Migraines and Me: Part Six

Migraines

Part six of how migraines affect me.

It has been a while since I updated my blog posts about my migraines. I have been suffering with migraines since I was a child and have found some ways to help me (I have spoken about these in my previous posts). Over the past few months my migraines and headaches have been getting worse, even though I thought I had them under some sort of control.

Usually I handle stress quite well, but over the past few months I have had so much on my mind with worrying about family members having serious health problems among the most serious anxieties, means that the stress load, as much as I try to deny it, is just getting on top on me. It has all meant that I don’t sleep as well (last night I had between 4 and 5 hours sleep), can’t really switch off and relax and it all manifests in migraines, neck and shoulder pain and full body aches.

I am still using the Propranolol to try and prevent or limit the pain intensity of an attack. Whilst I am getting more migraines, I do feel these tablets are helping in not making then as bad as I have known them to do, and don’t last as long. Heat and cold therapy is helping to a degree.

I know that I need to try and reduce my stress levels, but with so much out of my control it is easier said than done. It hasn’t helped that in the past few days I have lost a job that I love doing and a friendship along with it.

For those that have never experienced a migraine, they are more than just a headache. Too many people insist that they have a migraine when they just have a bad headache. When I have a migraine attack, I have:

  • Headache of one side of my head – if on the left side it will be a really bad one, on the right is less painful and won’t last as long.
  • Neck and shoulder pain – a lot of my migraines generally start with pain in my neck and shoulder.
  • Pins and needles or numbness – I also tend to get a tingling feeling in my fingers like pins and needless or numbness, like I have been sitting on my hands for ages.
  • Sickness feeling – whilst I feel sick, it’s rare that I am actually sick.
  • Poor concentration – trying to concentrate on anything is a real struggle.
  • Poor memory – when an attack hits, my memory seems to go for a walk and I really struggle with remembering the most simple tasks (even down to that the bottle of milk I take out of the fridge doesn’t go back into the cupboard).
  • Hold & cold – I have always had an issue with not being able to regulate my temperature properly, usually overheating very quickly. This causes excess sweating and making me very hot to touch, or getting ice cold. Overheating in itself, will also bring on a migraine for me, so I can’t win either way.
  • Abdominal pain – with a really painful migraine I get pain in my stomach which also leads to a lot of time spent in the toilet with diarrhoea.
  • Vision problems – before and during a migraine attack I experience what I would describe as seeing stars in my vision (it is like twinkling bright lights).
  • Poor speech – this is strange as my speech comes out jumbled up with sentences in the wrong order, yet when I’m talking I can hear myself speaking incorrectly but can’t seem to do anything to stop and correct it.
  • Feeling off balance – I have often described this as feeling dizzy but not sure that is entirely correct. I feel off balance at feel like I am about to topple over.

I don’t necessarily get all the symptoms above at the same time, but as you can see it is different from having a headache. Once I get a migraine, it can last from 4 hours to up to 3 days and is always followed by no appetite or extreme hunger (usually the latter). Once it has gone, I feel extremely tired (my whole body feels exhausted).

Trying to stick to a routine where I eat meals at the approximately the same times every day, regular bedtime and not oversleeping also help a lot in managing my migraines (I also have to do this to manage my epilepsy). I also try to stay hydrated as dehydration is a massive cause of migraine.

If you do suffer with migraines and have any tips that help you manage yours, please email me at info@davidsavage.co.uk.

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