Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Got Migraine?

Studies say that about 30million Americans suffer from migraine, majority of which are females. Are you one of the many women who suffer from migraine? If you are, then this short writing is for you.

Migraine is one of the most misdiagnosed, mistreated and least understood diseases. I have not met one single doctor who was able to prescribe me with the right drug and give tips I could do to lessen its [migraine] occurrences. I remember seeing a couple of doctors in the past and neither of them believed that someone as young as I could suffer from migraine (I was 10 when I had my first episode of migraine. It was my father who diagnosed me). The doctors that I saw then did nothing but dismiss it as a “really bad headache.” I was simply told to pop mefenamic acid to alleviate the pain. When I hit my twenties, the only two doctors who really understood what I go through every once in a while were my dermatologists. One of the two aged ladies was generous enough to give me two Aleve pills for free every time I visited her. It [Aleve] didn’t rid me off of the pain completely, but I found it to be the most effective pill for my migraine. Advil and Tylenol were no help at all. Then again, you surely don’t want to be forever dependent on drugs, do you?

Now before I give you tips on how to cope with migraine, let me first ask you this question. Are you even sure it’s migraine, not just a simple headache, you’re suffering from? How can you tell if you are suffering from migraine?

  1. Your headache is generally concentrated on one side of the brain.
  2. Your headache is accompanied by aura (strange flashing lights).
  3. The pain is pulsating or throbbing (or something that can be likened to drilling a hole in your head).
  4. Your headache is accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
  5. Your headache makes you sensitive to light.
  6. Your headache makes you sensitive to sound.
  7. Your headache is made worse by physical activity.
  8. Your headache sometimes comes prior to your period.
  9. Your headache interferes with work or daily activities.
  10. Your headache requires bed rest.

I’m not telling you to be your own doctor and self-diagnose; my only goal is to enlighten you on some of the symptoms of migraine to help you understand those strange and utterly severe headaches you may be getting every now and then.

Pills are not the only way to go about when coping with migraine. Read on for some tips that you could do to help you deal with yours.

Tips for migraine sufferers:

  1. If you think you’re suffering from migraine, see a doctor. Nothing could be better than seeing a doctor who can help you manage your migraine. After all, only an expert knows how to deal with neurological issues.

  1. If you live in a country where the sun always makes its presence felt, always have your sunglasses, umbrella and/or cap/hat handy. An umbrella, unlike sunglasses and hats, may not be the most fashionable accessory to prevent episodes of migraine, but it is one of the most effective gears (esp. those umbrellas with heat insulators) you could carry with you on a hot summer day.

  1. Identify what triggers your migraine whether it be stress, certain foods, weather changes, hunger, lack of sleep, etc. Once you’ve identified the triggers, avoid them. Why risk it? If you know that salt and MSG give you migraine (they’re two of the most common culprits), then why eat foods loaded with salt and MSG? (Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but even sugary snacks can cause migraines)

  1. Keep a regular sleep pattern. What could be a more effective cure than a good night’s rest? Just make sure you don’t oversleep. Even oversleeping can give you migraine just as well.

  1. Eat regularly. If skipping meals gives you migraines, then keep a regular eating pattern.

  1. Exercise. Keep your body and mind healthy by exercising daily. A 20minute walk around the park is enough exercise if you’re one busy bee. You can also walk your dog every morning or try taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you’re headed towards the second or third floor (this is specifically applicable if you’re running late for work and if the elevator at your building often takes ages to go up and down).

  1. Drink plenty of water. Water does so much for our bodies than you think.

  1. Learn to manage your stress. Stress is part of daily life. Either you live with it and learn to deal with it or simply, let it kill you.

  1. Drink unsweetened apple juice. I can’t really explain what it is in apples that helps in relieving any migraine sufferer from the pain it brings, but unsweetened apple juice works considerably okay as a pain reliever (take note: pain reliever, not pain killer). (this particular tip is credited to my spiritual grandmother from Springfield, Missouri)

  1. Wear protective/anti-glare glasses. I can’t stress enough the importance of shielding your eyes from harmful rays or glares. All I know is, computers emit some sort of glare and radiation that could possibly be what’s causing your migraine.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert on migraine nor am I a doctor of some sort. All that is written in here are based on personal experience and/or taken from people who have been generous enough to help me deal with migraine by giving tips that work.


Tressa Bailey said...

I have found a heating pad wrapped around my head and applying pressure help alleviate my pain and shorten the duration of the migrain. I suspect the heat reduces the pressure on the blood vessels.

Tish said...

Hmmm... Interesting. I hope I won't have to try it anytime soon. I have just gotten back from a week-long migraine after a long time and boy did it drive me nuts.