A Pain in the Brain

This week (September 4th) is Migraine Awareness WeekSo to celebrate Dreaming Aloud decided to get one herself to show solidarity with the 1 in 7 sufferers in the UK!


I suffered with migraine every couple of weeks from my late teens to mid twenties. The birth of my first child seemed to settle them down and I only got one every six months or so, which was a blessed relief. But the emergence of two more kiddies in quick succession who don’t like to sleep much at night equal a mega resurgence of migraines. 


What is migraine? 
First things first, it is NOT just a bad headache. That’s like calling a bad cold the flu. They are different in severity and the level of disability they cause. Migraine are sometimes preceded by disturbed vision, flashing lights and geometric patterns in the visual field. It can be triggered by any number of things, including bright or flashing lights, lack of food or sleep, strong smells.Migraine is often described as one-sided, intense pulsing, throbbing, bruising feeling pain in the head.


It is usually accompanied by heightened sensitivity to light, smell and sound, as well as nausea and sometimes vomiting. In women, migraine is often tied to changes in hormonal levels preceding their period. Other triggers involve anxiety, stress, or relaxation after stress. More women than men get migraines because they are often tied to the menstrual cycle. The World Health Organization has classified migraine as one of the top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions.

So let’s examine the triggers for me this week…
Family history – tick
Lack of sleep – tick
Anger/ stress – tick
Eating trigger foods such as chocolate, alcohol, especially red wine – tick
Preceding menstruation – tick
Low to moderate dehydration – tick
Anxious, shallow breathing – tick
Muscle tension in shoulders/ neck – tick
Flashing lights/ screen – tick, courtesy of The Smurf movie!
So really it was guaranteed!


According to a Yahoo article on the subject: 
“For many years, scientists thought migraines were caused by the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head.
But current research indicates that migraine may be caused by inherited abnormalities in genes that control certain brain activities.
Scientists hope to identify specific genes that cause migraine pain, which could pave the way for the development of drugs that could prevent or interrupt migraine.
In the UK, the neurotoxic protein Botox was licensed in 2010 by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as a preventative treatment for adults with chronic migraine. However, its use in the NHS remains limited, as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has not yet provided formal guidance.” 
http://uk.health.lifestyle.yahoo.net/migraine-awareness-week.html

DIY cures include: 
Rest in a darkened, quiet room – so easy with young children!!
A cold compress/ ice pack to the head
Pain killers 
Lavender oil
Gentle face/ neck massage
Sleep
Lots of extra fluid
Steering clear of trigger foods
Biofeedback
Meditation and concentrating on warming the hands and feet and cooling the head
Masturbation – apparently!!


Do you suffer from migraine? What helps you? And what triggers you?

  1. Motherfunker
    Motherfunker09-05-2011

    Poor you!

    I have just bought this fluffy pig pillow for a friends daughter who has been falling asleep all the time and having mega headaches/dizzyness. You can also get it in different designs. It is soooo fluffy and instantly soothing and fluffy. I’m not into fluffy piggy things personally but when I shut my eyes and rubbed my face on this pillow I was in heaven!

    Could be soothing when you have a migraine?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Travel-Pillowheads-Soft-Toy-Cushion/dp/B001THHIWQ

    x

  2. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet09-05-2011

    Thanks MF xx

  3. mb
    mb09-06-2011

    yes. stress is the biggest trigger, of course. one of my triggers is extreme temperature changes or barometric pressure changes. i know those sounds more like headache triggers, but i also am predisposed (mom and older brother both get them), and these are migraines, not headaches. i don’t seem to have the food thing, though i do think there are mineral/vitamin deficiencies involved… hoping to look into that more. i don’t always have the aura/lights, but i do have extreme make-me-cry pain, sensitivity to light sound AND smell, and nausea. last week was my first experience where it actually led to vomiting, i tried taking ibuprofin on an empty stomach. oops! i like very strong mint tea, catnip too. i do cold washcloths and lay down, because really i have to sleep before it will go away. letting time pass is the only cure, i find. i know some acupressure points on my hand that offer some temporary relief… and i had the same experience as you, with a blessed respite from migraines during pregnancy and after quinn’s birth- they are only starting to re-emerge for me now that he is four.
    xo and solidarity, an unfortunate trait to have in common, though! :)

  4. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet09-06-2011

    Thanks for sharing mb – have tried the acupressure points with relative success. You’re right it is mainly time though, mine last 24 hours, almost to the minute. Good call on the mint tea, I always find it great for nausea, and had never tried it with migraine nausea. I have no idea of barometric pressure is a factor for me.

    I wonder how much high sensitivity is one of the predisposing qualities for migraine sufferers

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