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Migraine Savvy Headache Forum

Posted and verified by Holly Hazen


Welcome to the Migraine Savvy headache forum written by other migraine sufferers just like you and me! You can scroll down to read each story or click on the topic to get to that section. ENJOY!

Migraine Savvy Headache Forum @migrainesavvy

Welcome!



Headache Forum - Humor 


Divorced My Migraines by Jill (CA)

I just wanted to tell you my 'news' regarding my migraines. Three years ago I got a divorce from my husband and low and behold the migraines just stopped.

Now I don't really know if it was because he was just horrible to me when I did have a migraine, and the stress that caused. He was lovely a good majority of the time but when I had a migraine he would come in my nice dark safe room, and swing open the curtains and yell "get out of bed, come on now, you've had enough time there" and then I would expect "come feed the kids" or something. We have three small boys.

Anyway... I had them for so many years, over ten for sure. They were horrible and nothing I took helped except laying down in a dark room and sleeping until it went away. Thank God for sleep, that's all I can say.

Now I am 53, and I have been migraine free for 3 years. It might be menopause... but I am really not sure. I think I divorced my migraines.

Wish that were a cure for everyone!!!!! I would not trade being migraine free now for anything. I can play with my kids, read a book, sit in the sun, and do so many things I just could not for all those years. Oh yes, and wear perfume. I had a glass of red wine last night... no migraine.

I got my life back. At least that's what it feels like.




Headache Forum - Genetics & Migraine Genes


Other Genes Related to Migraine by Maddy (NJ, USA)

There are numerous genes already identified to be related to migraine. 

AOC1 gene - codes for diamine oxidase or DAO, which degrades histamine. Researchers in Spain have sampled many migraine patients and somewhere between 70-80% (I forget) have this gene. It is also associated with infant colic and preterm labor/delivery - as DAO levels fall quickly before birthing.

MTFHR - these genes are associated with the methylation cycle. Both the A1298C variety is associated (migraine without Aura) and the C677T version is more often associated with Aura. 

There are also genes associated with induced nitric oxide which are contributing risk factors.


Genetic Migraine Snips (SNP) by Holly (Australia)

Hi Maddy, I’ve had my genes tested and after 26 years of relentless migraine attacks, I score green - so no genetic links on these 2 discovered migraine genes! MTHFR A1298C and MTHFR C677T... I wonder how many people actually show these genes expressing for migraines... I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Here are some more migraine related genes I've learned about:

Migraine SNP rs11624776 near 1TPK1 is also associated with thyroid hormone levels – with the migraine risk allele (A) – associated with lower TSH levels. 

Hypothyroid is a long-time cause of headaches.

Another SNP ASTN2 is increased risk for migraine.

And risk allele rs1024905-G = low blood glucose – report food related triggers. This has vascular influence and gene snips may prove good medications that already exist. 

I hope I have all of this correct… I’m not a geneticist. You really need a qualified professional to help you with gene snips. Thanks for writing in. I LOVE this new field of study.




Headache Forum - Daith Piercing


Acupuncture Daith Piercings by Dee Duncan / Body Piercer (Lafayette Indiana)

I want to start off by saying I’m a professional piercer and I work directly with an acupuncturist to help people get the proper treatment for their migraines. The daith is NOT accurate for most. It has more of a temporary effect from the initial swelling that occurs right after the piercing. That swelling puts pressure on the rest of the nerves in the ear and provides temporary relief, but once that swelling is gone, so are the results you wanted.

However, that being said, the acupuncture piercing(s) for migraine really do exist. The catch is that you must have your ears marked first by the acupuncturist and placement is different for everyone because your migraines come on for different reasons. We have combined our efforts for this issue for the past couple of years and the results have been incredible. The essential key is that the placement varies.


Daith Piercing Works For Me by Donna (Texas)

It’s going on 11 years suffering with daily migraines. I’ve tried everything from a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Internist, Neurologist, Pain Management Specialist, to a Brain & Spine Institute Doctor. I’ve tried medications… so many medications (herbal, over the counter, preventative, acute), Botox, MRI's, screaming, the fetal position, and more. 

Enter daith piercing. I've had mine for 2 months and O*M*G. My headaches have reduced in frequency significantly and dropped in severity from an 8-9 to a 1-2 on a 10-point pain scale. I wish I had tried this first. So much suffering is gone. I literally have my life back and it's awesome!




Headache Forum - Families


Families and Migraines by Gordon Dowton (Ajax, Ontario, Canada)

How do migraine episodes affect familial relationships? In this writer's experience, the beginning signals, the 'prodome' that the migraine is coming on is expressed by a high degree of energy, a demanding drive to do something...quite often reckless and aggressive. The temperament changes, one is edgy, the nervous system is on the outside rather than where it should be... so many things are found to irritate me. The difficulty for others to be around a being in this state is extremely difficult which, is why I literally go to a room for 3-4 days just to let this manifestation express itself. No one else should suffer what another brings to the table. 'IT,' is me... not a part of me... but most surely me. 

It is for this reason, that I have not married, nor had children. I knew at an early stage, that to be around me would both trigger and be on the receiving end of these episodes. Highly unfair to inflict others with what one is.




Headache Forum - Triggers


Migraines from Chemical Sensitivities by Tara (US)

I seem to get migraines from putting gas in my car and from plastic items! Have you ever heard of that? I just started getting migraines out of the blue and me and my doctor never found any disturbing cause - thankfully.

Years later, luckily, I keep a diary, I noticed that it was right at the same time I - got a new bed, got new leather couch, new car, and most recently finally figured it out with a new fan. Yes - a fan, every time I turned it on to cool down the house, I got a migraine.

Seems I am allergic to the 21st century of plastic items.

I read that book you recommended - Breaking Out of Environmental Illness - and well it just all started to make sense. Thanks for that by the way. Now I have an idea what to do. I take more care, but I still get migraines. But I must say, I at least feel a little more in control now.

Can't avoid my allergies that cause migraines, but I can treat myself with care and know that I am not alone. Who knew a fan could cause a migraine.




Headache Forum - Botox


Botox Helped My Migraines by Samantha C

It's so tiresome to have an aching head all the time, and migraines are so debilitating. I have a mild one today. I have found Botox to be VERY helpful in the management of chronic migraines. I have far fewer debilitating migraines. The treatment consists of 31 shots in the head, neck, shoulders. So, for about 5-10 minutes, there is some discomfort, but it's not awful. I have not found that the treatment affects my energy in anyway. 

I receive the treatment every 3 months. I still have my "rescue" medication when I get a migraine. When I do get one, I can give myself an injection of Toradol. Sometimes, I get stubborn migraines and need a steroid to get beyond it. So, I am definitely not migraine free. Just better than I was.

Botox has helped my chronic daily head pain a little, however I still struggle with that part. I'm on several medications to keep the daily headaches manageable (trying to avoid all "pain" meds because, as you probably know, they all contribute to rebound headaches). 

I would strongly recommend consideration of Botox to any chronic migraine sufferer.




Headache Forum - Stress Busting Tips


Planning for Migraines from Colleen (Southern Beach

I kind of know when my migraines are going to hit because they come right before my period, so I know in advance if I will need time out around Christmas or not.

I like to plan things, I know it’s a bit impossible with migraines, but here we go. Oh, I am a stay at home mom, I can’t really work because of the migraines. Over 10 days per month and I just don’t want to take any more time away from my kids than they already do. We get by.

Non-routine plan:

If I have to travel to family (we take turns each year) I try to start out by being well rested. I put more rest times in my schedule to allow for more sleep. This seems to help me deal the attacks when they do come. I have more energy and patience.

I make homemade chocolates (I can’t eat!!) for presents for them each year. It has become a family tradition.

While I am away, I rest for at least an hour each afternoon. I often fall asleep. Between the visits I make sure I take some nice long walks and get some exercise. Some family members can drain my energy which can cause some extra migraine attacks. I find walking helps plus I can take my little ones with me. They help me get back to nature too.

Intended routine:

Whether I am away or not I make sure I have my time every morning to prepare for the day. I make sure I fit in some "me" time. 

I get up before the kids. Ideally, I take a cup of coffee to the spare bedroom, put on relaxing music, and have some quiet time reading my Bible and checking my calendar. That’s when I make notes of things I need to do, meal plans and thoughts, etc.

After my quiet time, I prepare a light breakfast, have a shower, and get dressed for the day. By then the kids are awake too. After they go to school I make up any additional errand notes.

By then it’s time for my exercise class. Twice a week I do yoga, one aerobics class, and one water aerobics. The other times I walk. If I don’t keep up exercise my migraines come more often.

I come straight home for lunch and my errand list. Often I am able to do an errand or two before heading home. After lunch comes the nap/rest. Some days ten minutes is all I need and others I rest for forty minutes, but never longer than that. 

There is usually computer time tucked in around other activities - I do love spending time at the computer, learning, connecting with people, and following what news that I want to know about.

Then it’s time to prepare dinner. I normally have a weekly planner as well for meals. Told you I liked planning things. So I have all the groceries ahead of time to make dinner and I make sure it’s all ready before the kids get home or I need to drive them to activities.

If I can have a peaceful start to the day I find I am much less stressed. Of course this all gets out of kilter around migraine time. But I always cook extra and freeze it for those times. Plus, we have a large selection of videos for the kids to watch after school if I am unable to play or attend to them the way I'd like. 

I try very hard not to let this get me down. My Bible helps me stay positive mentally and spiritually. I believe faith heals. 

The other things I do - always ALWAYS have my medications on me. Never leave home without them as you say Holly. And I have been practicing saying no more often, when I find myself doing things just to be nice. 


Migraine Self Care Tips by J S (USA)

When I first got migraines, I hated my body. I hated that it betrayed me. But now after so many years of having migraines and I know it needs me to take better care of it. Now, I prefer to be kind and gentle to my body. Especially around this time of year when stress levels are a bit higher. 

Here are my tips:

  • Be your own best friend and be patient with yourself.
  • Listen to your body and value it for what it can and cannot do at that time.
  • Take action when you get your first migraine signal. Remind yourself that this is a sign of kindness. Errands can wait.
  • Maintain an attitude of loving kindness and compassion for your body.
  • Listen to some relaxing CD’s or guided meditations.
  • Breathe warmth and relaxation into your hands and feet if they are cold.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol. Hangovers trigger migraines for me. 

Headaches, Headaches, and More Headaches - Stress Relief Strategies by Genni (UK)

I get headaches, headaches and yet more headaches. In order NOT to take pain killer medications I am making different lifestyle choices. My best stress reliever strategies are:

STEP 1

Identifying my stress and becoming more aware of them each time, experimenting and then recognizing what makes me feel worse. Write it down in my stress journal.

STEP 2

Working out what I can do to manage my stress triggers and to either reduce or avoid them. Two examples are:

(a) Planning my day ahead in order to avoid over scheduling and rushing from one activity to the next and stressing out.

(b) Scheduling my activities and appointments in the afternoon so the pain killers can work if I wake up with a headache. I start my days off gently.

STEP 3

Creating healthy lifestyle habits including: eating at regular times, creating a regular sleep routine, meditation/relaxation daily and exercise daily.

(a) Relaxation exercises - I try to practice my relaxation techniques in the morning on a daily basis so I can train my body to become more relaxed overall. I find that listening to a guided relaxation CD helps the best.

One I love focuses on breathing deeply from the diaphragm and at the same time counting slowly to five on the inhale and to eight on each exhale.

Visualizations help me get into a more relaxed state of mind and into relaxing my body parts. Head and shoulders being the most problematic. I like guided CD's with happiness inducing thoughts and positive things to help me retrain my brain. 

I use them mostly to help me cope with what is happening in my life and to help break through old negative habits. Once I relax into the nice space from the CD my headache usually subsides.

(b) Exercise - I have read that exercise is one of the most beneficial tools to use for stress reduction as it helps reverse the stress response, releases tension and clears the mind. So this is my number one strategy to deal with my headaches.

Best wishes to you all, and I hope this helps you reduce your headaches too.




Headache Forum - Home Remedies


Headache Home Remedies by Brenda (Bern, SW)

My headaches respond directly to my stress levels. I find myself crying and then whammo here comes a headache again. I am thankful for crying now, I have to say. As for many years I just kept everything inside - bottled up. Now I am trying to allow my emotions: frustration, anger, fear, or any emotion. I am working on learning to make things calmer, one step at a time. Here is what I am doing now:

1) I breathe deeply to calm down. I say relax on my exhales and let myself feel it.

2) Only then do I take care of whatever needs addressed. I try to wait until I am calm and allow the time it takes. The sooner it is taken care of, the sooner I can move on.

3) If it is an ongoing stress, like these crappy headaches or even worse migraine disease, acceptance helps me tremendously. I am then forced to slow down and pace myself. I try to see this need before the headache occurs. 

4) With ongoing stress that I cannot control like my husband and children’s inability to accept this disease, medical bills and all that goes with this, I choose to use:

a. Meditation.

b. Distractions: TV, reading, drawing or painting. I took up painting a few years ago and have found it takes my mind completely away and the fumes do not bother me.

c. Exercise.

d. Drink lots of water – I think it washes out the chemical toxins that my stress creates and I feel better.

e. Watch my diet – I can sometimes binge eat when I'm upset and an inability to walk very much makes it difficult to shed pounds. I feel better if I stick to a healthy diet and not put the weight on in the first place. 

f. Get lots of fresh air. A walk around the block when I'm tired, going to the lake in the summer, and seeing the beautiful landscapes around me helps to put things into perspective for me. 

Those trees will be here long after my kids accept that I have migraines for good, or that next bill that gets paid... I look forward to seeing everyone’s response. I would like to implement some new ideas and feel even better than now.


Cayenne Pepper for Instant Migraine Relief by Anonymous 

Hi All. I have CNS Vasculitis (autoimmune against nervous system and organs, rheumatoid, and several other autoimmune. This means I also suffer with cluster headaches and migraines. Here are my best remedies so far: 

Believe it or not, this one is a winner. One day after suffering over a week non-stop with cluster pain, thinking I would loose my mind, in desperation I Googled it - wondering what I had here at home that might work as I have worked with natural healing for decades. I had not yet found the solution for the migraines and clusters. I stumbled on a site that listed many remedies, one of which was nasal applied cayenne pepper. I had a tincture of 200,000 heat units per drop here at home. I didn't even hesitate I was so desperate. 

To my surprise, within ten seconds the pain greatly started to dissipate. Cayenne blocks substance P. It is not so bad at all as one would imagine. It burns for less than a minute, but no where near if you had put it in your mouth. Each time you use it the receptors are blunted, so you feel it much less to not at all. There are studies for it with post nasal and other. It sure worked for me. 

The pain is different every time for me as so much is going on in my body. The cayenne always helps but sometimes requires additional pathways to be addressed as well. 

I also find systemic enzymes, which are anti-inflammatory, help my pain levels reduce greatly. I can strongly recommend this as well. I have found a lot of research to see why these work and there is lots of science behind using enzymes. It is used widely in the medical profession in Europe. 

Today I was screaming in so much pain. The cayenne only took the edge off. I was so crazed with pain could barely think on what to grab. 

I recently have been in kidney failure and discovered the impressive studies for activated charcoal being life-saving. I had it here on hand and it worked miracles. I used no doctors even though my life was in danger. I avoid doctors like the plague. So, today, desperate and not knowing what else to take ... as cayenne usually works, I took the activated charcoal. 

I suspect the pain this time was much do to the toxins from my kidneys failing. I am now out of pain. I highly recommend having charcoal on hand. It is much more economical to buy bulk powder. For many conditions the little caps are no where near enough. I take one or two teaspoons, though not everyone will require this much. It is tasteless and odorless. I find it very easy to take. When mixed with water, it just tastes like water! 

I hope this helps others. It has been a Godsend for me. 


Cayenne for Migraine by Jennifer

After reading another visitor comment here I thought I’d Google cayenne pepper for migraines before I tried it. It worked … I could not believe it. I found enough evidence to persuade me to try it. 

Apparently there have been studies at the University of Michigan that used both spray and jelly. I couldn’t find the jelly so I just bought some spray from a professional naturopath. I decided to seek professional help as I like to be cautious. Anyway the University study said the jelly (in the ear?) was said to reduce pain by half. 

I used the spray right when I felt the migraine coming on and then once during the day. The naturopath said I could try spraying once a day for 7 days or so, just on the right side where I get the migraines to see if it might also work as a preventative. What a relief, I am so happy.

I've only tried it once, so I hope it lasts. Oh - and it did not sting or burn as much as I thought it might. Not even rates as pain in my books. You know what I mean ... it was like a 2 on a migraine scale!


My Simple Cure For Migraines! by Adrianne Danen (Gold Coast QLD Australia)

I have suffered migraines for over 20 years and tried all the medicines available. I avoid red and white wine; matured cheeses (mild cheeses are ok); dark chocolate (milk and white chocolate is ok); combining orange juice with dark chocolate; MSG (all sorts) and too much salt/sodium.

I gladly share my simple cure for migraine with you which attacks the 'beast' head on!

  • If vomiting drink 1/2 cup tonic water then wait 5 minutes. This settles the stomach. 
  • Take two Aspro-Clear or soluble aspirin (2 x 300 mg). 
  • Take some effective laxatives. I use Laxettes extra strength senna tabs and take 3.
  • Take a herbal diuretic or 2 celery seed capsules with a full glass of water.
  • Put some Vicks under your nose or use a vicks nasal inhalant.
  • Have a shower and stretch all your joints especially your neck and back, then alternate hot and cold water or put your feet in a bucket of ice water if water is in short supply.
  • Have a teaspoon or so of honey.

It is important that all these steps, with the exception of the tonic water are followed through. Relief is obtained quickly and easily! 

P.S. I start with a warm shower to stretch and loosen tight neck and back muscles and also to stretch out my spine. I reach my arms up high above my head and then do small bends to the left and right. This can sometimes help to align the spinal vertebrae and to expand blood vessels. I follow with a cool or cold shower to then constrict the blood vessels concentrating mainly on the legs and feet. 

This is a simpler way than paying to visit a chiropractor or massage therapist or swallowing some migraine medications that have side effects.




Headache Forum - Essential Oils


Natural Headaches Remedy - Rosemary Essential Oil by Sally-Ann (BC)

I find that smelling rosemary essential oil helps me stop a headache sometimes. Other times I use peppermint essential oil, but I really find that the rosemary oil clears my head the best. I think my headaches are mostly from muscle tension and stress. My number one strategy for reducing the number of headaches I get is to reduce stress where possible. If I can deal directly with the thing causing the stress to stop or change it, that is most ideal. For example, if I over-commit myself, I can revisit the TO DO list and see what is not urgent and needing to be done today. If it is important I can either delegate it or get some help for the other stuff. Sometimes I may need to simply take myself off of the project. I have also been practicing saying "No" more often. If it is relationship trouble with other people (my teenage daughter) or emotional stress, it helps me to isolate the actions that I can take to make the situation better. In this situation I ask myself these questions: "how can I help others without making myself sick and what do I need to do now? What can I do later? Where do I need a new boundary?" Once I know the action(s) that I can take, it helps me see the whole picture of what I am not able to control. Then I can try to let that go and focus on my own positive actions I can take. So I guess I try to separate practically what I can do and what I can't do in most situations if I become plagued with daily headaches and need to invent a new order of flexibility in my life. Easier said than done with teenagers, but we can only do our best. So I try not to be hard on myself either.


Peppermint Essential Oil Helps My Migraines by Lynn (Missouri, USA)

I have found that peppermint essential oil rubbed on my temples, back of neck, forehead and a drop under my nose will lessen the migraine within 15 minutes. Be very careful around the eyes. If you don't notice any improvement in 5 minutes, reapply. You can't use too much. 

You can also rub it on your back and feet too. This is the best, easiest help for under five dollars. One bottle lasts months. Works great on kids with migraines.


Drink Peppermint Oil for Migraine Nausea by Samantha 

Ok - I know this sounds weird, but I used to drink a drop or 2 of peppermint essential oil with honey in freshly boiled water before a migraine. I've read that essential oils are ingested in Europe. Sad to say, it did not seem to work... but it sure helped the nausea. I stopped trying that in case it was not safe!


Peppermint Essential Oil for Migraines by Colleen

Yes, I also use a mixture of lavender and peppermint oil. Just a few drops each (2 to 4) with some almond oil (2 teaspoons or so of carrier oil) as my skin is ultra sensitive on my face. And I always manage to get the peppermint oil too close to my eyes as they sting. It's a cold sting! 

You make a good point. I have recently tried putting the drops in some warm water with a face cloth and then put the face cloth over my temples and that seems to work too. I will try adding ice cubes next time to see if that is better at reducing the migraine pain.




Headache Forum - Homeopathic Remedies


Jaahda's Migraine Cures by Jaahda Jinnah (Perth, Western Australia)

After many years of migraine that seemed related to both my hormonal cycles and eating patterns after 25 years of experimentation I finally managed to find two extremely effective and instant (like - bringing the pain level down from 10/10 to 2/10) in under ten minutes consistently remedies. 

These are:

  • One pillule of Belladonna 30X (homeopathic preparation)sucked under the tongue. Usually averts the oncoming attack within a minute or so - utter joy!!!, or
  • An activated charcoal tablet. This also brings down the pain level with a minute or so.

How I so wish I had discovered these remedies many, many years earlier.


What are the best Homeopathic remedies?

I'm wanting more proof here... please submit if you've found a homeopathic remedy to work.




Headache Forum - Question & Answer Time


Q. Butterbur Migraine by Cameron (Anon)

I used butterbur for 18 months and it kind of reduced the pain intensity, but it did not stop how often I get them. I have stopped it now and will try feverfew. Have you tried feverfew yet? What happened? As far as a cure, I've had no luck. I am 33 and am hoping I can find a way to stop these migraines. They are destroying my life, just like your homepage says. I started by taking 3 Panadol. They worked for a few years, but now nothing works. My doctor seems to have no clue what to do, so maybe I might seek out a specialist as you mention and I might also try drinking more water. You said that they can come from dehydration? How can I tell that?

A. Dehydration Causing Headaches by Holly 

According to the Mayo Clinic these are some signs that you are dehydrated: 

Mild to moderate dehydration will cause: 

  • Dry, sticky mouth 
  • Lethargy 
  • Thirst 
  • Decreased urine output 
  • Dry skin 
  • Headache and migraines 
  • Constipation 
  • Dizziness 

Just to name a few. 

And severe dehydration is a medical emergency. This is when you get scary sick! Severe dehydration is painful. It can cause these things: 

  • Extreme thirst 
  • Irritability and confusion in adults 
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes 
  • Your urine, if you do urinate, will be very dark compared to usual 
  • Low blood pressure ... fainting 
  • And delirium or unconsciousness in the most serious cases. 

Just to name a few again. 

Yogi experts put just a little bit of apple juice in a glass of water to help with re-hydration. And my doctor suggests a little sea salt in water each morning to stay hydrated. 

There is a great book out called Fighting the Migraine Epidemic which is in my book store, that has the whole hydration for the body down to an exact science. It's worth a read. 

Oh, and PS - I had an allergic reaction to feverfew tea. Sadly!


Gut Issues and Migraines by J

Q. This is the 1st I've ever heard of migraines being connected to gut issues--dietary triggers-YES, but not digestive issues. I've had ocular migraines for 30 years. First it was thought to be MS. I'm on Topamax and Cymbalta at very high doses. I've had 2 Transient ischaemic attacks (TIA's) caused by migraine headaches, but no longer have the headaches, just the visual disturbances. My digestive issues began 8 years ago with Microscopic Colitis and now Vit D deficiency, Esophagitis, GERD, Gastritis, Gastroparesis plus colitis. Could there be a connection? 

I am working with a nutritionist, but I can only eat white and mushy foods. NO fruits, veggies, sweets, or milk. I'm considering getting a daith piercing. Very interested to have acupuncturist mark the proper location. 

A. Yes, I can image you would love to know exactly what to do to stop your migraine attacks. I have a post called digestion problems, here is the link - Digestion Problems: Another Cause of Migraine

It might help a little. 

I know that gut issues can trigger my migraine attacks. But that is a HUGE area. We are talking: poor digestion, poor absorption, nutrient deficiencies, constipation, diarrhea... just to name a few. Then there are things like parasites, organ dysfunctions and so many other things to look at when you refer to gut issues.

So the sad news is that I think any of that puts us in a position creating more opportunity for triggering a migraine.

But the page I listed might be a good place to start with digestive enzymes. Can you go visit a local nutritionist or naturopath that deals with migraines? I'd choose a professional over self dosing, because there really is just too much to consider!

Thanks for commenting, I look forward to hearing from you again.




Headache Forum - Depression


I Get So Depressed After A Migraine by Annie

This isn't really a symptom, but I get really depressed after a migraine. I just had one for four days and it's nearly Christmas. Now I am behind four days in preparing for the "festive season." I don't feel so festive. I just want to stay in bed.

I have noticed with some migraines I can either get angry or have a big cry within a few hours of an attack. Are those symptoms? I just feel so down today. I do not have the energy to bake and make the things I need to for Christmas. 

Q.What should I do? Make myself I guess. Thanks for listening. Look forward to your advice. This happens a lot.


Depression Is Linked To Migraines by Holly 

Hi Annie, Yes your depression can be a symptom of your migraines. As is crying and anger. They are all symptoms of an attack. Your nervous system is becoming oversensitive so you could experience a number of different symptoms that are not 'text book'. But these ones are.

What should you do? Be kind and gentle to yourself. You just had a long, painful migraine episode. So, this is all up to you but, this is what I tell my clients:

If you are feeling down, what have you done in the past to help yourself feel better? I take some time out to do something I love, something gentle like a guided meditation, or some yoga.

Take some time for you, before you get to your TO DO List. Have some recovery time.

In the future, when you are feeling on top of the world again - write yourself a list of fun things to do to cheer yourself up. Keep the list for these down times. 

I highly recommend getting some extra professional support and learning some new life long skills. Dealing with migraines and depression is not easy. Here's one article I've written that might help - Migraines and Depression: One Way To Tame Crazy Emotions.

And so one more idea is to take a walk or get moving. Moving the energy in your body will also help shift the depressed state. Anything to distract your mind will help too.

So yes... make yourself bake but... take care of yourself before your chores. Even if it's only 5 minutes, and make sure you do something fun to lift your spirits.... here is my list of self nurturing things to do when I am migraine free. You can click on the link on the page if you'd like to print it out. 




Headache Forum - The Things I've Tried Just to Stop Attacks



Never Give Up by Sharon Rhoades (East Aurora, NY USA)

I have this chronic invisible neurological disease called migraines.

I’ve had them for over 30 years but was not diagnosed and treated until about 12 years ago. I never understood why certain sensations would bother me. For example, sunlight, loud noises, smells, weather changes. Food would also trigger and amplify the symptoms of my migraines. Migraines have changed my life. The debilitating pain prevents me from carrying out daily activities. 

In the past 12 years, the occurrences of the disease of neurological migraines has escalated to every other day. I have altered my lifestyle in hopes of decreasing symptoms and frequency of attacks. These lifestyle changes include changing my diet, exercise routine, topical creams, all to possibly slow down my migraine. 

I've explored many migraine medications, therapy and treatment options including chiropractor, acupuncture, massage therapy, Botox, nerve block, trigger points, and SPG procedure. However, none have worked or helped. The triggers that cause migraines for me are MSG, strong smells, cooker smoked meat, camp fires, clicking sounds, as well as barometric pressure changes.

Migraines are a debilitating neurological disease and for those of us who suffer, it not only affects our health but every facet of our lives. We strive to not let migraines take our lives away, and often that means suffering silently, and living in a world where everyday existence means "just pushing through."

There is considerable pain and discomfort associated with not only the migraine but the pre-migraine and hangover, causing one migraine to have an impact that lasts days at a time. Due to the duration of a migraine and the frequency to which many people have them, experiences that others can enjoy, like a warm summer day, or my child’s birthday is often riddled with pain. 

So, I say without hesitation, that migraines affect all aspects of our lives, our ability to work, to take care of our family, and just enjoy life.

Having migraines is the most debilitating disease of my day to day life. Until someone has had them, they will never understand. It is not just painful, you can still have migraines with no pain, but there is also nausea, fatigue, tiredness, fogginess, can't think right, can't talk straight. Trying to power through the day is a struggle.

The most important thing is getting relief and my quality of life back. Migraines have taken my life away. We migraine people need to keep fighting with this invisible disease. We can't give up.

Never give up!




Headache Forum - Lessons Learned


Lessons Learned in Life by Erica Sobel, LCSW (Nyack, NY, USA)

"I've learned more from pain than I could've ever learned from pleasure."

This statement couldn't be more true. I wish I could say that all the lessons I've learned have been painless (no pun intended!), but that would be a lie. Regardless, most lessons we learn in our lives comes from our greatest struggles.

Here are some of the things I have learned along the way while I have struggled with migraines and physical pain: 

  • The people who were by my side at my best were usually the ones who dropped out quickly from my life at my worst. 
  • Those who I partied and laughed with do not include me in outings anymore for what I believe is fear that I will "bring them down" or remind them that no one is immune to life-changing conditions. 

At my worst, I have gained friendships and support from those I never knew before or knew in a very different part of my life, such as old acquaintances from high school and college or online support groups with individuals I would never have encountered in my old, healthy life. These individuals have been my saviors in every way and I hope to meet all of them one day to say thank you.

I used to get very irritated by those who would call, text, or write me on social media making suggestions on how to make my chronic pain dissipate. Even though at times the suggestions still bother me, mostly because they have already been tried, I realize that these individuals actually cared enough to want to help. This is much better than being ignored or shunned altogether. So I welcome remarks from others for that is far better than no remarks at all.

Pain has taught me to stay in the moment, rather than always running toward the next challenge or achievement, rather than trying to "Keep up with the Joneses" like I see many of my friends trying to do. When you are knocked down with pain, you have no other choice but to stop everything you are doing and just be. Although I wish to someday have the ability to stay in the moment when I feel good, pain has shown me how to "stop and smell the roses", so to speak.

Pain has shown me a very big lesson about what is important in life... in my pre-migraine life, the things that appeared important were monetarily driven: working toward having nice "things" and spending money to go to nice "places". Now, I have learned that no amount of money can buy what is really essential: love, friendship, family, health, compassion.

Pain has taught me that without your health, you have nothing else... nothing. Until you lose this yourself, you will never learn this lesson.

I have learned that it can always be better, but it most certainly could always be worse. I hear people on a daily basis complain about what I call "first world problems"... what color to dye their hair, stress around what furniture to buy for their new house, anxiety around planning a wedding. As a therapist, I am a strong believer in "any stress, whether positive or negative, is stress nonetheless", but I have become sensitive to the fact that if a "first world problem" is not resolved, your life isn't over!

Pain has taught me a valuable lesson in my interpersonal relationships: before I believed that trust was something to give away freely to anyone (the old innocent until proven guilty scenario), and it was only to be taken away if I was hurt in some way. Now, trust needs to be earned, and you have to participate in a relationship to maintain... not just "be". Life is a reciprocal journey.

Although this one will probably be a work in progress for the rest of my life, pain has taught me that you have to put yourself FIRST before anyone else. Pain screams at you in the face, pain reminds you of its presence with every move you make, pain is constantly there to say "hey, while I'm around, you can't do anything else". Pain is there to tell you that until you take care of you, no one else will be helped in the way you want to help them.

And finally, the greatest lesson I have learned from pain:

"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we'll ever do". Brene Brown

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