Two or three times a year, I get struck down by a migraine. If you’ve never suffered with one before – lucky you! They are incredibly painful. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would rather go through labour than a migraine. They last just as long and at least with labour you get something out of it at the end!
A migraine is not the same as a headache. It is a hundred times worse.It doesn’t just affect your head – it can make you sick, ridiculously sensitive to light and sounds and blurred or double vision. It’s usually a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head.
I remember my very first migraine. I’m not entirely sure how old I was, but I was at primary school. My mum and dad were at work so my nan and grandad came to pick me up from school and took me back to theirs. I remember curling up on the sofa and then in my nan’s bed, crying my eyes out because I was in so much pain. I honestly thought I was dying.
Luckily, I don’t get them very often. Whilst I was at university I went through a phase of having them regularly which was probably down to late night studying. I also had them more often when I was pregnant, which is common – down to hormones or something.
Lots of people have ‘triggers’ which can set off a migraine. Cheese, wine, chocolate and caffeine are some of the more common ones. Thankfully, these don’t trigger one off for me (it’s practically my main diet!). Tiredness and stress seem to be what kicks mine off. Sometimes I get a bit of warning that one is on the way, and a couple of strong painkillers can stop it in it’s tracks. Other times, they suddenly appear and pretty much nothing will shift it.
I had a migraine on Monday night. I know this was because I was really tired and had quite a bit to drink the night before. I’d had a dull head all day which I thought was a lingering hangover. At about 7.30, I was doing a bit of blogging when BAM – it just struck. Suddenly, I felt dizzy, sick, the lights hurt my eyes and when I could open my eyes everything was blurred. I abandoned my computer mid-post and went straight to bed. I couldn’t even put my phone on charge because the glow hurt my eyes. Thankfully, by the morning it had gone, apart from a slightly groggy feeling which sometimes lingers for a day or two afterwards. I have had migraines that have lasted well into the next day, and they’re the worst. Waking up with a migraine is unbearable!
For me, the most effective way of dealing with a migraine is to go to bed. The worst part of one is the visual disturbances and sensitivity to light, so I need the room to be pitch black and cool. I have an emergency eye-mask for daytime migraines. I literally burrow under the quilt and sleep it off!
For a lot of people, chocolate is a trigger but strangely, for both my mum and me, eating some chocolate in the early stage of a migraine can actually help. My mum has always said this, and a couple of years ago she was diagnosed with diabetes, so whether her migraines are something to do with sugar levels I don’t know. I don’t have diabetes and it does seem to work for me. Whether it is just a placebo I don’t know, but I’ll try anything!! Weirdly, Mars Bars (which I don’t usually like!) seem to be the best at helping!
What are your top tips for helping with migraines?