I will preface by saying that I don’t have a migraine every single day. But the pain lingers long after it’s gone and it sure feels like I have a migraine every single day. And if you are a migraine sufferer like myself, you understand.
I’ve written about my struggles with migraines before. I share my challenges and day to day pains on Instagram regularly. And I have been lucky enough to get a ton of support from my followers and so many women reach out to me with new and proven remedies. But it was time to put something in writing from my perspective; my challenges and ways of coping. Not only for me but for those that are not with me on Instagram and for those that are suffering silently.
Come on in…you are not alone.
Backstory: I’ve been suffering from migraines for almost 11 years now. A lot of people (other sufferers) associate it with the epidural I received when I was giving birth to my daughter. But I have no direct proof of that or medical diagnosis/ confirmation. Could it be true? I honestly don’t know. I don’t personally know if there is a connection between the two. But it’s possible.
But again, no medical professional has ever told me that specifically. All I have been told is that “we don’t know” or “It could be this or that.” Until about a year ago. When I was informed that “it could be hormonal.” Plus, that maybe by the time I am in menopause, it will ease up.
Here is to HOPING!
Migraines can be triggered by hormones, foods, drinks, stress, exercise and more. And most doctors will try different tests to determine the cause or to make us feel better. But because it can be related to so many different things, it is and can be difficult to pin point.
In my case, I also have chronic sinusitis. Which, when inflamed, does not help my migraines. At all. So hormonal or sinus related, I am in pain a lot. I am frustrated a lot too. But I somehow find the strength and manage. On most days.
But don’t think I am some super woman. I have some help. From migraine medication of course. I have a prescription and it helps but it is fairly strong and I can only get 9 pills a month. So I take half at a time because nine isn’t enough when I have at least 15 migraines a month. So that is challenge #1. Plus when I have to take the full dosage, I feel so sick. Almost defeats the purpose.
Challenge #2 – most of my migraines start at bedtime. Which makes me anxious and getting enough sleep extra hard. I am always tired.
But I’ve found some ways to help myself. To push me through some of my challenges or at least before the medicine kicks in. Or when it fails to kick in at all. Which it has – on many occasions.
Hot showers or baths.
When I get an inclination that a migraine is coming, I immediately take my medicine. But because it takes a while to start working, I start getting anxious and panic. The pain for me is so excruciating that I want to cry. But if I cry, it will be worse. So holding in the tears and pain causes my anxiety to sky rocket. So I take a hot shower or a bath.
This helps me relax and focus on the water hitting my face until the medicine does it’s job.
It also makes me sleepy and helps me fall asleep faster.
Dry my hair.
Since most of migraines occur at night and I like to take a hot shower to calm down, my hair is obviously wet. I have tried falling asleep with wet hair and that just makes it 100 times worse. So I dry my hair. The warmth from the hair dryer, really helps me too. Sometimes I just let the hot air blow into my face, kind of like the hot shower, just to calm me down.
You sense a pattern here? HOT HOT HOT! No worries. I do use other methods too. 🤣
Tea. Mint to be specific. I find it soothing and again, it helps calm me down until the medicine kicks in. But it also helps me relax enough to fall asleep again. Which I so desperately need.
Another thing that has helped me when I have sinus issues on top of migraines, I brew a few cups of tea and pour it in a large bowl. I let it cool off just a few minutes and then I put my face over the bowl and cover my head with a towel. I then slowly inhale the warm tea fumes and it helps not only clear my sinuses but also with my migraine.
See, I told ya. It’s not all hot. 😬
On some nights or days when I have a severe migraine, I alternate between icing my face or sucking on ice cubes and hot tea. I don’t know what it is but the hot/ cold combination helps me.
If I have the opportunity and it’s not the middle of the night, I love to get outside. No matter how cold it is, I walk out and just do some breathing exercises. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. It is calming but also refreshing.
I have tried these in the past and they used to work for me but not so much anymore. Sometimes I love to use mint but in a super super small amounts. The smell can be triggering and not help me in the end.
I do use tinctures and have used CBD balms in the past as well. But again, they only help once in a while. If the timing is right.
Diet and exercise.
I can confidently say that when I eat less dairy and/ or carbs, the amount of migraines I get are lower. Not significantly lower, but lower. Exercise on the other hand, while it makes me feel great at the time, can be triggering afterwards. The breathing is tricky for me and if not done correctly, can and has caused me excruciating migraines.
Yes. In a perfect world I would be able to close myself in a dark, cold room and sleep it off. But being a mom, I don’t have that luxury all the time. Also, because most of my migraines come on at night, my anxiety won’t let me sleep. I get so jittery and laying down makes it worse.
When I get migraines that I can’t control or just won’t budge, I make an appointment with my chiropractor and get an adjustment.
It’s important to note that I am not a professional and some of these tactics may sound crazy but this is what works for me.
A few days of adjustments and I can go a week or two without migraines. I don’t know what it is but something clearly “adjusts” and it helps me. However, adjustments can be pricey, I don’t go all the time.
I know this seems like a lot. But on most migraine days, I really do go through all of these tactics. I try everything but slowly. Giving myself some time in between. Mostly because I am in so much pain and when relief isn’t immediate, I have to keep myself busy and distracted. This way I don’t focus on the pain (although impossible) as much.
When I have migraines during the day and I don’t have the option of closing my eyes and resting, I also give myself tasks to shift my focus elsewhere. Of course this doesn’t always work. The pain can be unbearable and all I can do is make arrangements, close myself in a dark room and try to sleep through it.
It’s a tricky diagnosis. One that is different for everyone. But if you have the option, ask for medicine. If you don’t, try some of my coping mechanisms. And if you just need someone to talk to, you can always send me a message on IG: www.instagram.com/lifethrumyhazeleyes and I’ll keep you company.
Chances are, I am up and in pain too.
You are not alone.
Now tell me – how do you cope with migraines?