As I continue to document my struggles with migraine, I wanted to share my favorite migraine resource—which is of course migraine.com. These days there's a .com for everything especially if there is a community hungry for information about it and migraine is no different. I've found sites for gout, thyroidism, arthritis and also migraine.
In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine suffers are chronic.
Almost 5 million in the U.S. experience at least one migraine attack per month, while more than 11 million people blame migraines for causing moderate to severe disability.
When you consider the total U.S. population, 2-3 million chronic migraine sufferers is a small number. There are plenty of "resources" out there but I've found that many of these sites were set up with the purpose of selling a product.
What is migraine.com?
At migraine.com, you'll find a wealth of information about symptom's, treatment and living with migraine. One of the problems with migraine headaches is that it's not universally understood. For many chronic diseases, there is a clear cause and treatment such as arthritis and gout. Unfortunately, no single cause can be found and no one remedy helps everyone. On migraine.com, you'll find hundreds if not thousands of people that share their symptoms, remedies and experiences living with migraine.
Unlike many "information-only" sites, migraine.com has been set up as a social community with some of the following benefits:
- Access to a headache journal to track all facets of a migraine
- Forums to talk to other migraineurs
- Share your story
- Information about symptoms, remedies, etc
- Access to special savings on treatments
Why I recommend migraine.com
In my circle of friends, coworkers and acquaintances, I am somewhat of an "expert" when it comes to migraine. People often asked how I deal with migraine and how I treat it. I am always happy to help a fellow migraine sufferer, but many times I have resorted to some extreme measures for treatment. My neurologist knows everything I have tried and advises against some of my methods. However, knowing my history, he understands that I have learned how to deal with the pain and trusts my judgement. I am just one person so I would definitely recommend:
- Join a community (migraine.com) that knows what you know
- Find a GOOD doctor to help. Don't just settle for the cheapest, closest, etc—find that one doctor that will listen to you and treat you accordingly.
- Keep looking for solutions. I have found several sites that offer medications/natural remedies that came directly from their own struggle with migraine. These may or may not help but each thing tried will get you closer to your "cure".
- Keep your journal—By keeping a detailed journal, you'll learn your triggers and things that have helped in the past.
Why you can't take just one person's advice
I have found what works for me but it may not work for you. My history with chronic migraine spans 20+ years now and I have built up tolerance for some of my old remedies. Also, the things I have tried can have other negative side effects. Many of my treatments have exacerbated other medical conditions such as arthritis, gout and liver/kidney function. For example, see below for just some of the treatments I've tried:
- Loud Bass - When I first started suffering from migraines, I found that if I put a stereo speaker on each side of my head, that the bass helped relieve the pain.
- Tight Ball Cap - I also have put on my adjustable ball caps tightened about 2 sizes smaller than my head. The pressure relieved the pain like #1. This still works.
- Massaging my eyeballs and/or temples- See #1. This still works.
- Excedrin - My go to OTC drug. Insurance will only approve so many treatments a month for acute migraines, so I supplement with what I can. The problem is that you have to watch your dosing. I have been known to take 10-12 or more Excedrin in a 24-hr period. More than 4 for me causes severe nosebleeds. This still works sometimes.
- Excedrin + Ibuprofen - I have my own little cocktail-- 2 Excedrin (250 mg acetaminophen/ 250 mg aspirin/ 65 mg caffeine each) and 4 ibuprofen (800 mg). I have been known to do this 2-3 times a day. See #4.
- Imitrex - I've tried the 50mg pill, the 100mg pill, the subcutaneous injection and the shot. They all work for me, but the side effects often outweigh the benefit.
- Hot shower - as hot as I can--calms down the muscle pain.
- Sunglasses - One of my primary triggers is light, so I often wear sunglasses all the time!
- Computer glasses - I don't even think about sitting in front of a computer monitor without these. (www.gunnar.com)
- Food avoidance - I learned last year that I'm alergic/sensitive to artificial sweeteners (ASPARTAME IS THE DEVIL!), white potatoes and other foods. I avoid them and it reduces the frequency and amplitude of the headaches.
- Cold dark room - Many times I have to retreat to a cold, dark room in combination with 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8.
Doctor prescribed treatments (In order taken)
- Blood Pressure meds - be careful with this one. If you don't have high BP, then this could be dangerous. The first quack (neurologist) treated me with this. He lowered my blood pressure so much that my PCP was afraid of the damage he was causing.
- Anti-siezure - Topamax (worked great for 6 years, but got to a daily dose of 3 times the FDA recommended max dose and it stopped)
- Alzheimer's drug - Namenda. No success at all.
- Anti-depressant - Amitriptyline - No success at all.
- Chiropractic - Helps for a week or two.
- Botox - Has worked well but I still have 2 migraines a month (down from 20)
- Cervical epidural - 6 weeks of relief each time
- Radiofrequency ablation + physical therapy on neck - Jury is still out.
If you have followed me or know me, then you know that this is a never-ending journey. There is no "cure" for migraine and doctors are still finding new mechanisms causing it and remedies to treat it. My journey has already lasted about 20 years and I am no closer to finding long-lasting relief. As always, I am happy to share my experiences if it can help someone, but if you are one of them, don't expect a "quick-fix".