Migraine Mishmash

Around a week ago NewEpicAuthor asked if I know what causes my headaches and I didn’t reply in comments because the answer requires a whole poast… well, a whole book actually.

First, let’s begin with the debate over whether it’s acceptable to call migraines “headaches.” Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t believe it causes funding for migraine research to dry up if we say “goddamn I have a headache” instead of “Jeeves, I do believe the Grey Poupon has triggered a megrim. Please bring the bag of frozen blueberries to the quiet room at once. And for God’s sake, stop blinking so loudly.” There is a definition for migraine, but symptoms vary among sufferers.

(Nothing is going to cause migraine research to end, btw. It’s one of the hottest markets for new drugs because so many people suffer with this pain. It’s one of the highest causes of days absent from work.)

Second, I’m one of the “lucky” migraineurs in that, while I get chronic headaches, my pain generally is controllable. I’ve had many classic killer migraines, where I’ve vomited, had to lie down in a dark room, was totally non-functional for 24 hours, etc., but that’s been relatively rare, TG. Maybe I’ve had a couple dozen of these over the past 40 years, but most of mine can be calmed with the Rx medications, or even sometimes with extra-strength Excedrin, if I take it soon enough. About half the time they can’t be knocked completely out, but at least they can be managed down.

Third, so what causes these things? Let’s try to sort this out, lol. I have constant low-level neck pain from some injury (another complicated question) that sometimes gets worse and triggers head pain. My entire neck gets very stiff and hurty for whatever random reason and the pain radiates up, particularly on the right side. Or I will have sinus pain in my face, right side, that can trigger a migraine. (If I have throbbing on the left side, that can indicate a killer migraine is coming.) When I say “trigger,” I mean the original pain is left untreated and gets slowly worse until my temple/eye begins to throb and I feel nauseated. Light and sound start to bother me a lot. I begin to believe that everyone exists simply to annoy the hell out of me. More than usual.

I have done a zillion standard things to try to deal with the neck and sinus pain, except for acupuncture. I know this poast will encourage people to comment with wacko stuff I haven’t tried, and I will do my best not to get unreasonably irritated. 🙄🙄🙄 You mean well and I lurve you.

That was just the beginning of my trigger list, the neck and sinus pain. We can label those things “stuff outside Paula’s control.” Because they are, at least for now. Let’s toss weather in there too. Yes, weather is a big trigger. What kind of weather, you ask. Lol, I reply… all of it! Rain is bad, especially pre-rain when the air pressure goes wonky. Bright sun is bad, obviously. Heat is yuck and so is cold. Windy is the worst, all that dirt and debris swirling in my face. Don’t I sound like Monk? 😀

What is in my control? Avoiding alcohol, smoke, perfume and other flowery scents (but flowers themselves are fine until they mold, at which point they must be dumped immediately), Doritos and other cheesy chips, cheesy popcorn (cheese is fine, just not whatever “cheese” they put in these things), etc.; avoiding loud, crowded places; getting enough regular sleep; not eating too much salt; not eating too little salt!; getting enough protein; staying hydrated, which is oddly difficult; avoiding anxiety-provoking situations, etc.

Am I bound to get a migraine if I slip up and, say, play board games until 2AM and get only four hours sleep one night? Well, no. Here’s the thing (hehe). There’s no guarantee on anything in migraine land. Expect the unexpected. I can do everything perfectly, avoid all triggers ~ have no life basically ~ and still end up with a 3-day migraine that requires Rx meds so I can go to work. But some other time, I can slide a bit on sleep, have a few sips (ahem) of wine, eat potato chips, listen to loud music, and be fine. Yet, if I repeat that two weeks later, I might LITERALLY DIE. You just can’t know. Mostly I play it safe to avoid extra pain because who likes pain? Okay, not this kind of pain.

Also, I have tinnitus, and occasional BPPV (vertigo), which may not be related to the megrims, but it makes my head more annoying to live with. And I suspect it is related ~ why wouldn’t all the things that are wrong inside my head somehow connect to all the otter things that are wrong? We’re talking about a lot of things! Just because no one has figured it out yet doesn’t make it not so. And another thing (prepping for Columbo), why is there no otter emoji?

Hey, I warned you this wouldn’t be pithy.

36 responses to “Migraine Mishmash

  1. I totally, completely, and absolutely feel your pain. And as with you, what is fine to eat one time will get me the next. The only thing I’ve figured out the last 40 years, is that they come every two weeks (those damned hormones). Some are worse than others depending on so many of those triggers you mentioned. Some go away quickly, some not so much (one horrible one happened during my Mensa test, which I wrote about a few years back…). Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I apologize if my question annoyed you, as I had no right to pry into your personnel business. I think that a lack of Grey Poupon would be more likely to trigger a megrim. I have a high threshold for pain, which makes me very different from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My total sympathy. I haven’t had a migraine in over a year and only two or three in the past 17 years but from twenty to thirty years ago, I had them frequently. Definitely, floral odors triggered them..especially Scotch Broom, plus flashing lights, reflections off the chrome on the car in front of me on the freeway, certain colors with light shining on them and pollution odors–in my case from an oil refinery a 1/2 mile away. I have never taken medication for them. Back when they were prevalent I don’t think they had meds. They tried giving me a pill that I think was for severe depression or schizophrenia (go figure) and it dulled me so much I preferred the headaches. The only thing I ever found that worked was to go to a totally dark room, lie down with nothing touching my body–sometimes even clothes, but definitely covers and to extend my arms and imagine energy sweeping down from the pain in my head to the tips of my fingers to heat up my hands. Sounds crazy, but my hands would heat up and I would fall asleep and i was once able to totally circumvent the throwing-up stage. I eventually fell asleep and in 3 or 4 hours, could get up and on my way and we set up a show that night. That was a miracle as they usually lasted for at least 12 hours or more. I now carry a little pill that is supposed to help ward them off in the first stages. It is probably out of date but I would still take it if I felt the warning signs. Never having had a child, I don’t know if childbirth is worse than a migraine, but I doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow interesting! Yes, when I was in my 20s, all they had was cafergot and the standard opiates. I had a very condescending male doc then, and he said that I didn’t have migraines because the cafergot was ineffective. Now, things are different, TG, and there are more options.

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      • Sorry you are still suffering. Knock wood that I never have another. The first time, I was walking down the hall in the school I taught at and no one had heads! I thought the kids had put LSD in the school water fountain. I’d been grading papers and was grading one with purple ink, the sun shining over my shoulder onto the page, and suddenly the words started floating off the paper. I’ve never had that sort of thing happen again, although the spot blindness always occurred. Such an insidious yet interesting disease/condition.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you have aura. I generally don’t, though very occasionally with a super bad migraine, I will see flashes of light when I close my eyes. That happened this week and segued into a strange little dream where people were tossing balls of paper at me!

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      • I almost always saw auras. Wonder how many people in past ages thought they saw angels when in fact they just had a migraine? Irreverent.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reminds me about my mum a bit…the weather problems. Did u try yoga on a daily basis-15 min a day every day (there’s yoga for migraines only) …don’t need any acrobatic actions

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am 67 years old. I was diagnosed with migraine at the ripe old age of 4. I love and totally agree with your “I don’t give a fuck”! Thought you might like to read my take on my “headaches”! https://musingmueller.blogspot.com/2014/08/ordering-new-head.html

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t get migraines per se, but I get auras in the corners of my eyes, which I understand often signal an oncoming migraine. I usually take two Advil and close my for about 30 minutes and the auras go away and the migraine never develops.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Have you tried Jesus?

    A simple prayer to the Lord, and presto!

    All your pain is gone. Poof!

    But I jest. Totally.

    I have Meniere’s disease (vertigo causing tinnitus thing *extraordinaire*) so I can *definitely* relate to the dizzy disability thinger big time. El puko. Room spinning like the worst hangover ever invented, endlessly.

    Tho, thankfully, I haven’t had an episode of that fucker since the late 1990s. Not sure why. Less salt maybe? Could be.

    Anyway, are you starting Columbo?

    Enjoy!

    Peter Falk was sooooo good as the pesky but endearing detective. I can’t wait to start watching the post-NBC episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Inlaws. Don’t say anything about his scar. Best gag ever.

    Like

  9. Love and healing hugs coming your way. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have tinnitus and occasional vertigo but never a migraine. I have great sympathy for you however. Anything that just arrives and dumps us into immobility and irritability extraordinaire is just not fair. But that’s like life . Just bloody well unfair. I hope your migraine will pack up and take his wares somewhere else soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish these things would leave you forever, dear friend. THEY SUCK and I also DGAF what they really are. They hurt your head! They used to make me puke for an entire day, and the next day was a fog. UGH.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have cluster head aches which I am told is a family member of migraines, I don’t recommend any of this family to anyone. I like your article so I am going to reblog this for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I get headaches, not migraines, but I hate them. Triggers are stuff I like, like sitting at the computer writing, chocolate, and cheese..and like you, a whole heap of unpredictable stuff. One thing I have found is that exercising with a rowing machine lessens the frequency, because my arms and shoulders are getting stronger. So less neck pain causing less shoulder pain..on the other hand if I do my favourite gypsy dancing, headaches!

    Liked by 1 person

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