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Advice–or Should I Say the Makings of a Migraine

I sat back the other day and thought about the myriad of information given to me by all the doctors, specialists, therapists, acupuncturists, Reiki masters, massage therapists, books, friends, and acquaintances I have come into contact with. I also remembered how one day, when I was in the hospital and my dad was visiting, he told one of the doctors doing rounds that I could write a PhD dissertation on migraines at that point. It was so sweet of him. So, I started to make a list in my head of all the advice found and given to me; and I realized, first, if it were a dissertation, I would fail because of all the contradictions, and second, how funny it would be to see in actual writing. So here goes:

Do not eat chocolate it will give you a migraine.
Eat dark chocolate, the caffeine in it is good for migraines.
Don’t drink any caffeine.
Drink caffeine to abort a migraine.
Food triggers will be discovered within two hours after you eat the food.
It takes 48 hours for you to know if the food you ate caused a migraine. (By the way, this one is really hard to figure out if you have chronic headaches, because it could be anything you ate in the last 48 hours!)
Vigorous exercise will help.
Moderate exercise is best.
Exercise at least 3 times a week.
Exercise every day.
Anti-inflammatory agents are best for a migraine.
If the anti-inflammatory agents upset your stomach, then the acids and hormones produced in your stomach will give you a migraine.
Opioids are terrible for head pain.
It’s okay to take a small amount of opioids if it gives you relief.
If you are at the ER, you will be given opioids.
Don’t take more than 3 tryptans (anti-migraine medicine) a week.
Don’t use abortive medicine more than 2 times a week.
Take as many triptans a week as needed.
Take no more than one triptan an a day.
Take no more than two triptans a day.
Do not take over-the-counter medication.
Do not take anything but over the counter medication.
Take Tylenol as needed.
You will get a worse headache if you take Tylenol every day.
Stress causes headaches.
Stress does not cause headaches.
Peanuts, wine, chocolate (oh, I already mentioned that one), berries, and cheese cause headaches
You can have alcohol if you drink three glasses of water with it.
Go to acupuncture once a week.
Go to acupuncture three times a week.
Go to acupuncture every day.
See a chiropractor.
One woman told me she never had migraines until after she saw a chiropractor.
Have a hysterectomy.
Don’t have a hysterectomy–it’s too sudden a change.
Take hormones.
Hormones can cause headaches.
Don’t take antidepressants; they can cause headaches.
Antidepressants can get rid of headaches.
Get a lot of sunshine.
Don’t stay in the sun too much.
Go to physical therapy.
Physical therapy might trigger a headache.
Swimming is good for you, because of the lack of stress on your joints.
Swimming is bad for you because of the head turning and water in the ears.
Don’t do yoga.
Yoga will calm you and center you so your headaches will go away.
If you are distracted you won’t notice a migraine.
Treat every migraine aggressively.
Only treat migraines if they are incapacitating.
Rate your pain on a 0 to 10 scale.
Rate your pain on a 0 to 5 scale.
Stop rating your pain.
Eat a lot of salt to increase your blood pressure, because that might be why you have so many headaches.
Don’t eat a lot of salt; it will trigger a migraine.
Drink a lot of water.
Don’t drink plain water; drink water with some added electrolytes.
Work through the pain.
Rest to get rid of the pain.
If you are not assertive enough you will get a migraine.
Don’t cry, it will give you a migraine.
Too much sleep causes a migraine.
Too little sleep causes a migraine.
Don’t change your sleep schedule by more than one hour or you will get a headache. (This one is somewhat true for me, but completely impossible to implement all the time in this day and age.)
Wear glasses so you don’t strain your eyes.
Stop wearing your glass because of the pressure on your nose.
Have facial surgery.
Facial surgery is not the answer.
Use at least 155cc of Botox shots.
Don’t use too much Botox or your face will start to look like a skull.
You should notice the effects of Botox in a week or two.
It will take three rounds of Botox three months apart for you to see any effects.
It will take three rounds of Botox ten weeks apart for you to see any effects.
Try lidocaine infusions.
Don’t try lidocaine infusions unless you have a migraine that won’t break.
This hospital doesn’t do lidocaine infusions.
You need to stay in a special hospital or your migraines will become permanent.
The hospital is the worst place for you.
Use an infusion of DHE (a type of medication); it’s the gold standard for migraines.
DHE is very dangerous; don’t ever use it.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Or maybe, you have just gotten a migraine from reading this? I think the only thing I have learned is that I have to choose one person to trust and follow his or her advice, because if I try to make sense about everything said to me, I will truly go crazy. Luckily, I have a wonderful doctor, who, when I am hopeless remains hopeful for me; but unless you ask, I will not tell you which advice is his, because your migraines may be different from mine.

Oh, the one thing everyone agrees on is that too much sugar causes headaches! Bummer!

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.


  • aks868 author
    3 years ago

    Dear Ms. Mojo,

    I love your reply! It is definitely a club with unhappy members who can’t make the meetings! Love it! I have been a member for almost 9 years–let’s hope for a quick dissolution of this club!


  • Jojiieme
    3 years ago

    Great list – reflects wide life experience!
    After about 12 years, I’ve just had another triptan prescribed, with stern warnings not to use more than a few weeks apart. (I can use two tablets for one episode) I had to resort to one the night before last: I have to say, it was just amazing to feel all the teeny capillaries and nerve endings in my face and scalp just slowly relax their tight vice-like grip. Short lived but long enough to sleep.
    I’ve lived so long without a decent practical abortive. Now there’s a teeny glimmer of hope – every day will be a tough calculation of safety from the last time I was desperate enough to swallow the Zolmitriptan. (How do the rest of you decide?? I’m sending hugs)

  • Ms.Mojo
    3 years ago

    This list made me laugh out loud! Very, very clever. I might have kept a running dialogue of notes – with all of the advice or kooky comments I’ve received over the years, had I known I was to join the club nobody in their right mind would want to join. I thought it would be part ,-time and over and done with by now. The chronic migraine club. Where we can’t have regular meetings because people would have a difficult time committing to be someplace regularly.. I’ve been a reluctant & dissatisfied member of this club for 14 years. You can’t just quit the club when you want, (it’s ike chronic mafia). I feel like a prisoner to my own body.. Though now that I found this informative site, I already feel better. I hope to have less dissatisfaction because, face it, It is a lonely business to be a migraine hermit. It’s humbling, plus close friends & family have no idea how to act normally around me. I used to think I had a supportive family until I became sick; though It has gotten better with some of my family. People can’t relate well who have never had a migraine. I’m looking forward to meeting the other migraine survivors, online. Make friends with people who also out there sitting in the dark, like me. I’m working up the energy to write my migraine story, I have migraines almost every day now, & a side effect with this particular migraine is double vision and insomnia. So, please excuse any typos. I’m pretty new to this site. Just thought I’d give you a thumbs up on that hilarious list of “helpful’ suggestions. I needed a laugh. Thanks.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Ms. Mojo!
    These were quite amusing weren’t they? We are SO happy that you found our page! We are certain you will be able to connect and hopefully relate well to much of what our community discusses. Please always feel fee to reach out! You may also want to check out our where you can interact with many others as well.

    Welcome to our community!
    -Joanna ( Team)

  • Mr FBP
    3 years ago


    I’m sure I’ve heard or read at least half of them in the course of a single week long migraine.

    I’ve got several triggers running this week – stress due to deadlines leading to disrupted sleep (including a night with just two hours sleep trying to catch up with work) and I started a new diet this week to try and get rid of the weight that’s being hangin around me for the last two years.

    I will attmpt the local Parkrun (5km) tomorrow with my children – that shouldn’t be too strenuous as I’ll be at a 10yr olds pace. However I’m following the perfect recipe for a weekend migraine.

  • aks868 author
    3 years ago

    Oh, I hope you don’t get one, but I know the feeling–doing something with the family that makes you feel good ends up turning into a trigger. In the end, I just say, “Go for it anyway!” And I just read a post that told me that doing so is taking control of your life rather than being self-destructive. Go for it and enjoy every second!

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