Tuesday, 18 March 2014

How To: Migraine

Phewww.. I'm a migraine frequent flyer and it sucks big time. If I have a loyalty card for having migraine, surely I would be the most celebrated customer ever.

It crushes my skull, it blinds my eyes and it makes me so weak. My hands shake, my feet tremble and my head is pounding. I know I'm gonna get it whenever I had aura beforehand e.g. yawning, zigzag flashes, neck stiffness etc and it just getting worse throughout the day.

Sleep does help sometimes but it can worsen it too (for me) and paracetamol is NOT helpful at all. Enough said, I could not figure what the triggers for my migraine and it's pretty much something that I've to bear with.

What I do about it? I choose not to take drugs on top of it unless if I've to work on something later during the day; just to ease off the pain. But usually I resort to these methods:

1. Massage 

Whenever I have migraine, I enjoy the sensation of strong hands running and squeezing the tension out from head, neck and shoulder, Hair pulling helps sometimes but do remember it may leave bald patches (ok..just kidding).

2. Hot/ cold bag/shower

Like the picture shown below, place an icy cold bag/ frozen chips behind your head and immerse your hands and feet in a warm bath. It is believed that migraine happened when the blood vessels around your head are engorged and dilated which stretches the pain receptor and then boom.. the big M.

So by having icy cold pack behind your head/neck, that will help to constrict the blood vessels while the hot bath will warm your hands and feet thus allowing more blood flowing to them. So analogically you're trying to pull the blood away from your head. Cool isn't it?

3. Stay away from any possible precipitants

When you're having migraine, have you ever realised that all your senses are being heightened? Your iPhone's screen is too bright, the ticking clock's sound is irritating and even a light touch on your body feels like a heavy wrecking ball dropped on you. That's migraine! So, what you do? Stay away from any light, noise or distractions and what do I do usually? I cover myself up in a sleeping bag and roll myself like a mummy, in a dark room and the only thing that I can hear is my noisy breath sounds.

4. Drink plenty of water

Some people say you can get headache when you're dehydrated and I do find it's true sometimes. Make sure you drink 3 Litres of plain water a day.

5. Exercise 
This is funny. I tried experimenting on the other day, since my hypothesis is migraine caused by the stretching of the blood vessels and in order to relieve it, pull the blood away from the head. So I tried doing 100 jumping jacks hoping the blood will actually flow away from my head and guess what, it worked! I don't know whether it was the exercise-induced endorphine release or the quick distraction from the migraine that helps, nevertheless it works.

6. Pain killer (last resort!)

I don't trust pain killer because not everyone responded to it equally and in a long run it masks the symptoms rather than helping you figuring out the root of the problem. So unless you've a deadline to meet or in need to go out when you've migraine, it's better off to try any physical approaches before you swallow the capsules.

7. Migraine diary
This is to keep up with your migraine and figuring out the possible triggers for it. So you can mark on your calendar when you had migraine and try to reflect what you had eaten or tried on that day so that you can avoid them in the future.