“When something hurts, there is always a cellular reason for the pain.”Author Unknown
My Migraine History
I had my first migraine in 2013. The pain was so excruciating, I went to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with hypertension. Now I realize, I was misdiagnosed, and it was actually a migraine.
I had my second migraine in 2017. I had another in 2018. Then on April 5, 2021, I had the worst migraine I had ever experienced. I’ll never forget that April 2021 migraine because that was when I started having migraines at least once a month since then.
My Migraine Experience
I went from maybe having a migraine once a year, to having a migraine at least once a month. My migraines last 72hours on the dot! My primary triggers are stress and those few days to a week before my period begins. Once I get a migraine, I am in bed for 3 days. They are completely debilitating and disabling. I can’t go to work, and I am useless at home with my family. The pain is usually on the right side of my head, but sometimes it is on the left. I am extremely nauseous. I may vomit. I usually have diarrhea. I am sensitive to light, sound, and smells. And then right at the 72 hour mark I can literally feel the pain subside and I start to get back to normal. The one positive about a migraine is that after an episode I am always a couple pounds lighter because I haven’t eaten in three days 😊. I tell people, having a migraine is the closest I have ever felt to death and I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.
My Initial Migraine Treatment
When I first started having migraines regularly, Excedrin Migraine was my best friend. They would offer enough relief to continue most of my familial and work responsibilities. Peppermint oil and baking soda have helped and still help tremendously with the nausea and upset stomach and often prevents me from vomiting. But then the Excedrin stopped working and I didn’t know what to do next.
The Mental and Energetic Toll of Migraines
Because of the severity of my migraines, I feel anxious about when the next one might start. I am scared to schedule events and get worried if I have a lot to do because what happens if I get a migraine? Beyond the pain and nausea, living in constant fear of the next attack began to take a toll on my mental health and quality of life. This was no way to live. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with migraine pain. I didn’t consider going to the doctor because I knew all they would do is put me on medication and that wasn’t the route I wanted to go.
My Migraine Treatment Journey
I decided that I was going to learn everything I could about migraines, starting with the root cause of migraines. I read a lot of things about the vascular system and arteries dilating. And because my menstrual cycle is one of my primary triggers, the drop in estrogen before my period explained the how. But not the WHY. I kept reading every book and article I could get my hands on until I found the WHY. The Bible says seek and ye shall find and I’ve finally found the root cause of migraine.
The Root Cause of Migraine
Migraine is not a disease. Migraine is a genetic condition. You are either born with a migraine brain or not. The migraine brain is anatomically and structurally different from a non-migraine brain. The migraine brain responds to stimuli differently than the non-migraine brain. Dr. Carolyn Bernstein explains,
“A migraine-brain is a genetically different brain that comes with high levels of neurological sensitivity, associated with hypersensitive sensory organs with a variety of anatomical differences from a non-migraine brain…Having a migraine brain is not a disease, but an anatomical difference that must be understood, accepted and appropriately nurtured”.
Being the overly sensitive, highly intuitive woman I am (women are three times more likely to have migraine than men), it makes sense that my brain responds to certain stress and fluctuating hormones in a more reactive way than a non-migraine brain.
The root cause of migraine is being born with a brain that responds to certain stimuli in such a way that the brain becomes inflamed (pain, and sensitivity to light, sound, smell), and the vomit center in the brain is turned on.
Isn’t that just amazing! I mean, migraines aren’t amazing, but discovering the root cause is amazing! I am going to continue this Migraine series by discussing some strategies to help improve the quality of life for my fellow migraineurs. Sign-up below so you don’t miss an update on this very important series! There is hope for those of us who have a migraine brain 🙂