Readers Against Migraines

I mentioned in a post that I get quite a few migraines and found that I wasn’t alone. It seems that us bibliophiles have more than just a love for books in commons. Quite a few of us suffer from migraines. You know, those things that make you want to just curl up in a ball in a dark room, scream and cry if it wouldn’t make it worse, and possibly consider just ripping your head off because it would be a better option than waiting for meds to kick in if they even worked. Ok, maybe that’s just me, but that’s my experience :p

So I thought it would be good to dedicate a page on this blog on how to get rid of the pesky suckers! I have some of my own ideas on how to get rid of headaches, but everyone has their own thing and there’s power in numbers! If you have any great ideas on how to get rid of headaches/migraines, please leave your suggestions in the comments of this page or write your own post! I’ll continue to update the page with the newest techniques and newest posts along with links to the commenters who gave there suggestions.

Here’s some of what’s worked for me (and I’ll continue the list from here):

1. See a neurologist – This is an obvious one, but it actually took me awhile to do it. There are a number of tests that a neurologist can run along with medications that can be used. My doc has tried me on a few preventatives including Amitryptaline, Topamax, and Depakote. The problem with these is that they are psychiatric medications so they can have side effects. The latest one I’ve tried is a high blood pressure medicine and I’ve seen the most help from that!

2. Try a pain killer – The other obvious one. Some over the counter meds work for some people. Tylenol doesn’t work for most migraine sufferers, but I find that Ibuprofen (I take Motrin) actually helps the smaller ones. For the more intense ones, a lot of people use Imitrex. I can’t take Imitrex because it makes me feel like I have the flu. But I found an alternative called Relpax that works wonderful! The problem with Imitrex and Relpax is that they are expensive even with insurance. You can ask your doc to recommend a cheaper alternative in addition to one of those. I use Darvocet as my cheap alternative, but it knocks me out :/

3. Trigger Point Therapy – I wish I would’ve discovered this earlier! Trigger point therapy is a massage, but let me warn you ahead of time that it’s a painful massage. Trigger points are balls of muscle that form up over time and can cause headaches as well as lack of movement. The therapy involves a massage therapist finding the trigger points and applying pressure to them to loosen them up. Over time, you should see great improvement. I certainly have just in the 2 weeks that I’ve been getting the massages. There’s a national massage chain called Massage Envy that specializes in affordable massages and they offer trigger point therapy if you’re interested.

4. Lavender Oil – When I first heard this tip, I thought that people were nuts! Seriously?! Smelling the essence of a flower is supposed to help my migraine?? Surprisingly it does! Just make sure you’re using lavender essential oil and not artificial lavender smell as I’m guessing that would make it worse. I found something at Bath and Body Works called Sound Sleep in their aromatherapy line. It has lavender oil and chamomile in it and you rub it on your wrists and breath it in. Surprisingly, it helps.

5. Ice Packs – These help me a lot, but are not always convenient if I’m at work or something. I use those little sinus pack things that you can keep in the freezer. It’s a blue cloth eye cover with little beads inside that freeze and you can velcro it around your head to cover your eyes. If this isn’t convenient, you can also just use a towel soaked in ice water. Just keep the bowl of ice water nearby so that you can keep your towel cold!

6. Know your triggers – This is something that I have not taken the time to do, but I really should. There are many common triggers for migraines. Some include, coffee, caffeine, chocolate, cheese, food dyes, etc. Some of my favorite things of course :p Aside from food dyes…I can live without that :p

7. Try Some Supplements – “One supplement that can help with the little ones is a good dose of Calcium/Magnesium/Potassium combo multi-mineral. There’s a great scientific reason for this which has to do with muscle contraction and little cellular gateways” Stacey @ Geek Girl Unveiled

8. Try Out Pilates – “Head forward posture (also known as “upper crossed syndrome”) is one of the primary causes of not only muscular migraine and headache, but also of the development of trigger points. A good (very good!) pilates instructor can often help with migraines almost as much as a good massage therapist.” Stacey @ Geek Girl Unveiled

9. Have a physical. It may be something else! – “I’ve been getting migraines for a long time. I was also having other medical issues though and never put two and two together. As it turns out, I’m anemic and when my iron gets low, thats when they come on full force. For a while there I was getting an average of two migraines a week. Now a days, if I skip my iron tablets, I can expect a migraine within the week so I try not to miss them for any reason.” Sarah @ Imaginary Dreams

10. Keep a headache journal – “I’ve started keeping a page on my blog for my headaches, what I ate, what I took, what time and if they didn’t work. I only had three migraines last month and that’s a pretty good change from how things used to go.” Sarah @ Imaginary Dreams

Please continue to add to the list by commenting or writing your post! If you don’t have a blog, you can use my contact form at the top of this blog and let me know what your tips are!

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6 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    Nice page! I’m a massage therapist and a migraineur, who has tried all sorts of remedies for migraine. I find that the herbal solutions, like butterbur or feverfew, have very little effect on my migraines. One supplement that can help with the little ones is a good dose of Calcium/Magnesium/Potassium combo multi-mineral. There’s a great scientific reason for this which has to do with muscle contraction and little cellular gateways, which I have forgotten. Sorry.

    Massage doesn’t particularly do much for me, and I’ve tried it all. But I have a number of clients who report significant reduction in their headache frequency. It’s very dependent on the exact type of headache one gets, and recognizing that all migraines do not have the same causes. I’m not a trigger point therapist, although I do treat them. (I do specialize in soft tissue therapies for chronic pain and injury.) The technique I use is more focused on deep tissue work for postural balancing. Head forward posture (also known as “upper crossed syndrome”) is one of the primary causes of not only muscular migraine and headache, but also of the development of trigger points. A good (very good!) pilates instructor can often help with migraines almost as much as a good massage therapist.

    I second your ice pack suggestion too, and have been on the hunt for somewhere that offers intraoral cryotherapy as a migraine treatment. (Google: friedman intraoral cryotherapy) It sounds interesting. I don’t care for his statistics, as I believe they are overly optimistic, but it’s an interesting theory nevertheless.

    I’m bookmarking this, and looking forward to seeing other suggestions. Thanks!

  2. 2

    Wow! This is really great Chris. We’ll have to direct Dar this direction, as I know she’s a sufferer. I actually had auras today, but quickly downed some Advil & shut the blinds. Thankfully, an hour later it was gone (if they’re ever really gone).

    I think this is great, and I’ll definitely stop back by to see if others have hints or suggestions that have worked for them! Besides, it is kind of nice griping about them! :)

  3. 3

    I’ve been getting migraines for a long time. I was also having other medical issues though and never put two and two together. As it turns out, I’m anemic and when my iron gets low, thats when they come on full force. For a while there I was getting an average of two migraines a week. Now a days, if I skip my iron tablets, I can expect a migraine within the week so I try not to miss them for any reason.

    I used to use a combination of Goody’s powder and Excedrin Migraine but after a while those stopped working. I’ve had a few samples of Maxmlt and those work really quickly and really well, but I never got a prescription because they are so expensive. I’ve started keeping a page on my blog for my headaches, what I ate, what I took, what time and if they didn’t work. I only had three migraines last month and that’s a pretty good change from how things used to go.

    Migraines are miserable and this is a really great page. I’d never considered anything aromatherapy before, and surprisingly I haven’t considered trigger point therapy. I know a reflexologist and a masseuse in the family who live a mile or so away but it never occurred to me to get them to help. You have some really great page here and I’ll definitely be checking back to see the progress and new ideas!

  4. 4

    The headache journal is a good idea. I’ve always thought I intuitively put two and two together as it goes along, but maybe I need to write some of it down so that I can figure it out? The food dye thing cut them in half earlier this year, and that was just a miracle that I figured that one out. I now avoid red food dye like the devil himself…hello, how much will I miss my yearly Icee??? When that’s not the reason, then where are they coming from?!? I’ll have to try the diary out.

    Anyone else feel like they are having near heart attack symptoms with some of these migraine medications? They can really scare me!

  5. 5

    I used to suffer from fairly frequent migraines, from my teens through my thirties. They seemed to change their character (onset, frequency, length, severity) every 10 years or so for me. Finally they pretty much stopped plaguing me about the time I was 40. It may be that I traded them in an became diabetic instead. These days severe migraines are very scarce for me but sometimes there are precursor symptoms that are irritating.

    Pain killers never helped me at all, and at the time there wasn’t much in the way of prescription medication to try. The only thing I ever found to work was caffeine tablets (i.e., stay-alert type OTC pills). At the earliest signs, as soon as I could, I’d take a caffeine tablet and try to lie still, and that virtually always short circuited the onset of the migraine. My theory is that my migraines seemed to be associated with vasodilation, so a vasoconstrictor counteracted the effects. In reality I don’t have a good idea, but I came to rely on the caffeine.

  6. 6

    I’m on Topamax and it works like a charm for me. I’ve been diganosed with Migrainous Episodes (after years of tests) and I’ve learned what many of my triggers are. One of the main triggers are fluorescent lights and as a teacher, I am surrounded by them at work. I often wear my sunglasses while teaching and my students think it is hilarious (but sometimes unnerving too as they can’t see my eyes). As soon as I go off Topamax for even 1 day, I get hit with a migraine so it works really well for me.

    Also, as I am not a coffee drinker, as soon as I get any signs of a migraine, I also take caffeine pills and they work very well too. Don’t know why they work, but the doc says because I avoid most things with caffeine it’s why it works.



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