How Has Your Treatment Plan Evolved Over Time? Part 2
There's no one size fits all for migraine patients and some treatments that may work at one point can no longer be effective over time. We asked our advocates how their treatment plans have evolved or changed over time. Here's what a few of them had to share. Don't miss part 1 of this ask the advocate series.
Trying different treatment plans after diagnosis
Lisa: "Before I was chronic my treatment plan was nil. I was undiagnosed for years and since over the counter meds didn't work for me, I didn't take anything. Once my frequency ramped up and the issue was identified, I started on trying different preventive options, including Botox. I also have tried various abortive medications including sumatriptan tablets and injections and maxalt tablets.
In addition to traditional medicine I explored a holistic approach including mindfulness meditation, naturopathic medicine, traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda), chiropractic care, physical therapy, and vitamins and supplements. After my attack frequency decreased, I slowly stopped preventive treatment under the guidance of my doctors. Now I take either maxalt or cambia (an NSAID in powder form) for an attack, and chiropractic care and theraspecs glasses are part of my preventive and maintenance plan. I know that if my frequency changes and becomes more frequent, I have at least found treatments that help and I can try them again."
Having backup plans and taking care of emotional health
Kerrie: My treatment plan isn’t a static document, it’s a list of what I’m trying now and what comes next if that doesn’t work, so it evolves constantly. While a treatment plan generally contains specific steps toward improving physical health, the plan itself is a tremendous balm to my emotional health. Having backup plans in place helps me avoid becoming overinvested in any specific treatment, which keeps the heartbreak at bay if it doesn’t work.
Trying new and uncommon migraine treatments
Katie: "Yes! After years of constantly changing meds to find the perfect concoction, I became more open to trying more out of the box options. Desperation will do that to a person.
Any time I want to try something other than pharmaceuticals, I spend a serious amount of time researching the treatment before even mentioning it to my doctor. I had my opinions on certain things that I did not want to try, but with certain things, I really felt like I had nothing to lose. I’d been through hell with chronic migraine disease, it couldn’t get any worse, right?
So now my treatment plan includes several new and emerging treatments that are not as commonly used. About twice a year, I do a five-day inpatient ketamine infusion as well as use a ketamine nasal spray at home. Another unconventional treatment is the use of kratom, a natural supplement that has similar properties to opioids, without the same risk of addiction. It is known to be a natural analgesic, muscle relaxer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. For now, it is legal and does not require a prescription.
I’m excited for the GammaCore, external vagal nerve stimulator. I never wanted to try the Cefaly or Spring TMS as I read other user’s experiences. However, I’ve seen how the Gamma Core can help someone.
My treatment plan also includes yoga and meditation, along with a combination of medication. I feel there needs to be balanced treatments in my daily practice. This has made me realize I have some healing power against my rebelling body. I’ve also detoxed from all my medications, which was pure hell. So I know that certain medications really do help me.
Bottom line is that when you feel like you’ve tried everything, there is always something else to try if you are willing."
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?