When you say you have a headache most people come to the conclusion that you take some painkillers and you are done. Believe me, migraine headaches are the sort of headaches you wish would kill you. I had my latest attack yesterday at work. Most migraine sufferers find themselves having to explain the differences between a headache and a migraine to those around them. I have been a migraine sufferer since I was a child and I know how frustrating it is to be doubted be it at school, university, work and even by friends if you tell them you can’t go out for a meal because of a migraine. Sounds familiar? Although people would say drink more water and please stop getting stressed- migraines are not that simple. Research suggests they are a genetic condition. It changes the chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.
Here is what’s happening when you have a migraine:
Brain: During a migraine, neurotransmitters get released to the small blood vessels and membranes covering the brain, causing inflammation. In up to 2/3 of migraines, the pain is felt on one side of the head, but can also extend to the jaw and neck.Eyes: With a migraine often comes sensitivity to light.
Head: About half of migraine sufferers experience vertigo or dizziness.
Vision: Up to 30% of people who get migraine also experience aura, a phenomenon that includes odd visual symptoms like seeing flashing lights or temporary blind spots.
Ears: About ¾ of people with migraines experience to sound during an attack.
Nose: In up to 50% of migraine sufferers, the pain activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes a runny nose and watery or red eyes.
Stomach: Nausea and vomiting are too frequent companions of migraine headaches.
Migraine sufferers’ feelings-
‘The only time taking a hammer to your skull seems like an appropriate solution’
‘Surviving the day with a migraine is actually a serious accomplishment’
‘I carry more guilt than you can possibly imagine about how my migraines affect you’
‘Sometimes death seems better than the migraine’
‘You say sorry more times than almost anyone you know, for something that is not your fault’
‘I always feel somebody is judging me when I say I have a migraine’
Unfair isn’t it?
…….but you don’t look sick
…….you are just stressed
…….you just not drinking water
…….it must be nice not having to go to work
……..it can’t be that bad
…….there are people worse off than you
…….you will just have to tough it out
…….this too shall pass
…….migraine sufferers I know don’t feel like you do, how is that?
…….I wish I had time to leave work early
Believe you me with my migraine I have visual disturbances, difficulty communicating (more irritation and anger for having let family/friends down again) and motor weaknesses among other symptoms.
Here are some ways of helping yourself with Migraine headaches-.
Avoid alcohol that can cause migraine headaches: It is always good to avoid alcohol or smoking for keeping a good general health. However if you are very much in to alcoholic intake; then make sure you are avoiding the alcohol which gets you a hangover in just one drink, which may be a migraine attack; and also avoid the alcohol that gets you a headache within 8 hours of the consumption.
Avoid skipping of meals as that can trigger migraine headaches: It must be noted that fasting actually increases the chances of getting migraine headaches. So, make sure you are eating in every 3-4 hours so as to keep away from empty stomach.
Avoid foods that trigger migraine: There may be some foods like chocolates, aged cheese etc which can trigger migraine in some people. If you experience the same, eliminate these foods which can trigger migraine attacks.
Avoid Sleeping Forcibly to Prevent Migraine: "Sleep is good for health; but not a forced sleep!" If you are not getting sleep do not try to sleep forcefully which cannot bring you sleep and keep you more awake and cause more of headache. Try to do some quiet and light activities like, read or be calm and lie down until you feel drowsy.
Avoid Distractions That Can Cause Migraine Headaches: There may be more of migraine headaches with distractions like loud noise, television etc. Keep away from such distraction in order to have some relief from the attack.
Avoid Direct Sunlight to Prevent Migraine Headaches: Direct sunlight exposure can also trigger migraine attacks. Make sure you avoid more of exposure to the direct sunlight
Sources – Migraine Action