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Coping with Stress and Tension Migraines

Coping with Stress and Tension Migraines

As an episodic migraine sufferer and a caregiver to a chronic migraine sufferer, I have found that there are some migraines that affect my wife and I worse than others. Migraines are all miserable, but sometimes one will stand out more so than others.

My weakness: tension migraines

Stress-related migraines or tension migraines are a show stopper in my world. The abortive medications work but are much less effective than other times. Often times, I have to take more than one dose of the abortive in order to break the cycle.

Ordinarily, I am still fairly functional with a migraine. Unhappy, but functional nonetheless. When stress triggers a tension migraine, my brain and my body basically try to shut down. My energy level is completely drained which forces me to call it a day. When this happens I get cold packs for my head and neck, a cool damp rag to cover my eyes, turn off all the lights, turn the air conditioner on high and cuddle up with the dogs for a nap.

Hard to function

There is no way to try to push through the pain on these days. Everything comes to an abrupt stop. Even after multiple doses of abortive medication, it is hard to function. I will typically sit with my head down and my eyes closed before I lay down. I have found that if I move my head around or if I try to look around with my eyes during these migraines, I immediately get dizzy and become nauseated.

Comparing myself to my wife

Although my wife and I have discussed it many times, when I have migraines like this, I feel weak in comparison to her because she deals with chronic daily migraines. I have seen her fight through migraines with tears in her eyes but still standing because there was something that needed to be done. These are the days when I want to crawl under a rock in the fetial position and just give up.

A little comfort can go a long way

One thing I am hugely thankful for is her years of experience in dealing with chronic migraine. It has given her a world of knowledge on different things to do that make you as comfortable as can be expected during a migraine. A little comfort during a migraine goes a long way.

I am bad with medications and times on my own, but she can keep track of it all without having to give it much thought. I am sure that is partially due to having lived with migraine for so long. She knows instinctively when it is okay for me to take another dose of my abortive, and when it is time to try a different one. When I am in that much pain I just have a hard time keeping track of the time. Due to this, I only travel (to work and back home), with one dose of abortive medicine on me. That way I don’t have to worry about accidentally taking a second dose too soon or taking more of a medicine than I am supposed to.

Do you have some migraines that are worse than others? Does somebody help you manage your migraines?

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.


  • Keithhea
    9 months ago

    This may sound weird, but I am so pleased to read this article. I get tension migraines – they can last anything from a few hours to days. Luckily the pain does respond well to medication, but the fatigue is what really gets to me. I have been getting them for years but have only recently been diagnosed and this is the first time I have ever heard the phrase “tension migraine”. So – very sorry to hear that you and your partner both suffer, but very pleased that you shared.

  • Andrew99
    9 months ago

    Does anyone else have migraines that your body doesn’t allow you the benefits of abortive medications. Antipsychotic (I hate that word) meds that they use to help with migraines because you now have had such severe reactions to them including cardiac arrest? (Yes I had a heart attack in the hospital when they administered the DHE) You have had to come off of 5 different opioids to prevent rebounds so you simply survive on your faith, IM Toradol, IM Phenegren and Benadryl and Magnesium. Because everything else can be detrimental. So I suffer. I have been asked by my neurologist to tell my story because it’s not like others and how I do it with out just medications. I do biofeedback to find inner peace but as everyone knows that demon that is trying to over run you can take over that peace. So does any one else have ideas? I am out of options. I get Botox and found out that I cannot have Botox and Aimovig together or it literally feels like someone has put a flame to my brain. 3 days of that and the finally blocked all the nerves….that’s where I am at now. Any migraines lasting more than 3 days my neurologist has me on a “if she calls get her in” list for the nerve blocks….because that’s the end of the line. I do the meds at home and after 3 days I see him or the other 2 in the office that can do the nerve blocks. I just want to hear if anyone out there has anything similar as Hope is failing and I am to young to feel like I am just surviving another day.

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