When I Can’t Take Abortive Migraine Medication

Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay

I have chronic migraines. You are defined as having chronic migraines when you have more than 14 migraines a month, I have more than 20. In the last month I’ve had 2 migraine free days. Due to the risk of Medication Overuse Headaches (you can read more about MOH here), and the possibility of some nasty side effects, you are only allowed to take abortive medications twice a week or a maximum of 10 per month. Abortive (also referred to as acute or rescue) medications are medications you take at the time of the migraine to stop it, they are best used at the first signs of a migraine. Abortive medications are analgesics (such as NSAIDS, Excedrin Migraine…), triptans, ergotamines, and on rare occasions opioids.

This week has been a rough one, I’ve had some intense migraines and I’d already used my abortive medications for the week. What’s a girl to do?

Suffer? Yeah, maybe, but I have found a few things that do help a little and sometimes they even get me back to my smiling self. 🙂 Like most migraine treatments these work best if you use them early, when the pain gets really bad, it takes much more to get it under control. (so it’s really hard when you wake up with a whopper) Here’s a little list of things I’ve been using that seem to help me, just keep in mind that everyone is different these might not work for you, or, who knows, they might work better for you than they do for me.

  • caffeine – one of the first things I reach for now is caffeine. I don’t use a lot, but I am using more than I used to. I always keep my consumption under 200mg a day (going over can cause rebound headaches so you have to be careful about this treatment), but when I have a migraine a little jolt of caffeine can help. I normally take it in conjunction with other things. (my usual dosage is about 41 mg in a 16oz drink)
  • ginger – Ginger has been shown to help stop a migraine. There have been a few studies showing how ginger helps with migraines, the one that impressed me the most was one that was held in an ER, the patients that came in with migraines were either given an NSAID with ginger or the NSAID alone and the group that were given ginger were more likely to find relief across the board. There is also a study that showed that ginger was as effective as sumatriptan (Imatrex) for some people. I’m not one of those people, but I do think it helps. So I take 500 mg of ginger now at the first sign of a migraine. Here are some links to studies about ginger Ginger and migraine treatment, Ginger efficacy compared to sumatriptan, Feverfew and ginger for migraine.
  • I decided to try a homeopathic remedy, I honestly didn’t think it would do anything, but it didn’t cost much so I thought I’d give it a go. Much to my surprise, it helps. It’s not a miracle, it rarely takes it all away, but it often lessens it enough that I can function. (I think it’s worth noting that I’ve never taken this without either caffeine or ginger) It’s called Hyland’s Migraine Headache Relief. It contains Glonoinum, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Nux Vomica, Iris Versiolor, and Sanguinaria Canadensis. I found it at Sprouts, but when I did an online search it looks like you can find it all over. The dosage is 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours. You let them dissolve on your tongue, I like this a lot. If I happen to not have water I can still take this, and it doesn’t taste nasty. I always start with 2, and in 4 hours if I need more I then decide if I need 1 or 2 at that dose. I have noticed no side effects from this so far. I bought this product with my own money, I am not receiving anything from the company, they know nothing of me, this is not an official review or anything like that.) undefined
  • medical marijuana – I’m going to write a post about this soon, probably the next post I put out, but I thought I’d put a little blurb here that I do use medical marijuana to help with my migraines. It is not a miracle, but it does help. However, it is a lot of trial and error to find what works for you.
  • ice or heat – my head is variable, it sometimes feels relief from an ice pack, sometimes from heat, so I try both. Sometimes I’m afraid to try either for fear of making it worse. But normally I’ll try ice if my pain is mainly on the top of my head, if my neck is the main culprit I’ll use heat, if my forehead is where the pain originates I kind of leave it. I have an IceKap, I have found it works well when my head wants ice, but it’s heavy and my neck doesn’t like that so I don’t use it much. However, if you are someone who needs ice for your migraine, this cap is great for getting your head cold and it stays in place. It presses on my glasses though, I don’t like that, I don’t like to take my glasses off when I have a migraine because of the vertigo. (again, I bought the IceKap, no one knows I’m saying anything about it. I’m not getting anything.)
  • Epsom Salt Bath – I can’t do this all the time because of vertigo and other times when I’m hurting too much I just can’t get in the tub, but when I have a moderate headache a nice soak in a tub with Epsom Salts can really help. Add the scent of lavender or mint and it can really be relaxing, and I normally hate scents, but I really liked the lavender Epsom salts I tried recently. It wasn’t a fake smell, or too over powering. It was very relaxing. That’s a good thing.
  • That’s about it from me, other people really like essential oils, but for the most part scents trigger migraines for me, none have relieved them. I do find peppermint a little helpful sometimes, but other times it makes me nauseous, so I don’t like to risk it. Lemon is about the only smell that never makes me sick. Oh…Sometimes if I eat something spicy it will lessen the pain in my head for little while, but it doesn’t last. If you can trigger an ice cream headache, it’s supposed to stop a migraine, but dang! That’s something I don’t really want to try. Oh who am I kidding, I have tried, you know it’s hard to trigger one of those when you are trying to do it. I still can’t tell you if it works, and when I think about it I really don’t want to cause myself that much pain.
  • Note that I didn’t include things like massage, acupuncture…. because I consider those more preventative and today I’m focusing on abortive treatments. Also I’m focusing on things I can do for myself without help.

How do you treat your migraines when you can’t take your meds,?

Did I share anything that you found interesting?

How has your week been? I’m thrilled to say today I don’t have a migraine! The exact opposite of every other day this week. Yay.

May we all have a pleasant weekend. We are finally getting the rest of our furniture this weekend. Woot, Woot!

Ready for 2020?!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m baaaack! Whew, I didn’t mean to be gone so long. I actually did write a post during my absence, but, silly me, I forgot to hit “Publish” and it’s out of date now.

Let’s see what was going on when last I left you?

We were getting ready to move into our house. Check, that happened; there are still plenty of boxes and there is actually more to move from Stuart’s dad’s house, but we are in OUR house and it feels good, even if I’m extremely exhausted and flaring.

I had hopes that the nerve block injection I had in my neck was working, but it didn’t. I had a couple of good days, but I think that may have just been good days because it sure didn’t last. I saw the pain doctor again and I had an occipital nerve block on the right side on December 30th to hopefully help with my migraines. I actually do think this one is working. I have had migraines since the injection, but they did not start in that area. That’s great, because a LOT of my migraines do start in that area. It hasn’t been long, but so far I’m hopeful. I also had an x-ray of the thoracic region of my back and it showed no damage; I have to say I was surprised. I have so much pain in that area, and it feels like it comes from the bone. I’m happy I don’t have problems there, but I do wish I knew what the heck is wrong. It’s really hard when you can’t have an MRI. She also wants me to have a nerve conduction study to see what may be causing my arms to go to sleep since the nerve block in my neck didn’t help. I’m not looking forward to that test, it’s not very comfortable (to say the least), but hopefully it will provide some answers.

Right after my last post I had a severe gastritis attack accompanied by severe diarrhea (literally crapping my pants over and over. yes, I know, TMI). I had my yearly physical right after that and my doctor thinks I may also have diverticulitis. I’ve been referred to a gastroenterologist, but haven’t heard from them yet. The day of our move I woke to the all too familiar feeling of gnawing pain in my stomach, luckily it didn’t escalate to a severe gastritis attack, but it was a very uncomfortable day.

I can’t say much about the holidays because it is just a blur. I know they happened because of all the decorations in stores and specials on TV, but boy oh boy we sure didn’t have time to celebrate anything.

So now I am ready to say goodbye to 2019, and face 2020 with renewed hope and wonder. I plan to take each day as it comes, have more fun, and take things less seriously. I’m not going to make up a bunch of resolutions I probably won’t be able to keep, but I do want to face this year feeling a bit renewed. After all, I just moved into a new house, my life is drastically changing. I’m going to be changing places I normally do my shopping and even some doctors…because we now live on the other side of town. So much is changing, there is no need for me to make resolutions, things are just going to change naturally. However, I do plan to make some short term changes throughout the year. There are some things I want to try so I plan on doing some 30 day challenges for myself, perhaps some of them will last longer, I’m sure some won’t last the whole 30 days. For example, for 30 days I want to eat vegetarian, to meditate daily, to journal daily, to draw daily, to not eat out, to not buy anything new except food… Well that’s 6 months right there! I’m not going to be hard on myself if I can’t keep to these things, but I feel like if I put a short time frame on it then I can just try it out and see if it’s for me, who knows it may be something I just love and will keep doing forever, or it may be something I hate and quit in a week, no pressure.

I think that’s enough to get things updated and to get me writing again. It has been one crazy busy month! Not only have we been moving, during the holidays, I had 1-3 doctor’s appointments each week. It’s time to slow down and get this year started.

Happy New Year everyone! May this year be filled with love and happiness for you all.

Thoughts on Migraine Hypersensitivity

Thoughts on migraine hypersensitivity

I found a post on Hearing Health and Technology Matters that I felt would be of interest to many of you.

Thoughts on Migraine Hypersensitivity By On July 18, 2016

“As the director of a balance and vestibular clinic, I see many patients with complaints of dizziness, disorientation, and motion sensitivity related to migraine. We work closely with our neurology colleagues in managing these patients. The International Headache Society has an official classification of “vestibular migraine.”

to continue reading this article please follow this link: http://hearinghealthmatters.org/dizzinessdepot/2016/thoughts-migraine-hypersensitivity/

The Fay Farm CBD Muscle Rub – Review and Give Away!

fay farm 1

“This is a sponsored post for The Fay Farm CBD Warming Muscle Rub. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in now way influenced by the company.”

I’ve never had a review or give away on my blog before, but when The Fay Farm asked me to try their Warming CBD Muscle Rub I thought, “Hey, that sounds really interesting!  I bet my readers would love it.”

The rub was created by the co-owner for his mother who has Rheumatoid Arthritis, he told me that has allowed her to sleep through the night.  I thought that was pretty cool, and so very nice.

I received my package a little over a month ago and I’ve been giving the Warming CBD Muscle Rub a try.  I had been out for a bit the day I got the package and my neck was causing me a lot of pain, so I decided to try it out right away.  I was very shocked when I put it on and the pain got better.  Did it go away?  No.  But it got better!  That’s a big thing for me.

I have degenerative discs in my neck, it has really been acting up lately and the pain from it has been more intense than normal.  The pain is sharp, burning, stinging; all kinds of fun.  It also causes the muscles surrounding that area to become very tense, of course intensifying the pain.  The rub worked very well on the muscle pain, the pain right at the discs bit.

CBD oil is a key ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). Unlike THC (the ingredient in cannabis that gets you “high”), CBD does not cause a ‘high’. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine.  CBD can come from regular cannabis plants or plants harvested for hemp.  The CBD oil that comes from hemp is legal. The CBD oil that comes from regular cannabis plants is not legal in most states.  The CBD oil found in The Fay Farm Warming Muscle Rub is hemp oil.  Read more about Hemp Oil, here.

The organic ingredients are Sunflower, castor, herb- infused olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, menthol, camphor, 50mg CBD oil, cayenne pepper, arnica, essntial oils of rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger, cassia, and clove.

From the ingredients I saw that most have some properties that can help relieve pain, like arnica and the cayenne pepper, ect.  I’ve tried Arnica and things like Icy Hot, Capsacium cream or Tiger Balm… and thought they didn’t help as much as this CBD Muscle Rub..  During the past month I’ve tried Arnica and Tiger Balm again just to make sure, and yes The Fay Farm’s Warming CBD Muscle Rub does help me more than either of those.  I even tried my prescription Voltaren Gel and felt the warming CBD rub helped more. I can really smell the cloves and other essential oils.  Some might find the smell a bit strong, but I found it much more pleasant than things like Icy Hot.  (I have to note here, I’m very sensitive to smells, this is a bit strong to me, but it isn’t artificial or really stinky, I haven’t had a problem with it.  Hubby says it’s a light sent, he also agrees it’s not offensive.  We both kinda like the smell.)

fay farm open

The rub is softer in viscosity than I thought it would be just looking at it. I thought it would have the consistency of petroleum jelly, but it is softer, smoother.  When I first got it I put my fingers in to get some and I got a lot more than I intended.    Now that I know the consistency it is very easy for me to use.  I’m glad it doesn’t come in a tube because I never feel like I get all of the ingredients out of a tube, and if I happen to get too much on my finger I just scrape my finger over the side and put it back in the tin.  You can’t do that with a tube.

Will it work for you, well only you can decide that, and since you are one of my readers you can receive 10% off your entire order and free shipping (in the U.S. only) by mentioning “Picnic” or “Ants” in the comments when you order you products!  (When you add everything you want in your basket, just add ‘picnic’ or ‘ants’ in the comment section of the order form and you will get 10% off.)  Yes, you get to take 10% off your whole order, not just CBD products, and the offer doesn’t expire.  How cool is that??

fay farm 3

 

They sent me a normal size and 2 sample sizes so I thought I’d share with 2 of you.  I’m giving away two (2) .5 oz sample containers of The Fay Farm’s Warming CBD Muscle Rub.  If you’d like to receive one of them, just leave me a comment and I’ll randomly pick the 2 names. (if you’d like to leave a comment but don’t want to enter, please let me know) That’s all there is to it.  You have until April 29th to enter and I’ll announce the winner on May 1st.  (sorry but this give away is only available to those in the continental US.)

I’ll also send the winners an email.  Do not leave your email in your comment, I will get it from the information you supplied the first time you made a comment.  If you don’t get an email, you can always check back here.

If I do not hear from the winners by May  6th, alternate winners will be picked.

I hope you enjoy the rub as much as I have, or more!

 

I Give Myself Permission to …

I’ve been participating in a Chronic Pain and Illness photo project.  I participated in the same group last year, you can see those photos on these posts: Chronic Pain/Illness Photo Project, Chronic Pain/Illness Photo Project 2015 Week 2 , and Chronic Pain/Illness Photo Project 2015 Week 3.  This year I’m sharing a few photos here and there, not the whole project.

I’d love to hear your take on this topic.  What do you give yourself permission to???

Today – I give myself permission to Cry.

My x-rays showed more degeneration in my neck. C5-C6
The pain is intense. It just hit me that this is only going to get worse. The pain will always be there.

My father is in the hospital. I can’t go. I can’t ever go.

Today I give myself permission to cry.

(photo taken today, I manipulated it with photoshop, but the tear is real.)

crying

Mindfulness Quotes

Mindfulness practice has helped me get through some of the roughest patches of my life.  I haven’t been practicing as much as I want and would like to resume, I thought a good way to start would be to post a few of my favorite quotes on mindfulness.  I hope you enjoy them too.  (all photos were taken either by me or Stuart)

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different;

enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will);

being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ~James Baraz

palm tree palm springs

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived.

How well we have loved.

How well we have learned to let go” ~Jack Kornfield

butterfly on flower

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~Dalai Lama

“Realize that this very body, with its aches and its pleasures,

is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” – Pema Chodron

road runner porch palm springs

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.

If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough.

Each moment is all we need, not more.” ~ Mother Teresa

** One reason I haven’t been keeping up my mindfulness practice like I used to is that the depression side of my Bipolar Disorder has been taking over my desire to do many things.  I started seeing a new psychiatrist on Monday.  It was a very in-depth appointment.  I took a lot of psychiatric tests before I saw him.  They mainly showed that I have a bit of a hard time concentrating.  Two of them weren’t really fair because they are exactly like a “game” on Luminostity that I play a lot, if I hadn’t been playing that for a while I would never have been able to do as well on those tests.  We discussed my past treatments, what’s going on, all kinds of stuff.  He is adjusting some of my medications, and referring me to a therapist he thinks would be good for me to see.  I will go back in a month.  I’m feeling better just knowing that I am much more comfortable with my care provider and think this is a very positive move.

 

On my mind…

me pop and terry2
Left – Terry, my sister, Middle – My Pop, Right – Wendy, me

I don’t talk about my family often, other than hubby and the furry babies.  But there is something on my mind, something that may explain part of sadness.

My father had liver cancer in 2013, he went through treatment (chemoembolization) and they got it.  It was a much easier way to treat cancer than anything I’ve ever seen.  He has been doing well since then….

Until his check up in December, well even then they didn’t think anything was seriously wrong.  When he had his initial cancer he had a large tumor that they got rid of, and he had a tiny little tumor that they left alone, but they have watched.  It hadn’t grown at all then at his December check up, it was an itsy bitsy bit bigger, so they decided to go in and do Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and get rid of it.  They did this the near the end of January.  During that procedure the doctor found more 2 tumors.

This was supposed to be an in and out no big deal procedure, but it took my father a while to recover from it.  Last Monday he had the chemoembolization again on the remaining tumors, this procedure is less hard on him.  Now this coming Monday he will have RFA again on both of the tumors.

My father is 82 years old.  This is really hard on him.  It’s also really hard on my sister.  She is taking care of him.  She was taking care of him after his first surgery when I was put in the hospital for having seizures.  She was so worried about me she got my uncle to come stay with my father and came to help me, then she turned around and went right back to care for my father again.  For over a month now she has had no life of her own, she has only been taking care of others, and I don’t know how much longer she will have to do this.  She is normally very involved in her grandchildren’s lives, I know this has to be hard on all of them.

I haven’t been able to go see my father.

I can’t help either of them.

I can’t help but think….what if…

and I can’t help but feel worried, sad, and guilty.

 

When you have times when you can’t help others who you love, how do you handle it?

I shouldn’t feel guilty for being sick, but at times like this, I do.  Well, I feel guilty that my sister has to shoulder all of this on by herself.  I feel guilty that I can’t even be there to hold my father’s hand.  And I feel guilty that I felt better today than I have since I can remember.

After days of having vertigo constantly, yes I had 2 days of rotational vertigo that went on every single second, I woke up feeling amazing today.

I had a really good day…..it’s hard when I think about what my family is going through.

 

ER – ICU – 3121 – Home

I got home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon.  I just read the post I wrote while in the hospital.  I’m so sorry, I had no idea that it was like that.  I would have let you know I’m alive before now!  You should have seen the status I put on Facebook!  It completely blows my mind that at the time I read these things after I wrote them and thought they said what I meant to write.  Yep…*Swoosh* MIND BLOWN!!

Here’s what has happened….I’ll refresh your memory from the last post, as if you could understand it.

I’ve been having these little muscle twitchy things.  Sometimes just minor, sometimes more pronounced, it always happened on the right side and it coincided with long days of vertigo, or migraines.  When I was exhausted, stressed…ect.  On Wednesday it happened without these being present.  It happened 3 times at home each time getting worse.  We decided to go to the ER.  As soon as I walked ….wobbled…in to the ER, it happened again.  The first thing they did was have me pee in a cup (check my electrolytes), and then a CT scan. The CT technician was great.  When it was over he stepped in the office to do the paperwork and it started, I remember thinking, “Where is he”…and then I screamed when the elevator hit the bottom floor and I was in motion…and scared, really scared, and crying…I didn’t know why I was but I couldn’t help it.  The CT tech was leaning over me, telling me I was OK, that I was in the hospital, we were going back to the ER, and he just kept saying that.  That was the first of many for days….some better, some worse.

At first they put me in a normal room, it was just to be for a little bit, until they could get me on the 5th floor, it has cameras, they wanted to observe me all the time….seizure watch.  But there was no room on the 5th floor, so I was put in ICU.  I could not be left alone….or far from help.  Stuart was there, but he had to go home to take care of our pets, and gosh he does have to sleep.  Luckily, my sister came soon and helped, thank goodness.

While I was in the ICU I had a 24 hour EEG, actually it only lasted about 15 hours because I had more than 6 seizures during that time so they didn’t need the whole time.  It came back clear.  I was sent to a regular room.

The doctor came in and told me that I am having non epileptic seizures.  He said they had a theory…  At that moment, I had a seizure.  He told my husband that, no, what he was thinking would not cause anything like that.  He was thinking something much less violent.  There are theories, but I don’t even know right now.  I will be seeing  my neurologist today.  I see my PCP next week.  We’ll see.

Since I’ve been home the seizures have calmed down.  They aren’t as intense.  I don’t know if it will stay that way.

Strange thing, while I’ve been having the intense seizures I did not have vertigo.  I would have small little swirls, that lasted just seconds, but that’s all.  Yesterday when I had severe rotational vertigo for hours.  I didn’t have a seizure until it was over for a while.

But I was in the hospital from Wednesday night to Sunday afternoon without having any real vertigo?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want seizures instead.  I just think it’s weird.  Now that I’ve said that, oh lordy please don’t let me have both at the same time!

I think I’ve told you all I know for now.

So far…another mystery in this crazy world of mine.

I’ll talk more about this soon….but….I’m having a Pity Party, and I’m not ashamed to say it!

I hope this makes a bit more sense….I’m really too tired to proof read it, not like it did much good the last time.  🙂