Hi Everyone :)
This is my first post. Just wanted to say what a relief to find this forum and realise I'm not the only person suffering from this delibilating condition! I feel compelled to explain a bit about my headaches if only to know that those people reading this have SOME understanding as to what we all go through. Often trying to explain migraine to a non sufferer is very frustrating. Take a paracetamol and lie down for 10 mins is often the advice I am give by non sufferers, if only if were that easy!!! :)
I wanted to list my triggers and things I have learned over the years that help me to avoid a big attack, maybe it will help someone to identify a trigger or give you something to try to ease the pain.
Firstly I am a 38 year old female...I have suffered with migraine since the age of 17. I had my first one when I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my eldest son. Not even one single headache prior to this which has always led me to believe that my migraines are hormonal. Since then I have had a combination of tension headache or full blown migraine increasingly has I've got older. The only time they disappeared completely was in the latter stages of pregnancy with my two sons.
I believe my migraines are also hereditary. My Dad had them, my Nan and also many of my other female relations, my great grandfather ect ect....all suffered with them. My Nan's disappeared after menopause she once told me. My Dad's disappeared when he began to take drugs for Parkinson's disease. I have no idea why this would be.
Currently I am experiencing almost daily tension headaches that usually come on in the afternoon and at least 2/3 full blown migraines a week. These migraines if left untreated last for around 5 days of such intense pain I really don't know what to do with myself all i can do is lay in bed and pray it passes quickly. I am very lucky...triptans do work wonders for me and will abort a migraine attack completely if taken early enough. I am taking daily Amitryptiline and Propanolol as pretentative (these have very little effect though) and also a 300mg a day supplement of magnesium as I read that migraine sufferers often have low levels of magnesium.
I find that if I take Anadin Extra SOLUBLE (I'm from the UK) at the very earliest stages of a migraine, you know when you first feel that first flicker of pain, this can also abort a migraine but it has to be taken very quickly. I also use a 4Head....a more natural pain reliever that you use over your forehead. I laughed at this product when it first became available in the UK thinking that how the hell can that cure a headache as bad as mine but actually it DOES work if you apply it regularly, it has many times preventing a tension headache from developing. I carry one with me everywhere now!
As everyone else here has I'm sure, I've researched migraine on the internet for many many hours. I've even given myself a migraine researching the migraine for too long!! By doing this I have managed to identify quite a few of my triggers....they are as follows
sleeping for too long, bright sunlight, loud noises, crowded places, ALL alcohol, cigarette smoke, processed meats are a killer for me because of the nitrates in them, watching TV, crying or getting angry, looking up for too long (I have a big problem with my neck that triggers the migraine), travelling for more than 10 mins in the car, air travel (a complete pain as I live in Italy and regularly travel back to the UK) and many many more...
As you can see my triggers are many!! I can no longer work because any kind of artificial light sets me off and my boss had no sympathy for me when I would ring in at least twice a week unable to get out of bed or have to go home early to go to bed. Luckily I have an amazing supportive partner, I feel so bad for you guys that have no choice but to continue to work while suffering like this :(
I have had to change my life drastically because of this condition. I used to be very outgoing and socialable. Now I'm a virtual recluse because I have to avoid so many triggers but its the only thing I can do to try and minimise my attacks. I sometimes get sad but then I try to think there are many people even worse off than me so I keep smiling and try to stay positive about it :)
Here is a list of things I have incorporated into my everyday life that have helped somewhat in preventing a migraine from coming on....I really hope this helps at least one person:)
Avoid ALL alcohol, believe me I have tried so many drinks to find one that doesn't trigger me....fact it, they ALL do!!
Try to relax as much as possible, anxiety plays a massive part in this illness, its not easy for someone that is naturally anxious but I believe that trying to stay calm at all times really does help.
Keep your waking and sleeping hours the same 7 days a weeks. This one is the most important one for me. I get up at 6am and I go to bed at midnight. Anymore than 6 hours a night and I wake up with a migraine. If I get really tired I have an hour in the daytime if its possible. I can't stress how much this helps me....I can avoid a migraine for many days as long as I keep to this routine.
Avoid processed meats, hotdogs, salami, ham, corned beef basically any preserved meats contain nitrates. I have a full blown migraine with 30 mins of eating these.
When I go out I always wear sunglasses, in the sun I always wear a hat....very important for me as letting my eyes squint for more than a few minutes will trigger me.
Drink plenty of water and keep yourself cool....another big trigger for me is overheating. I had a migraine come on yesterday because I was in the sun for more than 30 mins without drinking. I also find that iced water works wonders.....I'm a secret ice cruncher and I find this to be a great relief for tension headaches. Probably not so good for my teeth though!
Most importantly, be kind to yourself, look after your body and try not to stress too much!
I really hope this helps someone, sorry this post is so long!!
Keep Smiling :)