For most of my life I have suffered from migraines. They were particularly bad when I was a teenager. Throughout my early 20s, I suffered maybe 1 or 2 at most. I thought I was in the clear – perhaps in some small way I had actually managed to outgrow this annoying and painful affliction. During my pregnancy, I had the first migraine in over 7 years. It was brutal and exhausting. In the six and a half years since my daughter was born, I get a migraine or two a year.
Unless you’ve ever had a migraine, the pain is indescribable. I’ve spoken to people who complain of having a migraine, but they are up on their feet and talking and functioning. You can’t function with a migraine. Vision is affected. Temperature is affected. Hearing is affected.
Migraines are crippling. Typically, when one affects me, my first clue is a dimming of the vision. That usually tells me that I have about 15 minutes before the pain obliterates my ability to function. My temperature skyrockets to 102 or 103. I get waves of nausea from the pain. Sound is magnified to the point that even soft noises physically hurt.
Coping with Migraines
I have medication for my migraines. If I can take the medication in the window of time between the vision dimming and the migraine actually striking, I can minimize the pain and the suffering. Last night, I wasn’t so fortunate – the migraine struck swiftly – too swiftly. It took nearly two hours for the medication to help dull the pain enough that I could sleep.
Today, I have what I call the ‘migraine hangover.’ I’m dehydrated, exhausted and very sore. So I’ll be taking it easy. I won’t be working out today – I’ll be taking it easy and drinking plenty of water. Migraines are nothing to full around with and while fitness lifts your endorphins – but working out after a debilitating headache can actually do you more harm than good.
Regular exercise helps me to reduce the incidence of migraines, but it doesn’t make them go away for good. How do you manage your migraines?