Soon after we finished our story on migraines, I came down with the worst headache of my life. For me, migraines began a few years ago, but it was a rare occasion. Now, I typically get a migraine once a month due to what I call, “the perfect storm,” a combination of stress, hormones, lack of sleep, and red wine.
This time, however, was unusual; the head pain lasted for 5 days and was triggered by a spell of benign positional vertigo that hit me hard a few days prior. Two days into the headache, I found myself at my doctor’s office to discuss the vertigo and headache. She suggested I first try my Triptan medication, but I had no luck.
When Friday came around and I still had the headache, my doctor diagnosed it as a series migraine and said we needed to break the cycle. She put me on a light dose of steroids to stop the pattern and thankfully, it worked.
Right now I am headache-free and hope to stay that way.
What we learned about migraines from our story is that they come in all shapes and sizes, both men and women are vulnerable, they are caused by various triggers, they are genetic, and there are a variety of treatments. In many cases, the Triptan class of medication usually works and allows you to continue on with your day. Triptans are drugs like Imetrex, Relpax, Maxsalt and are available in pill form, nasal spray, and injectables.
Alternate treatment options are available; most recently Botox has been approved by the FDA to treat chronic migraines for people who have 15 or more migraines a month. More holistic treatment options for migraine sufferers are acupuncture, acupressure, bio feedback, vitamin therapy and massage therapy.
There is no known cause for migraines but experts know they are started by certain triggers. Those triggers include hormonal changes, sleep patterns, eating patterns, body positioning, medication and even the weather.
According to General Adult Neurologist, Dr. Mary Angelopoulos, there’s thought to be an entire process that involves changes in brain chemicals, electrical changes in the brain, and changes in blood vessels that can stretch the pain receptor nerve complex in the brain, and that’s what transmits the pain to different parts of the head.
Sometimes people are afraid to ask a physician about their headaches because they fear the worse, but, Dr. Mary says it’s not likely that something more ominous is going on. But, if you have a headache that takes you out of your daily activities, you need to seek a physicians’ care.
Most physicians say treating each person is a very individual thing and they must take into consideration lifestyle habits, pre-existing medical conditions, other medications, and job activity. This is important so they don’t prescribe a medication that may affect their functioning and that patient can have a normal life without side affects.
Finally, Dr. Mary says migraines are a very treatable condition and they are a condition that people don’t need to sit and suffer with.