What is a migraine:
In lay mans terms its a horrendous pain, usually in one side of your head, that can bring symptoms such as loss of sight (literally blinding pain), nausea, and a general sense of despair and craziness. You can become very sensitive to light, sound, any movement of the head. Many migraine sufferers get a warning sign which can be a flash of light, or speckled lights (glitter as I like to call them) in front of the eyes. Others simply get an instant pain, or a slow building pain.
What causes a migraine:
I’m not gonna go in to the scientific side of it cause I’m no doctor and don’t really want to be handing out false information, but from all the reading I have done online and in particular the NHS website, migraines are believed to be cause by changes of the chemicals in the brain. Serotonin levels reduce which causes the blood vessels in part of the brain spasm, making them narrower. When the vessels widen again this is thought to bring on the pain in the head.
What triggers a migraine:
The list of triggers is pretty long for migraines, but here are just a few:
- lack of sleep
- lack of food
- certain food groups
- the contraceptive pill
- certain medications
- flashings lights and/or loud noises
My migraine experience:
I have been suffering from migraines since I was about 18/19 I reckon, just came out of the blue it seemed. When I get a migraine you can say goodbye to me for a day or two, they completely bulldoze me. I have been getting them for so long now I can usually tell if I feel one coming on, even though I can tell this, there is NOTHING I can do to prevent the pain taking over. My symptoms include nausea, major sensitivity to light and noise, loss of appetite and thirst. The pain behind my eye, usually my right eye, gets so bad I spend the most part of the day crying my heart out like a small child.
I have been prescribed imigran for pain relief from my migraines, this tablet is quiet expensive, approx. €8 per tablet. In Ireland it is only available as a prescription, in the UK it is available over the counter. This tablet will dull and most of time get rid of the pain of the migraine if you take it within a certain time period, essentially at the start of the migraine before the pain gets so bad. If you are in the height of a migraine you may as well be taking smarties.
I have been trying to discover the cause/trigger of my migraines for ever now, I simply can not pin down one single cause. Sometimes I will get a migraine around the time of my period, but not always. Sometimes they will come on out of the blue when I won’t have done anything different in my routine. I did discover a few years back that the pill I was on was not helping matters, and since then I have been on progesterone only pills as oestrogen is found to be a trigger in some women suffers.
In the months leading up to Christmas 2012, I found that I was getting more and more migraines checked which I blogged about here so I got my eyes tested, low and behold, needed specs for the computer, so thought this would be the answer to all my prayers. Alas it was not, as I still continued to suffer with migraines.
I finally went back to the doctor about 6 weeks ago and she changed my pill yet again, I am now on cerazette (a progesterone only), and also a beta blocker called half inderal. This beta blocker is used in migraine patients to help the blood flow in the brain therefore reduce the migraines.
Since taking this tablet everyday for the past six weeks I can report back and say I feel like a new person. I wake up at the weekends without a fuzzy head, I am not missing days in work, I am not exhausted from crying. I feel like me again and its flipping amazing!
Things to remember:
Find a GOOD doctor who knows about migraines, and do not settle for a pain relief tablet (like I did for so many years). You need to find a solution.
Be prepared when going to the doctor, have a diary of the frequency of the migraines and the severity. I log all mine on my phone too just as a back up.
In your migraine diary, note anything different that may have happened that day, did you eat new food, drink alcohol, not sleep the night before, anything at all that may help indicate if something 'triggered' it.
Non medicated migraine Relief:
Apart from the medication I am on I have a few little things that help me cope;
1. a beanie teddy, the pressure of the teddy gives AMAZING relief.
2. cold wet face cloth, strewn across the forehead and teamed with the teddy you will be flying!
3. xxxl hoodie, this will help you covering the light if you getting up from the bed, can be helpful to hold the teddy in place too!
I hope that this post may shed some light, or be of some help to anyone that is suffering out there.