If I Could Only...

Anyone who’s read about migraine (either online or in books or, like most of us, both) knows that some of the remedies our fellow migraineurs of yore used fly in the face of modern medicine. (Drilling to the head, anyone?)

And anyone who’s had a very painful migraine before can understand why someone might think remedies that sound at least a little bit crazy to the healthy mind sound like potential solutions to someone in severe head pain.

Wishing for a physical comfort

Last month I had such an awful migraine and found myself thinking, “If only I could put ice on my eyebrow, I would feel fine.” (I tried it; it didn’t work.)  I revised my thought: “If Jim would give me a neck massage, I think I’d feel better.” (It helped for a second in the moment, but had no lasting power apart from my feeling comforted.) My instinct was that there was one physical thing I could implement—application of ice, a massage—that would ease the discomfort.

This got me thinking about all the times I have had those fleeting thoughts: “If only I could do x, my migraine would go away….If only I had y, I would feel so much better.” Even when these thoughts occur to me I know they’re mostly silly, but that doesn’t stop me from trying the less dangerous ones out once in awhile. Recently I had allergies and a migraine at the same time and was sure that blowing my nose would solve my migraine as well—nope, just made the head pain throb more.

"If only" thoughts

Here are some things I’ve scribbled down in subsequent migraine attacks since that terrible one last month. I made a point of writing down all the “if only” thoughts I had, and there are plenty!

If only I could just drill a tiny little hole above my ear like they did in the old days.

If only I could put my head in a vice—like, a soft vice—to put equal pressure all over my head.

If only I could have someone wash my hair, but without that uncomfortable neck “rest”  you lean back on at the salon.  Shampooing would feel so good.

If only I had more of this lavender-mint roll-on stuff. If I had enough to put on my eyebrows, I’d feel better.

If only I had one of those neck braces to hold my neck in place—then maybe I wouldn’t have gotten a migraine today.

If only I could sit in a really, really hot jacuzzi.

If only I could stand to dip my head in some ice water.

If only I could chop all my hair off and feel weightless.

If only I could blow all this congestion out of my head.

If only I could take my brain out of my head, wash it, and put it back in.

If only…

If only…

If only…

How many of you have had these fleeting thoughts, these instances when, at least for a second, your instincts tell you that there is a simple answer out there, a simple action you could take in order to find relief (even though it probably that turns out to be wrong)? Have any of these “if only” ideas actually worked for you? 

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