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Migraines: How do you manage?

Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
edited September 2019 in Coffee lounge
This week, 2nd-8th September, is Migraine Awareness Week!

The week is supported by The Migraine Trust and each September they use this week to raise general awareness of migraine as a serious public health issue and to reduce stigma.

They said:
"The second focus builds on last year’s workplace activity. The aim of this is to create workplaces that are ‘Mindful of Migraine’. By mindful of migraine we mean for employers to be aware of the high numbers of people who get migraine and that it is a complex, varied, and often debilitating neurological condition. We would then like employers to make reasonable adjustments once they become aware that they have an employee who gets migraine."
The Migraine Trust have a range of information which you might find useful:
On the community we are interested in hearing your stories. Do you get migraines? What have you found helps? Please let us know in the comments below!


  • Joanne_Alumni
    Joanne_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 188 Pioneering
    It would be interesting to hear from people who are struggling financially because of time off work with Migraines that are not taken seriously by employers.
    Does anyone have experience of trying to claim PIP due to Migraines or chronic headaches?

  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Medicine helps. I cannot read in the car unless it’s a short journey somewhere familiar. 
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    Prior to my surgery in 2005 I lost a job because of having 3 or 4 migraines a week. As my condition keeps deteriorating I haven't been able to work since but I have found that I can reduce the frequency by resting in a recliner chair. The reason I still get them is because although they fused a cervical rupture between C5 & C6 I now have another cervical rupture between C4 & C5. although I was on the surgery list twice for another fusion I am now not allowed to have the surgery because of a mistake by the senior consultant and ALL his colleagues covering it up. I lost both previous surgery dates due to other illnesses around the surgery dates.

    I suppose that in one way my migraines can be controlled as I know the exact cause and I constantly modify my lifestyle (such as it is) to reduce the actions that trigger the migraines. For example I am very careful about twisting my neck and instead twist mostly at the waist. Ofc when driving this is far more difficult to do and I generally don't drive unless I absolutely have to.

    I have found that resting and sleeping in a recliner chair or in bed often reduces the pain impact and also the massive light sensitivity and I always use a sleep mask when I have either headaches or migraines. Also I avoid anything that puts pressure on the cervical spine (such things as seaside rides, even simple ones). Some doctors believe that certain foods can trigger migraines and it takes considerable investigation to prove this and to find out what foods to avoid. I have one issue like this as Grapefruit juice or squash has a serious interference with Tramadol and other opiates which can trigger various illnesses such as vomiting and migraines.

    I hope this helps.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • TraceyFalcon
    TraceyFalcon Member Posts: 28 Courageous
    I have Botox injections for chronic migraines and although these haven't stopped the migraines they have helped in that medication is more effective. I can take sumatriptan and this will work within a couple of hours. Previously they didn't work. I get PIP but I also have mobility issues from an unrelated condition. I think it would be worth applying although the application form is definitely skewed towards people with mobility or cognitive issues. Your GP would also need to write a persuasive letter. Working with a migraine is a nightmare. Are you not entitled to sick pay? If your employer is unsympathetic or penalising you financially perhaps the Migraine Trust can offer advice on how to help or outline the legal requirements of your employer in this case? You would be entitled to Universal Credit if you lost your job. If you are on a low income you can still claim Universal Credit and work as much or little as you can.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Topkitten, lovely to hear from you! Thank you for sharing this with us and I'm sorry it had such a significant impact on your employment. It sounds like you know what works best for yourself which is great. Do you still see anyone for your migraines?

    Hi @TraceyFalcon, thank you for the great advice. I'm glad somethings have been able to help you with your migraines. Have you found employment difficult because of your migraines? 

  • TraceyFalcon
    TraceyFalcon Member Posts: 28 Courageous
    @Chloe_Scope Yes employment was very difficult due to migraines. An organisational restructure occurred and I was repositioned so unfavourably it was almost constructive dismissal but I don't think I could prove it, so I left that job. I think the difficulties I had with migraines were the cause of this.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @TraceyFalcon, I'm sorry to hear this. I appreciate how difficult this must have been. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,374 Disability Gamechanger
    Speaking to a couple of colleagues at work who asked if I was okay as I had taken some Co-Codamol effervescent and explained that I took them when I started seeing bright wavy lines or dots, if I didn't I would end up with an awful headache which I cannot cope with anything and feel nauseous. These started years ago and my father told me to take a couple of his. However this was the first time anyone had mentioned these could be migraine headaches. I just take the tablets as soon as the symptoms begin and 30 minutes later I am fine. 

    Fortunately as this works for me they have not been anything more than a minor inconvenience and I always have some on me, so haven't taken it any further.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    That's really interesting @Geoark, I am glad you are able to stop them from having a big affect!

  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    I have had migraines since my teens, but I am very lucky in that I only get one or two a year. But they are completely debilitating.

    I know when one is coming on as I start to get flashes of light in my peripheral vision, I know within an hour I will be floored by it. All I can do is take the migraine tablets, get in bed in a blacked out room and lay still and try and sleep. It worries me if it happened away from home as when it strikes, I cant walk, can barely talk and cant do anything!
    Senior online community officer
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    @Chloe_Scope, no I am not seeing anyone for them, I have to judge for myself when to use my arms in such a way as to not aggravate the situation further. As the migraines as caused by internal spinal pressure due to the cervical rupture the only option is to have a surgical procedure. As the Senior Consultant made a mistake and put me on the list for an ACDF micro-surgery before checking properly and which cannot be done due to bone growth Orthopedics refuse to even speak to me any more, presumably to avoid him having to admit to making a mistake.

    @Geoark, be a bit careful with co-codamol as it is a mixture of paracetamol and codeine (opiate). Never take more than 8 a day and only take paracetamol instead of co-codamol tablets, i.e. never more than 8 as a combined dosage. This limit also applies to many cough and cold treatments which also often contain paracetamol. I am uncertain why an opiate would provide any relief for migraines as they are not usually prescribed for them. Migraines are often caused by nerve pain issues and opiates are relatively ineffective vs neurological pain. Having vision problems after the pain has started is common but before is, I think, very uncommon. I only get advance notice myself as I understand the pre-condition that causes them.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,374 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Topkitten and thank you for your concern.

    As I mentioned I have been using co-codomol for years for this and aware of  the dangers. On the odd occasion I have run out of co-codamol without realising I have not found paracetamol on its own effective. As I have never had to take more than two in any 24 hour period, and usually will go weeks or months between having to use them.

    Why it would work I have no idea, but from what you have said it may be one reason why doctors have not mentioned the possibility of migraine when I have explained why I take them.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Member Posts: 6,390 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    Hello @Chloe_Scope   Thank you for your post.

    Please can I add some information mainly dietary and nutritionist advice .

    This might be useful to those suffering.

    There are certain triggers that can effect the sufferer .

    Food being one plus any other .  Such being hormones or stress.

    The common foods  is avoid the Four C''s .

    Chocolate, Cheese, Citrus Fruits, Orange, Lemons, Satsumas so on.

    Caffeine in Tea, Coffee, Cola and Chocolate. 

    Alcoholic drinks Red Wine, Port any alcohol might be a trigger.

    Also certain other foods may cause allergies bringing on a migraine.

    These include Gluten products.  Flour, Bread, Biscuits, Barley, Rye, Oats, Beer, Tinned soups, Stock cubes, any processed foods containing Rusk, or hydrolysed vegetable protein.  Sausages being one example.

    Smoked Fish, Kippers, smoked, Fish, such as  Salmon, Mackerel, Haddock, fresh Fish such as Cod, Sole.  Shell fish . Prawns, Mussels, Scallops, etc.

    To be recommended in the diet the following regular light meals.  A drop in blood sugar can bring on an attack.

    Drink plenty of water getting dehydrated can bring on headaches leading to migraines.

    Oily Fish Salmon, Mackerel. Trout. Not smoked .

    Warning signs may include hunger, thirst, exhaustion, or mood swings.

    Herbs, spices Ginger grated as a tea or in dishes is often cited as an alternative treatment.

    Feverfew a herb you can get in tablet form . Herbalist or Pharmacy might suggest this does not prevent attacks but does lessen the frequency, claimed to be effective.

    Soaking an infusion of Feverfew squeezing it out and laying it on the forehead can be soothing.

    As for Feverfew should not be taken by Women who are pregnant.

    Please can I suggest do a food diary. Worth then eliminating the foods that cause you migraines.

    I would also always consult any Doctor regards any headaches or migraines that persist.

    Herbs and Spices speak to your Doctor before using..

    Please take care.


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you very much for this information @thespiceman! Always greatly appreciated!


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