Migraine Sufferers - I Understand
The struggle is real.
Headaches, migraines, which one is it? Why is it happening? Was it the food, the stress, the lights, the lack of sleep? Why can’t I figure it out?
We all know this cycle of thinking if we have experienced headaches and migraines at some point in our lives. And to the fellow, unfortunate individuals like myself that have struggled with migraines for years, this one is for you.
As a child I experienced headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, and overall sensitivity to stimulation, stress and anxiety. So naturally, migraines became my biggest health battle as I got into my teen years and beyond. And it has only been in the past year that I finally figured out what has helped my migraines stop and what has given me control over them.
Suggestions for finding the cause of your migraines
It is important to be aware of your physical body enough to know where they start, how they migrate, how to describe the pain, and what things happen prior to getting them.
So to start:
Keep a food and sleep journal for 30 days. Write down what foods you ate, things you drank, and the quality of your sleep each night for a month. This will allow you to see if there are trends in your diet or sleep that affect their occurrence and/or frequency.
Ladies, you know your hormones are one of the biggest factors in migraines. Keep a journal to track when your cycle comes, when you’re ovulating, and when headaches or migraines occur throughout the month in relation to the different hormonal changes you’re experiencing.
Focus on where the migraines begin: the back of the neck, the left side of your head, your forehead, your eyes? Where does it move to after that? Where is it concentrated? What areas do you massage that help lessen it?
Try alternative therapies. This included massages, physical therapy, cardio, diet, herbal medicine, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and beyond for me.. Yes, it all provided relief and does require a lot of effort, but it is well worth it once you find what works for you.
Drink more water - it helps everything. Dehydration is a huge factor in migraines and also a great way to detox your body on the regular.
Be patient with yourself and don’t hate your migraines! This was a big change for me. I used to hate myself for feeling ill, not being able to keep up with others or accomplish all that I had planned. I would often be upset with myself and my body for being defective. Once I decided to accept the migraines and love that they reminded me to take a break and get some rest, I started seeing them as something that happened to me, and not something that was me.
So what helped me?
Everything in different ways. I took a deeper approach to finding a solution after I pulled a muscle while I was planting onions for a local farm. The frequency of my headaches and migraines doubled and I was getting them a couple times a week. I realized I had my usual hormonal migraines, usually 2-3 a month, but also intermittent migraines from my neck and upper back muscles not being strong enough and also not being aligned. I started physical therapy, exercised more, drank more water, took single herbs, and got my daith pierced.
These helped the most:
Water was the first thing that helped tremendously. I found that if I had almost a gallon of water a day, I was in the clear. But that’s a lot of water, a lot to carry, and a lot to take on if you're busy and on-the-go. But if you want to start somewhere inexpensively, try drinking a LOT of water.
Cardio. I joined Zumba classes and also ran on the treadmill just to get my blood flowing and break a sweat. This helped a lot as well, but I did not exercise consistently or keep up with it. Getting your blood flowing is key for migraines as they are usually caused by lack of circulation to the brain.
Improve your sleep. This is a no-brainer; better sleep = better life. Period. I have always struggled with sleep so this wasn’t easy for me, but I did notice that lack of sleep or having inconsistent sleep schedules was a direct cause of my migraines.
Herbs like Nettle and Dang Gui. These two used separately treat migraines for different reasons. The Nettle solved my hormonal migraines, made my cycle regular, and took away my bloating and digestive issues. The Dang Gui helped to move and build blood so it is especially helpful after your period, if you battle fatigue, if you battle anemia, and if your migraines are more of a result of stagnation or a circulation issue.
The daith piercing. I would like to make a video about this piercing soon because I am amazed at how effective this has been for me and so far, this has been the most helpful remedy I have found to date. I got the piercing in January of 2019 after completing physical therapy and making other lifestyle changes. This piercing took my migraines away in the first month of having it. This year, I have only had about 4 migraines that left me debilitated. If you have tried everything else and have them mostly on one side, try this piercing!
Research the vagus nerve. This may not apply to everyone, but understanding more about the vagus nerve and connecting all the health issues I have had for a long time helped me understand how this nerve affects migraines and other related illnesses. This is also why the daith piercing is effective for most since it touches a branch of the vagus nerve. Learn more here
Strengthen your back muscles. Another big finding was that most of us have mild scoliosis because of forward head posture at work, when on our phones, or just from slouching. Check on your sleeping posture and activities you may do throughout your day that aggravate the back of your neck - you’d be surprised at how much correcting our posture does for our health.
Everyone has different reasons and causes for their migraines and they are difficult to figure out. This is only my experience and what helped me. All I know is that the trial and error that comes with figuring them out is well worth the result. I now feel more energized, balanced, strong, and healthy ever since I discovered these remedies. I hope you do too!
Please share what remedies or tips you have below!