Do you suffer from migraines? You’re not alone. Did you know that over 10% of the population suffers from migraines and that migraines rank in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses. (http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org)
I too suffer from migraines. My migraines started slowly, a few years after my fourth brain surgery, a little over twelve years ago. My neurosurgeons (Duke University & a consult with Mayo Clinc and the University of Michigan), along with a recent MRI scan, that my migraines are a totally separate issue. It seems, without fail, every two to two and a half years my medications stop being effective.
I suffer from severe migraine attacks that give me stroke-like conditions. During these times, my arm goes numb and I have shooting pains down one side of my body. One or both of my eyes will automatically shut. I lose the ability to walk and sometimes I lose the ability to talk or communicate. I’ve suffered from a daily migraines for years but over the last three months, my severe attacks have become almost a daily occurrence. (I have implemented a new medical and holistic plan which I will discuss in a future blog post.)
I have traveled to neurologists across the United States including Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute, Keeeler Center for the Study of Headache, Stanford University Hospital and I had Nerve Decompression Surgery on my neck in Houston, Texas….I had five nerves that were not providing any blood flow to my brain. Along with a multitude of medications I have also tried acupuncture, chiropractors, diets, essential oils, herbs, massages, PRK eye surgery, Botox in my forehead and skull and ganglion blocks in my spine (just to name a few).
I know what it feels like to be in pain but there is hope. I’ve seen people with disabling migraines regain their life back. But it will require work on your end. Before you see a neurologist or migraine specialist, you need to better understand your migraines.
Keeping a journal is crucial. This will help the doctor see if there is a pattern, triggers or warning signs. You need to track:
- What and when you eat.
- Your current medication(s).
- Vitamins or health products consumed.
- Amount of exercise.
- How many hours you slept.
- Weather conditions.
- Menstrual cycle.
Here is a copy of my “Migraine Diary“.
In addition, it is also important you record all migraine attacks:
- When the head pains started.
- If there are other symptoms (such as being sick or having vision problems)?
- How long the attack lasts.
- Where your pain is. Is in front? On the side? Does your migraine move around?
- Is the pain is throbbing or piercing.
In the next couple of blogs, I’ll talk more about your analyzing your migraine diary, migraine triggers, different types of migraines, migraine medications and health insurance coverage.
Meanwhile, feel free to ask me any questions.