What helps chronic migraine? The good news is that there are common themes running through us as migraine sufferers, so there's good evidence around what works. But the bad news is we are also all very unique in what will help stop attacks reliably or reduce them effectively.
I want to share my most recent chronic migraine breakthrough with you. As you know I experiment with everything that comes across my path, and I am happy to tell you about my most recent success story. And there might be some things you've not yet considered...
It's been over 20 years since I have experienced a reduction in my 20 days each month migraine attacks.
I am here to celebrate for the last two months getting down to 5 and then 13 days each month.
That is a whole week more to myself all from tinted lenses... I think.
I feel like I have been on holidays. Yippie!
I'm trying precision tinted lenses for migraines. It turns out I am a teal green shade not the rosy brown colored FL-41 tint that you can find in retail stores or online. Most studies say it is best to be tested with a colorimeter. The machine is intuitive. That means you say what looks and feels best.
I found a local behavioral optometrist who specializes in migraine tints using the colorimeter. I just stuck my head in a big square machine while the eye doctor flicked through the colors saying "What is better, one or two?" Make sure you take your time to sense what feels better.
I highly recommend getting tested, as buying off the shelf FL-41 rose tint, if it is cheaper might be a good place to start, but it is not for everyone. I found it too bright for me and I actually felt agitated. The good news is that I have reduced my migraines by about 7 days and it feels like more.
I don’t really know if this is from my age and possibly starting menopause, or the lenses. Either way I feel like I can work on the computer with very little eye strain now. And living in Australia with constant glare from the sun, well I just feel like it is more relaxing to have my tinted lenses on!
Read more here about Migraine Light Sensitivity: How To Reduce It.
If you get hormonal migraines, this might be something to test out. I started taking the supplement called NAC a week before the lenses, and my migraines dropped to 5 days. Gosh it's hard to tell sometimes. But I will stay on the NAC for now, and I love these new lenses, so it's all good!
"N-acetyl cysteine is a modified form of the amino acid cysteine. When taken orally, NAC is thought to help the body make the enzyme glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Scientifically, NAC has shown promise for certain conditions, including influenza and chronic bronchitis."
It does not list chronic migraine, but it is the only thing I changed that week prior to the huge reduction in migraine days.
FYI - I use Metabolic Maintenance, NAC, 600 mg, 60 Capsules.
I take 1 after lunch and 1 after dinner.
I also tried oxygen therapy last year, just for one month. I had the opportunity to borrow a machine from a friend. Many clinics recommend oxygen therapy for chronic migraine pain management. I 'breathed' each day for 15 - 20 minutes.
But sadly my results were negative. I had my worst month of migraines ever... 27 days straight… so I did not continue with it. It did give me more energy in the afternoons.
A very mild form of oxygen therapy is using a CPAP mask for sleep apnoea (which I've been diagnosed with). If you sleep poorly, or snore, you might want to have a sleep study done to unmask this culprit.
It might be a key for you.
This is not in the most common supplement list, but it has helped me immensely on many levels. Magnesium, Vitamin B2 and Butterbur are commonly prescribed for migraine sufferers - here's the list of the Top 6 Supplements for Migraines.
I only mention this option for you to ask your doctor about if you find you also suffer with: poor digestion, low energy levels, and depression or mood swings.
One of the best things I have done and continue to do, to help manage my migraines, is to get professional pain counseling. It was my first counsellor that asked "do you have a pain management strategy?" When I replied "no", she got me to make a list of what I needed to do. Medications were number one on the list.
Here's a link for a company I trust - BetterHelp. They are available 24/7.
Finding the right abortive has changed my life. I pray you find one that works for you. The triptan family of abortives is the most effective medication for migraine so far. Please give them a try if you have not yet. Or keep trying until you find one that works. They are not all the same.
I've written about that here - List of Migraine Medications: How To Pick the Best One.
Please use a reputable source for your medications. You can buy anything online these days. Please be safe, I trust my local compounding chemist.
Please don’t give up hope. Third, and not least - try the FL-41 lenses from Axon Optics and see if you can reduce your chronic migraine attacks. It's worth testing to see how much better life gets with fewer migraine attacks!