Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dealing with Migraine

If there is one thing I'd gladly rid myself of in this lifetime, that would be my migraine. It's an unwelcome guest that takes over my system every time it attacks. It incapacitates me every single time, giving me too many helpless and unproductive days.

I can't remember when it started and I can't really identify what causes it, but it got worrisome back in 2012 when I had to ditch a number of work days because of severe pain and vomiting. That time, I was really in deep stress because of a hell-like work environment. I remember my horrible boss giving me a hard time because of my stupid migraine.

My migraine can go up to two to three days without subsiding. It leaves the left side of my head throbbing in pain and my left eye tearing up. It's always the left side. Sometimes, the pain concentrates on my left eye socket; sometimes, it just falls on the top left hemisphere of my head. I usually feel relieved when I've thrown up, but sometimes, the pain just lingers even when I've puked one too many times. At times, I would refuse to eat because my stomach also gets upset during some of my migraine attacks. Even if it's just water that I take in, it finds its way out. I'd throw up a lot to the point that all that goes out is acid--bitter, sour, and painful to the throat and stomach.

Causes of My Migraine
I've gone to different doctors to have this condition treated. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for migraine. My first doctor connected my migraine attacks to urinary tract infection (UTI). He said that migraine could be a symptom of UTI. My upset stomach (plus vomiting and nausea) is also related to the infection as the stomach is close to the urinary tract. This doctor then gave me painkillers for the headache and medicine to treat the UTI. I'm not so sure what to make out of this diagnosis, but I always consider UTI every time I have migraine. (I'll talk about the cause of my frequent UTIs in another post.)

My second doctor pointed out that there are different kinds of headache. He did not relate my migraine to UTI this time, but considered it to be stress and fatigue-related. It was a likely cause because as I've mentioned earlier, I was in a stressful job at that time. So for this visit, the doctor gave me pain killers, vitamin B+ and a red pill for my migraine. (Sorry, I can't remember the medicine names as this was two years ago and I've already lost the prescription.) Somehow, the migraine attacks became less frequent after this consultation.

Other migraine attacks are really random, leaving me clueless on what may have caused them. For example, just yesterday, I woke up at 2am from a 12-hour sleep to a slight headache. I decided to eat (since skipping meals is another cause of my attacks) and then took Biogesic (mefenamic acid) to relieve the pain and went back to sleep. I woke up at 11am with the same slight headache so I had lunch and then took two 250mg mefenamic acid this time. After doing this, came the full-blown migraine attack. I got dizzy and so I forced myself to sleep to "unfeel" the pain. This attack is weird since I don't really feel stressed at the moment (I'm unemployed and I have all the time to rest). Also, I've had enough rest and sleep. Could it be oversleeping that caused the migraine attack?

What I Do to Ease the Pain
The first thing I do is rest. Every time my migraine attacks, I try to sleep in a dark room. I make sure to rest my eyes because I find that watching TV or using my phone aggravates the pain and dizziness. When I sleep, I try to cover my eyes to ensure complete darkness.

I try not to drink pain relievers right away as I'm afraid I'd get dependent to medicine. Also, I noticed that sometimes, taking pain relievers does not help at all, but rather makes the pain and nausea even worse. I just can't figure out why.

I apply cold compress to the left side of my head. I'm not really sure if this is a good practice, but I find it relieving. I also apply topical analgesic (Omega Pain Killer) to the affected part of my head.

Since my migraine attacks are UTI-related, I make sure to drink lots of water to flush the infection away. If I can, I also try to eat. This makes throwing up easier as compared to not having anything in the stomach. The latter is more painful. Also, I find that eating (especially if I skipped meals) also relieves mild headaches.

I find that working out regularly makes the migraine attacks less frequent. As exercise produces happy hormones and natural pain killers, I find that working out every day makes migraine go away.

If I can no longer bear the pain, I drink Advil for Migraine. My dad from the US sent me this pain reliever as he himself is worried about my frequent migraines. Most times, it helps relieve the pain. Weirdly, it also aggravates the headache at times.

Deal with IT
Everyone of us has individual differences, so everything I wrote down in this post may or may not be the same with other migraine sufferers. The most important thing about having this condition is to consult the doctor and to take care of yourself well--always get enough rest and sleep, exercise, take vitamins and supplements, do not strain your eyes too much, stay healthy and happy.

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