Monday, May 19, 2008


I got clobbered with a migraine this weekend. I've got what I call a migraine hangover today. The pain sure takes a lot out of me!

When I get a migraine, it reminds me to be grateful for all the days I don't get one. Well, sometimes it does. I remembered yesterday.

A little over a year ago I was getting a lot of migraines; so many that it was really affecting our lives. I did a lot of things to try to get through that period, but I think the most effective was asking for prayer.

Here are some things that I think are true for me:

Tension can trigger migraines (even though tension headaches are different from migraine headaches)
Not enough water
Not enough rest
Caffeine (too much or not enough--I am sensitive to it so I have to have my usual amount)
Over-the-counter migraine medicine (it will help, but then I may have a rebound headache a few days later)
The day before my cycle begins
Getting angry

Helps to prevent:
Well, the opposite of the triggers! Enough water, rest, relaxation. Good food. Practicing gratitude (helps with stress, which helps with anger).
I need to remember to relax my shoulders.
Pacing myself.

Helps during a migraine:
Cold compress (I own two, kept in the freezer, so I can use one and then trade it for the other one when it warms up).
Lying down (with the cold compress).
Water (one book said to drink two glasses of water right away).

Two things that I know have helped (but also know that they do not help every time) are hot and sour soup with the red hot paste/sauce and exercises from a book called Pain Free.

The hot and sour soup idea was one I read about from The People's Pharmacy (which is a newspaper column and a website). I can't find the original article, but the one I linked has the information.

I also read on that site about cayenne pepper -- just a minuscule amount, really only a few specks -- in the nose. The authors of The People's Pharmacy said they couldn't recommend it, but I have tried it. Apparently, researches are experimenting with a cayenne or capsicum nasal spray, which gave a reader the idea to try the direct application. It made me sneeze, and it may have kept the migraine at bay.

Here's another one from them: vitamin B2. I keep forgetting about that one.

The only time in my life where I felt the pain leave was after doing the exercises for headaches in Pain Free. At four in the morning, after having suffered most of the night.

I'd had the book a long time, but could never get past the long introduction, which the author insisted that I read. It was boring and full of evolutionary stuff, so I never got to the exercises. It just sat on my shelf. Until that early morning when I decided that I had to do something. I got up to write a list of my options and my eyes fell on the book. I did the exercises and felt the pain leave. It was amazing and I believe, an answer to prayer.

So, why don't I do the exercises every morning as a preventative? Good question. I was, for a while. Then I got busy and complacent. Also, I gave the book to my father-in-law, so the visual reminder was gone, too. In any case, I plan to start back on them.

Another thing that helps is doing the neck and shoulder stretches from Stretching.


Elisabeth said...

How interesting that you were able to get rid of your migraine from doing the exercises in that book. When I have a migraine I just want it over as quick as possible. Since I never take medication for anything else my body is able to fight the migraine with just a few Tylenols. I know this isn't good but at the time it is a lifesaver. I would be interested to read more about this book.


Leah said...


The book has four exercises for headaches. The first one is the most effective, I think, but it may be that all four are necessary.

The author's premise is that our bodies were designed (he would say evolved) to need lots of physical labor (work) and that the work would not be one-sided. Our bodies get out of alignment because we don't do this work. Being out of line leads to pain, which is a message that something is wrong. He says we don't need the pain medication or the surgery, but we do need to get back in alignment.

There are lots of reviews on Amazon. You might learn more there.

In addition, there are Egoscue practitioners all over the country.

Here's a link. I don't think I have seen this before, or if I have, they have redesigned the page:

Leah said...


I also meant to say thank you for the comment and reading the blog!