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!

 

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