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.
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!