It is migraine awareness week 2020 and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share a little about migraines that I have learned. This week is organised by The Migraine Trust and hopes to decrease stigma of the condition.
What are migraines?
Migraines are a headache with sensory disturbances that leave the brain struggling to process information from our senses. They are extremely complex and everyone experiences them differently, but a very bad headache is usually present. This difficulty processing can lead to double vision, lights and blurred vision, sickness, nausea, and sensitivity to light, sounds and smells.
There are different types of migraine, some with aura and some without but all are disabling. They can be scary, I remember having one that made my left arm numb and hard to move I thought I was having a stroke!
We still do not know what causes migraines, however they are thought to be genetic and do have triggers.
There are many triggers for experiencing migraines, from hormonal changes, stress, to diet. If you find you are experiencing them on a regular basis there are a few things can can help:
- Keep a diary – writing down what you eat, drink and do every day and seeing if there are any connections is a big help. For example if I have too much chocolate I know I am getting a migraine so I know to keep my intake to a minimum.
- Medications – there are medications available over the counter or from your doctor. However, always check with a pharmacist before trying new medications to ensure they will not impact other medicines you may already be taking.
- Alternative therapies – treatments like acupuncture, ginger tea, cold head wraps, etc can give relief. Alternative therapies for migraine can give a lot of help if you prefer not to take medications, or if you want to use them alongside doctor’s help.
- Botox – this is administered into the head and is not very comfortable to have done however, it did work for me. I had it twice and it did lessen the amount of migraines I was having at the time.
Overall however, migraines are still not fully understood, and though this is frustrating it highlights the need for migraine awareness week 2020. If we can raise awareness and understanding, maybe more time and money will be put into finding why they happen and how to help them.
If you want to learn more about how friends and family can get involved you can ask them to #giveupformigraine. You can find out more about this campain here at the Migraine Trust.