I gave up, and then a miracle!
I was sent to a pain management clinic for my migraines.
This was the summary of my first conversation with them:
You've got Migraines?? Too bad, you are outta luck. It has been decided by the medical powers that be that the best treatment is no treatment at all.
Why, this new approach, you may ask?
Well, apparently treating migraines just makes them worse!
This is how it was explained to me today:
In studies of persons with migraines, it has been determined that if treated, people don't get better. In fact, many of these unfortunate souls who are treated just get worse.
They sometimes sometimes even experience more frequent and severe headaches and this is the said to be the proof that treatment must make you worse.
So, my migraineur friend, just take your pesky, painful migraines and hit the road. In theory, you will get better because you are not receiving or taking medication of any kind. No aspirin, no Excedrine, no ibuprofen, no tryptophan or tryptins---just nothing, nada, zilch.
Meditation, acupuncture, and presumably prayer are allowed. Have You ever you prayed the pain of your migraine would stop. Hopefully you have and it did, in which case you likely did not seek medical attention anyway.
What's wrong with this picture?
First, nobody knows for sure what causes migraines, but the condition has affected humans for centuries. Ancient Greeks named them "nuikpavia", meaning pain on one side of the head.
Fine, you say, then why worry since cure is theoretically impossible at the present time?
The fly in this ointment of denial is symptoms. Most persons with Migraine are in serious episodic pain. Pain is a symptom of migraine---I mean it is called a "Migraine HeadACHE" for a good reason.
If you don't get migraine headaches, you may not know what the fuss is about.
On, the other hand, if you, a loved one or a friend have this beastly disease, you may understand why this seems paradoxical. If we treat your headache pain, you will feel better, but you likely will get another migraine in the future.
Are there studies that are evidence based that prove you will be better off if you receive no symptomatic treatments? Think about it, no one knows in advance how many migraines any one individual will have in their lifetime, and no lifelong double-blind studies have been done, or could be done. So, in the absence of many studies PROVING that treatment of symptoms are better left untreated, one wonders if this is valid assumption.
There is a claim that so called prophylactic approaches "may" reduce the number of headaches. Oh, no problem, you think, I'll just take a prophylactic medication then.
Oops, here is the problem with prophylactic medications. There are no medications approved by the FDA primarily for prevention of migraines. Heavy duty anti-seizure medications are sometimes recommended, but the potential side-effects are serious. I once was given Topamax to try and reduce my headache frequency, but the side effects were lowered cognition and an aphasia-like symptom that kept me from remembering common words.
After 30 days of this, I stopped the medication. Did I mention it's known as "Stupidmax" by many in its user forums? Also on the list is Kepra, another anticonvulsant, and if you read the warnings for this one, you might think it's too risky, and I would agree. Besides, it only claims to reduce the number of migraines, not to eliminate them. I would say to that, show me the studies that support this claim. You will find there are none that stand up to real scrutiny.
Of course many pharmaceutical companies tout their products as "off label" use for migraine headache prevention. Good luck with that approach, you may be lucky.
As you can tell, I was seriously cynical.
What changed? I said I'd try a few of the treatments suggested.
First, Botox injections. No luck, nothing changed.
I was urged to stop taking all pain medication, and to reduce/eliminate the Sumatriptan as well.
That did not happen until after the miracle.
As a last resort I had an occipital nerve block.
Bingo! The next day after the block was surreal. No headache, not even a little one. I pinched myself daily, so far so good. It has been 3 weeks, and I have been headache free. It is still early days, but this treatment isn't toxic, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
So, don't give up, I am glad I did not.
I'll post again in a month or so, just to report my progress.
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?