Migraines have been the most intense pain and prolonged illness that I have had for years. I had suffered from migraines since I was 15 years old. I still remember that I had my very first visual symptom during a physics class in high school. I thought I had something in my eye, did not know at that time why that happened to me. I still remember I could not stand the teacher explaining the subject or the sound of the school bell. Therefore, that is when I decided to tell my parents that I have been suffering from something I could not relate to and that it was affecting my eyes. I went to the ophthalmologist and he told me that my eyes were perfect and what I had been suffering was a migraine.
The episodes of migraines were increasing with time. At the initial stage, it was just a mild pressure in my head and the visual symptoms. After two years, it increased at the most severe stage I had ever gotten. I was getting migraine with more frequency (at least twice per week), with other accompanying symptoms like throwing up, eye pain, sleepiness, lack of strength, sensitivity to light, triggers of some types of food and environment. At the age of 20, it reduced the frequency rate significantly but I still had the symptoms above. Thank God, in the last couple of years I have tremendously reduced the frequency rate at 80% of the migraines attacks with visual aura and some of its worse symptoms such as throwing up. When I have a migraine crisis, I take a migraine treatment prescribed by the neurologist, but it only reduces the intensity of the pain. It never goes away! Sometimes, this is something people seem to not understand. This is because an episode of aura migraines may last 15 minutes but a migraine itself can last days. I always like to explain this because when I was younger I would tell people that I was able to see after the aura passed. They always thought I was fine. The funny part is that I am most worried and nervous about the visual symptom than of the migraine pain itself. This because the aura symptoms in my case are sometimes prolonged. Anyways, if you are asking yourself, well, what did you do or have done to achieve the 80% reduction rate of frequency and symptoms of migraines? I would tell you the following:
1. I do not oversleep or sleep too little
2. I know which are the triggers that produced me a migraine (I do consume some of my food triggers such as chocolate and pizzas, but I do it cautiously)
3. I try to not overstress
4. I try to tell people around me (family members) to speak to me with low volume when I wake up or I am going to bed
5. I try to avoid strong lights (bright sunny day, flashlights, lights, car lights, etc.)
6. When I know I will develop migraines (I know because an ear symptom) I will proceed with caution the next days
7. I do not longer live in a tropical weather. I think this has helped me a lot. However, during summers I try to stay as much hydrated as I can and wear polarized sunglasses.
8. I let know others when I feel triggered or I think I will have an episode of a migraine
9. I try to not open my eyes right away when I wake up. Yes I get ready in the dark if possible for the 5 or 10 minutes after waking up
10. I try to use low light on my tech gadgets and reduce the volume if I can (I go to theaters just when I do not feel triggered)
However, there are times that I do not have control over it at all or cannot avoid some of these helpful tips. The most horrible times that I know I will get at least one episode of a migraine is when I travel overseas. The most painful migraine I have ever had is the one that I had last year ago when I was in an airport! It was a terrifying experience. This is because there were people talking out loud, televisions, announcements, and bright lights! It was a total mess! It is always a pretty good advice for people that suffer from migraines to carry a painkiller pill at all times. Thankfully I always have one in my pocket! If you suffer from migraines I hope you share your tips on how you deal with it and what do you do to stay strong during a crisis?