The first time Kimberly Grizzle had a full blown migraine, she mistakenly interpreted it as a life-threatening stroke.
“It burned my brain,” said the resident of Carl Junction. “(I thought) I was going to die.”
She never forgot this moment: It was a wonderful summer day, the sun was shining and a nice southern breeze was blowing in front of her window. She was in her office, sitting at her desk in the neon light, when “I felt a slight ring on the left side of my head.” This was followed by visual distortions, “out of focus with black spots, as if I had just stared too long into a light or a camera flash.”
Quick blinking and other symptoms quickly followed – overwhelming nausea, dizziness, anxiety, and confusion; The latter so bad that she quit work and drove home instead of going to the doctor’s office or the nearby hospital. “I have no idea how I drove home, but … I couldn’t get to my bed fast enough. No light, no sound, and I buried my head deep in the down comforter. “
Sound familiar? For migraineurs, their story is certainly a blueprint. After over 20 years of those migraines piercing your brain like a violent surf, Grizzle can see the signs when one is brewing on the horizon, she said; after all, she has two or three of them every month. However, for those who have never had the “mother of all headaches,” it can be “one of the worst things a person can experience,” she said. “What I can say about a migraine is that it is debilitating, excruciating, exhausting, distressing, immobile, uncontrollable, and uncomfortable.”
June is migraine and headache awareness month, and a recent study by the National Headache Foundation and the Coalition for Headache and Migraineurs found that during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March last year, migraine attacks in Americans increased by 70% – mainly because of the additional stress layers.
While Dr. Amanda Lewton, a GP at Mercy’s Neosho Clinic, has not personally noticed an increase in migraine headaches in her patients, “there is definitely a lot of stress that can lead to headaches,” she said.
“If it’s a stress-related headache, we try ibuprofen or Tylenol first,” she said. “We also try to minimize stress, which sometimes includes helping sleep and getting more exercise. If these don’t work, I’ll try propranolol as it helps with anxiety and migraines. Sometimes we need to add an antidepressant to help with anxiety, stress, or depression. “
Dr. Gulshan Uppal of Freeman Health System, who plans to open a local headache clinic soon, said migraines have long plagued Americans, with 40 million people in America suffering from it, including 1 in 5 women.
“A migraine consists of nausea, poor concentration, tiredness before and after the headache, so only the headache part is not important, the full spectrum of migraines … can affect someone for almost a week,” said Uppal.
Treatments for migraines can include botox injections and medications, he said. While stress in men and women and hormonal changes in women are common causes, something as simple as dehydration can have a big impact. When people are dehydrated, they lose fluids all over their bodies, including the brain. This causes the brain to temporarily shrink and detach from the skull, which can cause migraines. When enough fluids are consumed, the brain bounces again.
Migraines and old age
Webb City-based Doloris Conway Gladden suffered at least one migraine a week during her teenage years, calling it the “worst kind of headache”. The only relief she found was falling asleep in a dark room, swallowing ibuprofen, crying in pain and praying “it would go away.”
“It’s not like a sinus headache or a stress headache, a migraine affects every part of your body,” said the 49-year-old. “Your world is screeching to a halt when you get one. You feel like your head is about to explode and your eyes will pop out from the pressure. Light hurts; Clay hurts; Touch hurts; Movement hurts – it causes nausea and vomiting when things get really bad. “
Today she might get one migraine a year, a remarkable improvement, she said; they have decreased with age, which leads them to believe that more than anything, their pain was influenced by internal hormonal changes. Still, she added, “I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy a migraine.”
The youth are not spared
While migraines generally affect people between the ages of 35 and 45, they can affect any age group. Just ask 24-year-old Hannah McNutt about it. The former resident of Joplin suffered from her first migraine in second grade.
“It really is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced; You are in so much pain, but unlike a sprained ankle, you can’t cover it with ice and put it up, ”she said.
The best way to ward off the pain, she said, is to lie down in a dark room with your eyes closed and a cold washcloth over your face while lavender and peppermint oils scent the air. “And if I can catch it early enough, medication will help. The hardest part is when you are forced to push it through, like when I’m at work – I don’t have the option to do what I have to, ”like lying in a dark room.
Neosho resident Karol Mayer would give herself Imitrex injections; She said Demerol would only reduce migraine symptoms, not stop them entirely. Imitrex was the only drug that could effectively block her headache. “I was so glad something worked,” she said.
Migraines are not limited to gender
While the vast majority of migraineurs are women, men also suffer from it.
“I’ve had them for about 30 years now and they’re usually called migraines with aura. The doctors tell me there is no cause or trigger for it, it just happens by chance, ”said Jim Whitney from Joplin. How random? He won’t get a single migraine for six months, and then maybe five or six over a two week period.
Whenever one comes on, says Whitney, they get a little visual disorder, like a hole in their eyesight that spreads into a colorful aura – “It looks like one of those kaleidoscopes we used to hold up to the sun when we were kids, except that in my vision it appears as zigzag lines that move. “
During a seizure, he loses up to 40% of his vision before the pain begins, which starts and spreads over his right eye, causing mild nausea. Both pain and nausea get worse when he moves his head.
“The doctors tried so many things, everything from Imitrex to Botox, and nothing worked,” he said. “One of my neurologists prescribed Nurtec last year, and it actually makes it a little better. I’ve had them for so long that I can work through them because I know they’ll be gone in 48 hours. “
Self-education is the key
Grizzle said self-taught is the best way to prepare for migraines.
“Familiarizing yourself with an understanding of the basics of migraines: symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and an open dialogue with your doctor is the first step in treating and hopefully controlling chronic migraines.”
from American Chiropractors Directory and News – Feed https://www.americanchiropractors.org/headaches/how-to-cope-with-migraines-treated-local-news/