Saturday, November 17, 2012

Migraine Prevention

I want to share a few of the things that have really helped me with my migraines over the past two years. First I want to explain my migraines, but if you don't want to read about that just skip down to Ways To Help Migraines! :)

About My Migraines
Migraines have become something I deal with on a daily basis since October 11, of 2010. I have been on a lot of medications, some which have helped, and some which have actually made the migraines worse. Many people do not know or realize this but there are actually three different types of migraines. I didn't even know you could have more than a head migraine until after my car wreck and I talked with my neurologist and he explained why I was having such bad stomach and chest pain constantly for no apparent me.

Head Migraines
Of course this is type of migraine is pretty common and popular and well known among people who suffer from migraine pains. With a head migraine you can or are light sensitive and or noise sensitive at the same time. Usually I only deal with one or the other unless it's a terrible migraine and then I deal with both symptoms at the same time and that is never fun!

Chest or Heart Migraine
This migraine comes from the lining of the heart and can feel like a heart attack at times. You can also have difficulty breathing, especially taking deep breaths. Changing positions whether laying down, sitting up, or standing is often painful. Talking can sometimes be difficult. These are not fun migraines and are generally much more painful in my experience than even my worst head migraines.

Abdomen/Stomach Migraines
Often I thought I was starting to have a new food allergy build up (I'm allergic to a LOT of foods!) because after I would eat I would be in so much pain I would not be able to do anything but curl up in a ball and lay on the floor, or couch or my bed. Sometimes it would hurt so bad that all I could do was cry. I told my doctor about my food allergies and how I thought my increased stomach pain was due to that and when he explained about the abdomen migraine it all started to make sense. The reason being: many times this migraine would hit and I hadn't even eaten anything at all! Much less something I was even remotely allergic to. When he explained this migraine to me I felt a sense of relief. Finally I knew why I had such terrible stomach cramps, pain, and out of control nausea at times.

All three of these migraines were increased when I was more stressed than usual. I dealt with these migraines on a weekly or daily basis until he was able to start me on the trial and error medication path to finding something to help me prevent these migraines from causing so many problems.

Ways To Help Migraines
I'll get to the medication part in just a minute, but these are the things that I've found most useful/helpful in the past two years for giving relief to my migraines and 'controlling' them in a sense.

Drink plenty of water! You should drink half your body weight in ounces. So for example I will use myself: I weight about 160 lbs. and half of that is 80 so for me that would be 80 ounces of water a day. I am the worlds' worst at drinking the correct amount of water that I should...but I'm going to really start working harder on that because when I drank this amount of water on a regular basis I really felt marvelous!

Sleep at Night
Get yourself on a sleep schedule. Go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. If this means getting in bed and reading for 30 minutes so that you will be sleepy enough to actually sleep, then DO IT! If this means logging off the computer and putting it in the other room for the night, then DO IT! Get your body on a regular schedule so that you are getting a good amount of sleep at night.

Sleep with Migraines
When you have a migraine and you have the opportunity, take a nap! I like to take a 2 hour nap at the least because that really helps knock out the pain. This gives your body a chance to relax and recover without you suffering too much and is never a bad idea when you're dealing with any kind of migraine!

Ice Packs
I have found ice to be a great source of almost instant pain relief when I have a terrible migraine. This method takes about 20 minutes before you start to feel relief, and until then the area that has the ice feels SUPER cold! But tough it out, because the ice really does help the migraine to calm down and be less painful. Do 20 minutes of ice, remove the ice for 20 minutes, and then do 20 more minutes of ice. Repeat as necessary. You can also move the ice to different areas. I've found the back of the neck, forehead, and temples to be the quickest working areas for myself.

Dark Chocolate
Yeah, I know! Girls this is real! Chocolate really does help your brain...and not only that it can help your taste buds, but chocolate also helps decrease stress and lessen pain! I wouldn't sit and eat a ton of chocolate just for those reasons though. I was actually told by my doctor that eating dark chocolate was not a bad thing, and that when I had a migraine it could be helpful to eat a bit of chocolate. I love chocolate and am now thinking I should've invested in the Hershey's company about two years ago!

Although I've tried a lot of different medicines to help 'prevent' migraines only one has really worked great for me. That would be Naprosyn (I took the generic version Naproxen). I took 375mg twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Unfortunately you can only be on it for 2-3 years because of the amount of damage it does to internal now I am in the process of trying to find a new migraine prevention medication (as of October 2012) and it is NOT fun. I have literally spent most of the last two weeks in bed because of migraines and I'm really having a hard time with the change. The current medication I am on does not seem to be working so it may need to have the dosage upped or I may need to start trying a new medication all together. Whatever the situation, I am not looking forward to it.

In case you do not already know Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) and Naproxen/Naprosyn are NOT the same medication!! I was misdirected when the pharmacy was out of my medicine once to take Aleve and I had rebound migraines which were much, much worse than my regular migraines because Aleve is not meant to be taken by someone like me with migraines on a regular basis like that (two times a day for weeks on end). Fortunately my nurse was able to figure out the problem and we were able to correct the mistake and get me back on the correct medication and the migraines were back under control once again.

Closing For Now
I've dealt with a lot in the way of migraines over the past two years, but I really think that I've learned a lot as well. I would really like to be able to afford a Rain Drop kit which has a lot of different essential oils in it. I've heard of a lot of different ways to help reduce migraines by using essential oils, but I don't have the oils or the money right now to try and see if this would help me. I'm sure there is so much more I could write about and eventually I probably will, but this is what I have for the moment on the topic of migraines. Of course if you have a question please ask me and I would love to talk to anyone who is interested in learning/knowing more about the other types of migraines, etc.

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  1. migranes are so awful, I am so fortunate to not suffer from them!

    1. Yes they are awful! And you are very blessed! I hope you never have to experience any of them!!


  2. I had no idea that you could have stomach migraines. I get migraines quite often {maybe once a week for the past four years}, they usually start in my head & then travel down my spine & down into my chest. It's really scary & it usually sends me into a panic attack with only makes it worse. The only thing I am able to do is close all the blinds & sleep it off since no medication seems to work. They started when I moved from California to Pennsylvania. We are all pretty sure it has to do with the change in the environment.

    I'm on 500mg Naproxen twice a day for my menstrual cramps since I suffer from PCOS. I too had no idea that Naproxen & Naproxen Sodium were not the same thing. I just figured that the prescription Naproxen was just a stronger dose than the over the counter, Naproxen Sodium... I'll have to look further into that.

    Keeping PLUS in a MINUS World

    1. Yes climate change can cause migraines. You really should check into the Naproxen though because that could be part of the problem since that does cause rebound migraines which are worse than just a regular migraine.



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