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After nearly 33 years, 2 huge triggers identified. Amazing!

July 1984 saw the commencement of my life with chronic migraine and it landed me in the hospital for 6 days to rule out stroke. I was indeed a neurologic mess.

Through the years, I've come to learn that some weekends could portend rebound spikes in pain from stressful weeks; my neurologist really had to think about my assertion that the intracranial pressure increase experienced with vocal rehearsals 2-3 times/week were indeed real; learned to stay indoors on hot days and when outside keep a hat on my head and cold drink in my hand; but, what about all of the other causes of horrible pain spikes, which would take me from my daily level 2-3 to 6-7?

As most of you have done, took myself through the elimination diet without any success at all. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Then March of 2017 happened, along with a confluence of events.

Up front, you need to know that I'm a scratch cook and baker and do not eat garbage food. This means that at home my ingredients are under my care. In March, however, we went out to lunch with a group of friends who had chosen a local Cantonese restaurant. We really enjoyed our meal, but about 5 minutes into the meal, my pain level escalated something fierce. This lasted 3 days. On the 4th day, we had our granddaughter, so decided to go to the mall, where she wanted sushi, so I ordered a plate of Japanese noodles with shrimp and broccoli. Bam! 5 minutes later, huge escalation in pain. Finally hit me: it's not a food item, it's an additive. Went up to one of the line cooks and asked if they added MSG, to which he answered "Yes." OK. One trigger down.

This next trigger was recommended by a friend who is ultra senstive to any modified food starch, be it modified corn starch or whatever. I immediately made sure to start reading every label of the stuff my husband was cooking with, as well as things like ice cream, etc. Amazing!

With MSG and ALL modified food starches now classified as EVIL ingredients and therefore no longer being consummed, I have whittled down spike days per month to just 1-2, instead of 20.

  1. Hi sfnative,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Great job on trigger identification, not an easy accomplishment. MSG can be a HUGE trigger for many of us, including myself. I love Asian cuisine and have to be extremely careful about MSG. I had a horrible experience with MSG over 20 years ago when I was on a business trip in NYC. A group of us had a special seven course Chinese dinner. Afterwards on the subway (great place for a migraine attack - NOT!) I was hit with a massive migraine attack. So I get it. We have more information on where to find MSG here;

    It's not uncommon to have a migraine attack on the weekends and/or after stressful times. These are called let-down migraines and we have information on that here;

    Here's to weekends being pain free!

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