Sunday, 22 February 2015

Only someone who has suffered from an attack themselves can really know what it is like when a migraine strikes.

It is not your average headache - it is a completely all-consuming pain that can wipe you out for hours, a day, or even several days, with symptoms including sensitivity to light, sounds, smells, blurred vision, and nausea. Not fun at all!

I've suffered with migraines for years, and after monitoring their pattern over the course of many months, my doctor back in the UK finally concluded that I suffer from a type of hormonal migraine that, to my surprise, is thought to only affect less than 10% of women. Around the same time every month, the dreaded migraine strikes. The regularity of it means that, by and large, I am prepared for it, however there is only so much you can really do to help yourself, and what works for some may not work for others.

I am writing this post in light of the fact that today I woke up with a monstrous migraine that left me unable to go to work. The pain was right behind my left eye socket, and felt as though someone was drilling into my skull..not very pleasant. Normally I try to work through a migraine, but the accompanying sickness today left me unable to do so. This particular migraine had reared it's head on Friday afternoon, and I soon tamed it when I got home with a tablet. I woke up on Saturday again with it, and tamed it with another tablet, however after a very upsetting afternoon yesterday, it re-appeared and it seemed to be here to stay this time.

I thought I would share my 'Migraine Survival Kit' - a collection of things that, whilst they don't necessarily banish the migraine altogether (sometimes it just has to run it's course, like this one), they can certainly help to make it a little more tolerable.

For me, there is no other tablet that can tame my migraine than Sumatriptan, which I have been prescribed by my doctor in the UK. I have tried every pain killer under the sun, from Paracetamol, to Ibuprofen, to Codeine, to Aspirin, among many more, and whilst some are marginally more effective than others, most do absolutely nothing to relieve the pain. Sometimes even my trusty Sumatriptan tablets can't help, or they help temporarily (which is better than nothing!) but the pain can creep back the next day. I have even been known to be woken up in middle of the night by the pain of a migraine attack!

For some, dehydration can be the cause of headaches and migraines, so it is always best to drink plenty of water anyway. I find that when I do have a migraine, I try to drink a lot more water in an attempt to help to banish it. In Doha, Arwa is my bottled water of choice due to the low sodium content.

The natural reaction to having a migraine is the want to close your eyes, even if not to actually sleep, but just to have them closed to block out the light. My eyes become particularly sensitive to light during a migraine attack, so if I'm at home I will draw my blackout curtains and close my eyes, and wear this very attractive cooling mask straight out of the fridge...

Or if I am out and about, I will wear my sunglasses to help to block out the light...

I don't know if it is advised to apply heat, but sometimes I find sitting with a microwave beanbag or a hot water bottle on the affected area of my head to be more of a relief than applying something cold, such as the above eye mask.

I am certainly no expert, but the above are all things that I use to help when migraine strikes. If you suffer regularly from migraines, I would definitely advise keeping a diary of when the attacks occur, and what you have eaten/had to drink that day, as there are many known potential triggers.

Luckily for me, I have found no link between chocolate consumption and my migraine attacks!

Have you experienced a migraine before? I would love to know what you do to help with yours.


  1. I suffer from migraines as well. When I feel one coming on I drink Mountain Dew, that can sometimes ward off a migraine if I drink it early soon as the pain starts. Hope you're feeling better x

    1. Thanks Sarah - they are vicious aren't they! I've just slept for 4 hours and seem to have woken up without it so hopefully it's gone, for now! Mountain Dew is a very random one, I wonder what it is about it that helps?!x

  2. This is such a good post!! I suffer with migraines too... I normally get one every few months and like you I have to get myself into a dark room and sleep it off. Mine normally start with my eyes feeling strained and I see little wiggly lines appear in my vision. I can sometimes tame them with a migraine tablet, but usually have to sleep it off. I've never been to the doctors about it because their first soloution is to take me off the pill which is annoying! It's good to know the name of a pill though to ask my doctor about >> Great post <3 xxx

    1. Hi lovely, hope you're well! Bless you, speak to the doctor and just tell them coming off it isn't an option for you - that's what I did! Definitely speak to them about this one, it's very good. So glad the post was helpful!xx

    2. Hi lovely, hope you're well! Bless you, speak to the doctor and just tell them coming off it isn't an option for you - that's what I did! Definitely speak to them about this one, it's very good. So glad the post was helpful!xx