Man clutches head as his silhouette fills with a raging storm

The Worst Migraine of My Life

Have you ever had a migraine that was so bad, so intense, so painful, that you thought it might literally kill you?

I had one of those last night. While I am not exactly sure in all my decades of experiencing migraines whether or not this was THE WORST - I have no doubt it was in the top three.

I almost went to the ER

I have had some pretty bad migraines in recent years - and also just in the past year and a half, developed vestibular migraine - but this one took the cake. If we were not in a pandemic, I think I might have gone to the ER, but the thought of those bright fluorescent overhead lights and the cold (why does it always seem hospitals are freezing?) also put me off. I thought being under any bright light, with sounds and other stimuli beyond my control - would make me feel even worse (even though I thought that might be impossible).

Finding relief at home

At least in my own apartment, I could control all stimuli - laying in the dark, with an ice pack on my head and heating pad against my neck, and all sounds off. I took Imitrex and two ibuprofen and laid down flat on my special cervical pillow and tried to ignore the passing waves of nausea. It took a while, but I finally fell asleep, though my sleep was broken. When I woke up in the morning, my head felt much better, with a slight ache where the intense pressure had been.

My migraine started in my neck

How did it start? Well, as I have mentioned in past posts, most migraines start in my neck. I know the idea of cervicogenic migraines used to be dismissed by the medical community, but recent research has come to better acknowledge that many migraines can either start with neck pain or include it. I had some kinda gnarly knot at the very top of the right side of my neck, near the base of my skull. I could feel the pain travel up into that side of my head, along my jawline, and even into my right eye socket, till the entire half of my face and head vibrated with pain and tension. I got my partner to massage my neck and shoulder, which helped a little for a short while. But it was not enough; the improvement vanished minutes after he stopped.

Taking meds and attempting to sleep

It was clear I needed to sleep off the pain, but how can you fall asleep when you are in a lot of pain? Sometimes I find it's almost like the body surrenders to unconsciousness, the metaphorical waving of the white flag. Shortly before I laid down, I did break down and take medications, which I am sure is what ultimately made sleep possible. I usually don't like taking them too late/right before bed as they can bother my stomach. But I decided that was the lesser of two problems. I at least took the precaution to eat a small snack with my meds, so the NSAIDs reduce their impact on my stomach.

Anyway, I am lucky I finally found relief, and I hope it is a long time before I have a migraine approaching that level of severity.

Have you ever had a migraine so severe you were scared of it? How did you manage? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

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