More frequent, less severe

I am a 30 year-old female Christian from UK who gets migraines a LOT.

From the age of about 8, I started to get headaches in extreme heat and at 13 I had daily headaches which was related to the stress of my mother's cancer.

Aged 20 I had a whiplash injury which combined with the stress of living abroad and trying to wash my hair in the sink led to me seeking chiropractic help after suffering severe headaches. A few months after starting this treatment I went on a 3-week camp and took caffeine supplements to keep me going. When I got back I stopped taking the caffeine , but three days later I suffered what I now think to be my first migraine. It lasted several days. I visited the chiropractor who told me it was unlikely to be migraine as they would have started when I was 16 or 17 and I would have had visual symptoms. I now know both to be false.

I had occasional headaches and migraines after this until I was 24, when the end of a relationship led to migraines every fortnight. The chiropractor didn't know what caused it, but no one suggested migraines. My mum just said 'Oh half the population gets headaches at weekends'. I eventually cut out caffeine and felt an enormous benefit after an initial few days of horrific pain. Soon however they crept back again. Someone suggested I have my eyes tested but the optometrist said my eyes were fine and didn't know why I had pain behind my eye during a headache.

Gradually, with increased workload, my migraines crept up in frequency. After two severe ones where I vomited and started to suffer daily sinus pain in 2009 I visited the GP (family doctor). Two of them both were clueless but prescribed nasal spray and antibiotics. They even said that the vomiting sound like migraine but the fact that I had no visual symptoms meant it wasn't. (Ever heard of migraine without aura?) Eventually the sinus pain went away but after driving to visit a friend and spending the rest of the day vomiting, I visited a third GP who said it was a clear cut case of migraines. Two weeks later my grandmother died.

Shortly after this I had a bout of daily migraines and was prescribed sumatriptan (Imigran/Imitrex). It felt like a godsend but I could finish a whole pack of 6 in as many days and couldn't always get my repeat prescriptions fast enough. It continued over the summer - more frequent, less severe - and in the autumn I was put on propranolol. When I saw little result from this I was sent to a neurologist, who told me that the sumatriptan could transform the migraines i.e. make them less severe over a long period of time. He also increased the dosage of propranolol.

At times I have noticed a mild benefit but I am not really feeling any better than I did this time last year. Also, the propranolol slows me down and I couldn't cycle as fast on my cycling holiday this year as the previous year. However, one interesting thing did happen on the holiday: heat is one of my triggers and I had already taken one of my two triptans for the month. We arrived to blazing heat and I began to feel worse as the day progressed, but I was reluctant to take another triptan. Worried about vomiting at a campsite, I tried not to eat too much and eventually did take my last triptan. Someone prayed with me that I wouldn't have any more migraines that week - and I didn't! Admittedly there were a few twinges but I took paracetamol at the first sign and had a great week with fabulous new friends.

I work in a school and noticed I felt much worse when term recommenced! Short of changing job, I don't know what to do except pray for a solution.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you feel comfortable advocating for yourself to your healthcare provider?