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National Migraine Week 2020 - Do you have any tips for fellow migraine sufferers?

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,347

Scope community team

What's happening?

This week (6 to 12 September 2020) is National Migraine week, an annual event organised to raise awareness about migraines and provide support to those affected.  

Migraines can often be misunderstood as ‘just a headache’ and this event hopes to tackle such misconceptions and help educate the public about their chronic, debilitating nature.  

What are migraines?

Migraines are complex conditions that typically involve a severe throbbing type of headache on one side of the head, sensory disturbances, nausea and vomiting.   Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, possible triggers are stress, tiredness, specific foods and hormonal changes.

The NHS website tells us that there are several different types of migraine, including:

  • migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
  • migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine happens without the specific warning signs
  • migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop

Unfortunately, migraines affect a lot of people in the UK, with The Migraine Trust reporting that over 190, 000 migraine attacks happen every day.  

Photo of lady sat at a table holding her head with a pained expression on her face

What can help to treat and manage migraines?

Although there is no cure for migraines, there are different things you can do to try to reduce symptoms.

  • Firstly, it’s important to get a diagnosis so make sure to visit your GP to ensure what you are experiencing is definitely a migraine and not another condition.  If confirmed as a migraine, the GP may also be able to refer you to a specialist NHS migraine clinic.  
  • Consider medication to relieve the pain of a migraine attack.  Again, speak with your GP or pharmacist about the best, safest option for you.
  • Research has suggested exercise can help reduce the frequency of migraines so think about introducing small activities into your daily routines for instance aerobics or jogging.  
  • Have a look at your sleep routine.  Are you getting enough sleep or too much?  The link between sleep and migraines is well established so think about working on your bedtime rituals and routines to get better quality Zzzzzz’s.
  • Try keeping a migraine diary.  This will help you track what you were doing at the time of the onset of migraines and help identify any activities or foods that bring them on.  

For more information on all the above and detailed insight into migraines, visit The Migraine Trust website.

Over to you:

  • Have you, or do you, ever experience migraines?
  • What support have you received for your migraines?
  • Do you have any tips that might help others experiencing them?

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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Hi @Cher_Scope

    I used to get terrible migraines which resulted in severe pain on one side of my forehead head and  severe vomiting.

    The first sign of a migraine would be neck pain followed by nausea, severe pain on one side of my forehead followed by vomiting. :(

    Thankfully I hardly get them these days. Over the counter medication didn't help so I was prescribed with Rizatriptan which is a wafer type tablet that melts on your tongue. The only thing is that this medication makes you very drowsy so I would have to take it then go to bed. However, it did relieve the vomiting which was the worst part of having migraines. I didn't have "an aura" or see flashing lights as many migraine sufferers experience. The biggest problem was vomiting and some migraines I had lasted for four days! You cannot drive if you have take Rizatriptan and I am only mentioning it because this is what I took.

    Migraines are not just a bad headache and like many other illnesses they are very misunderstood.

    I would suggest speaking to a GP because in my experience the standard over the counter pain relief doesn't help.

    Rizatriptan opens the blood vessels in the brain to relieve the migraine and  also helps with the nausea/vomiting.

    I was also prescribed with Amitriptyline which wasn't prescribed as an antidepressant (as it usually is) but in an attempt to prevent the migraines as it can also be used as a muscle relaxant. However, this did not help me.

    I know I have given a lot f medical information however, this is what worked for me but someone who suffers with migraines would need to discuss treatment options with their GP. People need to exercise caution as with other medication because sonme of the over the counter migraine medications are very powerful drugs..

    I hope this helps. :)
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,347

    Scope community team

    @RAwarrior Thank you for sharing your experience.  That's great insight and might help others reading.  

    I have luckily only ever experienced a few migraines in my time but they completely knocked me off my feet.  I feel for those who have attacks regularly  :(
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    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • scotleagscotleag Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    I have aura but rarely with headache. I used to experience them daily, often more than once but since being (re)diagnosed with epilepsy some years back I find that a side-effect of my medication (lamotrigine) is to reduce greatly the number of migraines. I know of people who have been prescribed lamotrigine specifically for migraine but that was while living in Spain. I don't know if the same applies in the UK.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering

    You’re welcome😁migraines are really debilitating. 

    Many people have food triggers such as red wine, cheese and chocolate.

    The only food triggers I could identify were passion fruit juice, cranberry juice and pineapple juice which are not very common food triggers in relation to migraines. If I ever drink any of these I wake up with a really sore head followed by nausea then vomiting😞
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,347

    Scope community team

    edited September 2020
    @scotleag I'm glad the medication has helped reduce the frequency of attacks, what a relief.

    @RAwarrior Yes, I've heard about cheese and chocolate being triggers.  It's always the appetising things that are bad for us  :D Best to avoid them as it sounds they really bring on painful migraines.
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • scotleagscotleag Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    I'm in the cheese and chocolate category & TBH foregoing the former is worse than the latter. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    This video might be helpful! I love Jessica's videos and she has loads of disability related content. :)

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