Suffering from migraine? A pain relief kit for you!
Despite being recognised as one of the most disabling lifetime conditions, awareness and understanding, especially about what triggers migraine, is low. Migraine is the 3rd most common disease in the world, with an estimated global prevalence of one in 7 people (1). It is a neurological disease, where hyperactivity of the nerve cells lead to an energy deficit of the brain (2). After the hyperactivity the nerve cells are working lethargically as if they were hit by an electric shock. After this wave your brain is flooded by inflammatory and pain substances. The inflammation of the vascular walls is what causes the instant pain often combined with an aura or other limitations of your senses (3).
Which type of migraine do you have?
I’ve suffered from migraine from the time when I started my first full-time job in an office being 27 years old. Over the time I observed that the timing of attacks is connected with my menstrual cycle and following with falling levels of oestrogen and the release of prostaglandin during the first 48 hours of the menses. This type of migraine is also called "menstrual migraine". However, there are many different types of migraine.
Do you know the triggers?
At the beginning I had - for my taste - quite frequent migraine attacks (1-2 x within 3 months) either at the beginning of my menses or sometimes even during ovulation. I observed that a radical change of weather conditions (especially from cold to very warm weather like foehn episodes) also triggers my migraine.
Migraine is often treated in a wrong way!
A number of years ago I ended up in the emergency department with a serious speech disorder (not being able to formulate a grammatically correct sentence and exchanging syllables in words), imbalance and numbness in my right leg, arm, face and tongue. The doctors treated me as if I had a stroke - which was super scary - although the MRI of my brain was clean. So, this was no stroke! They kept me in the hospital for a week doing all kinds of tests with the result that they could not find any explanation for this incident. Weeks later after I had consulted an epilepsy specialist, I was told it was probably a heavy, but "silent" migraine attack, as I had no headache and recovered fine.
Most of the times my migraine attacks start with a sudden fatigue in the early afternoon and a lot of yawning with a slight dragging pain along the back of the head. The "headache" becomes stronger, sometimes ending in a pulsating stabbing pain behind the right eye. This is a huge alarm by your body. At this stage it's already too late for me to take any drugs, as I feel super nauseous. Going home from work becomes an almost unbearable task accompanied by enormous pain, increased painful photophobia (light sensitivity) and noise sensitivity and sickness. When you sit in a crowded tube or bus you just want to die in that moment. By time I became very attentive forcing myself to take medication early enough and go home with the first sights of a beginning migraine attack. Thus, I am able to overcome the attack quite ok, although still feeling dizzy on the next day.
- MY PERSONAL ACUTE PAIN RELIEF KIT -
Ok, normally I am a big fan of natural medicine and homeopathy, but in cases of acute migraine attacks this never worked for me. That's why I am ALWAYS carrying the following pharmaceuticals with me in case an attack occurs. I am not taking any specific anti-migraine drugs (containing triptans). I can really recommend the following combinations in situations of urgent need of action to reduce pain and other symptoms of migraine. Always seek out a darkened cool and quiet room to rest in during an attack!
- ANTI-EMETICS (ANTI-SICKNESS) & ANALGESICS
1. Take 2o drops of an anti-sickness drug.
I was using Paspertin drops containing Metoclopramid which has been recalled by the EU in 2014 due to hazards in overdosing. Look here for alternative anti-sickness drugs.
2. Wait for 30 minutes.
3. Solve 1-2 tablets of a painkiller e.g. Aspirin akut (500mg) in a glass of water.
Make sure the water is not too cold, as your stomach may start to rebel again.
(If you are feeling too nauseous to take any drugs orally)
1. Take 1 suppository (Zäpfchen), e.g. Mexalen 1000mg (only available on prescription).
The great advantage of suppositories is that the active substance is absorbed by the lower colon and does not affect the gastrointestinal tract.
- PEPPERMINT OIL
1. Carefully apply some drops of peppermint oil to your temples (Schläfen), front and neck. Repeat as often as needed.
100% pure essential peppermint oil has a very strong and cooling/refreshing effect (never ever touch your eyes after using essential oils!). The active ingredient in peppermint oil is menthol. About 44% of peppermint is menthol, which also lessens the intensity of acute migraines including additional symptoms like nausea.
Young Living Oil Blend for a Headache and Migraine Roll-on:
Peppermint, Lavender, PanAway (10 drops each)
- DAY-TO-DAY SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS -
Magnesium is so vital in multiple physiologic processes and therefore it is a vital component in a healthy diet. It is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (gut). Magnesium also appears to facilitate calcium absorption. Studies have shown that migraineurs have low brain magnesium during migraine attacks1 and may also suffer from magnesium deficiency (4, 5).
I started to take one capsule of magnesium containing 150mg every day in the morning 30 minutes before having breakfast; most of the times together with 1 capsule containing 480mg Vitamin C.
- FEWERFEW (TANACETI PARTHENII) / MUTTERKRAUT
Feverfew is an herb that is available as an off-the-shelf remedy. The herb feverfew has had a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine. Recently it has become a popular prophylactic treatment for migraine headaches and its extracts have been claimed to relieve menstrual pain, asthma, dermatitis, and arthritis. Traditionally, the herb has been used as an antipyretic (fever reducer), from which its common name is derived.
I have no experience with fewer few, but was told by a TCM doctor to take one capsule each day.
How do you treat your acute migraine attacks? What helps, what does not work for you? Share your experience!
Sharing means caring :)
Hope to see you soon, Judy
Selz, U (2015): Migräne adé. 2. Auflage. Caralin Verlag, Berg 2015.
- Göbel, H (2012). Erfolgreich gegen Kopfschmerzen und Migräne (6. aktualisierte Aufl.), Springer Verlag, Berlin 2012
- Trauinger A, Pfund Z, Koszegi T, et al. Oral magnesium load test in patients with migraine. Headache. 2002;42: 114–119.
- Mauskop A, Altura BM. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine. Clin Neurosci. 1998; 5:24–27.