserves on fumes, the last thing we feel like doing is taking charge. Yet that is precisely the time when we need to be in control. Weathering a migraine storm isn’t something you can do with a hand full of pills on a moment’s notice. It takes planning and preparation. The more you prepare before the storm, the better you will fare when it strikes.

Yes, you can still rule your migraine when it spins out of control like an F5 tornado on the Kansas plains.

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

Comments

View Comments (6)
  • mrst53
    3 years ago

    I know when the storm is coming, but I feel better once it hits.
    Wierd I know.

  • Tammy Rome author
    3 years ago

    I usually do, too. But here in Kansas we have a storm, then a break, then another storm…over and over for a week or more at a time. So the barometric pressure bounces up and down like a yo-yo. NOT good for migraine brains at all.

  • mindwiped
    3 years ago

    I’m another Kansan, and you described us and tornados perfectly. My workplace forced us into shelter, and a group that had relocated from Las Vegas was panicky. I told them not to worry until the locals are all outside trying to take pictures…that’s when you should worry, otherwise, it’s just a storm, and hey, we’re getting paid to do nothing. That helped calm them some, especially since I did have pics on my phone of one that was in the neighborhood a year before when I was at work, hubby had kindly texted it to me, so I could worry about him and the house…all was fine, and he told me so.

  • mindwiped
    3 years ago

    Yeah, that week’s a bit of a blur…I’d been on short term disability, for a non migraine reason, and that was my first week back…between the fluorescents, the noise, the smells, and the storms I was heavily medicated.

    On Monday (6/13)…I laughed, inside my head, watching coworkers panic to roll up their windows…I was on my lunch break, and could feel it coming.

  • Tammy Rome author
    3 years ago

    So you’re familiar with the Redneck Front Porch Tornado Watch Party? 😉 I actually wrote this the last week of May when we were having daily storms in KC. Remember all the flooding? The winds tore a 6 inch thick branch off my favorite tree.

  • Bill_in_336
    3 years ago

    You’re the first person I’ve heard of besides myself who has referred to this weather-driven multiple migraine phenomena as a “migraine storm”. While I’m sorry that you’re afflicted with it, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

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