Migraine is the third most active condition at CureTogether, and affects over 29 million Americans, with women being 3 times more affected than men. One member shares her anonymous story here, and talks about everything she has tried on her search for relief.
“I have migraines, and I have tried many things to ease the pain. While I had incidents of migraines as a child, they really started in earnest after my second child was born, over 25 years ago. I’ve listed what I’ve tried below, what worked and what didn’t, and I’d love to hear what worked for others!
The first drug I was given was Fiorinal. Not something I would recommend. It gave me a buzz and had a rebound effect so that the headaches came back stronger after 4 days.
I was tested for allergies to certain foods and other triggers for migraines and I try to avoid those now: beans, corn, mountain ash.
I then tried biofeedback which was at the time an experimental process. They monitored the body’s involuntary physical responses: such as breathing, pulse, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension and brain activity through an electrical device that was attached to my finger. The objective was to see if changing breathing patterns affected the incidence of migraines. It did not but it did reduce the severity at times.
On occasions when I have been immobile from the headaches and vomiting, I have been given Demerol and Gravol injections. They put you to sleep and eliminate the symptoms.
I have also tried Botox since studies show that it assists in migraines. It’s effective but expensive and who really knows what the long-term effects are.
Now I try to meditate as much as possible and at severe times, I take Gravol followed by Tylenol 3.
* Early detection
The trick is to catch the migraine at the beginning. If I can, sometimes just some Advil gel will work because it dissolves instantly. Once a migraine starts there is nothing to be done but endure it. This can sometime take up to 4 days and is both debilitating and unproductive.
It has provided some temporary relief. But be careful who you use. The first acupuncturist I tried was a local chiropractor who said he specialized in this practice. He placed the needles in the wrong places (directly to the head instead of the back of the neck) and immediately triggered a massive migraine. The second acupuncturist I tried was the head of a college for acupuncturist. His results were better.
* Herbs and vitamins
I have tried a variety of herbal remedies such as feverfew and vitamin compounds which included B vitamins which are labelled as helpful. Again not much relief.
One of the things that really helps, if you catch the migraine early enough is applying a hot pad at the base of the neck for as long as you can stand it. It relaxes the neck and, when combined with a strong cup of coffee, seems to work. But the trick is to catch the migraine at its outset. Since I get most of my headaches overnight, it is not always easy to catch.
* Selective serotonin receptor agonists (triptans)
They work by reversing the dilation of blood vessels in the head, stopping pain signals from being sent to the brain, and reducing inflammation in the tissues and nerves surrounding the dilated blood vessels. They did relieve the headache almost immediately but had unfortunate side effects of dizziness, violent diarrhea and uncontrollable vomiting. Needless to say I only tried it once. However, there are now seven medications in this class (Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Amerge, Relpax, Axert, and Frova), so trying more than one can be a good idea.
Just writing about migraines is almost bringing one on. Thanks for reading and I hope it helps.”
Thank YOU for writing. If anyone would like to share their experience with migraine, please either leave a comment below, or see what others are saying on the CureTogether Migraine page. Wishing you a pain-free day.