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Friday, 13 January 2012

Migraines: Symptoms, Triggers and Cures

Pin It I have been getting migraines since I was 15 years old.  Some of them are milder, but most are extremely violent.

What are my symptoms?

A very accurate description of the feeling is to say that it feels like my brain is pushing against my skull and trying to get out.  (see, even my own brain doesn't like being stuck in my head)

I once said this to a co-worker, and apologized in advance if he were to get hit by the pieces of flying brain when my head finally exploded.  Though the feeling's not amusing, the line was pretty funny... which leads me to this illustration of what I think that would look like.

Yeah, I think I'm pretty cute. ;)

Like other sufferers of this horrible affliction, my eyes become very sensitive to the light, causing a searing pain right behind them.  Also, all sound becomes unbearable.  My neck and jaw get really really sore.  Sometimes, the pain is so intense that it makes me throw up.  It honestly feels like I'm dying, as though I'm about to have an aneurysm.  On at least three occasions, I've wondered if I should call 911, as I thought this kind of pain just couldn't be normal.

What triggers my migraines?
  • For some people, it's cheeses, wine and chocolate.
  • For me, I don't really drink and cheese is fine, but once in a while, chocolate may be associated.
  • A lack of sleep can be to blame as well.  When I'm having a hypo-mania episode, I tend to get migraines after several days of not sleeping more than 2-5 hours a night.  I feel that it's my body's way of saying "Hey! That's enough!  Lie down, damn you!!!"  
  • The worse, most intense of my migraines are caused by high emotion.  If I have a screaming match with someone or cry too hard, it's pretty much a given that I will be paying for it for the rest of the day.
My official description for the this type of migraine is "Total System Shut-down"

How do I get migraine relief you ask?

Well, it's not easy.  In the worse cases, the only thing that will work is two Advil Liqui-Gels, two acetaminophen with codeine, a dark, silent room with my heating bag placed over my jaw bone and eyes on which ever side is killing me the most, and sleep.  I used to be able to take this miracle drug called Maxalt, but the doc says I shouldn't really mix them with my current meds, so I haven't been taking them.  They used to be able to get rid of a migraine in 30 minutes flat, at least 80% of the time.  It would make me feel very tired, but still, the pain would go away, and I swear, when I first discovered it, I wanted to find the scientist that created it and kiss him or her.

There have been many occasions when even that didn't work.  I have had migraines that have lasted up to 72 hours.  What I hate the most is the lost time.  Having to apologize to my kids, for not be able to play with them or spend time with them.  (Tyler is so loud, he kills me.)  Entire days wasted away, events I was looking forward to ruined by the onset of a searing headache.

Do You Suffer From Migraines?  How do you cope?  Or should I say survive?

Much Love,


  1. Hi Felicia, I've been suffering from migraines since the age of eleven. Somedays I feel like taking a hammer to my head, because I'm convinced that it would hurt less than the migraine itself.

    Usual triggers are all my favs, cheese, chocolate, coffee and orange juice. Though being tired, stressed, overheated and like you mentioned, a heavy crying session, all contribute.

    I used to take this wonder drug called 'Paramax,' which would get rid of a migraine in 2 minutes flat But one of the side effects was, wait for it...dun dun dah...depression.

    Suicidal thoughts vs migraine? Mmm, tough choice. I chose migraine.

    Nowadays it's a couple of Co-codamol, a cooling gel to the forehead and a darkened room.

  2. I don't have migraines but a good friend does. I've read a lot about botox being a miracle for them?

  3. I have migraines and I am definitely one of the lucky ones. Most of the time a couple Motrins or Excedrin Migraines work. Occasionally I have to go lay down for a few hours, or just deal with it for the day.

    My 10 year old, though. Man! I do NOT envy her at ALL! Her migraines are in her left eye(not her whole head) and from what she has said and what she looks like in the middle of one, it's absolute HELL. She has prescription meds(Ibuprofin at school), but those only work if she catches it right away. If she doesn;t she has to try to sleep it off or she ends up puking all evening. Poor baby. She has had them for 5+ years and it took about a year for us to realize what they were. She had to go through an MRI because she was so young, and they presented so oddly, that we weren't sure what they were.

  4. Poor child! Thanks for your comments ladies, sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

    I'll have to look into the whole botox thing... does it matter where I get it injected? ;) LOL!!!

    Lily: You're stronger than I am... I might have chosen the suicidal thoughts... since migraines make me feel like I'm dying anyway!!! LOL