Life with migraines is unpredictable. Some days, you wake up, and you’re relieved to find that you have no aches or pains. You know it’s going to be a great day, and you’re excited to either be especially productive at work or relax pain-free on the couch. Sometimes, these good days continue for so long, and you almost forget that you have ever had chronic headaches.
Then, there are other days when the migraine headaches feel like repeatedly beating your head into a concrete wall. It’s not just your head that hurts, either. Oh, it gets much worse than this.
Loud sounds are like the boom of bass at a dubstep music festival. When your coworker opens the blinds, and the light comes rushing in, it’s almost like staring into the sun.
What is even worse is that some people wish for this level of inconsistency. This may surprise you until you understand that, for some sufferers of migraines, bad days may be all they have.
Some days may just not be as bad as others. This makes getting a few actual, pain-free days a blessing.
What a Migraine Really Feels Like?
If you also suffer from migraines, chances are, you’ll be nodding along as you read this. Don’t nod too hard, though. You may be one of those persons who suffer a great deal more from just a simple shake to the head.
1. You Forget What Painless Days Feel Like
Many people take their health for granted. They have no idea what it’s like to be in pain constantly. For people who suffer from migraines, the opposite is true. Some days, you forget what it’s like to not be in pain. It seems like a distant memory, long before an accident, stress, or other factors triggered the migraines. You may have even been suffering from migraines for as long as you can remember. This can make it feel like there’s no potential end in sight.
2. You Start to Sleep a Whole Lot More
For some people, migraines keep them up at night. After all, who sleeps well when their head is throbbing, and they feel absolutely miserable? However, there are some people who can ease into sleep, because when they do, the pain stops. This isn’t true for everyone, but it’s true enough for many. Unfortunately, oversleeping can become as dangerous as not sleeping enough. Here are some of the conditions John Hopkins warns that it is associated with:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
3. People Start Thinking You’re a Vampire
Sometimes, it’s not the headache itself that becomes problematic. It’s the sensitivity to light that really makes it unbearable. In fact, your head may not hurt at all until that light gets to you. Sensitivity is often accompanied by intense pain, not unlike what you might imagine getting stabbed in the eye feels like. People who suffer from these migraines most of all, rarely go out during the daytime if they can help it. They either work from home with all the blinds drawn, or they change to an evening or overnight shift.
4. You Lose Your Job or Fail a Test
If you got migraines in school, there was nothing quite as terrifying as having one during a major exam. You could walk out with an F for a course you aced all semester, all because you couldn’t concentrate. When you’re at work, you may not get an F-grade, but you could mess up so badly that it costs you your job. This is because migraines cause impairment, which increases the likelihood of making costly mistakes. You may be especially at risk if you work in a technical field, such as accounting, law, programming, or even medicine.
5. You Start to Feel Depressed
After a while, you start to run out of home remedies. Aspirin no longer workers and you’re scared to death of overdosing by taking even more. It becomes an unseen disability that only you understand. You start to get questions like, “Is it really that bad?” This is when you know your loved ones have begun to lose patience with you and are becoming less sympathetic. The end result is a crippling depression that hurts just as bad as the migraines. Not surprisingly, a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine shows a high correlation between intense migraine headaches and suicide rates.
What You Can Do About a Migraine?
At the start of the migraine journey, many people find tips and tricks to keep their migraines at bay. As one tip starts to fail, they simply move on to the next one. This is how you remain functional before hitting the breaking point and finally deciding to see a doctor.
1. Identify the Headache Type
You will find a lot of advice from fellow sufferers online and in person. However, what works may depend on the types of headaches you get. There are four main types. Tension headaches are one of the most common and are often stress-induced. Cluster headaches are among the worst and feel like knife-stabbing levels of pain. Sinus headaches may specifically affect people with sinusitis when the sinus becomes infected. Finally, migraines are constantly throbbing headaches that can occur almost daily.
2. Identify the Trigger
There are often very specific triggers for a migraine. If you can identify what that is, you can do your best to avoid it. Unfortunately, there are also some triggers that are unavoidable.
For example, some women get terrible migraines while menstruating. Keep a journal and make a note of exactly what you ate and did right before a migraine starts.
Over time, you may notice a pattern. Once you do, take the steps necessary to lessen or eliminate that trigger. If you can’t eliminate it, at least you can plan ahead.
3. Take Pain Killers
When your migraines first start to develop, they are responsive to pain killers. You take the recommended dosage, and the headaches seem to melt away with time.
Unfortunately, one soon stops working, so you move on to something else. Eventually, people become so desperate that they turn to recreational drugs.
Note that despite sweeping decriminalization and legalization moves across the country, you can still get fired if weed shows up in an employer-given drug test. Harder drugs also have high addiction rates.
4. Try Alternative Medicine
Some people go to spas and come back with rave reviews about the wonders it did for their migraines. This is especially the case for people who have headaches triggered by stress. There are several different spas and alternative medicine treatments you can try, but be sure to discuss this with your doctor first:
- Deep tissue massage
- Chiropractic care
- Cupping therapy
Get Professional Help
If you also suffer from migraines and none of these tips work anymore, you are not alone. While there is no cure for some types of chronic headaches, there are treatments that can help to ease the pain and make your life more bearable.
The National Headache Institute has spent years helping to improve the quality of life for migraine sufferers. There’s no need to take the word of this blog for it.