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Living with Migraine

Another story

  • By Roberta

    Hi –

    I’m sure a lot of you experience this. I guess I just need to let it out. I have migraines. I was originally told it was due to arthritis in my neck, but I believe now that it probably was a rebound headache that got this diagnosed and then the arthritis is a contributing factor. Unfortunately, it’s not just the arthritis. Weather, food allergies, heat and other things will trigger them for me. I have a wonderful neurologist and we found 2 preventatives that have worked well for a few years. But over time tolerance has increased and I’ve been taking more to keep them away. To add to this, my stomach is not happy. I now have acid reflex/gastritis.

    Recently I had a terrible flare-up with the acid reflux that lasted about a week. About 2 days into this, I got a migraine. I couldn’t take any medication without the most intense heartburn from my middle chest up to my ears. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and at times felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was terrible.

    Since this flare-up, I haven’t been able to take my migraine meds without some type of stomach/heartburn pain; it’s been almost 2 months now. After it subsided, I started looking into natural remedies to help. I’ve taken Feverfew and magnesium caltrate and then I found some natural remedies to help the heartburn. I was so happy. It seemed to be working. After about 2 weeks, I started weaning myself off my meds. All was great. I had a few headaches, which I figured was normal, but after a month, all seemed very good, almost seemless. Then I hurt my neck and at the same time, the weather kicks up and my allergies are in full gear and of course, I get a migraine. I went to the chiropractor, which helped some but I’ve had a headache for about 3 days now. I’m trying to stick with the natural remedies, but last night I gave in. I took my meds because I needed sleep and I feel like I’ve cheated. But the migraine is back today, not terrible pain, but it’s there.

    So, I’m at work, trying not to cry because it’s seems obvious to me that I’ll never get off the meds. The side effects aren’t as bad as some of the others I’ve taken, but I’ve gained weight and they make me tired, so my time awake is limited. And now I have the stomach issue.

    I know it’s better than the alternative, but I’m simply depressed about it. I don’t want to accept it because I feel like I’m giving in. I very much hate this. I was hoping I could find the natural remedies that kept them back enough so I could lose weight and start having my life again. I used to be very active and now it’s all I can do to go to work, attempt to clean my home and a cook periodically. But in reality, I feel like it’s a struggle to wake up every day for work and I don’t have a lot of energy. I try to walk and do things to lose weight. I stopped gaining, but I’m not losing.

    I don’t have a social life and I miss a lot of family events because people don’t understand. I’m tired of the looks when I try to explain this to people, so now, I just make up excuses.

    I’m not in pain if I follow my regimen, but I’m tired of it. I realize some of you are thinking, that’s good and I shouldn’t complain and I’m sorry. I really am. I know some of you are in incredible pain every day. I know I’m lucky to have some relief. But I want my life back. I want to do things and be active and I feel like I’m just treading water. I was never really sick before this was diagnosed and I’ve read so much looking for relief. I guess somewhere inside me, I thought it was like a bad flu, that somehow, it would go away.

    Thanks for listening.

  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Don’t ever apologize! Pain is pain and we’re all in this together. So I have a couple of thoughts. Were you taking Butterbur at any point to prevent the Migraines? This natural supplement is known to cause burping and acid reflux. Just a thought.

    Since you are experiencing such intense acid reflux, have you seen a gastroenterologist? I personally have had gastro reflux issues aside from the Migraines, but it definitely flares up sometimes when I change meds. I know you don’t want to take more meds (especially when you need meds to undo what other meds are doing to you). But you should make sure that there aren’t any serious issues.

    And you’re not cheating by taking your meds when you are in pain. It is a long process to find the right balance. It’s a lot of trial and error. Until you can get to the point that you want (ie being off all meds) don’t beat yourself up for needing help!

  • By Roberta

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you for the nice thoughts.

    No, I’ve never tried Butterbur. The acid reflux/gastritis was recently diagnosed by a gastroenterologist. I’ve been given Omeprazole (80 mg 2x /day) and told to take forever. I was also given a pain killer that starts with an H and has a very long name 🙂 for my stomach when I have flare-ups. It definitely helps, but the main side effect is blurred vision. Taking it only once, it’s not terrible, but after a week, it was comparable to having my eyes dilated from the eye doctor. One of my migraine meds also has a side effect of losing vision and this has concerned me. My career is in finance and I’m on the computer all day.

    I appreciate the thoughts and it helps knowing someone understands.

    Thank you very much!

    • By Ellen Schnakenberg


      First, just a couple of super important points to make of which you may already be aware. Since others read this, they’re important to make:

      Natural remedies are nature’s medicines. In fact, some of the side effects can be very serious, even fatal. Treat them just like a medicine, making sure you don’t change your current management protocol without first talking to your doctor. Feverfew for example, can have severe side effects on its own, but used with the wrong medications, can even be fatal. Here is a link that may help explain this:

      Having a chronic illness is tough, and we all go through some rough times. I remember getting horribly depressed when I realized I was going to be tied to prescriptions and doctors for the rest of my life. It bites. It’s not fair. I didn’t ask for this and my family sure didn’t either. I wrote some about dealing with these feelings here:

      As to the problems with reflux etc. I would suggest you talk to your doctor about compounding some of your meds. You can change HOw you take your meds so they avoid the reflux issues. Here is an explanation of what compounding is and why it is an excellent choice for Migraineurs: This article talks about selecting a compounding pharmacy to help you:

      I really hope this has helped.


  • By VTLauren

    The best natural remedy for heartburn is Apple Cider Vinegar. Please try it. It needs to be raw and organic. I use Braggs brand. Other people I know swear by it too. If you google it, you can read about lots of other benefits to using it. Good luck!!

  • By Roberta

    Hi Ellen,

    Thank you. I didn’t realize the natural options could have side effects like the prescription meds and didn’t even consider the possibility of one of them being harmful when taken together with what I’m currently taking.

    I’ve stopped taking them for now. I’m going to research what I was interesting in taking and discuss with my neurologist in a few weeks in my annual visit.

    Thanks again for the good advice.

  • By Roberta

    HI –

    Regarding the apple cider vinegar, I’ve heard this and understand it is supposed to work wonders. I’ve tried it twice, with 2 different types of vinegar, thinking the first was not of good quality, but unfortunately, it still burned. It was incredibly painful. I’m sort of having this result with a lot of things I’m trying.

    I’m thinking I just need to deal with the meds.

    But I appreciate the advice. Thank you very much.

  • By kmripple

    I am so sorry you are having it this tough. Yes, other people may be worse off, but your pain is real and you should not discount it on account of others being worse off than you. It is your pain and what you go through, and it can get soooooo tiresome sometimes. It just leaves you drained and exhausted and at times hopeless.

    One thing I learned through the process of chronic migraine was that I had to say goodbye to some parts of the old me. The hardest is not being able to drive much anymore because it gives me a migraine. I have read that people with chronic conditions go through the same grieving process as if they had lost a loved one (which, in essence, we have). Reading up on the phases of grieving helped me cope and understand that although painful, most of what I was feeling was normal.

    I hope you feel better so you can enjoy more of life.

  • By Roberta

    Hello kmripple,

    Thank you. That’s very interesting. I’m going to look into this. It definitely makes sense.

    I really appreciate the suggestions.


  • By Roberta

    Today, one of my co-workers, was expressing frustration with her ailments. She doesn’t get migraines, but her life is just as sporadic. She never knows when she will fall ill and is still in the beginning stages of another chapter in her life. As she was saying, this is no way to live an she wanted her life back, it felt so familiar. I thought of all of you and how good you made me feel. Just knowing you’re not alone, means so much.

    I suggested she search online for a support group for her ailments, but I let her know, I knew exactly how she felt, and I was there for her. I told her how wonderful you all had been to me because you understand. There is no judgment, just helpful tips and supportive words.

    So, thank you all! The kindness keeps going on!