Do you feel like you've tried everything?
“I’ve tried everything and nothing works for me.”
“This treatment is my last hope.”
“If X doesn’t work, there’s nothing else to help me.”
Have those thoughts ever crossed your mind? They certainly have mine, particularly in my early years of migraine treatment. After trying what seems like countless meds with no success or having yet another treatment fails, it can feel like you've hit a dead end.
Please take heart. Potential migraine treatments are so numerous that you almost certainly haven’t tried everything. If a doctor tells you you're out of options, it means the doctor has exhausted their knowledge, not that there are no other treatments that might help you. It's time to find a new doctor who knows more about migraine, preferably a headache/migraine specialist.
There are more than 100 prescription medications for migraine prevention. As Ellen has said on the forum, it would take more than 25 years to give each one an effective trial. Many drugs work best in combination with others, which gives you even more choices, though it also adds more rounds of testing. And some drugs that don't work the first time you try them may work on a second try, especially if you've had any improvement in your migraine frequency, severity or duration between trials.
That's just prescription medication. Even if you don't want to take prescription preventives or are avoiding certain because of intolerable side effects or contraindications, you still have options, like herbs and supplements, acupuncture, physical therapy, Botox, biofeedback, neurofeedback, nerve blocks, nerve ablation, massage, yoga, cranial sacral therapy, nerve stimulation (implanted or external, like Cefaly), transcranial magnetic stimulation (which should be available to patients soon), food trigger identification and avoidance, exercise regimens, hypnotherapy, essential oils, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, self-care (or lifestyle changes) and others I’m sure I’ve left out. There are also less mainstream treatments, like digestive enzymes (which have literally changed my life), homeopathy, reiki, even crystal therapy.
It is so frustrating to try multiple treatments with little or no success. When another fails, it’s tempting to throw your hands up and say, “I’ve tried everything and nothing is ever going to help me.” After you blow off steam, remember there are so, so many treatment options available and you’ll never know what will work for you until you try.
This isn’t a meaningless pep talk from someone who doesn’t know what it’s like. I had daily migraine attacks for years that grew worse and worse until I was housebound and nearly bedridden. I wanted to give up many times – and took several long treatment breaks – but somehow managed to pull myself up and try yet again. I found my first helpful treatment two years ago, then found a couple more that are even more effective. I’m not migraine-free, but I feel great. With all the disappointment and grief along the way, the elation of having a migraine-free day is indescribable.
Have you shared your migraine story with us yet?