3**I am not a doctor. See your own doctor if you are having symptoms or pain. These are my own personal experiences***
I have chronic migraines. I can and have dealt with migraines on a daily basis. My migraines on a scale of 1-10 are usually around a 5 or a 6. A bad day will be up in the 7-8 zone because that’ll get your attention and after that it’s just…well…you’re down for the count. Cut your losses. Go to bed or go to the doctor/hospital for a shot.
I started Botox for migraines in January of 2016. The doctor administers 30 shots, all around my head…forehead, neck, shoulders, back of the head, etc. How did it work? Well, it was definitely an adjustment. I had some eyebrow issues but we fixed that. I’m just a little too expressive so he kept injecting it and pretty soon I was flirting with strange people with my raised eyebrow. it was a good time. He knows me now and remembers he has to take extra care around those.
It’s helped a lot. My daily meds that I take when I get a migraine have lasted two to three times as long as usual. It doesn’t eliminate them but it does reduce them probably 75%. A drastic change in my life.
I still take a preventative medication called Topiramate. This is actually an anti seizure medication they found had a few bonus features. It suppresses hunger (this doesn’t do much for me, I don’t have a lot of hunger anyway and I’ve been on it a long time) and it prevents migraines. Bonus. So I’m guessing if I was prone to seizures…it would be suppressing those guys really well right now. Nice!
The Topiramate by itself did a great job of limiting the migraines and the severity. I had been getting such horrible daily migraines that this was a great step to bringing them to a reasonable level. Does it prevent them all? No. But I have way fewer migraines for sure. The combination of the two are definitely working better.
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease which is known to cause migraines though mine did not lessen when I cut gluten out of my life. Based on my history I suspect the migraines are just there for the hell of it.
I have found a few other things really do work well for me. I imagine I would be pretty lost otherwise.
- Diet: Certain foods are just known to cause migraines. And I have specific triggers that we all know are so common. So I have compiled a list of foods that affect me and I avoid them. This is a “living list”. It grows and shrinks according to what I learn.
A: caffeine, alcohol, MSG, sulfites (you can find these in wine and in lunch meats, bacon, things like that), aged cheese (cream cheese is okay and so is cottage cheese…not that I would EVER eat cottage cheese-yuck), nuts can cause issues, as can avocados (I don’t have issues from avocados-thanksbetoGod), chocolate for sure is a trigger, beans, and soy. I’ll update the list more as I need to.
- Weather: Extreme temps. Hot and cold. Especially cold. I need to always keep my head and ears covered. Oh man my head does not like the cold for sure.
- Extreme exercise: Marathons, half marathons, LSD’s. Those long runs? Yep….almost always get a migraine after one of those. Not sure why but it just happens. My son does, too. It’s common. Stairs..lots of stairs, inclines, that sort of thing.
- Sleep Patterns: Mostly just lack of sleep. I don’t sleep well sometimes. Insomnia can bite me. So I’ll go two or three days with no sleep and then…bam. I’m exhausted. But you can bet by the third day I’ve got a killer migraine from no sleep.
- Hormones. Yep. That one is a killer. Bites me every month. Man it’s awful. People keep telling me how FABULOUS it is when you get older. No more migraines! You’ll feel awesome! Mine, unfortunately, have only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.
I can’t control the weather or the hormones but I can control a lot of the rest and I can take good care of myself. Exercise and take my vitamins and meds and be as healthy as I can be under the circumstances. So far I think I’m doing well with it so I’ll stay on this path for now. Living with migraines isn’t something I “learned to do” or anything like that. I just did it. One day at a time.
My neurologist who administers the Botox told me he suspects I’ll have the migraines forever based on my history. He thinks my brain is “trained” to have them since I’ve had them my whole life.
When I went to see my acupuncturist for a totally different reason (I saw him one time but now I totally refer to him as “mine”…we’re very close) he looked into my migraines and said my migraines were in my DNA and I would always have them. It was genetics. How does he know? Because he’s a very old Chinese acupuncturist, that’s how. I totally believe him. Plus he fixed my other problem and I could run again, so there.