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An inventory of all my migraine/pain items

Just how much migraine and pain-related stuff do I have in here?

This question popped up again and again this past summer as Jim and I packed up our house in preparation for a two-mile move across town.  I moved into my first house in Athens in 2004, and I’d accumulated a LOT in my decade in the “Purple Pagoda” (yes, my house was purple).  Incidentally, 2004 was the year I started going to a headache specialist (the one I eventually said buh-bye to), and that was the time I started taking my migraine diagnosis much more seriously. I began looking for successful treatments, got more serious about self-care, and started donning a hat and/or sunglasses during grad school classes, usually not thinking twice about my classmates’ strange glances.   The next year is when I started my then-anonymous “The Migraine Girl” blog.

In short: the mid-2000s were a tremendous time of change, empowerment, sickness, and increased self-awareness for me in regard to my health.

As you can imagine, I have tried a LOT of remedies to both prevent and abort migraine attacks, and I have a lot of stuff on hand to help soothe myself during episodes that simply aren’t abating.

I thought it’d be interesting to list everything that’s in my house at the moment.*

  • Ice packs: 4 large, 2 small, 2 tiny
  • Topical magnesium spray (I use Zyclear): 3 bottles (1 mostly empty, 1 half-full but with broken dispenser, 1 still in package)
  • Magnesium glycinate tablets
  • Tiger balm (1 small jar)
  • Muscle pain relief liquid (label is in Chinese, so I can’t translate it for you!)
  • Muscle pain relief liquid (all natural, from a health store in Joshua Tree, CA)
  • Almond oil (a “carrier” oil: I mix 1 tsp of this with 1-2 drops of essential oil)
  • Lavender + mint essential oil (see above)
  • Inflatable bath pillow
  • Soothing bubble bath
  • Epsom salts (again, for a bath)
  • Heating pad (plug-in version)
  • Heated neck wrap (no plug required)
  • Imitrex (5 pills left of my 9-pill prescription; 4 refills remaining)
  • Naratriptan (brand name Amerge; only 3 pills remaining and no refills)
  • Cyclobenzaprine muscle relaxer (in terms of migraine, I take this right before and during my period in verrrry small doses)
  • A pill cutter (to quarter my cyclobenzaprine as mentioned above)
  • Naproxen sodium (1 bottle, almost out)
  • Ibuprofen (1 bottle, running low)
  • Ben-Gay
  • Generic muscle rub
  • Pain relief rub (I currently use “Natural Earth Potions Pain & Migraine” type)
  • Ear plugs (the foam kind, which I buy in bulk and take with me to live music shows & the movies)
  • Ear plugs (the silicon kind, which I rarely use now but come most in handy to block out neighbors or nearby snorers at night)

Wow.  I have not included any general medications or equipment I use when I’m having a psoriatic arthritis flare.  I knew I had a bunch of stuff, but this list seems long.  Writing it up also gave me a chance to check expiration dates and make sure I didn’t have any unsafe/out-of-date medications in the house.

What’s in your arsenal?  Do you have any must-haves not listed above that you’d recommend for me?


*Please note that this list does not include expired medications, leaky ice packs, ineffective stuff I decided to toss, and various other things that even I, Health Equipment Hoarder, couldn’t justify keeping. 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • sweetmalis
    4 years ago

    Hello, I would just want to be able to in a way talk about the meds I am on, the huge amount, and not be judged by others who might take aspirin once a month for a “headache”. Due to chronic migraines for 20 years my mental health has declined and I tried to take my life twice just in Nov 2014. For whatever reason I made it but not before hearing the damage I have done to my liver mainly, but my kidneys, and my bones(I do not eat much at all). But my days consist of these meds: Lamictal 200mg, Fetzima 40mg, Propranolol 200mg, Xanax 8mg, Ambien CR 12.5mg, Zanaflex 4mg, Phenergen 25mg, Adderall 60mg, and then for a migraine attack my arsenal consists of a Phenergen tablet, my Imitrex injections, with either Cambria Liquid or and never together with the Cambria are these awful nasal sprays called Spinx. As far as my Imitrex, I did try the pill form, then the nasal spray, and in the end the injections. They are my go-to med and when I get low or run out the house without my shots or an ice-pack to go…I can have a major panic attack. But just another look at someone else’s medications…if anyone takes these and has any advice or warnings I would be so grateful. I trust my neuro and psych doctors but between my morning cocktail, midday med, and nighttime cocktail…I feel like I’m taking pills to sleep so soundly at night since my insomnia and racing thoughts can and have kept me up for many nights, so at 108 pounds and 5’1 I am very “druggy” at night but then I get up at 7am with my daughter and I need my morning cocktail to function and not be so exhausted and depressed or anxious and restless. At times I feel like my doctors are almost like “legal and well paid” drug dealers. One scratches the other’s back and I don’t have enough room on my nightstand to hold all my pill bottles or carry to-go meds in my purse, and now with the weight loss…to be put on Adderall and not diagnosed ever with ADD/ADHD just daytime sleepiness cure..yet I am suppose to take the Xanax 2mg pill/4 a day…its like being on uppers and then downers. Mixing meds that can be fatal or cause “serotonin syndrome” and both docs told me the signs of possible serious reactions but how can I when my husband doesn’t pay any serious attention, he does NOT believe in taking meds unless your dying kind of guy, so now how will I be able to recognize a bad reaction from a combo of my meds? One of the first signs is confusion, drowsiness, or agitated and restless…I mean I feel like this all the time so their advice, my docs, I’m not sure I’ll know myself if something goes wrong until I wake like I did this last time in November, with a tube down my throat, medically induced coma, and constant IV meds to flush the toxicity of my overdose for both my liver and kidneys to not just shut down and that would be it, end of story. For whatever reason I am still here but sometimes wonder especially when I am up late or so depressed and alone…am I being so reckless in taking all these meds or could I be hopelessly “addicted” to these meds and meds in general. My husband asks me or tells me that if I gave up all meds for good I would “be cured” but that’s a scary thought but just as scary as being on medication for the rest of my life and then those meds being my demise…ahhh don’t know right now..HELP…

  • beckys11
    4 years ago

    I was prescribed Adderall for fatigue from depression. It did affect my sleep. I thought it didn’t, but I slept a lot better when I stopped taking it. Your racing thoughts and insomnia could very well be from the Adderall. What concerns me is the Xanax. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be hell, most people describe it as harder than trying to stop using heroin. I hope you are able to titrate down the Xanax until you discontinue it . The longer you on it, the harder it will be to get off it . I hope one of your doctors is willing to discuss all your meds with you and to talk with any other prescribing doctors . If they won’t, you need new doctors. I developed intolerable chronic pain all over my whole body following a car accident. I had five doctors tell me they couldn’t help me before I found one who could and now my pain is tolerable . It took me four long years to find that doctor. Until that point, Even my family thought I was better off dead than alive because I suffered so much. I was suicidal . Don’t give up. doctors can be very different from each other and prescribe completely opposite treatments . For example, I get bupivacaine trigger point injections in my back and neck. Bupivacaine is a local anesthetic so it reduces pain . My last doctor told me that I couldn’t get it more frequently than once a month because the dose of bupivacaine would cause seizures. My current doctor says the dose is too low to cause seizures and he was willing to do it every three weeks . It Made an amazing difference . amazingly , I have been able to accomplish all of this without narcotic pain medication. The strongest medication that I take is tramadol (generic ultram). I hope you find some relief. Have you been to a headache specialist or headache clinic at a prestigious academic medical center, like Johns Hopkins in Baltimore Maryland ? That is where I ultimately ended up.

  • Laurie Vincent
    4 years ago

    My Neurologist found a cure for my Migraines 10 years ago. He put me on a preventative prescription medicine ten years ago called Lamotrigine, aka Lamactil. The brand that works best for me is Teva. I tried another brand when my pharmacy was out of that brand and it didn’t work at all for me. I went from 25 to 31 Migraine headaches every month down to only one moderate Migraine every four to eight weeks! When I do get a moderate Migraine, my routine is: take two Aspirin, drink some Gatorade, rub some Origins brand ‘Peace of Mind’ peppermint lotion under my nose and all under my chin and neck. Twenty minutes later, if all of that doesn’t work then I take two prescription Tylenol 3’s, also prescribed by my Neurologist. He has me take it in addition to either Aspirin or Aleve. Aspirin and the Tylenol 3 together works great for me. I have two Cardiac Arrythmias, so I cannot take any of the usual Migraine Abortive medicines that everyone else takes.

  • Laurie Vincent
    4 years ago

    If anyone wants to ask their Neurologist to start taking the daily Migraine preventative medicine Lamotrigine/Lamactil, give it a full four weeks to see results. I had to taper down from Topamax, while slowly tapering up with Lamotrigine during a four week period. This medicine didn’t do well in clinical trials because not many of the test subjects would wait for four weeks to pass. I am glad that I did stick it out for the four weeks. I have been virtually Migraine free for ten years now.

  • Brandy
    4 years ago

    I do the medicine hoarding…I have squirreled away a few hydrocodone & dilaudid they sent home with me from the hospital. extreme emergency. I am on a lot of meds due to bipolar and migraine, some do double duty, like depakote.( this is the only thing that broke through a nearly 3 month 24 hour/day migraine) For prevention I have depakote, topamax, metoprolol & muscle relaxer tizanidine that is used both as prevention and during an attack. My arsenal is Exedrin Migraine(Goody’s Powders work great too), DHE nasal spray. I still have some relpax but pretty much all those types quit working for me, any kind of menthol muscle rub, ice pack for top of my head(i have combo headaches), pad that can be heated to relax shoulders, guided imagery on ipod, and really important my Migra Cap. Its this cap you can keep in fridge or freezer that pulls down over your whole head, eyes too. has chilled patches hitting in all the right places. Some of you have given me ideas of things i need to make more readily available!!

  • Alicia
    4 years ago

    I have been living with chronic migraines for over 22 years and have tried just about every preventative and “on-set” med out there. I’m currently on propananol (for a second time) and Botox (also for a second time). Many of the posts mentioned natural remedies that I think I may try. I always have sumatriptan 100s and naproxen on hand for an attack and I have heard that Dramamine is a good option for nausea. And I could not live without my eye masks!! I always have a few close by and am trying to figure out how to get away with wearing one at work when a migraine strikes!!

    I have noticed that over the years I have developed a love/hate relationship with exercise. My migraines can be stress induced, so exercise is helpful. But, if I’m dehydrated, I get out of my exercise routine or I overdue it — instant migraine.

  • Jessica
    4 years ago

    I’m curious about the magnesium glycinate. I’ve been taking magnesium citrate – does the glycinate work better?

  • Fran
    4 years ago

    I have daily migraine headaches that don’t break and have tried just about everything everyone has mentioned on this blog so far. I’ve also gone to 3 of the well know in-patient headache centers. I’m functioning pretty well for somebody with this issue but have some days when I just give in to it and don’t function at all. I can’t bear any fragrances at so those are not an option for me. One thing that helps with my neck pain is 5% lidocaine patches. They are prescription and the co-pay is high on my plan but very worth it for me.I cut the pad in half so I use one for each treatment. They take about 20 min. to work and there is a marked difference in my neck pain. My Dr. said to try it on my temples but it didn’t help there. I’ve also had some luck with the Cefaly especially in the beginning. There was a significant lessening of pain. Now I really can’t tell but I’m still using it. After about 6 mos. it seems to be less effective. I’m currently taking Topomax 200mg. Nadalol 20mg. Zanaflex4mg 3X daily. naratriptan (Amerge) Every time I try to titrate down one of the meds, no matter how carefully, it’s impossiibly painful. An encouraging note….just in case you haven’t heard…new meds developed specifically for migraine are in trials and should be on the market with in a year or so (I know…seems like forever). This is the first time in so long that something has been developed just for migraine and is not off label use for another issue. It’s very encouraging.

  • TurboSloth
    4 years ago

    You are my favorite person. Have you had them your whole life? Only fluctuations of pain but never going to zero? The best times of my life(pain wise) was when I was 100% off medications aside from an antihistamine for allergies. Of course this was during tail end of high school and during college when I could take a day off without worrying that the end was near. I simply learned to suffer through the bad days until I was at the breaking point where I would pass out from tiredness. Not trying to say it’s feasible for everyone, but I definitely learned to manage it in my own way where I didn’t end up slamming my head into the wall, biting my tongue, and wishing for death to try to distract from the pain. Back on track, I’ve recently been forced again to seek treatment for job security reasons sadly and have jumped back in the lab rat routine. The only difference is that there is a slew of knowledge that has happened rather recently regarding migraines and I’m hopeful that I can find something or somethings that will help limit the amount of “I can’t move” debilitating migraine sick days or take my average numbers down a bit. There are very few people I’ve found that can’t remember a day without a headache or have intractable migraines so I always like talking with the few I encounter to see what has worked/not worked . Either way, I can totally relate and feel your pain. I just got done with a back to back 5 day keppra iv and vimpat iv. They helped lower the pain, but side effects were enough to keep me out of work or severely limit my cognitive function for most of it and above all did not break the pain. I’ve tried the majority of preventatives and am currently on lamotrigine simply because the side effects are not very limiting for me whereas topamax made me more zombie than human. I have no idea where I was going with this other than to say that I hope you find something that works and can totally relate. 🙂

  • JanetH
    4 years ago

    Addendum: I originally got a mouth guard, hoping if I was “clenching” it would help prevent migraines. It does not; but I’ve noticed if I go to bed with a migraine, I am clenching more, so I wear it as often as I can manage. If I’m really stuffed up in the nose, it’s really uncomfortable, but as soon as I start clearing out, in it goes for the rest of the night.

  • JanetH
    4 years ago

    Hello from another Janet. I’ve probably had migraines most of my adult life, but did not receive a correct diagnosis until several years ago. I’m currently perimenopausal, which seems to have increased them. So far (knock on wood), I can function (go to work) with a migraine. Here is my list:
    Flexeril (for stiff muscles post-migraine), rice pack for neck, heating pad, tylenol (regular and extra-strength). I have fioricet, and usually a half tab works well, but I can only use it twice/week. I am currently on Neurontin, 400 mg (200 mg BID), but the jury is out as to how effective. I loved what Topamax did for the headaches, but I tried it twice, and it made me very depressed. Sometimes if I catch it early, I can take regular tylenol and a strong cuppa Joe, and that will alleviate the symptoms. Imitrex did not work that well. I have a wonderful neurologist who specializes in headaches. I’m also taking 80 mg of Verapamil TID for headaches; again, jury is out as to how effective. I have asthma and cannot take NSAIDs, as Aleve was making me have actual attacks a few years back. Ibuprofen rips up my stomach, even if taken with food and/or an acid reducer. Finally, a few people have mentioned cluster headaches. My hubby has those, and is on verapamil (very helpful for him, less so for me), and when he had a bad bout of headaches last year, was prescribed oxygen. I was just curious as I’ve not noticed the Neurontin or beta-blockers mentioned for migraine; or oxygen for the folks with cluster symptoms. You have to be very careful with the oxygen; must use it sitting up, etc., but it’s a god-send.

  • beckys11
    4 years ago

    I take 300 mg of Neurontin three times a day. A total dose of 900 mg each day is the MINIMUM dose for pain. This is what my neurologist told me. I had been on a lower dose of Neurontin as prescribed by a previous doctor , but it did not help.

  • Jill M.
    4 years ago

    Hi JanetH! I also take Neurontin for my migraines, 300 mg twice daily. I recently started it in mid Dec, added it to my 400 mg daily of Zonegran. I’ve been keeping a very faithful headache log at my neurologist’s request, and I have seen a decrease in the intensity of my migraines but not the frequency. So, I think the Neurontin is working, but I might need either a higher dose or just give it more time. You also mentioned beta-blockers. I tried Inderal when I was younger, in my early 20s, and again in my late 30s (I’m 44 now) but both times the side effects out-weighed the benefits. The Inderal did an “ok” job of controlling my migraines but caused my depression to worsen, so therefore it wasn’t a good option for me.

  • Shani
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the input. I thought of something that works well for me as I start to climb out of the recess of #ell…I always have coca cola in the fridge and sip it (if I’ve been able to stomach ice chips). The caffeine helps and it settles me stomach some. Also small saltine crackers. They are just like the big ones but alas..smaller and don’t make crumbs or oysterettes-crackers. Eventually I make my way up the starch food chain instant mashed potatoes or rice. I do the ice packs too but can’t do the face masks b/c I find it very difficult to deal with smells and sounds when migraining. The lavender is too strong so many warm masks have scents in them as do the rubs/topical treatments. I have done botox. It is a personal choice of course. I did get some relief with occipital migraines (back of neck tension area) but refuse to do it anymore and have not for over 6 yrs. I just don’t want it in my body. I do take a Migraine Supplement that I think helps some certainly don’t think it’s hurting; that has many of the ingredients mentioned by Julia. And yes it does make you pee violent yellow, best to warn the nurse before your tests! Currently I’m on Zonegran and I’m not sure it’s doing much for the migraines and I think it’s having the same effect on me that Topomax did at theraputic dosage where I’m foggy. I have Amerge, Zomig, Toradol, Flexeril, Zofran and Sumavel(doesn’t work well for me) in my arsenal as well as ice packs, my sweat pants and shirt(I usually freeze when migraine), water bottle, puke bags, phone &charger. Dr. wants to put me on the Depakote, think I’ll stick to my instincts and your feedback and find something else. Love to all!!

  • vickimarie
    4 years ago

    Thanks heaps for your blogs. I take my arsenal and, often, my migraine experiences for granted and don’t think about connecting the dots until I read posts on So this site is an important component of my Migraine arsenal. My response is very similar to Janet’s list and the responders’ lists. I would add that a good cry will often release a migraine (after imitrex) and ice cream will erase any lingering pain after imitrex. Massage helps a lot, and if the masseuse understands migraines, the massage can release most of my migraines.
    Like everyone else, I have tried every
    credible idea that crosses my path. I recently returned a $300. Ceflay device — nice for relaxing but no effect on migraines for me. I am currently waiting patiently for the Spring TMS availability. I have an upcoming appt with a new neurologist to discuss Botox. I generally have up to 18 migraines a month. January has been a glorious month–only 4 migraines! The weather has been kind.
    The new neurologist is a partner to the last neurologist that charged my insurance company $600 for 20 minutes of his time. After checking my reflexes and having a brief conversation about my chronic migraine history, he said, “There’s nothing more I can offer you.” and sent me on my way — I cried and cursed him as soon as he left the exam’ room. So I am a bit reluctant to see his colleague but he’s the Botox specialist who has been recommended.
    I use imitrex tabs and imitrex nasal spray. I renew the Rx’s as soon as the 28 days have passed, whether my prescription is empty or not. It scares me when I get down to just a few doses.
    Can’t thank you enough for xovm

  • Julia
    4 years ago

    Hi guys. I get about 5 migraines a month, but that’s base. That’s when I’m doing good. I’m guarantied about that, but I can get up to about 15 a month. I’m thinking about trying botox. I’m afraid it will change the way I look or will limit my facial expressions. How has it worked for you? Thanks.

  • Julia
    4 years ago

    Thanks so much for this list! I’ve got some new ideas. I don’t like drugs. The pharmaceutical companies owns us, so I take the natural route whenever I can. However I do take sumatriptan 100mg when the supplements can’t fight the whatever the trigger may be (weather, hormonal changes every mo., etc.)The vitamins & supplements I take have lessened the frequency of migraines for me. I take magnesium, St. John’s wort, Gingko Biloba, A “B” complex vitamin w/riboflavin, butterbar, feverfew, 5-HTP. The magnesium, riboflavin and 5-HTP being the most important. If you’ve never taken these before, you have to give them about a month to get into your system good, so don’t give up. I take these supplements every single day because if I a skip a day I’m more vunerable to migraine. The body empties these out throughout the day as your urinate, so you have to take these every day to replenish your body with what it needs. The riboflavin will turn your urine bright yellow, but it’s ok. In latin, riboflavin means “yellow”. You can google all of this, but Dr. Mark Hyman (functional medicine doctor) is where I heard this first. You can google him too. He’s quite popular!
    I go to a health food store and buy lavendar oil, peppermint oil and chamomile essential oils. I use a carrier oil like jojoba and blend these all together and rub on my forehead and neck and shoulders. Icy hot is great too, but the essential oils smell better. Salonpas pain patches are great to sleep in. I also use strong throat lozenges/ cough drops to open up my sinuses. I get cluster headache symptoms which disrupts my sympathetic nervous system & causes congestion, runny nose, & red watery eyes. My insurance co. only gives me 9 sumatriptan pills a month, so to stretch it out, sometimes I use an OTC liquid flu medicine with antihistamine, decongestant and tylenol in it. The antihistamine and decongestant are vasoconstrictors. Liquid because it works faster. Sorry it’s so long. This is my first post. I love this site. Thank you all for being here 🙂

  • Judy
    4 years ago

    I feel relatively fortunate that I am not limited by insurance as to the quantity of my medications. My neurologist writes out two different prescriptions. One for sumavel injectables which work very quickly but don’t seem to last very long or work on my worst migraines, and one for zomig. (I have tried so many others and these are the two that seem to work the best.) Botox was not an option for me as it put my neck into spasms and made me feel awful. I am also on 200mg. Topirimate as well as 80mg. Propranolol. I recently weaned down from 300mg. of the Topirimate and tried to wean off the Propranolol but was unable to to let go of that medication. In my migraine arsenal at all times is Origins “Peace of Mind.” I keep it by my bedside to rub on my head to hopefully avoid having to take any medicine. I always carry one in my pocketbook and have an extra in my drawer. Also by my bed is Icy Hot Naturals which works the same way but is a bit stronger. Great on my neck and shoulders when they tighten up too. I could not live without my Headache Reliever with the ice packs. I have bought two so that I can switch out the ice packs after every 20 minutes or so. Also when heat is what I want I have a lavender scented wrap from DreamTime. I also take Diazepam (5mg.) to release the tension in my neck when needed. I try and do daily meditation for stress release and exercise whenever I can. Of course, I woke up today with a migraine so that is how it goes. One day at a time…I have had years of very chronic migraines, 5-6 a week, but now they seem to more under control and they are not running my life. I will keep searching for answers and love to hear what has worked for others!

  • Teresa
    4 years ago

    I am new here, so I will introduce myself (apologies ahead of time because I might be long-winded). I am Teresa, a 40 year old white female, married, with two fur-children. I started getting migraines when I was around 8. In the last decade, my migraines have become chronic. I usually have about 25 +/- migraines a month, with some lasting for days without any relief no matter how many pills and other relief forms I throw at it. I have tried dozens of different combinations of medicine. The one thing that I finally found that lessened the severity and frequency, was Depakote. (Btw, Shani, don’t go on Depakote if you can help it). It worked great at first, but I have been on it for a few years now, and it’s effectiveness has gone down so much, that the benefits are no longer worth the side effects. I developed severe tremors that were so bad, people would ask if I had Parkinson’s disease. I couldn’t even get a fork of food up to mouth without spilling it, due to the shaking. My doctor and I did some research, and found Artane (trihexyphenidyl) which helped with the tremors. This was great for a couple of months, then I started to notice that I was losing my memory. I am now to the point that I can’t even read a book anymore, because I can’t remember what I just read a couple chapters earlier, never mind trying to pick the book up the next day. I finally got an insurance company that would approve me for Botox, and have had two rounds of it. Unfortunately, it does not seem to work for me either. I have made up my mind to stop taking the Depakote, regardless of whether or not the Botox works (and yes I consulted with my doctor before starting to wean myself off). So, looks like it’s back to the drawing board for me.
    OK, now that I am totally off topic, here is my migraine list.
    Imitrex 100 mg, which I cut in half in order to have more pills for the month.
    Imitrex injections 6mg
    Botox inj.
    Depakote 500mg
    Artane 5mg
    Cymbalta 60mg (for depression and chronic pain)
    Seroquel 50mg (for insomnia)
    Tylenol 1000mg
    Actifed (don’t remember the mg)
    One of my favorite investments is the Headache Relief Wrap. It is a compression wrap that comes with 3 gel packs, which can be frozen or heated. They are still pliable even right out of the freezer. It is completely adjustable to fit around anyone’s head, and also for the amount of compression you want. I leave all 3 bags in the freezer at all times, and there has been no leakage after about 3 years.

  • Mary
    4 years ago

    A couple of amusing things also sometimes help me. First, soft ice cream, making sure it rubs across the top of your mouth as much as possible. It must slow down some problem blood vessels or something. Second, sometimes a good long yak on the telephone, with a lot of movement of face muscles, helps.

  • Mary
    4 years ago

    I have been using Botox, with the injection spots including neck and shoulder areas. The first couple of days aren’t the best, but then I get a nice period of much less need for other medication. I also cut my imitrex in half and find that that is frequently enough, so cutting plus the Botox allows me to save up some extra medication, if I start to get rebound from the imitrex then I use my pill cutter to back off gradually. Also, I always try anacin (very old fashioned combination of aspirin and caffeine) or if I think the problem is a bit worse I will go for excedrine. Excedrine does work better but the Tylenol is bad for you on a continued basis. I think caffeine is a first line of defence because it reduces swelling. Sure, it’s addictive, but that makes me no different than all the coffee drinkers. Also I always wear a sun visor, even inside in typically overly lit stores and I avoid getting the winter sun in my eyes. Sometimes, some exercise to get the blood flowing better in the morning helps. I tend to wake up with headaches every morning, but these methods generally allow me to get them under control within about an hour. Some very bad weather days simply have to be chalked up as light-headed days, in which case I go straight for the imitrex. I work with an excellent neurologist who is a Botox specialist, and our goal has been to reduce the amount of pills needed, as I had been getting into over-medication problems. For me, Botox has done that. Now, I rarely just plain lose out to a headache. Also, relief from stress and good sleep seems to be very important.

  • Julia
    4 years ago

    Hi Mary. Thanks for your post. Caffeine can be confusing because it’s both good & bad for migraines. If drank on a regular basis, not good, because it’s a stimulant and excites our sensitive nervous systems, and yes it can cause withdrawal headaches too. However once a migraine has started, by then our blood vessels need to be constricted and that’s when caffeine can help. For everyday lifestyle and prevention of migraine, I cut down on coffee and it’s helped, but when I get a migraine, I pour me a piping hot cup of Joe and it helps. I think the warmth of the liquid seems to relax some muscles too. To migraineurs like us, caffeine is like that old Brad Paisley song “Alcohol”, it’s both medicine and poison. 🙂

  • Lesley Lyle-Stenico
    4 years ago

    I think most people with migraines become medicine hoarders, because you never know what might work.

    This month my insurance is covering Imitrex pills and shots (for those early morning…hit you in the back of your head migraines) A few months ago the insurance was paying only for relpax…I just go with the flow.

    Phenergan is a must have at my house. It helps me with the nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sometimes helps with sleep.

    CryoDerm: MSN, Arnica, Boswella, Eucalyptus, ILEX, Menthol, Peppermint Oil I keep a bottle next to my bed and put it all over my head when I can’t even get out of bed.

    Sudafed (the original formula) when my allergies are bad.

    I did 5 rounds of Botox and was doing better until I had a reaction to it…that was not a fun time. So far none of the preventive meds have ever worked for me. Right now the weather changes are giving me a fit. Lately a dark, cold, quiet room, and time are all that is helping.

    Keep up the good fight my fellow Migraine peeps.

  • Jill M.
    4 years ago

    Lesley, Phenergan used to be my go-to med for nausea as well until a dr prescribed me Zofran to try instead. I like it much better! I find it works much more quickly (it comes in disolvable tablets) and I don’t get sleepy if I need to use it at work.

    Just thought I’d share my experience… what works for me might not work for you. Take care! 🙂

  • onehsancare
    4 years ago

    I’ve been a medicine hoarder, too, always worried about the stupid limitations the insurance company puts on the number of migraine pills we can receive per month. (Like we’re going to abuse them?)

    My husband persuaded me to put together an overnight bag to keep in my car in case of emergency overnight stays (which do seem to happen at least once a month), already loaded with my daily pills and at least one migraine (in addition to my purse arsenal). I was stunned to find that I’m down to my last Maxalt (from two prescriptions ago) and an Imitrex injection (which I save for the really bad ones, when I wake up already at a level 6). How did my hoard get so depleted??

  • Pat
    4 years ago

    A VERY IMPRESSIVE list, I must say.

    You have some things I don’t have & many that I do. A few things that I keep around are as follows:

    1) a GOOD pair of DARK Sunglasses. Even if the room is dark& I am sitting with my eyes closed – I always have my shades on. I can still lay my warm mask around them which is always a plus.
    2) I no longer get any relief from Imitrex – so I have BOXES of Relpax (eletriptan HBr) laying around. Used the same way as Imitrex, for now it offers some relief, if I can get in at the correct moment.
    3) My other “ONSET” drug of choice is Torridal. Since I have started working with a headache specialist, I always have a stash of pills on hand. If I miss the onset of my headache – the best thing to do is to be able to get into your Dr. and get a Torridal Injection. The injection has always started to give me relief within 30 – 45 minutes at most.
    4) For YEARS I was on Topomax (an anti seizure medication) as a precautionary medication. It in conjunction with the antidressant Lexapro gave me a running chance to battle my headaches. However as I have gotten older – I started to notice I was suffering from “BRAIN FOG”. My Dr. informed me that it was probably due to my Topomax dosage and has since change me over to another antidepressant which works along the same lines, but I have noticed my “FOG” is slowly clearing.
    5) And finally I was started on BOTOX injections this past fall – as I suffer from CHRONIC Migraines (I was having upwards of 20+ a month). I still suffer from quite a few, but usually the severity is less than before. Of course I have only had 2 rounds of injections (they are given every 3 months) and I am due to have my next set this coming week.

    It is a pleasure to have been able to connect with all of you, in a way comforting to know someone else out there suffers just like me. (not that I want anyone else to suffer).

    Hopefully I have given everyone some other ideas to consider.

  • Julia
    4 years ago

    Thank you, Pat! No you are not alone. I know it’s hard to believe it when people say they know how you feel, but I really do. Thank you so much for your lovely sentiment. One thing I’ve noticed is that phenylalaline (fake sugar) they use in diet drinks gives me migraines. I suggest you stay away from that stuff too. If you must drink soda, good ol’ real sugar is the way to go. Thank you for your post. Wishing you healthy, productive, pain-free days.

  • Shani
    4 years ago

    Hi Pat,
    I just read your reply and it sounds so like me!! I was on Topomax for a while but having the fog when increasing to theraputic dosage. switched to another (again) and tried imitrex in the injection form and using toradol in the nasal form. Did botox for a while too. I too am chronic and now getting clusters. Wanted to know if you were comfortable telling me what IS working for you now aside from the botox…I can’t get a handle on this and I don’t want to go on depakote. I have tried MANY preventatives and abortives so just trying to see what others are doing esp with similar history. Thanks.

  • tware
    4 years ago

    A good, practical, anti-emetic like Compazine in suppository dosage form. Also, a plastic bucket such as a paper recycle bin at work.

    A comfortable chair that can be slept in and is located on a dark room. I find that lying down always makes a migraine worse.

  • Molly
    4 years ago

    Eye pillows and/or masks! I have two buck hull eye masks that live in my freezer. These are awesome on my face, top of my head and neck. I have two so that I can rotate them if needed. I also have one that can be heated (though I rarely use that one).

    I have three regular eye masks to keep light out when I travel or sleep in a room without blackout curtains.

  • Shani
    4 years ago

    puke bags. I hoard them after going to urgent care. They are stuffed in the night stand, pocket of the car door…one in the handbag. Never know where you may be when the nausea forces it’s way.

  • Beverly Militello
    4 years ago

    Hi Janet,

    How do I send you a private message?

    Thanks Beverly

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Janet,

    Your list is surprisingly similar to mine, especially talking about the variety of muscles rubs we both seem to have tried!

    One thing is, I’m a huge medicine hoarder. I always worry so much about running out that I’ve managed to stockpile quite a bit of my Maxalt, among others. I would be scared to count how many I’ve (safely) stored! So it’s totally understandable about having so much stuff!


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