The Four Steps I Take When My Migraine Starts
Last updated: March 2023
I have a small window. Truth be told, it’s more like a tiny porthole window than a big bay window. When the twinges of my migraine first begin, I have a small window of time to send it back into the void from which it came. If I miss my window, then I’m doomed to keep my own bedroom windows shut tight and the blinds closed until it sets me free.
What do I do to stop my migraine?
From the time I feel those first hot pangs of head pain, I know it takes 90-minutes for my migraine to unpack and set up camp in my head. So this is when I set to work. On those days when the stars align, I can reach into my bag o' tricks and stop the bulk of the pain from grabbing hold. Here are some of the techniques I use to send my migraines packing.
Over the years, caffeine has become a first step in trying to dissolve head pain. While caffeine for some migraineurs can be a trigger for an attack, I’ve found it can pull the trigger and stop my pain. According to The National Migraine Foundation, “With occasional use, it may provide modest acute headache relief…” Using caffeine in moderation helps me kick my migraines to the curb and also gives me the energy to clean my entire home in 27-minutes.
After drinking my highly caffeinated beverage, I take an unusually hot shower. Hot and cold therapies have been suggested treatments for migraine patients for some time. While I’m in the throes of an attack, my ice-pack and I enjoy cuddling, but in the before stages, it’s all things hot that my body prefers. Heat therapy has been shown to increase blood flow, and perhaps this is why a hot shower works to ease my discomfort.
This is the most helpful step to getting rid of my migraine before my migraine gets rid of my plans for the day. My prodrome phase (the time span that comes before a migraine) makes me extremely sleepy. So catching a few Zs is an activity in which I’m happy to participate. There are times I wake up feeling refreshed, and my migraine has abated. Then, of course, there are the days all my tricks have failed.
If all my first attempts at freeing myself have failed, then I take my prescribed relief mediation. My 90-minute window has elapsed, and I know taking my doctor-prescribed meds is my last and best hope of finding relief.
What do I do when my tricks don't work?
It’s taken some trial and error, but knowing how long my window of time lasts before my migraine takes hold gives me an opportunity to throw them out the window. Of course, there are those days when my migraine is here to stay. That’s when I do my best to breathe and remember that behind my drawn bedroom curtains, the sun is shining outside.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?