Monday, 25 August 2014

10 DAYS?!? or: 'The one where a migraine got in the way of everything how RUDE'

I can't believe it's 10 days since I blogged. WTH? If any of you are still out there I appreciate your unbelievable patience. *tumbleweed*

Basically, I blogged on the Friday, had the weekend, worked the Monday and Tuesday thinking 'Oh I'll do a nice blog post about Paris on Wednesday night.', went to bed Tuesday evening, couldn't sleep A WINK, got up at 5am having had zero sleep, went to Paris with Ruth, Anna, Lily and Hayley - more of which later this week and then woke up Thursday morning vomiting with the migraine from hell. No: really, really, the migraine from hell. That floored me all day Thursday which meant on Friday I barely had enough energy to catch up with vital work emails and spent the day recovering. It was so beyond vile and horrible that the thought of it literally hurts my head again and makes me nauseous.

Before the migraine from hell driving around in an open-top Citroen 2cv in Paris with Rufus (actually the best fun):

During and after my migraine:

Every silver lining etc... It did however, lead me to this blog post. Migraines. What triggers them? What are the signs? What helps them?

I'm not telling, I'm asking! After I surfaced with the migraine hangover so many of you related your stories that I thought we could have an open space and hopefully some of us can pick up tips along the way..I know everyone is different but there are always things to learn!

What I've learned from my migraines...

  • lack of sleep - killer for me. Really early starts - especially after little or no sleep. Nope. Can't do it.
  • traveling - especially across time zones. Ugh.
  • lack of water/dehydration
  • too many painkillers (the ones I take for my back - I'm not just randomly ingesting tablets!)
  • some alcohol
  • some foods

  • vomiting - literally. The last 2 I've had have started with me thinking I have food poisoning. This time it was actually the Mr who sussed out it was a migraine, not a bug. The vomiting happened first thing, the head really kicked in (literally) mid-afternoon. And it was horrific.
  • sometimes I get that low, 'heavy eyebrow' pain over one eye but the flashing/aura is something I haven't had in a long while
  • diarrhoea (sorry if TMI) - that's why I thought it was a bug
That's literally it for me. How pleasant. Chunder ahoy, ooh here comes another hammer to the head. 

What helps (me)
in the following order:
  • cans of coke
  • migraine meds from the doctor
  • darkness
  • no noise - my poor family tiptoe around like there's a sleeping baby in the house
  • and sometimes - dark chocolate, magnesium tablets and a banana
What are your triggers? What do you do as soon as you know it's coming? Do you get the hangover from hell without the fun of touching alcohol? *ggrrrrrr* Let me know. If this post helps one person get through a migraine a little quicker I'll be thrilled.

Thank you again for your patience - kids are back to school next week, Autumn is upon us and I am sitting at the computer again! YAY!


  1. After years without migraines, mine have returned. Triggers are chocolate, dehydration and lack of sleep. If I'm lucky I can feel the aura before it hits and usually at this ibuprofen and a darkened romm does the trick. If not, meds from the dr and a few days in bed.

  2. I always know I'm getting a migraine when lights and sounds are too much, I literally have to sit in a darkened room by myself its so awful
    Allison from

  3. What helps me is drinking water
    eating carbs ( like saltine crackers)
    Triggers hormones never fails @ least 1 bad 1 every month

  4. When the light get too bright or smells that I normally wouldn't mind make me nauseous. Oh god vanilla makes me want to barf when I'm getting a migraine! Excedrin, ice cold dark room with SILENCE, and sleep help. Plus Coca-Cola, but I need tons of water afterwards or I do feel hangovery. Sometimes an ice cold bath will help, sometimes the movement of the water makes me more nauseous. My triggers are peanuts, sometimes spicy food, and sometimes seafood.

    1. I have a seafood allergy - I can only imagine the hell if I ate it now. And yes I was a waddling skin of water on Friday and Saturday!

  5. You poor thing! I understand the suffering - my migraines are triggered by flickering strip lights (absolute guarantee that one will arrive within five minutes if I'm stuck in a room a with one), but also lack of sleep, high stress and too much computer use. Luckily I don't have food triggers - my poor sister can NEVER have red wine or chocolate again in her life without being incapacitated for two days. I just go blind thanks to the intense aura which lasts about 2 hours, then the knife in the head begins. My cure is two pink migraleve at the VERY first sign of aura, and the headache will be minor (if I'm more than ten minutes in it does nothing), lie down in a very dark and quiet room and sleep. Preventative measures that I've found really helpful include leaving the room instantly, or turning off the lights (I'm a teacher, and yes, I've taught lessons in the dark). I've also found daily co-10 supplements at the 100mg level to be very helpful. Had my first migraine in two years when I ran out!

    1. That's so bizarre - I was taking Ubiquinol twice a day and went slack last week just before the migraine. *takes hundreds*
      And I love that you teach in the dark!

  6. There's a wry joke amongst migraine suffers: a migraine won't kill you - unfortunately. The pain can be so bad you really would prefer to die.
    I've suffered from what's called migraine with aura since I was 7 years old. Before the pain hits, I experience "stroke like" symptoms, I lose parts of my vision, can't speak properly and have pins in needles down one side of my body (including into the tongue and throat - urghh!). Then, unless I medicate the pain hits (+/- vomiting). Been hospitalised a couple of times too. But the migraine drug Imigran has changed my life and I always carry a tablet with me for attacks.
    Triggers vary for everyone - stress is common. For me, dehydration and bizarrely fruit seem to also be involved so I avoid all fruit generally. Recovery is rest and being kind to yourself.
    It's a bloody curse, but you just have to manage it best you can.

    1. Yep stress for me. I got the prescription version of imigran and literally won't leave the house without it. And yes STRESS.
      I had pins and needles in little finger and ring finger too. Bizarre.

  7. I used to get these all.of.the.time. Then, my boyfriend told me I was probably dehydrated and suggested I start drinking 2 liters of water every day. Since then, I haven't had a single migraine (this was about 3 months ago). I also realized my computer screen was much too bright, especially since it's massive and sits just inches from my face. So, I had my IT guy install the Brighter Screen Lite app on my computer. Now, I can keep it on dim and save my eyes (and head). THANK GOD.

    1. That sounds like a plan. And yes to gallons of water.

  8. My triggers were dehydration, night driving, alcohol, and hunger. My dad is a neurologist and has prescribed specific migraine medicine. It is the only thing that works. Oddly enough pregnancy cured my migraines (very common according to my dad) and I haven't had one in over a year since my daughter was born. They are the worst and I'm glad you recovered. Prescription meds are really the only thing that seems to work.

    1. Congratulations! And good work having a Dad that can write pX!

  9. Caroline....In return for all your advice on skin my migraine cheat sheet is as follows- one indocid suppository ( an anti-inflammatory drug) relieves my migraines in 40 minutes. Then you sleep for a few hours... It works i promise.

    1. I'm good with the oral ones at the moment but I'll bear it in mind! :)

  10. My migraines have changed as I've gotten older. Mine usually happen AFTER a big event or an extended period of not getting enough rest. Sometimes the weather will trigger one. Mine start with a pain on the back left side of my neck, then it goes down into my shoulder and up into my left eye. If I catch it soon enough, two or three Tylenol will do the trick. Otherwise I have to take Maxalt, but it knocks me for a loop so I have to be at home and not driving! A cold cloth on the head also helps. I have a family history of migraines and had symptoms when I was a kid, although with children it usually manifests itself as unexplained, severe stomach aches and often something called "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome" -- your limbs feel out of proportion to you body. I found this info years ago when I first realized I was having migraines.

    1. Oh how horrible. Yes I can't take my tablets until I get home! *crashes out*

    2. wow this was so helpful! my triggers for migraines are normally the weather (especially the sun, but usually just every extreme change of the weather), some alcohol, lack of sleep, STRESS!! and hunger for sure. what works for me: medication (thomapyrin or seractil -> Im in austria so no idea what the english name would be.), a room without ANY light and ANY noise. that is the most important thing ever! if u cant just be in your room for the day because of work or other things: the biggest and darkest sunglasses and earplugs. and then lots of sleep.
      but what i really wanted to say is a big thank u to holly because I apparently have the alice in wonderland syndrome since being a kid (Ive had migraines since I probably was 7 years old and my sight started to get bad!). I always asked my parents if they had the same thing as me: when they dont feel good that they start to see the body in weird proportions! i never knew what it was or meant but i finally realised that it meant that i really even had migraines as a kid...
      thanks for that :)
      greetings from vienna

    3. Glad this made sense to you! I found the information in Migraine: The Complete Guide by Constantine & Scott. Although is was copyrighted in 1994 (and is out of print now) I still keep it on hand.

  11. So sorry to hear that you suffer from migraines. My daughter who is 23 has had them since she was 12. She has been prescribed many different meds and had all kinds of side effects. The absolute best advice we ever received was thatno matter what meds you take, don't wait until your hair hurts. Take something as soon as possible.

    1. Completely! I worry that I'll get a twitch and then take too many unnecessarily though!

  12. I've suffered from migraines for about 5 years now and having no one in my family with a history, I felt entirely alone. Triggers are/were caffeine withdrawal (so I stopped consuming it entirely and use it just for when I have a migraine), MSG, chocolate, eating too much/full stomach, and by far the major two are anxiety and changes in barometric pressure. I didn't realize it until my Neurologist mentioned it and downloaded an app to know the changes from day to day and I can predict a migraine based on that. Medications that have helped are Cambia and Maxalt MLT. They are in powder/dissolvable form and work within 5-10 minutes when used in conjunction with caffeine (diet coke). Soda water helps with nausea and headphones that block out sound help when in public or at work and can't go hide in a closet. I hope some of this might help others and know that it's possible to find a solution or at least medication that truly works.

    1. God yes MSG too. I hope they stay away for you. Cxx

    2. MSG is vile vile vile.. It floors me with a screaming migraine plus the worst upset stomach ever.
      I also find dehydration triggers my migraine.
      I read somewhere that pressure points can help. I've not tried it though- coming near me with a migraine is dangerous!!

    3. I haven't tried pressure points, but having worked for Aveda for years, I carry a rollerball of their Blue Oil and use it on my temples and right below my nose when I forgot my meds.

  13. Migraines are terrible! Whenever I ask my fiance to bring me a coke home he also knows silence and darkness must shroud the house. Magnesium tablets seem to help me as well! I also like to smell peppermint essential oil or dab a small bit on my temples.

    1. I can't do mint until afterwards. Makes it worse.

  14. Honestly... TMI.

    1. You clearly haven't read my Lady Garden post. ;)

  15. I've had chronic headache syndrome and migraine sufferer since I was at least 3 years old. It's not so bad now (thank goodness) and I haven't had a severe migraine for the past three years (hurrah). Severe for me is literally not being able to close my eyes, the floor moving very oddly, dizziness, flashing lights, complete inability to speak, nausea and looking like a crazy drunk person I'm sure as it's hard to function.... so pretty bad :S Lots of triggers which I can avoid (strong smells and flashing lights are the worst) but one that's hard to avoid is lack of sleep but I find I can knock a migraine on the head before it gets going by having a high dose of caffeine (V energy drink is perfect) and if the migraines progressed to the point where I've got the shakes, a bar of chocolate really helps! Annoyingly too much caffeine gives me a migraine so it is a balance. Oh and on the headache front, I've noticed that a daily high dose of magnesium has made a huge difference to me (helps to release the tension) :D Doctors haven't been helpful by any standard of the imagination (medication for it made me very ill so after a couple of decades of them I went my own way and feel much better for it - not that I'm recommending self medicating!!! this is just what works for me after the best part of 40 years of living with it). Anyway, hope that ramble helps!

  16. Not eating breakfast, I find I start one if I exercise or do anything strenuous before I eat (well that's my excuse anyway), same goes for dehydration.

    Hormonal changes- trying the pill, going off the pill etc etc, I've just started on Oil of Evening Primrose to see if this helps, so far no migraines but I only tend to get them if I'm reaaallly stressed.

    Apparently a cup of coffee helps open your blood vessels a bit, I say apparently because I had the coffee when I was too far gone and barfed everywhere.

  17. Well I get migraine induced vertigo acording to my neurologist, as well as the shakes, EXTREME fatigue, the day before. For me its hormonal. (ovulation and PMS) and being perimenopausal

    Sooooo if the floor starts tipping sideways (like on a boat) and I get derealization (feels like tunnel vision and my surroundings are in a movie, not real)
    I know i'm in for a bad one. Luckily they don't happen to often and I tend not to ever get tension headaches. Just these Whoopers occasionally. BEST thing to do for me, is some serious painkillers and a cool dark room, then sleep it off

    1. Ohhh also, has anyone seen those horrible things called cluster headaches. I thought I might have had one once when I felt like drilling my eyeball out, but when I looked it up on you-tube and saw what these poor people have to deal with.... nope that certainly want one. HORRIBLE stuff :(

  18. Migraines are the worst. I started getting them when I was 16. I find that hormones and also sometimes smells trigger them like strong perfume and cooking onions (strangely enough). As well as getting those weird aura types of migraines (no pain, just weird kaleidoscope patterns and a sick feeling) I've been told that I don't have "true" migraines as well due to either a bulging disk/pinched nerve in my neck or referred pain from my jaw. I'm more prone to these types if I've been sitting/sleeping in an awkward position or carrying something heavy on one shoulder more than the other. Even if it's not a "true" migraine, it's debilitating and I get vomit-y and feel like the only solution is to be sedated for a few days, preferably somewhere dark and quiet.
    I've got prescription meds for the total wipe-out headaches, but I also go for regular remedial/deep tissue massages, which has helped a lot. I also don't wear any perfume.
    One lady I work with says that chocolate and caffeine trigger hers, while another says oranges and certain types of cheese do.
    Sometimes putting an ice pack on the back of your neck while you have your feet in hot water can help. Also, taking a magnesium supplement and a vitamin B supplement are supposed to help.
    Hope you're feeling better now!

  19. There is truly nothing as rude as a migraine. I feel, literally, your pain.

    Causes/symptoms for me:
    - some wine (not all thanks the gods)
    - a large amount of cheese or chocolate - both? guaranteed migraine
    - weather changes - esp change in air pressure.
    - "sinus headaches". This one is weird. First time I had a migraine I figured it was just another sinus headache as I have chronic sinusitis but the usual saviour (Advil cold & sinus) wasn't working. 5 days later I limped into the docs office thinking I had a serious sinus infection only to be told it was a migraine. She gave me some meds & in about 15 min it was gone. She said that migraines are caused by rapid expansion & constriction of blood vessels and the symptoms you get depends on where that takes place in your head. So mine often look like sinus headaches and I often can't tell the difference... until the advil doesn't work *eye roll*
    - nausea out of nowhere is often my tip off that it's coming but also big sinus pain in the middle of my face (as above)
    - before or just as my period starts - so hormonal
    - being over 40 yrs of age - relates to above but explains why they often start late 30s/early 40s as peri-menopause is setting in.

    What helps?
    - a good diet, no question for me, staying hydrated, sleep
    - regular magnesium tabs
    - prescription meds and taking them *immediately* at onset of symptoms seems to nip it in the bud as it were. Ibuprofen, etc. do nothing for me at all.
    - if I get to the point of digestion problems, aloe vera juice is brilliant
    - homeopathics - controversial for some, I know - not looking for a fight ;-) - but I've seen them work time & again for myself. (nux/colubrina for digestive probs, regular Folliculinum has eased all hormonal symptoms amazingly & regularized my period which makes a huge difference.)
    - getting older. As I'm nearing 48 yrs they've lessened a lot so there's hope if yours began in your late 30s/early 40s. I'd never had them before that age.

    I haven't tried the cans of coke so I will. I often use that for *just* digestive problems and yes, it's brilliant isn't it?? But I never thought to use it when I also have a migraine. Thanks!!

    I hope that helps someone xoxo

  20. Hi Caroline,
    Since you helped me tremendously with my scin I really would love to try to help you a little bit with the migraine. I had it for more than 20 years and literally tried about everything to get rid of it. Also for me the vomitting (and the other part, as it can become quite tricky to manage them both at a time, ahem ) always was bad, together with the headache of course.
    Three things changed my life: first, I stopped taking the pill. Then I discovered triptanes. These are specifially ment for migraine headaches and usually on prescription. There are different varieties, some helped but made me incredibly tired, so you have to try different ones if the first one isn't ideal. I stuck with sumatriptane. The best thing about them is that some not only come as pills but also as nose spray or pills that will dilute in your mouth so that you don't have to digest them in order to make them work. This is perhaps the most important thing if you have migraine and throw up (or have nausea). From the moment it starts, nothing you take orally (unless it's ingested via the mucosa of your mouth) will pass your intestine far enough to be incorporated (at least that is the point for me. Even if I don't throw up, everything simply will sit in my stomach and wait until the migraine ist over). So the moment I stopped taking pills and started to use (sorry, don't know a nicer word) suppositories, two of the oldest medications I know help me to stop the migraine. Key is to know your early symptoms and take them asap. I now take 1g of paracetamole and sometimes some dimenhydrinate against the nausea and 15 minutes later I'm fine.
    P.S.: if anything sounds strange, it is probably because English is not my native language. If I have to explain anything better, please let me know.

  21. Oh, so you're one of 'us'? Can't congratulate you on that! I am just awaiting my migraine and I know it will come within a couple of days when my period comes - yoooupi! So that's one of the triggers and one that can't really be avoided (somehow taking pills without a break seems a bad idea...). Then of course:
    - any alcohol if taken around that hormonal bump time,
    - dehydration,
    - too much sleep,
    - not enough sleep, stress,
    - too much exercise,
    - traveling might start it too but that may be stress related.

    What helps? Sometimes I think euthanasia only ;) But mainly rest and triptans combined with some specific pain killers (both subscribed by my neurologist of course). Since I am a mother, have to work and get a migraine monthly, the 'rest' option is not often available, so I stuff myself with pills which have side effects and make me more sleepy :D At some point I had migraine for 3 weeks per month and then I started to take beta blockers as a preventive medicine - it helped a looooot but makes me more easily tired (still much better so I am not complaining!). But that's more for really bad cases - not for people with occasional migraines (which I hope is your case).

    Well, that's my sad story :P - if you find a cure for that cr.p, please share!!!

  22. Oh, I feel your pain! I've had so many days ruined by migraines. I haven't quite worked out all of triggers (after over 15 years of the damn things!) but I know some of them are:

    - Not eating enough
    - Dehydration
    - A bad night's sleep
    - Stress or anxiety
    - Relaxing AFTER stress and anxiety (which is how my job ruined Christmas...)
    - Red wine. Sob.
    - Having a really good cry

    And some of the things that help:

    - Soluble paracetamol at the very first sign of a migraine (vile, but work much faster than tablets! My doctor actually recommended this after another doctor palmed me off with strong painkillers and instructions to take them way too frequently, which left me with chronic migraines AND painkiller withdrawal headaches. It was awful.)
    - Migraleve
    - Cold, damp flannel across the eyes/forehead. Those Cool Strip things you can get are also good in a pinch, but not as good as an old school flannel.
    - Slightly flat Lucozade/Coke (full fat, diet does nothing)
    - Having a really good cry. The irony!

    God, I love my head. I have to say, I've had far fewer migraines after I started practicing yoga 2/3 times a week about 6 months ago. Really unexpected (I just wanted to be able to do a headstand...), but I used to have at least two a month, and now I can't actually remember when the last one was! Might be something to do with improving my posture or learning to relax my neck muscles/brain properly? I have no idea, but I'm pretty pleased!


  23. Hi Caroline,

    I also suffer from Migraine's and yes, vile. I'm never too sure what triggers them, it's not like I know the triggers and can they dodge it, however I’ve had them in the following instances :-
    Lack of sleep
    Stress - I tend not to stress too much, but I once arranged my friends hen day out at Royal Ascot, and once we were on our way and I was relieved everything had worked out, a migraine appeared and I was vomiting on the back of the coach in a bag - Lush!
    Sometimes just nothing

    I can tell when I feel a headache coming on and then my eyes feel heavy, then I know its coming.

    Once I have a migraine I need sleep, in a dark, quiet room. Noise and light will make me vomit. The next day I am exhausted and spend it drinking water and eating! I've tried the doctor for special tablets but they didn't work, so I take paracetamol but they don't tend to work so I leave it.

    They always seem to pop up at the most inconvenient time too don’t they?!

    Glad your feeling better now though, take care


  24. My mum and sister have suffered with migraines for years (for them, it is a hormonal thing). I have recently started getting migraines at what I thought were random moments, but having read your post and all of the comments, I'm starting to realise I might have triggers and definitely have similar warning symptoms (I kept thinking I was really unlucky and getting stomach problems followed by migraines, and hadn't thought they were connected!)

    Thanks for this post, and thank you to everyone else for your comments, really useful!

  25. Caroline, sounds like most of us here have similar issues with migraines. A few things you mentioned prompted me to respond specifically - pins and needles in your fingers (I get them too at times) can be due to trapped nerve endings & muscle spasm in the back and neck! (I have back and neck issues from a prior accident and get headaches and pins & needles too). Can happen due to stress too which in turn causes tension/muscle spasm and too little sleep, so use hotpacks on the muscles behind the shoulders etc. Be careful of certain wines that have too much sulphur, it is trial and error to find out which ones! I had a 4-day headache last week which culminated into a migraine by Friday. If tame paracetamol doesnt work initially and the pain starts to get bad above one eye, and you end up like you did - I find only stronger meds work. Here in South Africa we get a 'migraine cocktail' that can be purchased at the pharmacy. It usually works and is made up of a few capsules to be taken together at once (contains 1 x anti-inflammatory, 1 x anti-nausea tablet, 1 x codeine/ paracetamol, and sometimes a vaso-constrictor and muscle relaxant - different pharmacies do them differently.) Good to keep 1 pack at home for emergencies.

  26. Are you tired of reading about migraines yet?! Had awful ones from age 35-mid 50's. Hormones!! Once through menopause...NOTHING!!

    Get regular acupuncture treatments which REALLY helped and used a drug called Migrainal - which is a prescription and is a nasal thing.

    Sleep, sleep, sleep. Ice pack, ice pack, ice pack.

    Live a boring life of no caffeine and no alcohol - especially wine!

    Fortunately have your excellent blog

  27. Mine are usually caused by:

    -Anxiety/anger sometimes getting one is what makes me realize my state of anxiety;
    -Back pain and muscle tension;

    I have them much more frequently when I'm on hormonal BC so I stopped taking it.

    I used to try and power through but now I just lock myself somewhere dark, cold and silent, take aspirin and put a cold washcloth on my forehead and eyes. I also try to drink water.

    Sometimes I get the hungover when it's really strong but mostly I get a buzz and tiredness after it passes.


  28. Ugh the worst. I've been seeing a neurologist here in the states because I was getting them two or three days a week. It was awful. I'm taking a daily preventative medication now (if you're interested, I'll tell you what) that has helped loads. I'm down to once a week or once every two weeks.

    My triggers: wine (particularly red), any other kind of headache (I know right?), sinus issues in particular (changes in the weather or allergy issues KILL me), stress (I'm a teacher - HA - during the school year is a blast), and traveling/driving for long periods of time.

    Symptoms: throbbing pain behind my one eye or pain in the back of my neck, nausea (though I'm thankful I don't throw up), light-sensitive for sure, noise sensitive for sure

    Treatment: I take Excedrin and drink peppermint tea. I spend a lot of time inhaling the steam from it first and then drinking it. If it's really bad, I have to sleep after I do this. It's the only way the bad ones go away. There seems to be a "not turning back" point with mine, where if I don't take pain medicine early enough in it's progress, no matter what I do, it doesn't feel better except maybe sleep. So I try to pay attention and as soon as I notice symptoms enough that I'm sure that's what it is, I'm taking medicine. I used to wait and see if it would "go away," but that was never happening and my neurologist told me it was making the medicine less effective. Who would have thought?!

    On an interesting note, my husband suffered (when he was younger until about 23) from abdominal migraines. As a young child, he would get intense pain in his stomach (more like working out WAY too hard, not stomach cramps) and then he would vomit almost constantly for 15-18 hours. At first, they had no idea for years what was happening. They thought it was a gastro issue. He went through tons and tons of tests, but at least once every month, it would happen. Finally, one of the doctors had heard about this thing called an abdominal migraine, where people who have migraines running in their family manifest them in their stomach this way. Apparently neurologically much of the same thing is happening in his brain as what happens for usual migraines, except without the head pain, and instead, it's vomiting. Awful huh??! However, at about 23, it just disappeared. It happened once more when we moved in together after we graduated from school and then never again. Doctors had told him it would stop when he got older, and they weren't kidding. It was gone as quickly as it started.

    I'm so sorry about your migraine. I hope you find something on this that helps! xoxo

  29. I have only had one migrane in my life and I thought my life was ending. It is the weirdest feeling in the world. My lips and hands went numb and I couldn't really see properly. I drank loads of water, had some painkillers, slept and felt a little bit better. I now carry tablets with me wherever I go!

  30. I feel your pain - literaly and figuratively! My main triggers are stress and the accompanying muscle tension, fried foods and changes in the weather (sound silly but is true!). I have gotten quite good at catching my migraines before they develope into fully fledged monsters over the past ten years. Once one has made itself at home however (always on the right side of my body), there is nothing to it but lying down in a dark, quiet room, ingesting a dose of Aspiring Coffeein beforehand. I also get sensitive to smell when I have a migraine, so removing any perfume bottles or other "smelly" objects is essential.

    The worst is when a migraine catches you unaware - several times, I had a migraine develope towards the end of the working day, painkillers were useless and I then had to commute home for 1 1/2 hours with a legion of iron-fisted mad-men trying to pound their way out of my skull...H.E.L.L.

  31. my brother in law has migraines after cheese...

  32. Mine are mostly hormonal but lack of sleep or too much stress will definitely trigger them. Too much screen staring as well, which is really a problem in my line of work. Lack of water and hot weather. Smells and heavy fragrances, OMG, the worse!

    I do get auras, or bad vision, or something that feels like vertigo but isn't really vertigo. I rarely get nauseous. I am already sensitive to smells and noise and light when I'm fine, so of course it gets worse with migraine.

    Luckily, I can usually tackle the migraine with a few ibuprofen tablets, and I rarely need to take them more than 2 or 3 times over a month. If it's late at night and it's just starting, I just go to bed and usually I'll wake up fine (well sometimes I wake up in pain but yeah...)
    There are periods where I can even go for a month without a single migraine, though. Go figure.

  33. Oh, Caroline I feel for you! Mine have never been so bad that they make me sick, but mine are just so bad I can't move! Every little movement feels like my head has been ran over. I can feel mine coming because moving my eyeballs is a real strain and it feels like I'm lifting weights with just moving those!

    I usually find that the dark and a cool compress helps to heal my head a bit! I hope you're recovered now! :)

  34. Oh, you poor thing! I also had a very, very bad one last week - took me out most of Wednesday and part of Thursday. Mine are hormonal, so they show up with my cycle. Hormone patches help and mostly they're not the nausea/vomiting kind, but last week was a bad one. I don't get auras but I do have triggers that make them worse - too much booze, aged meats/cheeses, weather, dehydration, etc. Coca-Cola is the only thing that makes me feel moderately less awful. Meds do nothing.

  35. very strange as it is, here what seems to have made me migraine-free for the last 4 months:
    having a embarrassing problem with bad breath, my dentist recommended a old houseold remedy called "oelziehen":
    in the morning on completely empty stomach, also no drinking before, take a spoon of cold pressed sunflower oil, keep it in your mouth and use it like a mouth wash for 15-20 min. I usually take a shower and get ready for the day in this time. Then spit it out, it should be white and looking milky, wash your mouth, brush your teeths. This is said to clean the mouth area from bacteria and inflammations and help against many things incl. headache. It should be done at least 2 times a year for 2 months.
    So, that has really not only stopped my breath problem but also made me migraine-free. I usually have pms-migraine, triggers are also stress and heat. hope that helped someone.

  36. My OH has Meniere's disease, and in a full blown attack is sick all the time, my work colleague who has migraines, describes exactly the same symptoms, dizziness and vomitting. Meniere's disease is a problem with the inner ear and balance and I don't know where I am going with this comment other than in my small experience of experiencing this dizziness and vomitting it is truly from hell (I had the same thing on my wedding night, both ends but another story) But what I have noticed is that if OH is too hot that can bring it on/exaccerbate, and the good old big M is coming to us all - me before you, can being a bit hotter be a trigger?

  37. My Mum used to suffer really badly with these, I remember her spending entire days in bed in the dark. Turned out hers was due to high Blood Pressure, which her doctor failed to tell her about, much less treat. We moved, she saw a new doctor, was put on meds and not a migraine since till the day she passed. I've only ever had one, thank goodness, that kept me in bed all day in the dark necking di-hyrocodeine, which I take for my RA. I do get the silent ones though, just the aura no headache. Rarely get headaches, maybe one hormonal one a month if I'm unlucky, headaches generally make me feel like doo doo though so for that I'm incredibly grateful. No real advice other than to make sure your BP is in check which I'm sure you've already done anyway and to extend my sympathy to all of you who do suffer them.

  38. My husband takes an ibruprofen as SOON as he feels any symptoms coming on. He's learnt to know when his vision changes and takes one immediately. He then lies down hiding under the duvet. This really seems to help. HTH

  39. I put a like on this post on bloglovin', and now I feel like a dick. I didn't like it because you had a migraine and I'm happy about it! I'm commiserating in a facebookey (= daft) way. Currently in a migraine week myself. Interesting, how coke and chocolate can actually be triggers for me.

  40. Mine are mostly caused by stress and dehydration. At one point last year they thought I might have MS because of the symptoms commonly associated with mine (memory problems, blurred vision, twitching, numbness in my hands and feet...). If I get an aura (blurring vision, sharp shooting pain on one side of my face, or start dropping things) I take an Alieve or Excedren Migraine (or two) and go lay down in a dark room and drink tons of water, which seems to help keep it bearable most of the time. At least I know it's migraines now though and not MS!

  41. I just came on here to look up some skincare for my mum and have ended up reading through these comments for the last half hour.

    Since everything's a bit TMI I thought I might as well share my worst migraine story. It came on just after I got on a train to London for an day looking round galleries. I spent the whole day being sick public toilets (specifically in every single toilet block on every level of the Tate Modern - nice) with a throbbing head until we finally went home on a packed train.

    The only tip I have to try and calm down the strength of a migraine is more for visual migraines than the kind which Caroline described, which is if you have medication (I carry it in my bag at all times) then take it while you are getting the visual migraine and before the full-blown headache kicks in if you can - taking the tablet after that is what makes me sick, and my tablets are fluorescent pink so I get some really bright colours of vomit. Anyway, that definitely dulls the pain somewhat but you'll still spend the day under your duvet.

  42. Sorry to hear your a M sufferer Caroline, they really are the worst thing ever.
    I've suffered all of my 47yrs. The evil type....including vomiting, unable to speak, the numbness, visual disturbances and a week of feeling completely exhausted.
    I went through all the usual meds but nothing helped, even injecting myself did nothing.
    Five years ago I went to my GP desperate, at the end of my tether. We decided to go down the prevention route, I tried a few different drugs that didn't work for me, but determined to find something I kept trying. Then at last.......after years of suffering alone I was prescribed Amitripyline. Its an antidepressant that has been found to help migraines. Well, it stopped them completely, not one single migraine for 3yrs. Now I get one now and again, maybe 3 a year, but they are nothing like they used be, I don't even take paracetamol anymore. So my advice to anyone who suffers alone, go see your GP and ask for something that will prevent rather than treat. I take Amitriptyline every night and I now have my life back.

  43. Until my son was diagnosed, I thought I was just prone to getting really bad headaches. But then his doctor ran through the symptoms with us both, and explained that it's often hereditary, and -

    well. there was no denying it.

    Triggers: No idea yet, though I doubt my perpetual neck-tension helps. *g*

    Symptoms: Sensitivity to light and high-frequency sounds; a slight deafness to lower pitches. Begins a good hour or so before the pain really kicks in, steadily worsening all the while.
    Blurred vision, steadily worsening.
    Diarrhoea. Sorry! *g*
    Heaviness in my arms.

    I know I'm there when I feel a slow swelling begin behind my left cheekbone, spreading into the orbit of that eye.

    As soon as I'm certain: 800mg ibuprofen. Espresso shot. Retreat to a dark, quiet room.

  44. I've had awful migraines for the last few months - it's moreso the nausea that bothers me, rather than the pain above my eyebrows. When I get one, I have a horrible fever too and generally feel like death.

    At first, I thought that my migraines were caused by withdrawal from my anti-depressant (the receptionists at my local GP surgery are rubbish at processing repeat prescriptions and always leave me without any meds for at least 3 days a month) and tbh, I think that is a big trigger because the fall in serotonin levels probably does fuck with the nervous system and make me feel ill - but I've had migraines even when my meds dosage is as high as it should be.

    Paracetamol doesn't do much for me, perhaps I should switch to Nurofen/specific migraine painkillers?

    I hope you don't have another any time soon, Caroline. xx

  45. I have suffered with migranes all of my life. Lack of sleep triggers them. But eating chocolate and foods with MSG bring them on every time. I am to the point where I don't eat out anymore because it seems like all of the restaurants use MSG in their food.

  46. Try drinking non alcoholic ginger beer. My mum swears by it when her migraines start. If your tummy isn't great then try making tea with ginger, mint and a touch of cinnamon. You can add sugar to taste. This is fantastic at settling the stomach. It really helps. Anything with ginger or mint is good tbh. Hope that helps :)

  47. I always used to think that migraine was just a head ache for weak people... Until my fiance started getting extremely bad migraines. He's been stuck at work more than once because his vision was just too messed up to even walk or drive. Now I know how serious migraines can be...

  48. Long suffering migraine sufferer here :( A migrain is NOT a bad headache

    Triggers, extreme stress (i'm a nurse, 2 cardiac arrests in 10 minutes. Yeah that'll do it) lack of sleep for more than 3 nights running (i'm a nurse, night shifts. yeah that'll do it)

    Signs and symtoms
    Vomitting, cant stand smells, lights, noises. Usually starts on one side of my head like someone's pressing on my eyeball.

    What makes it better. Like you a can of the red stuff. Lying down in a dark non smelly room and everyone whispering. Unfortunatly i take the imigran but it often gets vomitted back up .

    Leaves me drained for days, head feels 'bruised'

    Been taking prophalaxis beta blockers for 18 months, only 1 attack in that time :)

  49. You poor thing, I know just how awful they are. Triggers for me are being over tired, stressed and sometimes immediately after an event that I've been nervous about/dreading. Mine are accompanied by stroke type symptoms - loss of movement/pins and needles in one side, including facial droop. I use prescription sumatriptan (Imigran - probably the same as you) but need to get home before I take it as it knocks me out for at least 4 hours! I take it with a strong coffee and go to bed. I wake up with a hangover and feel washed out and wobbly for about 24 hours afterwards. Luckily they are few and far between these days. I hope yours aren't too regular


  50. I began having aura migraines again recently after not having one in 20 years. I also put my back out and went to a chiropractor who told me a vertebra in my neck was giving me migraines again. I was sceptical as I thought they were hormone, food or stress related. I have not had one since he adjusted me!

  51. Hi Caroline, just a quick question however it's irrelevant to your topic. Can you recommend some affordable brands of Whitening serums that work?? Or is there such thing?Please help and thanks a lot!

  52. These were the plague of my early 20s and back then, the meds available killed the pain but left you functioning like a zombie for at least 48 hours. They started to improve when I quit taking oral contraceptives. My then doctor said the evidence that the Pill caused migraine was inconclusive, but that "I could give it a try". As my 20s turned into my 30s, the headaches gradually lessened in severity and frequence, but it took a good decade to do so. I don't know if oral contraceptives can still trigger this is some women, but its worth asking your doctor about if your on some form of o.c. and get severe headaches.

    I have sumatriptin for the occasional migraine I get now and I find I can more or less function with that.

  53. Usually, I know one is coming when I get this impression that one of my eyelens is dirty or something, like there's oil on it. There will be a blurred spot in my sight, that grows worse and worse. Then I begin to fell nauseous, and I have that weird feeling I can only express by saying that I feel a sort of hollowness behind my nose and eyes. Then my head aches so bad I plead my husband to do something, though we both know nothing will help. No medecine has ever helped avoid or soothe a migraine. Pretty soon I feel the urge to vomit, that I will repress as long as I possibly can (I always have the impression that I won't be able to catch my breath again). But a gril can only hang on for so long... Right after I come back from the bathroom, I feel better for a few minutes. If I'm lucky, physical exhaustion will let me seize the opportunity to fall asleep. If not, the headache comes back till I have to go back to the bathroom. A few (long) hours after the blurred spot, I will usually strat to feel human again, take a warm bath to lighten my head, and spend the rest of the day moaning in my bathrobe.

    My main trigger is anguish. And humiliation too. I had a hard time with my schoolmates when in middle school, at that time I had a migraine a month at least.
    I noticed the migraine stopped when I started wearing lenses instead of glasses, but I can't be sure that it's the only explanation, because I changed school at the same period, and grew boobs and learned to dress my hair during the same summer, so maybe just having a better social life helped after so many years of having kids litteraly throw stones at me).

    But two years ago, after almost 10 years of blessed migraine-break, I started having migraines from time to time. Light reflection of my glass desk at work, too much Excel time on the computer, or the perspective of a possible dismissal usually get me started.

    And again nothing helps: once I start seeing all blurry, I only make for home as rapidly as possible, praying all the way that the stomach step won't come up before I am safely at home.

  54. I'm sorry to hear of the pain and vomiting thing... have you tried soft massage, hot showers and expresso coffee+painkillers? It helps even though it doen't heal. I get migraines when too tired and when i'm getting my period. Courage ;-)

  55. Since suffering my third whiplash almost a year ago, I'v been suffering from what the neurologist calls tension headaches. They are not officially migraines, but believe me, for the first half year the pain was almost unbearable. Staying in bed most of the time for the first few months, no relief from pain killers, sensitivity to light and sounds. It's basically post-traumatic headaches or migraines.
    I've been to many massages/ therapies/ chiropractor... Some things did help a little, some a lot, and I still take 10mg of beta-blockers in the morning, which seems to help. I take it with a whole glass of water before I get out of bed. I also try to go to yoga 2-3 a week which also helps a lot (I actually think it's more the asanas where your head is down, rather than the breathing), though all in all I still suffer from some kind of headache almost every day...
    Good luck, Caroline!!!

  56. Had to come out of lurk-mode to add to this discussion. I've had migraines since my periods began. In my 20s they became more frequent. And by my 30s, I was having so many and such severe ones, I had to take cyclomorph sometimes. The pain and sickness was that intense, and I'd be washed out after. They stopped while I was pregnant but started again as soon as my babies were born. What has completely changed things for me though, was being put on high blood pressure meds. About 4years ago, i was diagnosed with unexplained HighBP and since I started the meds, I go for months without needing the triptans. When I get one around my period, paracetamol and rest do the trick now.

  57. For me...

    What they're like:
    All along the spectrum from mild ones (last a few hours, hurt a lot all over, make everything in my cranium really sensitive to touch, make me a bit light-shy) to really really really terrible ones in which I have hemispherical pain on one side of my head (it's like having a stroke), eyesight is near-obliterated, constant vomiting, inability to lay my head on a pillow, and no painkiller can touch it. I've had bad ones in really awkward places, like airport customs and in the middle of rock climbs in high places. They suck ass so hard.

    Red wine, bad wine (BA transatlantic house wine, looking at you, and anything with an animal on the label), sleeplessness coupled with stress (one is fine, both are killer), reliance on junk food when stressed and sleepless, having dirty teeth for too long (really!), thick secondhand smoke, having to breathe chem-fumed air for long periods of time, being seasick.

    How I know it's coming:
    Sensitivity aura - not quite pain, but head and eyesight get uncomfortable and sensitive.

    What I do about it:
    Eat good things, minimize sugar and bread where possible, be militant about sleep, carry painkillers everywhere I go.
    If one is coming, I learned a good trick from my GP: if it's a mild one (which fortunately most are for me these days), if I catch it within about 20-30 minutes of the aura coming on, I can take a couple of ibuprofen and head if off at the pass before a mild headache blossoms into full migraine territory.

    If I've missed the window or it's determined to kill me, the next stop is pink Migraleve tablets. They have an anti-nauseant as well as codeine and ibuprofen, which helps keep it manageable, though it does knock you out a little. These are my go-to every time I have to spend a night on a boat (which I do frequently for my job) since they keep every problem at bay.

    If the migraine is a REAL whopper, then I have a prescription called Migard which is very good, but a last resort for me - that is, no using it at work or driving cos it makes me a little loopy. Since addressing this with the GP, I've used maybe about 5 Migard tablets ever, since the above strategies seem to work. But since the rock climbing incident, I make sure they're always handy - losing your vision and being in terrific pain while on a near-vertical several miles from civilization is not the best position to be in.

    Last, if this is happening to you even occasionally, be aware that changes in altitude (i.e. travel above 1800m) can bring these on. The higher the altitude, the more likely you'll feel it. These aren't technically migraines per se - they're actual altitude sickness - but they feel the same and can be treated with the same stuff in the very short term (like <6 hours).

    Hope this helps.

  58. Sorry,my english is poor.I'm an spanish woman.I eat "Daosin" every morning.It's an enzime without secundary effects.I can live again.Less time with migrain and less pain.But I don't Know if you can get in your country.


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