Migraine Diaries: Friend or Foe?

I began taking magnesium and CoQ10 supplements a few months ago. I think they’re helping, but since I no longer keep a migraine diary it’s kind of hard to tell for sure.

Do we ever really remember our pain accurately? I think about childbirth and the pains of pregnancy. Do any of us really remember how nauseous and exhausted we were those first four months? Can anyone truly remember the extreme pain of labor and childbirth. I think not.

We remember that it was hell. We remember that we were tired, that we hurt, that nothing could make us comfortable. But, we can’t truly describe the intensity of the pain. If we could, nothing could ever talk us in to having a second child.

I think migraines are like that, too.

I can remember times when I couldn’t get out of bed for days because of my migraine. I can remember laying on the floor, gasping in pain, crying. But, I can’t really remember what a “9” migraine feels like. Not truly. And, how do I know one 9 is the same as another?

I don’t. I suppose that’s the subjective nature of pain; it not only varies between one person and another, it also varies between a person’s own experiences. And, without keeping a diary, I’m not sure how much I can rely on my memories.

But, I can’t keep a diary anymore. The daily reminder that I’m sick, that I have a “condition,” is too much to take. It renders me incapable of forgetting about the pain for even a moment. Some part of me is always monitoring my pain levels and my symptoms so I can record the day’s events accurately. There’s no forgetting. There’s no ignoring.

What works for you? Do you keep a diary? If so, what kind? (Online? Paper?) How long have you been writing in it, or when and why did you stop if you used to keep one?

Magnesium and Coenzyme Q-10 for Migraine Prevention

It has been two weeks since my migraines decided to furiously reassert themselves  into my daily life. A week in January of high stress both at work and at home (which for me are often one and the same) led to 14 days of nearly constant migraine pain. Today, after a night of little sleep and a severe headache that just won’t quit, I decided to go ahead and try some of the supplements recommended for prevention in “The Migraine Brain” by Carolyn Bernstein, M.D.

The decision to brave the arctic cold blast currently (and uncharacteristically) besieging Austin was not an easy one. But, my intense desire to do something, anything – even something that probably won’t show results for 5 to 12 weeks – to diminsh the pain motivated me to get dressed and drive to GNC. After a short disussion with the salesman, I left with two bottles of Coenzyme Q-10 soft gelcaps (100 mg each), one bottle of magnesium tablets (250 mg each), and a bottle of be-whole women’s multivitamin and mineral supplement (which contains a number of things, including Vitamin B-2 and more magnesium).

In her book, Dr. Bernstein highlights which supplements can work to reduce migraine pain and frequency. Among them were magnesium and Coenzyme Q-10. Recommended doses were 400 mg of magnesium once per day and 100 mg of Coenzyme Q-10 three times per day.

Back in 2007, Dr. H (my neurologist) suggested that I try a magneisum supplement in addition to my other preventatives. It didn’t seem to work, but I think now that I may not have tried it for long enough. Since my migraines have definitely returned and I am unable to get back in to see Dr. H until the end of February, I think I’ll give these supplements a try. After all, I certainly don’t have anything to lose.

Additional information about the effects of coenzyme Q-10 on migraines can be found here:

Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, controlled trial

Coenzyme Q10 Effective for Migraine Prevention

Additional information about the effects of magnesium on migraines can be found here:

Prophylaxis of Migraine with Oral Magnesium