Living with Migraines


migraine1I remember the first time I suffered from a migraine. I was just ten years old, and it struck me while I was sitting at my desk in my fourth grade classroom. First came the aura and vision loss, followed by a debilitating head ache. They had to call my mother to come get me. No one knew what was wrong with me until they ran an MRI at the children’s hospital. Today, I am a grown woman with a career in the legal field who has had to learn from experience what my personal triggers are and how to best treat the migraines.

If patients keep a food journal for one month, they should be able to identify some foods that may trigger migraines. Foods that contain tyramine and tannins may be common culprits. Cheddar cheese and processed meats are examples of foods that contain tyramine. Tannins can be found in food and beverage items that contain caffeine.

Stress, lack of sleep, infrequent exercise, and excessive alcohol use have all been attributed to triggering migraines. Doctors stress a healthy lifestyle to those who suffer from migraines. A clean diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains may provide some relief. Regular cardiovascular exercise and massages twice a month will also benefit patients.

Regular over the counter Head Pain Treatment medications typically are not effective for migraine sufferers. Doctors treat migraines with prescription medications in the triptan family. These drugs (Imitrex being the oldest one on the market), help constrict the blood vessels in your brain. Triptans should be taken at the onset of symptoms. For many patients, this means they need to have their medicine within easy reach at all times so they can treat themselves the instance they sense an aura or a tingling or numbness in their arm or hand.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for migraines. The best way to get rid of one if you are suffering, is to immediately take your medicine and lie down in a dark room. Migraine sufferers are very sensitive to light and noise, so find yourself a quiet place to retreat to. At work, I have been known to hideout in our dark server room for about an hour until I can recover from the migraine attack.

After a migraine, many people feel very weak and generally fatigued. This is a combination of the headache itself and the effects of the medication. Be gentle to your body and listen to it. Stay away from pushing yourself too hard exercising the day after an attack, and be sure that you are drinking enough water. Try to get extra sleep the day after as well.