Photo by Bethany Szentesi on Unsplash

Living with migraines — tips for self-management (1/2)

by Daniel Roberts

A typical attack

I experience a migraine once every 2 weeks. During an attack, my speech becomes slurred, vision blurs and I lose balance. My brain is taken over by a headache from hell, I can no longer function and feel nauseous. The only option is to stop what I am doing and find somewhere quiet and dark to lie down. The sooner I do this, the quicker my recovery. Hence my new phone with the number of a well-known London taxi service and payment details programmed in. This allows me to close my eyes in the back seat and get home quickly and safely.

What I have learned to avoid

Several factors promote an attack. These include excessive exercise, hot weather, bright sunshine, extreme cold, stress, over tiredness and poor diet. Sadly, I have found it necessary to avoid chocolate, cheese, alcohol, coffee and citrus fruits. Also eating too much can bring on a migraine.

Treatments, I have tried them all

Over the years, I have been put on various forms of medication. I have also tried a range of complementary therapy such as stress relieving massages, acupuncture, physiotherapy and hypnotherapy. I have even tried injections of Botox to relax my head muscles. Unfortunately, none of these interventions seem to have made a real difference.

My tips for self-management

I attempt to eat a healthy diet and avoid big meals. Wearing a cap and dark glasses in bright sunshine, and using a woolly hat in cold weather helps. I carry a bottle of water with me as being well hydrated seems to be preventative. Getting a good night’s sleep helps me face the day. Since starting to exercise regularly, be it out cycling or in the gym, I have noticed that my migraine attacks are less severe, and recovery is quicker. Now I need to lie down for only 1 ½ hrs instead of 3- 5 hours allowing me to return to work later in the day if ‘caught short’ in the office.

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We are a medical writing, research and health education company motivated to advance all aspects of healthcare.