Tag Archives: Migraines

Migraine Journey Part 3: Update Feeling A Bit Better!

February was a challenge

The weather was unusual for Southern California, a lot of rain and overcast skies that often cause me a lot of light sensitivity and headaches.

My last entry detailed many of the ongoing days of struggle with the migraines and it was a bit chaotic but I decided to leave the entry exactly as it is because that is how my mind was working at the time.

I have been on the 100 mgs of Topamax for over a month now and using CBD oil daily along with Turmeric with Black Pepper and some Vitamin D (since I already know I am low on that) and drinking water.

I am trying to manage my migraines using as little over the counter or prescription pain relivers as possible due to the potential for rebound or over use headaches, this is a very real problem for many migraine sufferers.

Rebound or Overuse Headaches

Medication Overuse Headache

Medication overuse headaches have previously been termed “rebound headaches,” or drug-inducedheadache and medication misuse headaches. Medication overuse headaches are experienced more than 15 days a month for at least three months and have developed or markedly worsened during medication overuse.
And that brings us to the conundrum of the doctor saying “take this pill as soon as you feel the migraine coming on for full effectiveness.” If I were to take something every time I feel a migraine coming on I would run the risk of over use because there is not a day that goes by that my head is not threatening to turn on me, sometimes I can convince it to stay calm and work with me, but all it takes is a flash of light or a can of Axe deodorant spray and its on and popping!

I Promised You An Update….

So, I didn’t think the MRI would show up with anything strange, but you never know, so to rule things out before proceeding with treatment options it was best to have a look in there. Everything appears normal.

And since I have tried several Triptan’s I can be referred for the next treatment option after I try one more (because they have to say I at least gave them all a try) and then we can try Botox. The Doctor says many of his patients have good results with the Botox treatment.

As for March and my headaches, so far Zero ocular migraines and I have only turned to medication (not including the daily Topamax) three times this month, I have been able to manage it with the CBD oil most of the time… or, maybe the migraines have lessened due to the daily Topamax? That is very possible.

What Has Worsened? Photophobia! Oh Joy!

I am blessed to work in a dim lit environment, right? Well that has its disadvantages too! Coming out of the dim lighting and into the brighter hallway and then looking onto the computer screens for information on my next client can be painfully blinding, but not only that I have developed a new and even more entertaining migraine side effect, PHOTOPHOBIA!

I was fully aware that the light sensitivity and the way the headlights of oncoming cars and even the street lights and stop lights flare and hurt my eyes was a form of photophobia but now I have gotten to a point where the cell phone and computer screen are also painfully bright to me as well.

Walking down the hallway at work after coming out of a dark room I am now seeing the trim boards move like waves as I walk past them and returning to the dim lit room I now see not one but two massage tables briefly. I am able to adjust to the lighting in a few minutes with some time to focus but I feel as if I am becoming a vampire, suddenly preferring to come out of the building once the sun has completely set.

So, my obvious next step will be to see an optometrist, which is something I had been putting off since the migraines tend to effect my vision and it can change from day to day based on the migraine attacks. I will look into that this coming week.

In a Nut Shell

What seems to be working, the CBD oil and the Topamax, what does not seem to be working for me, the Triptans seem to help with the headaches about 50% of the time but really make me feel terrible, muscle pain and weakness and just an overall feeling that I do not like at all.

Another simple thing that I found on migraine forums is that in the UK the first line of treatment is 900 to 1,000mg of Aspirin taken with a Sugar Cola (sugar, not fructose corn syrup, so something like a Jones Soda or a Mexican Coke) and I have tried that twice now and both times it has stopped a migraine in its tracks.

I have since looked up the studies on Aspirin for migraines and there have been several peer reviewed studies where they compared 900 to 1,000 mgs of Aspirin to the Triptans and Placebo and found the Aspirin to be as effective as the Triptans, my Neurologist disagrees with that but the many studies shows this to be the case.

Last night I tried another in the Triptan family, within 30 minutes I felt my body get weak, I began to feel sick to my stomach, the pain in my head did not go away, in fact it got worse. I took some CBD oil and went to bed. I felt better this morning, but if the pain continues today I will simply use the Aspirin because I do need to function at work, I do not need to have my muscles effected by a my migraine medication.

I do hope that something along the way here may be of help to someone else that may be going through this or even to my daughter who is struggling with the migraines along with me. It turns out that there is indeed a genetic component to the condition and it unfortunately effects more women than men.

Most migraine studies have been largely conducted on men in the past but that trend is changing and I look forward to more research studies being done on women and more specifically on the hormonal triggers as that is often a very common trigger for many women.

Yours Always, In Health and Wellness!

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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Migraine Journey Part 1

One Week In Treatment

Lets start with the fact that I usually avoid doctors like the plague, yes I do, they terrify me more than going to the dentist and that’s saying a lot, but the migraines have increased in frequency.

As you may know I treat people with migraines and headaches in my massage practices all the time, there are a few tricks I have learned a long the way, but it is very difficult to practice on myself because I cant lay still on the table and work on myself, not for lack of trying.

So I made an appointment to see a Neurologist because if I am going to see a doctor I would prefer it be the correct doctor for the problem at hand.

The First Visit

Filled out the paperwork, met the tall elderly gentleman who is my new doctor, I thought to myself “good, he is older” I prefer an older doctor as they have been around and have seen many conditions and know that not everyone will respond the same to treatments.

He did some basic nerve tests, poked me with a pin, my nerves are all working well, which is a very good thing given my history with my back surgery over 13 years ago, and then he suggests a brain scan just to rule out any possible damage or other conditions and wrote me a script for medications.

Two prescriptions, one for a preventative, a generic form of Topomax and Maxalt, trouble was he didn’t put down a dosage on the prescription for the Maxalt so the pharmacy was unable to fill the Maxalt prescription so I was only able to fill the preventative.

That evening I went into a full blown visual migraine, I call it a visual migraine but they call it a “migraine with aura.” I find it funny they call that thing an “aura” as to me the term aura sounds so peaceful, what I see is anything but peaceful, it is sharp and jagged, a visual and sensory assault that wipes me out.

They put in a call to his office for clarification on the other prescription but to this day no return call has been made about the other medication. I have been taking the preventative for just over one week, as I am writing this today I have had one migraine with aura the evening I filled the prescription, one regular migraine two days following, and one at this moment.

I will bet you are wondering how it is that I am typing this right now with a migraine, well, because I can still see, and because I took some CBD oil which seems to be taking the edge off for the moment and I want to take a moment to share this with you because today is important.

Today I Go For A Brain Scan

This afternoon I go for a brain scan in Huntington Beach, I am actually glad that I am experiencing the migraine today because I would prefer that my brain be doing whatever it is that it does when they do the scan so that whatever is happening will be evident, if it be some sort of swelling or pressure or whatever it may be.

This is why I am actually considering todays migraine to be a bit timely. Maybe we can get some answers? Maybe this isn’t just hormones, or environmental triggers, or some hidden allergic reaction to something I ate or was exposed to, maybe it has nothing to do with the lighting on the computer monitor, or the sunlight, or driving without sunglasses.

I will keep you posted if I learn anything new on this journey or anything new about migraine treatments, what works, what doesn’t, what helps me, what doesn’t help me… and by the way, so far at 100 milligrams of generic Topamax at just over one week I am still having migraines.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart (Formerly Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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