Since migraines don’t have a brain of their own they try to use mine. I don’t really blame them… it’s sure served me well. But it’s mine! And it’s done being used as an external hard drive for some freeloading, vomit-inducing, day-ending ailment. So, when it comes time to fight a migraine I’ve got a… you guessed it… routine. It’s a bit simple and a bit silly but I figured I’d share it anyway.
When I finally realize I’m getting a migraine, those of you who get them know what I mean, I feel a bit panicked and I get overwhelmed. Then I remind myself to be calm and I keep doing whatever I’m doing. The second time I feel panicked, it’s kinda like baking and the magic second smell, I tell Daniel I’ve got a killer headache on its way and he usually encourages me to take some meds. If my vision is already blurry, I heed his advice and take 2 Aleve and 2 Tylenol. (Or, since I don’t typically drink caffeine, sip a Coke or Pepsi.)
I know, I know. Trust me, I know. We monitor my liver closely, so please don’t lecture me. Please.
If the headache is still in the preliminary stages I skip the meds and go straight for my stretches. Sounds nerdy, eh? Delilah, my wonderful chiropractor, taught me some stretches to relax the muscles that most-often cause my migraines… and they work. I’ve decided to spare you a silly-looking picture, so stick with me through my description.
I lay on my back and pike my legs into the air (or against a wall with my butt where the wall meets the floor). After a few minutes I bring my legs closer to my body and hold that stretch. I continue increasing the stretch until the refreshing stretching feeling turns to pain that doesn’t subside after a few seconds holding the stretch. Then, with the help of Danny, I prop my hips up off the floor onto my hands and slowly roll my lower back down onto the ground. This eases the tension in my lower back and gets my blood flowing again. It kinda feels like the end of a yoga routine or something. (If this all sounds a bit ridiculous to you, that’s fine. You can always try just sitting in a pike and leaning forward. I just find that doesn’t work as well for me.)
After this simple routine (it really is, even if my description is not) I get up slowly, to avoid getting dizzy, and sit on the couch for a few minutes. Within five minutes my headache is almost always reduced from an “I can’t see, and I’m hearing double.” to the headache hangover I get the day after a migraine. You know? It feels like you’re recovering from a baseball bat beating to your skull and your brain is bruised.
Having said all this… I still swear by sleep. If I’m not to bed within a half hour of my stretches my migraine will creep back into my brain and I’ll have to start the process over. And for those times when the pain is so severe I can’t fall asleep (usually my stress-induced migraines), I take a muscle relaxer (also recommended by my chiropractor) that takes the edge off and helps me sleep.
And, speaking of sleep. This strep stuff left me with two hours last night, so I’m off to get some.
What works for you? I’d love to hear new ideas.