Self-help for headaches?

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/1/2010 5:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I have headaches or migraines fairly often, usually a few times a week at least.

I've had migraines since I was 11 or 12. I'd get sick every day- migraine, nausea, gagging. I'd sleep it off. Then, I went to a few doctors and they did various tests. The doctors told my parents that I should grow out of the headaches and to get my eyes checked. I got glasses. Still had migraines. Eventually, they went away for a while, but came back. It seems like every few years they get bad. Sometime years it's a few times a week, sometimes it's rarely, and some years it's daily.

I'm in my 20s. Graduate student. My health insurance doesn't cover doctors visits, and I can't imagine how expensive it would be to see a doctor, have blood tests, and all that sort of thing. So, essentially, I doubt a doctor is an option right now. My school doesn't cover this for me, either, and I'm not "poor" so public clinics (if there even are any around here) wouldn't work.

What are some self-help remedies? It's hard to get anything done on days I don't feel good. I'm exhausted, my head hurts, and I feel like crap. There's nothing wrong with me, and I have a very high pain tolerance, so if something bothers me, it's got to be for real,.. not in my head. I'm stressed, but not excessively so.. I"m just a student/PT worker. Might have a bit of the blues, and have some insomnia.

Clearly I haven't 'grown out of it', like my childhood doctors thought. I've tried relaxation (hot baths, movies, stretching, yoga). I've tried cold packs, hot packs, no caffeine, sleeping more or sleeping less. It doesn't seem like anything is really triggering them, as it happens various times of the day, sometimes at night, and sometimes I wake up with it.. or it happens morning or afternoon.

Usually, now it's a migraine... usually gets worse as it goes, then nausea. Sometimes can sleep it off. Often achey all over.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 8/2/2010 3:40 AM (GMT -6)   
What kind of insurance doesnt cover doctor visits? I'm sorry, but that is just insane. How do they expect one to actually manage their health without a doctor. Do you know what triggers your migraines? I personally know mint, chammonile (sp?), ginger, dandelion, aloe vera pills helpwith the naseau. for the migraine taking any of your migraine medication with caffine ecause caffine makes your pills more effective
Smurfy Shadow/Desirèe 
DX: Wegener's Disease, Migraines, Diabetese Type II, PCOS, Lactose Intolerant, Benign Heart Murmer, Depression, Asthma, Asperger's Syndrome, Necrotizing Gramultous Inflamation in eye, A.D.D., Acid Reflux, Tumor Behind the Eye, Carpal Tunnel, Fibromyolgia, Clasterphobic, Arthritis, Anxiety
Medications:  Tri Nessa, Percocet, Metformin, Prednisone, Cingulair, Albuterol, Pro-Air, Morphine, Rolaids, Zofran, Compuzeen, Refresh Plus Eye Drops, Percocet, Immuran, Alvesco, Allerga, Gabapentin, Visteral  PRN: Epi-Pen, Albuterol Nebulizer, Benedryl Undergoing Chemotherapy Taking Lorazepam (Ativan) For MRIs and Anxiety, Surpressed Immune Sytem

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/2/2010 4:38 AM (GMT -6)   
It's essentially "disaster" health insurance, for things like major surgery. The deductible is $5000, so any care up to that cost is my responsibility. I know, it's a pain.. literally. I didn't think I'd need a lot of doctor visits, and this is insurance was in my budget.

I don't know what triggers it. I think too much or too little sleep affects it, or sleeping different hours. Not eating soon enough, stress, pain. I had a somewhat stressful job for a few years and had migraines daily.. had to sit/lay in the bathroom and take power naps or close my eyes for a few minutes before finishing the workday. I worked then slept most every day.. definitely wasn't fun, but productive and necessary. I'm a generally stressed person, perhaps excessively, so maybe that doesn't help migraines. But, since I've had them since 11/12, maybe it's not stress.. since, how stressed could someone that young be? Back then I was fairly active for a kid.. not particularly nutritionally-wise.. slept fairly good hours.

I'll look into mint and those things. Where do you take that sort of thing?

All I take is Advil. On vacations or when I know I'm seeing friends that day, I take some Advil every few hours all day to try and prevent migraines from coming on. I've been hoping to get used to migraines and such, instead of having to do go to a doctor, but I've had a migraine half this week and it's getting old. I've felt generally run down for at least a year or two, and don't feel half as energetic or youthful as other people my age (20s). I also wouldn't want to go to a doc and get told I'll grow out of it again, or to live with it. Not that treatment for someone who is 12 (like I was) and 20-something (like I am now) is the same, but I can't say that it made me overly enthusiastic about docs. I've gotten my eyes checked annually and gone to a dentist in recent history (well, it's been too long now, but not super long. I haven't been to a doc since my freshman year of college.

I've been wanting to to get more/regular sleep, try some sort of yoga/relaxation, vitamins, etc.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 8/4/2010 5:04 PM (GMT -6)   
It took me a few years do to the following.

Find a pain reliever that works for you-Tylenol, ibuprofen, Advil etc.

Realize that migraines are caused by all sorts of triggers.

You will have to learn what the pain is that is caused by that trigger. I realized that each trigger has a different remedy. You will have to figure out those remedies.

My triggers are artificial fruity smells or flavors, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin etc), MSG (monosodium glutamate), too little/too much sleep (drinking a caffienated drink as soon as I get up prevents a migraine), loud noises, and flashing lights.

I find the cold compresses on the forehead and neck are your best friends. Good luck!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 8/5/2010 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
headaches, I'm so sorry you are dealing with this, especially without help. I can see a doctor telling you or your parents that you might grow out of them, but no one could have known for sure that you would. Please don't judge all doctors on the one you saw when you were younger, and don't let that stop you from seeking help from a competent migraine specialist as soon as you are able to. I have had them from around that same age, and I'm 37 now. Like you, I've had cycles, some years worse than others. My mid to late 20's were bad, and then they dropped back to 3-4 per year until last year, when they picked up again for no apparent reason. I'm now on topamax to control them and for the first time in my life, seeing a neurologist who specializes in migraine treatment. I don't think there is any getting used to migraines, other than accepting that you get them. They are so much more than just a headache. I don't know where your pain is focused, but for me, ice packs (I prefer the flexible gel kind to hard ice) over the worst pain areas, and laying down in a dark room and doing my best to go to sleep until the pain is gone was the only thing for me when I had no medication to use-OTC medications never did anything for mine. I have also had a long time to figure out what my triggers are and I avoid them. For me, alcohol, excessive exposure to loud noises, flashing lights, some scents.

I know what it is like to have no insurance (which with your high deductible plan, you might as well not have any as far as this kind of problem is concerned) and have to suffer with the pain. The thing with migraines is that they don't just involve your head. They affect your whole body, and multiple organ systems. I am always exhausted after a migraine.How long that lasts depends on the length of the migraine. When mine were every day, I never felt adequately rested. Migraines are not something that is an easy, or quick fix. There are some great medications, but the problem is that some of them do not come cheap, especially the triptans. In my 20's, I had no insurance, but I paid for them out of pocket because I had to work and could not miss a day of work per week because of my migraines, and with mine, there was no working through them, and I have a pretty high pain tolerance as well. I'd describe my migraines as extreme agony, 20 on a pain scale of 1-10 and I'd take a broken bone with only tylenol to help with the pain over a migraine with no medication any day of the week, so they take my high pain tolerance and obliterate it. Best wishes and I hope you are able to find something that works for you!
Fibromyalgia, High BP, Migraines, anxiety, Non Celiac Gluten Intolerant
Current medications: Topamax, Maxalt, Lotrel, Wellbutrin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2510
   Posted 8/5/2010 3:48 PM (GMT -6)   
OK- this worked for me the other day when prescription drugs did not. A client of mine suggested a remedy she uses and it worked. I drank 4 oz. of coke soda with 2 alka seltzers dropped in.

Hope it works for you- so sorry you are struggling through college feeling ill and not able to afford help. Hang in there!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 8/9/2010 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry to hear your troubles.

You could try a variety of OTC medications like -

- Paracetamol 1gm, not more than 4 in 24 hour period (I don't know if combination with codeine will be an OTC product, if you find it, use that one instead)
- Diclofenac Sodium/Potassium (Max 50mg, start with 25mg)
- Naproxen 200/250mg, only one at a time, max 2 in 24 hour period. (One 250mg Naproxen solves my issue but I bleed for another 5 days, nothing else works for me)
- Aspirin 500mg, not more than 4 in 24 hour period


Over use of Naproxen and Aspirin can lead to gastric bleeding, Aspirin is also a blood thinner so if you have any blood / heart related disorder, stay away from it.

Frankly, I would pay out of pocket to see a doctor rather than taking such chances.

Male, Otherwise healthy, Non-Smoker and a teetotaler.
Flared for about a year before colonoscopy and official diagnosis of IBD on 23rd March 2007, at the age of 30 years.
Currently taking -
Colazid 2250mg 3X a day,
Azathioprine 150mg a day,
Salazopyrine Suppository 500mg, one every night (Stopped since 2nd June 2010)
Mesalamine 1gm enema 2X a day (since 2nd June 2010)
Metaprolol 100mg, once a day for migraine (since 13th July 2010)

Otherwise serious migraine headache. Migraine is affecting quality of life way more than IBD.

I just give suggestions. You decide what to do with it.

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