What I've Learned From Chronic Migraines

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Three group who've lived pinch chronic migraine talk what their travel has taught them, from nan benefits of workout to nan value of speaking up for yourself.

Exercise Your Body and Mind

Lindsay Weitzel, PhD, is an writer and a podcast/webcast big for nan National Headache Foundation.

My earliest representation was a migraine astir property 4. I had caput symptom each time aft that, until property 30. It was truthful superior that it caused maine to person thing called analyzable location symptom syndrome, which feels for illustration occurrence burning down to your bony marrow.

I was a competitory swimmer. I utilized workout to support nan symptom level down, and to header mentally and emotionally. By my sophomore twelvemonth of precocious school, I couldn’t support nan symptom down enough, and title was impossible. That was a large woody for maine -- not only because nan workout helped pinch nan symptom truthful much, but because arsenic a teenager, swimming was specified a large portion of my identity.

By nan clip they came retired pinch a medicine that helped maine pinch my biggest migraines, I was 17. When sumatriptan became available, I took it connected nan days I had tests. It wholly turned astir my GPA.

Though nan migraines were still difficult, I started moving -- exercising much connected my ain alternatively of focusing connected competition. Not only did it boost endorphins (the body's earthy symptom relievers), but it kept nan musculus hostility from being truthful bad. Nowadays, astatine 46, I still workout each day. It helps stave disconnected pain.

I wish group knew really debilitating and divers migraine is. I deliberation group will meet personification who gets migraines and deliberation they tin hole it pinch a medication. But location are truthful galore group whose full lives revolve astir trying to combat nan disease.

Every time I get up, get my breakfast, and meditate. I activity pinch group pinch chronic migraine, and I opportunity you person to build a stone wall: Half nan rocks are medication, and half are manner factors. The mortar that holds them each together is your mentality. For me, nan meditation is simply a immense portion of that mortar. Migraine causes anxiety, but being worried that nan symptom is going to travel backmost is 1 of nan things that causes it to travel back. I fundamentally conscionable study meditation. I publication different books, usage different apps, conscionable spell pinch nan flow.

Keep Searching for a Treatment that Works

Cindy Otis of Irmo, SC, has had migraines for decades.

My acquisition pinch migraines spans 28 years, respective neurologists, and galore medications. Unfortunately, excavation are caused by drastic changes successful nan barometric pressure, truthful there’s small I tin do to debar them. My kids called maine "Barometer Head" for years.

We lived successful nan Pocono Mountains for 2 years. The altitude was astir 2,200 feet, but nan wave of nan fronts moving done seemed to beryllium nan large problem. When we moved retired of nan mountains, my migraines dropped from 4 per week to 7 to 8 a month!

Finally, migraine investigation produced a preventive medicine that useful for me. It's a monoclonal antibody that I return arsenic a once-a-month injection. Now, I usually person 3 migraines a period astatine most. So nary much ER aliases urgent attraction visits and "lost days" recovering from nan effects of each those drugs. When I do get a migraine, I return a powdered nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory supplier (NSAID) that you adhd h2o to and drink.

I tin usually push done nan time now. Every erstwhile successful a while, I conscionable person to spell to bed. I've accepted migraines are portion of my life and pivot plans arsenic champion I can. But I’m really thankful medicine has progressed.

Migraines tin beryllium debilitating, and sometimes group are little than sympathetic, often downright dismissive. My champion proposal is to support searching for nan medicine that useful champion for you.

'I Vowed That Migraine Would Not Ruin My Life'

Jill Dehlin, RN, chairs nan National Headache Foundation’s Patient Leadership Council.

I was 32 erstwhile I had my first "3-day headache." I thought it was a broadside effect from a medicine I was taking. Unfortunately, stopping nan medicine didn’t extremity nan headache.

My attacks are usually connected nan near broadside of my head, correct supra my receptor and eye. The symptom is searing, burning, throbbing. Migraine attacks are expressed connected nan 1-10 symptom scale, but that doesn’t show nan full story. My worst symptom was for illustration personification had drilled a spread successful nan near broadside of my caput and poured successful immoderate basking acid, past played loud, pounding euphony and shoved my caput into actual pinch each beat. Sometimes nan symptom was truthful bad, I couldn’t speak.

There were nary awesome treatments for migraine backmost then, truthful I took over-the-counter meds. Then, erstwhile I switched internists, my caller 1 put maine connected a beta-blocker arsenic a preventive. It reduced nan frequency, intensity, and long of my attacks. But I couldn’t tolerate nan broadside effects, which included depression. I wasn’t truthful overmuch sad arsenic conscionable "stuck" and unmotivated. It affected my expertise to get my dissertation investigation going, and ultimately, to decorativeness my PhD.

In November of 2006, I was wholly disabled. My internist referred maine to a headache specialist. Until 2018, location were nary migraine-specific medicines for prevention, conscionable narcotics borrowed from different conditions for illustration epilepsy and depression. I tried complete 60 different medicines for prevention and utilized triptans to dainty an attack. I felt for illustration a guinea pig.

When I became chronic and had to discontinue moving connected my PhD, I vowed that migraine would not ruin my life, that it would conscionable alteration its trajectory. I’ve done small things to bring maine joy. I learned to play nan harp, really to return beautiful photos pinch a camera. I emotion being retired successful nature. I person a very progressive Portuguese h2o dog, and he gets maine extracurricular and exercising.

Along pinch medicines, relaxation exercises, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy person been a awesome help. Anxiety and slump are communal among group pinch migraine. I besides usage a nervus stimulation (neuromodulation) instrumentality designed for migraine.

I want others to cognize really communal migraine is: 18% of females and 6% of males person it. It’s mostly hereditary, and location are migraine-specific preventives that are rather effective. People having 4 aliases much days per period of migraine disablement should see getting connected a preventive medication. If nan broadside effects are intolerable aliases if nan supplier doesn't trim your attacks by 50%, speak up. Try thing else. Don’t settle.

If you consciousness for illustration your expert isn’t listening aliases not treating your migraine seriously, fto them know. They can’t publication your mind. If you’re not satisfied pinch your care, occurrence your expert and find different who knows much astir migraine. Also, being portion of a migraine support group is invaluable. Others pinch migraine person been connected a akin journey, and they "get it."

I participate successful what I telephone "everyday advocacy." I person a purple streak successful my hair. When I’m retired successful public, group often remark astir it. I show them purple is nan colour for migraine advocacy, that I’m a caregiver pinch migraine, and past inquire if they person immoderate questions. It gives maine a consciousness of intent to thief others.


Lindsay Weitzel, PhD, author; podcast and webcast host, National Headache Foundation; technological liaison, Association of Migraine Disorders; founder, MigraineNation Facebook group, Denver, CO.

Cindy Otis, Irmo, SC.

Jill Dehlin, RN, chairperson, National Headache Foundation’s Patient Leadership Council; committee member, Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients and nan Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, Lansing, MI.

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