Migraine Awareness Month #3: The Hunger Games: "Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor"

The Hunger Games: "Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor": What healthy habits have you adopted to put the odds of better Migraine and Headache Disorders management in your favor?

 Now that is a loaded question. I do so many things and then there are more things I Want to do and I have no idea if any of them help at all but sometimes I figure small things might add up to something. Not like migraine preventatives are doing much of anything on their own after all.

Let me count the ways...
Well the recent additions to the game I guess

1) Keeping hydrated- Well this is an obvious one.

2) Fighting IBS-D- This is a symptom of FM, but also a migraine symptom. It can make me very dehydrated quickly which makes number 1) an issue and that can make the migraine last longer or trigger another. I can be violently ill due to it and nausea all day long or days because of it. Like the worst stomach flu ever. I have been completely unable to take magnesium because of it... and I have tried different types of magnesium and even liquid magnesium. And... it has never been an issue worthy of my doctors attention, but clearly something I consider to be an aggravating factor to my migraines. I have tried numerous things from eating so much fiber I could choke on it to eating so much yogurt I honestly had nausea just from that.Honestly, this is the worst migraine symptom ever... and not one talked about too often either. I literally stopped eating all day long when I worked because I couldn't... I could not go to the bathroom every five minutes or more after I ate. I could not take Pepto-Bismol because then I would have cramping agony instead. And not eating is a migraine trigger. See the problem there?  I recently discovered a probiotic pill that has seriously helped me a great deal such that I will now attempt to take magnesium... finally, which is something I have wanted to take for migraines and FM for a very long time.

3) Reducing caffeine- See how I didn't say eliminate there? I have eliminated it recently. More than once to no effect. So I have just really cut it down. It seems to help once I already have a migraine... not like I'm going to trigger it again I figure. Maybe I'll eliminate it completely once I figure out more alternative drinks, but I like my progress so far because it is significantly less than it was. 

4) Reduce Aspartame- I have no clue if this makes a difference in me. Clearly in the past when I completely cut the caffeine I also completely cut the aspartame... so I didn't notice anything. I drink caffeine free diet coke and some regular diet coke... because I love diet coke. It is my beverage of choice due to some serious issues with nausea and anything with sugar in it and nausea. So when I reduced caffeine I just went to caffeine free. My next small step was to find alternative drinks to add in there that had no aspartame. So far I have lemonade made with stevia and caffeine free Ice Tea made with stevia. And of course water and tart drinks like sugar free cranberry juice and cranberry-pomegranate juice. I figure lemon and Ice Tea are also healthy so why not. If I put more variety in my options and decrease the things I'm told are possibly factors... can't be a bad thing.

5) Exercise- I have begun some mild exercise, which has been limited by my FM and obviously by migraines as well. Damn hard to get any routine going that is for sure. Damn hard with the FM I'm finding to get above Mild as well... way harder than I thought it would be. Not sure if it will help at all. Neurologists go on and on about it but the reason I am doing it is because it helps with mood and FM fatigue... I am not sure if it will help with anything else, so far it has just increased my FM baseline pain. But it has helped with the fatigue which is good... mental and physical. Anyway, I ordered a video on Yoga with Arthritis which looks to be the sort of modified yoga that will help me in this venture.

6) Trying some new supplements- There have been some things I wanted to try but because of various preventatives or being on so many medications it wasn't something I wanted to mess around with. Since I am waiting for a neuro appointment I have been trying some things out. Feverfew... not a good one for me. Ginkgo... seems to help with dampening the tinnitus. I have one in mind to aim at improving my quality of sleep as well... Tryptophan, which we make naturally and is involved with serotonin and melatonin... here in Canada you have to get it from the doctor though due to regulations on that market. I take some other things regularly of course like Vit D, the Bs and E and Grapeseed extract and others.

7) Meditation- Well giving it a go. Not too good at it yet.

8) Psychologist- I found it pretty necessary to see a psychologist before I left work and it is a pretty good idea overall as long as they understand the nature of chronic pain and helping you with coping with chronic pain. I'll be seeing a new one that specializes in chronic pain and trying out some things I have never tried before and have always wanted to... like biofeedback and so forth. Either way I like the idea of a psychologist over all. Normally I'm not much for talking about things in reality. Intellectually sure. Emotionally no. Blog about yes. Get my emotions out in person, not really. I'm very much an introspective sort that reflects on things myself for a time and sorts it out. However there are things about coping with chronic pain that you can never talk about with anyone close to you because the amount of suffering you endure frankly in its truest form I think would scare them. Which is why we use the Facade around them. They see more than say co-workers... but we protect them a great deal. I think to say exactly how I felt about it sometimes would be terrifying. So that all stays inside the box. And I don't do so well when I'm in horrific pain for long durations with painsmonia... there are times when I cannot shut my brain up and that reflecting business turns to depression business. I was told some time ago 'You should tell your spouse when your thoughts get this way'. But why I thought? So he could be frustrated he could do nothing about the pain I endured? So he would feel horrible I had to work the next day after sleeping two hours after all that acute pain? So he thought I didn't want to survive when really I just wanted the pain to end and it was a special sort of madness to me in that moment to think about it lasting like this for decades? Why would I do that to him when it is the pain and lack of sleep talking not me and when the pain goes down I'm me again? I like having someone I can say this is what pain does to me. This is what I think about it. This is how I try to handle it. Tell me different and new ways to cope with suffering because clearly the pain is going to be here a while and I need to survive and would like the suffering reduced in any way it can be.

9) Sleep- is a healthy habit I have failed to maintain do to insomnia and painsomnia. And it is hardly a coincidence when I have a migraine that lasts days, when sleep is really being affected, if I take two medications that really knock me out I can sometimes wake up without that migraine simply because I was actually able to sleep. I have tried so many techniques to help me sleep I'm not even going to list them. I will say when the pain level is high it seems my brain fails to acknowledge them all. Which screws up any attempt I try at establishing a sleep routine because I frequently have high intensity pain at night. I'm not sure how to resolve this but I know I want a sleep routine where I do not go to bed as late and am capable of getting up eight hours later, whether I sleep well or not, so I can maintain that routine. I know some people take muscle relaxants for the nasty neck pain, and maybe that is an option for both the neck pain and jaw pain that would also have the side effect of drowsiness and better than very little sleep or no sleep thing that happens when a migraine plus all that occurs with me. Either way this is a huge factor and migraine trigger for me I have been unable to manage. Obviously when I was working it was a massive factor, at least at this moment my sleep may be erratic but I get more than I got then. I'm not for example massively sleep deprived and getting sleep paralysis over and over and over night after night, or partial seizures because of lack of sleep (I admit that was odd and freaky) and obviously when working this led to some seriously long status migraines during which my serotonin was messed right up do to frantic levels of pain and lack of sleep... and that is not exactly a place a person wants to be repeatedly. Nonetheless these frequent episodes of painsomnia are a plague. How does one manage sleep when one doesn't even have a way to manage the migraines anyway? A tricky puzzle. Especially when I already have a sleeping disorder and it really doesn't take much to knock it through a loop. Have trouble sleeping? Add acute pain. Despite this funness I am slowly pushing back the time I go to bed... which is currently quite late (or early), as that is when I am naturally tired and find I get the most sleep, but is abnormal... so by small increments I have been pushing it back to aim for where it was before I left work, which is seriously the best I can aim for (midnight bedtime). It's a goal. More to be functional in society time clock rather than for apparently what my brain likes.

 On the waiting list

1) Irlens Filter Glasses- When I can afford to I'll be getting my Irlens filtered color glasses. This is not so much a healthy habit as a tool to help reduce the visual distortions due to my persistent migraine auras... therefore increase my visibility, increase my ability to function in sunlight and increase my ability to be out in sunlight as well as decreasing my photosensitivity.

2) Going to the dentist- Again not so much a healthy habit as something I need to do because my TMJ is rather getting painful and I wonder if the migraines have made it worse or it contributes to the migraines... either way I figure something I ought to get checked out.

The first Ice Tea I made. I know. I was impressed too.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

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