Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Migraine check list

When I'm having a migraine I often don't remember exactly what will help me the most. This is probably because my migraines vary wildly...from mild ones that I might not mention to my supervisor, to those that put me in bed for the day. As such, my treatment methods change depending on how bad it is, so I think it's understandable that I don't remember what to do at times. After having one of those "why didn't I think to do this earlier???" moments during my last migraine I decided to make a check list for future reference. Here it is.

1) Caffeine. Caffeine is my friend. It can help migraines, and if I don't get my usual caffeine fix that can make matters worse.

2) Warning: possible TMI. Eat plenty of protein and some red meat before my period. Although I am also getting migraines at other times in the last several months, they have come without fail during my periods since May. As such, it's been suggested to me that giving my body exactly what it needs during this time may help with the migraines. Additionally, it's a good idea to actually pay attention to when my periods will be so I can actually remember to do this.

Side note: All my body is doing is getting rid of an unfertilized egg. Why does it have to be so darn dramatic about it? Dangit.

3) Massage peppermint oil into my temples and the back of my neck. Even if it doesn't always help it still smells nice.

4) See the chiropractor if the migraine isn't a mild one. Or even if it is. This guy has proven that he can help. Also, if I'm too miserable to go, that's a sign I really need to.

5) That nice prescription strength Ibuprofen the doc gave me, and/or regular Tylenol. They aren't always necessary and may not work as well as the caffeine, but are useful when the headache pain is bad.

6) Dark chocolate and wine. It seems like I ought to be avoiding alcohol while I've got a migraine, but I tried it once out of desperation and it seemed to help. Also, dark chocolate helps everything.

7) A heating pad for my forehead and/or neck.

8) When lying in bed with a pounding headache that makes any movement a bad thing, getting plenty of water is still important. Even if it hurts to sit up enough to drink. Minor dehydration is never fun, and is even worse on top of a migraine. Getting this lesson once was quite enough.

9) The vitamin B and magnesium pills daily. Too early to say if they'll help, but they certainly aren't hurting me.

10) This one is easy to remember if it's an issue...sunglasses when I'm sensitive to light. Which sometimes I'm not. It's unpredictable. But it's good to always keep them on me, just in case.

11) Never try to predict how a migraine will go, or what symptoms I'll have. Though seeing little blue lights and having some sort of headache are pretty much a given. Odds are it'll be mild, but the migraines seem to delight in surprising me.

Don't tell me that the last one isn't a tip for how to deal with migraines.

You may notice that meds, other than the regular pain medicine and the supplements, are completely absent from this list. I've tried three medications -- two prescription and one over the counter -- and all had bad side effects. After the last one gave me minor chest pains (sad to say it's not the first medication to do that) I gave up. I just seem to be having bad luck with medications in the last couple years.

Do you do anything for migraines that isn't on this list? I'm definitely open to suggestions.

Staggered Swirl

This photo seemed appropriate for a post about migraines. I was going to go with a kaleidoscope, but decided that an optical illusion seemed like a better idea.

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