I just remembered that I’ve never gone into details about my battle with migraines. My woes were mentioned briefly here.
But I just had one last week (lasting about 10 days). While it’s fresh on my mind (no pun intended), I want to share with you some basics of migraine life.
Migraine vs Headache
When I first started having migraines, I was probably 8/9 years old. But I would just tell my mom “I have a headache”. That’s what is it right?
A lot of people have a difficult time differentiating between the two. The simplest explanation is a migraine is a type of headache but it goes a lot deeper than that.
Types of Migraines
Migraine without Aura
This is characterized by pulsing or throbbing pain on one side of the head, that is made worse by physical activity, and is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Migraine with Aura
Some people also have auras which are basically sensory changes (like seeing dots or zig zags or even not being able to speak clearly). Aura occurs right before or during the migraine. It’s like a warning sign that pain is on the way.
Migraine Without Head Pain
This type gives all the “fun” symptoms (aura, nausea etc) but no head pain. Super creepy right?
People who experience this type develop weakness on one side of the body, often with visual aura symptoms and a “pins and needles” sensation, or loss of sensation, on one side of the body. It’s quite similar to the sensations of a stroke and doesn’t always include head pain.
When the pain causes you to temporarily lose vision in one eye, it is a retinal migraine. It’s most common in women during their childbearing years. The blindness can last anywhere from a minute to months, but thankfully is fully reversible (usually).
This is when you have more than 15 pain days in a month.
What are the first signs of a migraine?
Believe it or not there are quite warning signs that you’re about to have a migraine. Our bodies give us subtle signals saying pain is coming. It’s up to us to look out for them.
- Light, noise of smell sensitivity
- Excessive yawning
- Trouble speaking
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Vertigo or double vision
- Nausea or Vomiting
What should you do if you have a migraine?
I honestly don’t know LOL. Just kidding. I’ve been struggling with migraines for ⅓ of my life. It wasn’t until now that I started to become more conscious of them.
The first thing I did was talk to my neurologist about it. Migraines are a neurological issue. Of course he prescribed medications but so far they haven’t really worked for me. It will weaken the pain but not dissolve it.
Me personally, I have to be in the cold and darkness to feel relief. But everyone’s plan looks a little differently
The KEY is to catch it early. Once I realized my warning signs I’ve been able to be more proactive about keeping them manageable. If I let it go full fledge before trying to remedy it, I am miserable for days.
So of course I have another tracker for you guys. Use it to track your days, pain levels, symptoms felt and things going on leading up to the onset. Once you’ve collected your date, have a discussion with your doctor about it.