Spring has always been a mixed blessing for me. Along with all the changes in weather, from the winter cold to the hot late spring, I can have many days of migraine. When I was a student it often left me stranded at school unable to get home or even have the strength to walk to class. As an employee I often worried it could cost me my job. I still work away from home but thankfully not everyday. I have been laid low for up to 4 days. Laid low is a gentle way of putting it. Intolerance to light, smell and strong neck pain are the usual symptoms.
The big weather we have all experienced in North America over the past 5 days has been tragic for our neighbours in the United States and I am personally horrified by the images of devastation. Here in Ontario we have had some thunderstorms and flooding. Luckily I was able to teach last week and didn’t even have to take any pain meds for my head. I guess I got lulled into thinking I am beyond the big migraines at my age. They say they diminish with age. It is true that I have less migraines. On Saturday I thought I might drive to my parent’s home for a visit but events changed that, luckily. I would have been stranded. I started to lose my balance and felt dizzy. I lay down and I realised I was in trouble. The heat and the up and down of the weather [high winds and sudden heavy rains] were a backdrop.
Earlier in the spring I had escalating pain from the back of my head, rising to the top as I walked from my bed to the door, quickly doused with pain meds. This weekend I was almost unable to walk around my home, make dinners, walk the dog, converse, do any of my art projects, or read. I was taking pain relief every 4 hours. I walked and talked like someone on a bender. Today I still have it but I am able to get outside. Tomorrow I work out-of-town and I am very worried about the long hours driving and standing. I will rely on my headache meds, taken strategically to avoid any issues on the commute. Today I will continue to rest when I can.
Migraines are exhausting. A bit like the flu. When they are over you are worn out – even though you’ve been bedridden. Years ago I learned that there are many triggers to migraines and learned the ones that affect me. Weather is a big one for me. I almost never have any in the winter – none that I can’t squash with a pill. The month of May is often my least favourite because of the storms – the high and low pressure. I am a human barometer. Hydration is a huge factor. You must stay hydrated and never skip meals completely. Any stress on the body can cause a migraine one or two days later. As a young woman my hormones played havoc with these issue as I ate less and was quite dehydrated during menstruation. Poor posture is also a big deal. If I have been working and fail to notice my posture, my neck will start to ache and start-up the tension that can create a migraine. I knew a migraine sufferer who went to a chiropractor to readjust her neck to stop hers’. Hers were extremely harsh and long-lasting.
So if you are a migraine sufferer the only advice I can give is for each person to try to find your triggers. Hydration and poor posture are big for most sufferers. I am not a qualified person to talk about the pain meds available. I have experimented over the years and I hate pills generally. I try to take the least harmful and not get carried away with the amount. To fellow sufferers – good luck.