It takes a lifetime to figure it all out
Last updated: June 2022
I started having migraines during 4th grade, in 1963. I am now 57. When I was little, doctors thought I did not have migraines because I never had an aura. I never threw up. Half my head hurt, I teared, swelled up, stuffed up, and was entirely miserable.
Teachers humiliated me in front of the class for not being able to complete my homework if I brought a note from home telling of my headache. Others advised I just think about not having a headache. HA! I started migraining at the very beginning of puberty. 1963 was the dawning of the age of artificial preservatives, colors and ingredients in prepared food.
In 1963, classic migraine treatment was all about medicines - fiornal, cafergot, bellergal. I took too much aspirin, (no Tylenol or Advil yet). My ears were always ringing. One open-minded doctor recommended I learn transcendental meditation in 1969. TM did not work on migraines, but is a wonderful skill to have. Nobody ever mentioned the concept of migraine triggers in the 1960s.
However, on my own I have discovered many of my triggers: hormonal fluctuations, sulfites, nitrites, tar, paving, gasoline, MSG and dropping barometric pressure. I followed the advice in Heal Your Headache, and dropped caffeine entirely (coffee, tea, chocolate, Excedrin migraine) to lower my migraine activation threshold. This step has really helped.
I still get fooled sometimes. Eating out is a total crap shoot of unknown ingredients. I am often caught short by the unknown contents of sauces, reductions, and special salad dressings.
I have had to endure awkward moments at parties when the bacon wrapped scallop, or proscutto with melon, or the sulfite laden California white wine is passed around. I feel like a heel, but friends DO understand, and they are pleased if you have fewer headaches that they have to hear about!
Keep a journal to know what you have eaten. (Use LoseIt.com to keep track of your diet and exercise). Eat only healthy WHOLE foods. Sleep on a regular schedule, weekdays and weekends. Exercise regularly. Your headaches may never disappear completely, but they WILL become less frequent and less severe.
Live a pure life. You will be rewarded with better days ahead!
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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