Migraines & M.S.

The other day I was thinking back to when I was a kid living in an apartment complex full of single mothers. Not really sure what prompted it but I recalled who lived in which apartment and what kind of car they had. How we used play basketball and generally roam like wild marauders sometimes armed with squirt guns. Then I thought of Jeremy. One of the neighbor boys I played with frequently, Jeremy, often had to stay outside for quite a long time during the day. I recall how he told me it was okay and how he would rather be outside because his mother was ill with migraines. I didn’t completely understand.

He said the house had to be kept dark and quiet or it made her head hurt worse. At the age of 10 I thought that seemed silly, couldn’t she just take an aspirin like my mom. There would be long periods where we didn’t see his mother outside at all. Family and friends of theirs would stop by frequently during those times. She would have migraines sometimes for weeks and occasionally would end up being taken to the hospital. I must say in retrospect I feel very sorry for how much she must have suffered.

I have had migraines off and on for years. There have been some stretches where I had more days with a migraine than without. It was at those times where I have been at my least productive, if not my least human. When the pounding in one’s head is coupled with the severe stabbing pain, light and sound sensitivity, malaise, aura, dizziness and nausea you become a useless quivering mass of misery.

It was after my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis that the Headache from Hell became more frequent. Granted by then I was more acutely aware of every little variance in my body day to day and hour to hour. I looked into this some years ago-do I have more migraines because of my MS, or is it just coincidence that I migraines & MS? There has been correlation between multiple sclerosis and migraine with many studies to find out if migraine is a precursor of MS or a result of the disease. There are around 321 million Americans and 420,000 Americans with MS, so what can be interpreted by that?

Headaches according to the National MS Society

Although headache is not a common symptom of MS, some reports suggest that people with MS have an increased incidence of certain types of headache.

One report noted that migraine headaches were more than twice as common in a group of MS patients than in a matched group of people without MS. Other investigators found a prior diagnosis of migraine in one-third of the MS group being studied. A third study found that 20 percent of a sample group of people with MS had a family history of migraine, compared to 10 percent of controls, suggesting that there may be a common predisposing factor to both MS and migraine. Vascular or migraine type headaches have even been reported as the first symptom of MS.


Then Daniel Kantor, MD says in his paper 2013 MS and Migraine: More than Meets the Eye

For most people who have MS and migraines, the migraines came first and are not caused by the MS itself. Some people, however, had no history of migraines prior to their first MS symptoms. In fact, in some cases, a bad headache led to a first brain MRI (magnetic resonance image) which eventually led to a MS diagnosis. Sometimes, however, migraine may be a symptom of MS or even a sign of a MS relapse.

Basically as with everything else about MS nothing is black & white or for certain.

I’ve done as much as I could think of to mitigate the migraine triggers in my life. I tried altering my diet, meditation, always staying well hydrated, exercise and rest to no avail. My neurologist has tried her best to find the right cocktail of prescriptions to keep my migraines under control. Over the years I have been on many things to try and keep the pain under control. It got to the point where I felt like the proverbial wall and they were throwing things at me just to see what would stick. Now I take muscle relaxers, blood pressure pills (I have naturally low blood pressure so this is a small dose), and two antidepressants just to keep the roaring migraines down to minor growls.

The latest thing spreading around the internet is Daith piercing. daith-piercingA Daith piercing is a piercing in the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. Some say it works in the same way as acupuncture, targeting pressure points on the body to alleviate pain.

I thought this sounded wonderfully easy, just go down to the tattoo/piercing parlor get some metal shoved in my ear and leave never to have headaches again. Just like so much else in this world it is not as simple or assured as that. In the last two weeks I did some considerable investigating into this. Even picking out what I would have for jewelry.

There is no proof this works. Some people have found this to be a wonderful way to reduce or nearly eliminate their migraines. Others have had this done and found that it was not the miracle cure they hoped for.

So I have decided to relax, sit back, drink coffee, take my pills, and wait for a day where the powers that be find a grand solution to migraines.




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