Managing My Migraines

See that coffee cup up there? Usually the decaf box is checked, but I have a migraine today, so I ordered it with all the caffeine….and here’s why: I’ve had migraines since I was a kid….the earliest I remember having them was about 4th grade. For years I took over-the-counter meds and hid in a dark room, praying they would pass. In my early 20’s I started taking prescription meds, but their effectiveness was hit-or-miss and they almost made me feel worse, so I didn’t take them often, opting instead to just ride them out in bed.

Fast forward to the years of having babies and I figured out several things: #1-they always hit during the same week of each month (hello hormones!). #2-I didn’t have them when I was pregnant and/or nursing (hormones….again!). #3-When I wasn’t taking birth control pills, they were much less severe (hmmm….fake hormones?). #4-Certain foods seemed to make them worse (processed/packaged, grains, MSG seemed likely culprits). #5-When I couldn’t hide in my bed, a dose of caffeine and a lot of water made them more tolerable.

Since I couldn’t be pregnant or nursing all the time to keep them at bay, I did some experimenting and now manage my migraines through diet and lifestyle choices. I gave up the pill after I had my second baby, for a variety of reasons, but partially because of the migraine connection. I avoid a lot processed and packaged food and drink a lot of water.

And several months ago, I gave up my daily caffeinated coffee in the hopes that when a migraine hit the caffeine in regular coffee would be more effective. And guess what? It works! My morning cup of coffee is more about the ritual and taste so it wasn’t hard to give up the caffeine, so now when I feel a migraine coming on, I have a cup of caffeinated coffee and I’m usually fine within 20-30 minutes….a little jittery, but the pain is manageable or gone.

Yes, I still have that one pesky day each month when I feel one coming on, but it’s pretty rare that I’m sidelined by it. And there are still a few days each year that the caffeine isn’t enough and I take some over-the-counter meds and get in bed. But by paying attention to my diet and what my body is telling me, I’ve greatly reduced the frequency and severity of my migraines…..just wish I had figured it out sooner!



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