Do you get migraines?
I feel like they’re a pretty common ailment, especially with women. If you don’t, consider yourself lucky. And if you do, then you feel my pain.
I’ve been getting them for as long as I can remember, and they’re really and truly the worst. The pain is always right in my temples, usually my right side. I’ve never been shot in the head, but I have to imagine this is kind of (to a lesser degree, I’d hope!) what getting shot in the head would feel like. It’s just this searing pain, piercing through your head. Sometimes it’s so bad I end up throwing up. Usually I just toss and turn and try to fall asleep.
I don’t get them as often as some people — about seven or eight times a year, give or take. Mine nearly always come on in the later afternoon, so I can just go home and attempt to sleep it off. In high school, it was really difficult if I’d get one, and then have trouble finishing my homework for the next day. It’s a little easier now that I’m a post-grad adult, and when I leave work, there usually isn’t a ton of work waiting for me at home, so I can go to bed early as need be.
On Tuesday I had a really nasty one — worse than I’ve had in months. My head started to ache around five, so I thankfully didn’t have much of the work day left to get through. It began somewhat mildly, and I had a moment of thinking ‘Maybe this will just be a moderate headache.’ Which does happen to me, too. But after feeling like I was about to pass out on the subway, I knew what was coming: Migraine, though I didn’t know how intense it would get. I cancelled my plans, got home around 6:30, said hello to my roommate, and promptly fell asleep.
Sadly, it didn’t stay that way. I was truly an idiot in handling this one. I have a pill I was prescribed a few years ago that works wonders. But I like to conserve them, and only use them for the worst-case scenarios. At first, I didn’t think this was quite that level of severity, and thought I could just sleep it off for a couple hours, and try this product, which does provide momentary relief. I woke up around 8:00 and was in even more pain. I, of course, then gave in and took a pill, which usually kicks in after about an hour. For the first time since I’ve started taking it, it didn’t work. It was torture. And to top it all off, I didn’t fall asleep until about midnight. It was such a frustrating, wasted, painful night.
I’m lucky in that I don’t have many nights like those anymore. For so long, when I got migraines, I’d do nothing to help. My mom would always tell me to take a couple of Advil, and I’d feel so frustrated when they failed to do anything (my entire migraine experience has definitely lessened my faith in over the counter pain medication.) Side story: The only time I remember Advil working was the night of my high school graduation. My entire class had an all-night party at a bowling alley/laser tag/arcade type place, one of the highlights of the year. I got a horrible headache on the bus ride over and was about to call my mom to pick me up. I took three Advil, thinking it would never work. But by some miracle, it did, and I was able to enjoy the night. It’s like my body knew ‘get it together!’
It wasn’t until I got older — honestly, not really until after I graduated college — that I really got a grasp on dealing with my migraines. And after Tuesday’s unpleasant episode, I thought I’d share what I’d learned over my years of battling them.
Please, please, take all these suggestions with a grain of salt, as I am not a doctor. I haven’t even taken a biology class since I was 14, so I’m not even a science-inclined person. This is just what has helped me through my years of migraines.
My mom got me one of these for a present for a birthday (yes, I get migraine-related presents!) one year. Basically, there’s an insert you can either freeze or heat up, depending on what temperature you prefer. Then you wrap it around your head to help with any aches. Though it’s not a cure-all, it definitely provides relief.
Buy it here.
Before I got the band, I loved putting a microbead pillow on my forehead to ease the pressure. The fabric feels cool, and it really forms to your head. Personally, having something (soft) pressing on where my head aches really helps when I have a migraine, particularly with falling asleep. Plus, they’re squshy and comfy.
Buy it here.
I got this product as a gift, not really knowing what it was or how it could possibly work. I tried it for the first time on Tuesday, and I have to say, I do like it. Basically, you just rub this product on the spot that’s in pain, and it almost numbs it, providing an intense cooling sensation. I think it’s best to use in conjunction with something else, as it provides instant relief, but nothing lasting.
Buy it here.
A no-brainer. Light is no friend to the migraine.
Buy it here.
This is the only over-the-country product that has worked for me. It’s an aspirin powder, and honestly, it is magic. A co-worker (thanks, Maggie!) introduced it to me and my life is forever changed. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to take it, but I always pour the packet on my tongue, press it to the roof of my mouth to let it absorb, and then wash the rest down with water. It’s not quite as good as the prescription medication I use, but it really, really works and has a lasting effect. Word of advice: Buy the cherry. There’s a no flavor kind, and it supposedly tastes awful.
Buy it here.
A good night’s sleep.
My entire life, the only thing that has worked 100 percent of the time in getting rid of a migraine is sleeping a full night. Not a quick nap, not even a long one: The whole. dang. night. There is truly no better feeling than waking up the morning after a migraine to have it gone. It’s almost like you can feel the weight lifted from your head. Glorious.
A great prescription.
My fellow migraine sufferers, I know I’m not alone in being frustrated when people suggest you take Advil or Tylenol in the midst of a bad one. They just do nothing. I waited far, far too long to talk to my doctor about other options. While I know some people don’t have luck with prescription medications for migraines, I really have. The drug I was prescribed has honestly changed my life, and made it so I almost always relieve the worst of the pain, and not just suffer until I pass out.
If anyone would like to know what prescription I’ve had success with, feel free to email me at email@example.com, and I’ll share details! (Feel a little weird sharing it here? Is that weird? IDK.)