Coping (or Not) without Medication

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I’m about at the end of my rope.

For the past three weeks, I’ve had a migraine almost every single day. If it’s not there when I get up in the morning, it’s there by 3 p.m. By 6, I can barely eat dinner with my family. All I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep. But, I can’t.

Even if I’m able to make it to bed (instead of trying to power through one more project), the pain is too intense to sleep. So, I watch a dimly lit movie or TV show on my iPad (very quietly), until I get exhausted enough to fall asleep in spite of the pain.

I can’t read. I can’t spend time with my husband or my daughter. I can’t think. I can’t do anything, except survive the migraine and hope it’s gone by the time I wake up.

I’m trying to stay grateful. What I’m experiencing now isn’t as bad as what I went through in 2008. I don’t have one every day, and it’s not a constant level 7. But, I fear it’s getting there. The migraines are coming closer together, and I’m terrified that I’ll be locked in that old cycle once again.

Worse, because my husband and I are still trying to have a baby, there’s little the doctors will do to help. It’s been almost a year since I went off birth control and quit most of my migraine medications, and we’re not pregnant yet. If the doctors won’t help now, how will I possibly make it through the months of pregnancy and breastfeeding – whenever they finally arrive?

I feel like I’ve tried everything, but there must be some medications or treatments out there that have passed me by. Does anyone have any suggestions? I haven’t tried Midrin, though I’ve heard there’s a manufacturer down here in Texas who is making an equivalent now. Have any of you tried it? Did any of you take it while you were trying to conceive?

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14 thoughts on “Coping (or Not) without Medication

  1. I would suggest seeing a chiroprator. They do wonders. I too once suffered from crippling migraines. I still get them every once in awhile but overall I don’t get them as frequently as I used to.

    Also check out better nutritional supplements and your water intake. I have cut a lot of processed foods out of my diet and it’s helped. I also drink about 12 cups of water a day. I hope between seeing a good chiropractor and changing a few things up it will help you. I know your pain and I hope you will feel better soon!

    • Thank you for your comments. I have slipped on my supplements – I’ve been very, very busy and haven’t been keeping up with them as much as I should. I’ll go out and buy some more CoQ10 and some new multi-vitamins today. Thanks for the reminder. 😉 I do drink a LOT of water, so I doubt dehydration is the issue. But, I’ll monitor it to make sure I’m getting as much as I should. I’m glad you found relief with your chiropractor. I’ve never heard of using chiropractors to relieve migraine. How does that work, do you know?

      • I don’t know exactly but I can put you in touch with my chiropractor and he can tell you if you would like. He might even be able to recommend one near you that he trusts. I see my chiropractor for just about everything. Headache, migraine, if I am sick, tension headache, allergies, sinus pressure and issues. Since I have been seeing him for the past 4 months I haven’t had nearly as many issues or sickness. I used to be sick at lease once a month and had constant sinus pressure and headaches every day. I have gone off of a lot of my medications too so I don’t have any side affects either.

        E-mail him at drlease@timothyleasedc.com or at antiagingsolutions4u@gmail.com

        Just tell him Chanel sent you and you had some questions.

  2. robertstewartgp

    Hi Sarah, I feel your pain. I used to get Migraines myself following neck surgery. Luckily I haven’t had one in awhile. I completely quit taking medicine and looked for complimentary medicine. I agree with cmeanor, you should look into nutritional supplements.

    • Thanks, Robert. I usually take them (I’ve been on the supplement program outlined in The Migraine Brain for months now), but I’ve slipped as of late and missed some doses. I’ll correct that, and see if it helps. I appreciate your comments.

  3. abbymoriah

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this right now. I’ve been there before but I don’t have any children so I CAN NOT imagine that burden. I’m sure you’ve done many of these, but here’s my little tool kit of things I do when I’m having a string of bad days.

    1. DO NOT eat onions. Or anything with onions, onion powder, etc. I know this is a weird but I swear it helps me.
    2. Put a cold pack on your neck and/or forehead. These are nice and easy (http://www.amazon.com/WellPatch-Cooling-Headache-Pads-Migraine/dp/B001FORLJ8), but a pack of frozen peas works just as well.
    3. Take your Supplements (magnesium, B-complex, feverfew, Omega3 Fish Oil and CoQ10 are in my stash)
    4. Regarding Chiropractors… I’ve gone to see them many times. To be honest, they wont cure anything. BUT I still love going. Depending on your practitioner, they may give you a ‘warm up’ massage (which is super nice). They don’t fix my migraines, but if I arrive with one I usually leave feeling a little bit better. The relief only lasts an hour or two, but I’ll take it.
    5. Stretching and yoga. Anything that gets your neck, shoulder, arms, and head stretching/moving.

    Regarding medicine, the only thing that helps me when I’m having a really bad one is Percocet. Other relief meds could be codeine/butalbital and diazepam. For a daily regimen, have you tried any of these: Nortriptyline, Verapamil, Effexor, Petadolex, Amlodipine, Topirimate, Pentazocine/apap, Propranolol, Gabapentin. Midrin didn’t work for me. Gabapentin is the only one that worked for a bit. It has since stopped working. I’ve also heard that Metanx helps some people though it’s not a medicine, it’s more like a supplement.

    That’s just off the top of my head. If I can think of anything else, I’ll let you know. Again, sorry you’re going through a bad spot. Take slow, deep breaths, relax your shoulders. We’re all here for you. 🙂

    • Abby, thank you for your kind words. The cold packs do help, but I’ve never tried to avoid onions. I LOVE onions, and being down here in Texas, they’re included in just about every dish I eat. Still, I’ll try that for a week or so, and see if the migraines loosen their grip. I’m sure being pain-free or even slightly more mobile would be worth losing one of my favorite seasonings. Thank you, also, for the list of meds. I’ve never even heard of some of those. I’ll have to check with my doctors … there are obviously still options we haven’t tried. That makes me hopeful. Thank you. 🙂

  4. Oh, this is horrible! I can sooo empathize because I used to suffer from debilitating migraines several times a week. I’m not sure if you were able to visit the link to my posting on how I’ve been able to manage my migraines without medication (I left it on your Nov 22 post). I am not able to take medications. Previously, the doctor tried antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines as maintenance. But they didn’t help me much. Usual pain killers did not help, but I’ve heard others tell me if they catch it early, the pain killers work. As-needed migraine drugs helped sometimes if I used them at the start of a migraine. I had to find alternatives, and I don’t like being dependent on drugs to begin with, not if I can help it. Caffeine really helps me with hormonal migraines. I really hope you find something to help with your migraines.

    • I did visit your website, and I found it helpful. Thank you. I’m glad to hear your migraines have gotten better. Today and yesterday have both been pretty good days for me, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ve broken whatever nasty cycle I was in. Thank you again for your helpful tips, your blog, and your comments. I wish you many pain-free days in the weeks, months, and years ahead. 🙂

  5. For what it’s worth, my husband and I are trying to conceive and both my OBGYN and perinatologist feel comfortable having me continue to use my triptans and other treatment meds until we get a positive test. Which I hope will happen someday. I’m infertile. We’ve had some majorly positive things happen in the past 7 months, but it’s still hard not to worry it will never happen for us. We don’t have any kids yet. I’ll be 36 in 5 months.

    • Diana,

      Good luck. I hope you and your husband are able to conceive soon. As for the meds, that’s good news. It can take a while to conceive and its much harder to make it through that time without medication.

      My thoughts are with you.

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