Rise and Shine

I was diagnosed with migraine in 1988 -- four years before the first acute treatment, became available on the market. There was nothing for me but pain management and life style management. Finally, in 1991 there was acute treatment but I'm one of the people who only partially responded. Don't get me wrong, partial was better than nothing but it still left me with crippling migraines about once a week.

Seeking help

Flash forward to 1994. I had moved to a new state and was looking for a new migraine specialist. Armed with my migraine journal, my list of triggers I had been expanding and refining for 10 years, I went on numerous appointments, interviewing doctors to find someone who understood what living with migraines was really all about.

An experienced doctor

Then I found him. He was in his early 80s and had been treating migraine patients for 60 years. I really, really like him but was hesitant to become a new patient as he would surely be retiring sooner rather than later but his calm, common-sense approach convinced me to stay with him even in the short term. At the end of our first appointment, after a detailed review of my journal, he gave me homework for our next appointment in three months.

He told me there were no medical studies for it but over the life of his practice, he found patients who got up at the same time every day seemed to stabilize. It didn't matter what time you went to bed, it didn't matter how much sleep you got, the only thing that mattered was getting up at the same time every day with the first ring of the alarm, no snooze button, just get up -- just rise and shine. He asked me to try this new routine along with low dose of Depakote every day and let him know how I did.

I did great. Beyond great. Fantastic.

New morning routine

I was never one to use the snooze button but I didn't get up at the same time every day, seven days a week. After my appointment, I set a time to get up every day and stuck to it, within a month my vague, nagging morning migraines had reduced, within three months they were basically gone.

Since 1995 I have gotten up in the same-hour window every day and since 1995 I have basically stopped the "morning migraine effect" in my life. There's something about stabilizing my circadian rhythm that has had a stabilizing effect on my migraines.

Importance of waking up

I don't go to bed at the same time every day, although I do make an effort to do that as well. And I certainly don't "Shine" in the mornings but I "Rise" and by rising I have tapped into a way to manage my migraine that involves no pills, no supplement, just the willpower to get up immediately when the alarm goes off.

My doctor did retire about five years after I started seeing him, but not before he changed my life for the better with the simple instructions to "Rise and Shine."

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