Migraine: My Owners Manual

My Name is Kathy. I am a 54 year old female and have been living with chronic intractable migraine headaches for at least 42 of my years. If you ask my parents they would say they believe I had head pain even as an infant. I have been to some 80+ professionals seeking treatment or cure for my migraines. I have tried over 100 medications in combinations of every feasible option. In addition to medications I have also tried chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, supplements, botox, trigger point injections, occipital nerve blocks, hypnosis, self hypnosis, biofeedback, massage, facial massage, scalp massage, prayer, physical therapy, exercise programs (which I have never stuck to), psychiatric therapy and a bunch of other things that don’t come to mind this second.

I have had short term success with a number of trials however in a short time every therapy or pill taken has failed to help me long term. So after 40 whatever years what do I do for my migraines? How do I get through each day and look forward to the next? By taking one day, sometimes one minute at a time and dealing with the pain level that is being delivered to me at that moment. I have developed a plan by taking bits and pieces from all the various treatments and doctors and specialists I have met along my journey. I am on several medications. I have a family doctor, a migraine specialist, a pain clinic specialist, and my brother is a licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist. I use all the therapies that it takes to get through the pain. Only one of those professionals prescribes the medications though so we don’t get crossed over with too many fingers in the pot. I am also currently seeing a sleep disorder specialist because I am insomniac as well. I also use a bi-pap machine for central sleep apnea. The very basic thing of breathing through the nigiht is important too or there would be no migraines if I was dead!!

I use biofeedback exercises to relax my pain levels down as far as possible. I eat a diet free of triggers for me. MSG is a big one. I have to be careful with aged meats and cheeses and sauces and spreads containing lots of preservatives and junk. And to quote my brother “suger feeds pain”. Too much will surely take you down the tougher road. My biggest trigger is the weather. If the barometric pressure is changing or is too high or too low or a cloud sneezes toward me I have a bad day. Wind is also mean for me. On those days I have to be more careful with stress triggers and food triggers, things I can control. I see my brother a couple times a week for treatments that include acupuncture, manipulation, pressure with a lazer light on muscle spasms and whatever else we can come up with to get the pain down to a liveable level. I still suffer daily headaches so I have to bull-doze through the rough times.

You also need to rid your life of people who suck the good air out of your world. One great friend is better for you than 10 that take advantage of your kindness or bring clouds to your few sunny days. Stress is a huge trigger of pain of many kinds. It will lay the ground work for a huge migraine and if one other trigger like a windy day enters into your day you’re down for the count.

So my advice for chronic migraineurs: Don’t worry, be happy. Use every resource available to you, and take one moment at a time. You can be a happy person loving life with migraines or a sad, mad person fighting through every moment. Believe me the first is the way to go. Been there done that. Best wishes to each and every one of you!

 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (9)
  • laalaa81
    6 years ago

    I too am in awe of you. I’m 31 with 20yrs of migraine under my belt. Nothing ever really worked so I just learned to live with them. Then almost 2yrs ago I was struck with chronic daily migraine with a list of symptoms as long as my arm including severe photo-phobia. My neurologist seems stumped and after an unsucsessful course of DHE and nerve blocks he says there isn’t much else he can do. I have never felt so low or so isolated.
    As I face this illness/disability or whatever each of you choose to call this I hope that I can some day take back the control I feel has been stolen and learn to be a part of the world again. Your positivity gives me hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    I would say to that Neuro “your fired” and find a headache specialist who can give you better more specialized treatment. There are a lot of options and medications and other treatments to try and for neurologist to just give up and say there is nothing more he can do and not even offer to refer you to another specialist is just unheard of! He should be kicked to the corner or kicked in his keister. You can still learn to keep a positive attitude while finding a much better doctor to get better treatment. Do you have a therapist? There are therapist out there that can give you pain management techniques and there are meditation music you can use and guided meditation as well as muscle relaxation. Don’t give up and do not despair. There is help. You are not alone and don’t let yourself feel or become isolated. You can do a google search to find headache specialist in your area or see if there is a neurolist in your area that specailizes in migraines-that is how I found mine plus he was referred my by therapist. You do feel like you’ve lost control but when you start using meditation and positive reinforcement you start to feel the control coming back. You will never gain complete control over your migraines but you will gain peace of mind and find on your good days more happiness and you can push away the negative people and go tell them to take a long hike and leave you be.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry you suffer so much, but with your outlook and your perspective I immediately felt bonded w/a kindered spirit!! I felt in Awe!!! I told myself I just love this girls spirit and outlook, her spirt shines through and how can anyone not love her for it!!
    I am 50 and have been suffering migraines since about ’87. Since 2010 they became daily intractible. I too suffer with Barometric Pressure Migraines and this past year so far has been one heck of a rough ride in that dept. You are so lucky to have such a support system in your life, especially your brother. And I agree about ridding your life of the Emotional Vampires! You don’t need the negativity! Keeping and staying positive is the #1 goal and when you encounter the vampies I like to zing ’em and zap them speechless w/a line to get them off my back & keep my inner circle peaceful & stressfree. I detest negativity & I steer my mind clear w/zany thoughts that I usually can’t say outloud but would so love to just to knock them off their feet or watch them scamper away w/their jaws dragging the floor, LOL. I have no time for that drama people like to drag w/them. Like you said, and I think I can remember a few lines, don’t worry be happy 🙂 🙂

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Ok Nancy. I downloaded it and playing it now on low. Wow, that brings back some memories 🙂 🙂

    Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

    Here’s a little song I wrote
    You might want to sing it note for note
    Don’t worry, be happy
    In every life we have some trouble
    But when you worry you make it double
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Don’t worry, be happy now

    Don’t worry, be happy, Don’t worry, be happy
    Don’t worry, be happy, Don’t worry, be happy

    Ain’t got no place to lay your head
    Somebody came and took your bed
    Don’t worry, be happy
    The landlord say your rent is late
    He may have to litigate
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Don’t worry, be happy

    Don’t worry, be happy, Don’t worry, be happy
    Don’t worry, be happy, Don’t worry, be happy

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Yes,Julie Bobby Mcferrin it is!

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Now that song is just stuck in my head. I might have to download it now. That is the artist Nancy-Bobby McFerrin?? LOL

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Kathy thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and what an uplifting one it was. Reminds of the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

  • Cindi
    6 years ago

    Kathy, I love your attitude! I’m about your age and have been wrestling this thing for about as long, although not as bad as you have it. I think we all have to go through the valley and come out to understand that it either has us or we have it. Mine has been fairly recent and my choice was to learn to live more positively, ridding myself with those who don’t bother to understand, taking that day at a time approach. I may not always see what’s happening with my prayers, but I believe they will work for my good. Thanks for telling your story! No worries – be happy! or as happy as you can be a the moment!

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Cindi. I was too struggling for years thinking my prayers were not being answered. But this year when I was at my lowest and at my breaking point I came across this scripture and this spoke to me and made all the difference to me. I hope this helps you and speaks to you and helps you like it helped me. It brougth me out of despair and gave me hope and changed my life and perspective a total 360: 1 Peter 4:12-13, Dear friend, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory be revealed. And my favorite: Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me.
    I know I can do anything and withstand anything because I have the inner strenght God has given me because I pray for it each morning and night. Our prayers are not always answered the way “we” want them to be at the time we want them to be. But we are given these pains and sufferings as a way to reach out to others to touch peoples lives and to give others hope that if we can suffer and survive and how we do it we can pass that along and guide others as well. Case in point this loving lady Kathy who even though she suffers terribly she is a beacon of light and a teacher to others who suffer the same affliction, but through her strenth she can also teach others how to cope that have other diseases through her outlook and positive attitude. God Bless Kathy, Nancy and also you Cindi. And everyone else on this Blog that share their stories, that post on these blogs and who offer comfort and direction as well as information. Attitude is 100%-mind and body connection. You can suceed at what you put your mind to. You can suffer in pain but you can put your mind to suffering with Joy in your heart-love to your family, friends, your furry 4 legged family members. A positive outlook makes the disease a tiny bit more bearable. It won’t cure it, but you can manage it a little bit better.

  • Poll