Last updated: April 2023
I am 70 years old and for as far back as I can remember I have had migraine.
My childhood migraine experience
As a very small child, I had "abdominal migraines" which were days of stomach pain and throwing up. Traveling by car was a nightmare as I was always sick and dizzy by the end of the journey. At age 8, I was prescribed glasses because of the headaches I was always complaining of.
This was the nature of my headaches for the next forty years.
After menopause, I developed episodes of vertigo and other strange issues with my head - such as pressure, disequilibrium, derealisation, and fewer headaches - in a way this was worse as I never knew when the episodes would end. At least with a headache, there was an endpoint.
A different diagnosis
I was eventually diagnosed with vestibular migraine. I live in the UK and the medical treatment I have received has been pretty poor. I have been offered the usual medications - beta blockers, painkillers but nothing else.
How I manage
I have mostly researched the disease myself and have come up with ways of managing the symptoms. I am currently on a gluten-free diet - I think it works - less daily nausea for one thing - I also take vitamin supplements and did take magnesium for many years but have discontinued this as it caused stomach problems.
Sleep is a big issue for me - too little or too much causes headaches, same with exercise! I wear migraine glasses for watching TV and computer work and these definitely make a difference. I wear sunglasses on sunny days or when the sky is bright. I limit shopping experiences because of chemical smells, too many people, too many objects, and too many flickering lights.
One thing that I have never managed to shake or treat, however, is the anxiety that inevitably comes with this disease. The fear of having a migraine attack, the fear when it comes, and the fear when it leaves because of the fear of another one.
Not letting migraine win
On the bright side, I had a successful academic career and traveled the world. Migraine is a pain in so many ways but it hasn't beaten me yet.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?