Migraine Awareness Week: lets talk about headaches

By Aisling | September 6 2011 | 57 Comments

I remember the first time I ever got a migraine.  I was about fourteen I think, in school and I suddenly couldn’t see properly.  I was sick all over the place.

“Migraine” declared Sister Assumpta kindly and sent me home.  I was shocked.  There was no real headache at that stage.  How could it be migr-

Aaagh.  The pain was terrible.  And it wouldn’t stop.  And it went on and on.  And on and on. And on and on.  Nothing would get rid of it.

As I lay in my curtains closed room with the pain so intense it felt like my head would split in two I didn’t know that I was beginning a horrible life long relationship with migraine.  (Although my teenage bedroom was in a mess so bad it practically triggers migraine just thinking about it).

I was easy to diagnose – I had all the classic symptoms – the aura (that weird shimmer of colours that obstructs vision and normally comes at the beginning of an attack); the nausea; sensitivity to light and the feeling of a drill grinding into my right eye.  Stomach shut down meant that no tablets I swallowed had any real effect  But lots of people have some or none of these symptoms and it can take years to figure out that they’re actually suffering from migraine.

But if you’ve a migraine you’ll know all about it.  If you’ve ever experienced a headache so bad you’ve had to take a day off work ; had to shut yourself away in a darkened room because you couldn’t stand light and maybe experience the headache for two or three days – then you’ve got a migraine.  It could be hormone related, there could be a food (or in Kirstie’s case a WINE trigger), stress or none of these.  Or all of these

We’ve talked about it often on Beaut.ie – hence our despair when the simple purchase of Nurofen Plus became an endurance feat of  Gestapo style interrogation proportions.

Imigran works for me – sometimes.  When it works it’s brilliant, the pain is gone instantly. I often have to top it up with Nurofen Plus (I got a prescription from my doc to make that process a bit easier). They don’t always work though.  Kirstie’s on prescription meds and they seem to be bringing it under control at last.

What about you?  Do you suffer from migraine – tell us your story.

Diet & Wellbeing , ,
 

57 Replies to "Migraine Awareness Week: lets talk about headaches"

  • Jenny says:

    I’ve never really gone to the doctor for migraines, but I definitely get them. And pain killers don’t work for me I find. They usually last several days for me. I think stress plus constant sinus problems are my triggers.

    The last time I had one, a few weeks ago, I asked the girl in the pharmacy for Migraleve. She asked me what it was for. A f*cking migraine you **!**?**. I said that in my head and silently vowed to puke all over her to prove I needed the strong painkillers.

  • Sharlene says:

    I am your twin. Except mine started around the age of ten. I used to get a lot of nosebleeds that just started out of no where, or I might wake up on a blood saturated pillow. I am convinced the nose bleeds are related in some way. Then I grew out of the nose bleeds and into the migraines. Unless you’ve had one yourself its difficult to describe the pain of them. They are awful. And such a nuisance. They always seem to arrive for me on days of special events or when I really dont need them. They can be brought on suddenly by stress or humidity, sunlight or time of the month and I am almost guaranteed to get one if I drink hot chocolate :-( And yes, the only solution for me is to go to bed in a pitch black room with no noise. Sometimes pressing a pillow hard across my eye relives it a bit but it takes hours to fully get rid of. The only tablets that work for me are the pink & yellow migralieves but even they take a few hours….

  • sexyspecs says:

    I’ve been getting really bad migraines (scratch that-aren’t they all really bad?) for the past few years. Especially when there’s low air pressure, or glare (and I forget to wear sunglasses), both of which theres been a lot of lately! I find Migraleve the best, but it only works if u take it at the very beginning of a migraine attack. Like you said Aisling, once one takes hold of my stomach theres no way I’m keeping down tablets :(

  • Gee Gee says:

    Migraines are a hellish curse in my family, a few of us get them thanks to stress, dramatic changes in the weather, and for me food intolerances, if I give in to dairy too often I suffer the price with migraines.

    Solpadeine, peppermint oil capsules, a gel eye mask and my bed were my answer for a long time, until buying solpadeine made me feel like a druggie with all the questions… At the moment I have a stash of prescription painkillers from after a surgery, which are being hidden away for bad migraines, apart from that I’m mainly trying to limit my dairy intake alot – so annoying cos its delicious, but worth it to save myself having to save in bed riddled with pain, not able to see out of one eye.

    I remember once last year going into work with the start of a migraine, having taken painkillers I thought I’d be sound in a bit, and went on deli to make food for some hungover students… The concoctions that some of them were asking for, they were lucky they didn’t get a bit of puke instead of mayo on their rolls, was home in my bed 30minutes later and didn’t surface for a few days.

  • lyonsie says:

    While I dont suffer from traditional migraines I suffer from what my neurologist calls “chronic neuropathic pain” (in other words they dont really know whats going on) I’v had these for about 4 and a half years now and have pretty must tried every treatment available with no long lasting results and I have been scanned till I glow and seen doctors all over the country with no cause found. These headaches often bring my life to a standstill and can last anythin from minutes to months I have often been forced to take months at a time off work ( i have great employers)I’m no longer allowed to take codiene due to the risk of rebound headaches so I have to get by on ibuprofen and difene and whatever bizzare combination of durgs my neurologist has prescribed. One of the worst things about the whole thing is the lack of belief, people (doctors included) often dont believe that I can be in pain 100% of the time so I’m accused of either making it up or over-exaggerating it. Its very frustrating that migraines aren’t always taken seriously. I’m sorry for the long post butI guess I just needed a bit of a rant I feel bad constantly my husband and my family how crap i feel all the time

  • Daily Polish says:

    I got my first migraine when I was 6 years old. All the women on my mum’s side get them (except for my big sis, lucky woman!!!!) and I was so young and confused (and in pain!), I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me or why. I remember laying on my parents bed with the lights off with a cold compress over my head and eyes. They’ve varied in frequency over the last 21 years but sadly never gone away completely.

    They come with a lot more strength and frequency in times of stress and turmoil (or hormones!). I get the sensitivity to sound and light but no auras, my migraines are spread across my whole head and I cry from the pain. Imigran sometimes works (when topped up with 800mg nurfoen and 800mg anadin plus at the same time), I actually swear by acupuncture. It’s really been a cure-all. It reduces the frequency and intensity. I see a guy called Paul Robin and he practices all over London. It’s not cheap, £50 or £75 a session (I can’t remember which) but when they start to happen 2 or 3 times a week (and last days at a time so they really feel neverending) I just fork the money over to Paul and he makes them stop.

    I also like acupuncture because the problem with pills is that you build up an immunity to them. Acupuncture is natural and works within the body. Somehow it just helps me in a way the pills never do. I’m a big fan of combining eastern and western medicine. I love my western medicine, I have lifelong chronic illnesses and I will be on medication until I die. I would be housebound/bedbound without western medication…but sometimes it just feels like I’m treating the symptoms instead of the root causes. Eastern medicine feels like I’m treating the disease and not just what it does to me.

    A bit of a ramble…but as a lifelong migraine sufferer (and pain sufferer) it’s a subject I feel passionate about!

    Also if you are in London there is the City of London Migraine Clinic and they are funded by DONATION ONLY and their entire purpose is understanding and treating migraines. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend them!

    xo
    Sara

  • Annie says:

    I’ve had one migraine in my life- never before, never since. At first I thought I was dying, and then I actually wanted to die – the pain! the nausea! Spent the whole day lying in a dark room and cried a good bit too feeling sorry for myself heh.

    However, I always wonder can you only get migraines the once? Maybe it was just a really really REALLY bad headache?! Frikking hurt anyways.

    I genuinely do feel sorry for regular migraine sufferers, I don’t know how you would go through that more than once. Lyonsie, your situation sounds horrific, I’m sorry, I really hope things improve for you.

  • Annie_H says:

    Another migraine sufferer here and before I discovered acupuncture my migraines used to progress to cluster headaches….just migraine after migraine after migraine…sometimes lasting 4 or 5 weeks! I still suffer but the frequency and severity is so much less since doing acupuncture. Definitely worth a try for any sufferers!

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve had a few aura-only migraines, which are very strange – the first time it happened I thought I was going blind in one eye.

    That said, I am very glad to be spared the horrible headaches and sickness that most people get along with the weirdy vision.

  • Kitty In The City says:

    Girls, you have my sympathies. I have sinus problems, but they cannot be compared to a migrane(which I thought I had recently but it was a sinus infection). I read an article in one of the Sunday magazines last year. The journalist discovered that keeping her sleeping patterns regular helped, ie, a lie-in was sure to trigger one.

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