Sunday, 10 July 2011

Keeping the headaches at bay...

For many, many years now I have been a migraine sufferer.  I started to get them in my early twenties, and they were hormone related - which meant that every four weeks I could be assured of an absolute stinker! And by a stinker I mean totally chronic - three full days of hell, with overwhelming nausea, aversion to light, blurred vision, dizziness, the full works. The best thing I could do was take to my bed and lie down - really until it went away.

The only blessing was I always knew exactly when one was going to strike - along with my hormonal cycle they were regular as clockwork - so at least I could plan around them. And with the help of my Pill I also managed to shift my cycle by a few days, so that they would get me mainly over a weekend and not cause me to have too much time off work!

Over the years (soon to be twenty! where has the time gone?!) I tried absolutely everything to ease them. From over the counter pills to prescription medication, herbal supplements, acupuncture, homoeopathy, reflexology, to name but a few. But, suffice to say, nothing really cut the mustard so I have just had to put up with them.

Until recently...

As I get a little older, other regular migraine sufferers will be glad to hear that they have become a little (only a little) less frequent, and a little (only a little) less intense. The problem now is predicting them - they don't hit on the same day each month, although I can be assured of one in any four week period, I never quite know when it is going to attack! But, OK, this is a better state of affairs.

Until recently...

In addition to migraines, I also so suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) although the two are thankfully not related! I won't bore you with the ins and outs of this condition - but I have almost completely cured myself by totally (and I mean TOTALLY) cutting out wheat and gluten. I have been tested for all sorts of things, including wheat intolerance, but nothing was ever conclusive - so I had to find my own relief.

It was about 3 months ago that I finally decided not to dice with the occasional pizza or sandwich just because I had the craving - because the side effects would be too painful - so I bit the bullet and have (with much will power) cut it ALL out.  No surprise then that I am feeling so much better, and can't remember when I last had an IBS attack!

Funnily enough, my migraines seem to be receding too!
Over the last 2 months I have had a couple of nasty headaches, but nothing that a couple of painkillers and an hour's snooze didn't put paid to. I almost can't remember when my last migraine was too!

Yippee! Hooray! Fantastic!

Now, as soon as I feel even the slightest twinge in my temple (and if you get migraines you will know that feeling - it's so not a regular headache thing!) I down some painkillers straight away. I don't even wait to see if it really is a migraine or not (as I used to) but I attack it straight away! I was always told that you should act as early as possible when a migraine strikes - I just never appreciated before just how early!

So I hope this little tale brings some relief to regular migraine sufferers (and maybe some IBS sufferers as well!) - you would be amazed what affects our bodies, and in what ways.

If you are being plagued, you could try some of these useful migraine tips:

Avoid the common triggers: Cheese, Chocolate (sadly), Red Wine, Oranges, Marmite...
Try taking a Feverfew (herbal) supplement on a regular basis.
Lavender and Geranium essential oils - either in a diffuser, or in your wrists, temples or a tissue, may help.
(DO NOT use these oils if you are, or maybe, pregnant!)
Sleep as much as is humanly possible during an attack! All day and night if this is possible!
Keep cool - sleep with a window open - use cold compresses on your face and head.
Wear sunglasses. Yes, even if it is not sunny! Even indoors! They are great if really have to watch the TV or use a computer, they diffuse some of the glare.
Drink hot water with a slice of fresh root ginger (with sugar tastes so much better) to combat nausea - this really works!!
And eating little but often helps nausea too.
Avoid caffeine like the plague during an attack.
Try some detective work to discover what causes yours - your hormones? certain foods? stress/tiredness?
Keeping a diary of foods, activities, emotions can help with this - tiresome, but worth it!
Think outside the box! (I cut out wheat for IBS, and it has helped my migraines - is there some other complaint you also suffer from? Could it be linked?)

More info (professional!) is available here:

And finally - if you are an IBS sufferer, please really do think about your diet! It has only been in the last 4 years since I met my husband ( a professional chef) that I have started to link my common ailments with what I eat. It took a lot of resistance, and many failures, to finally admit to the gluten factor. Yes, there are things I miss - but now I am much happier and healthier! Oh, and I just LOVE Genius Seeded bread! Gluten free, but tastes just like real proper malted grain bread - delicious, can't get enough of it! (And so much nicer than the white or plain brown varieties!) Another common trigger is dairy products - including eggs! - so have a think about that one too.

Find out more at

(and no, they haven't paid me to write this!)

Keep healthy... Keep happy....


GiftsByJenny said...

Great advice - it's amazing what effects diet can have on many areas of our health! Hope you don't mind but I'd like to give you the Versatile Blogger Award - you can see details on my blog :)

Sew,ray,me said...

Thanks for sharing this - my partner suffers from terrible migranes, the last was the worst ever.

And - completely unrelated, I have decided to try a change to our diet and cut out certain foods (mainly high carb food) so it will be interesting to see if maybe this change could help too. You often don't think of the other factors that could be causing ailments you *think* are unrelated.