Monday, May 23, 2011

Migraine Musings

I have struggled with migraine headaches for most of my life. You know the ones I mean, the kind where the only treatment is extended time in a dark, silent room.

Real life does not provide for a whole lot of dark, silent rooms.

I have a migraine right now, a real killer. The light from my laptop is, in fact, bugging it a little bit, but I'm not tired enough to sleep and any light I'd put on to help me to read would be even more of an aggravation.

This is the first really unbearable one I've had for a long time, and I figured that I'd share the treatment that has completely changed a life peppered with headache hells into one where I'll occasionally get a headache but it's not unspeakable (until today, at least, but this is the first real wowser I've had in over a year).

Bear in mind that I've tried any number of migraine therapies over the years, ranging from Coca-cola to Imitrex to aspirin, and this totally straightened things out.

I went to my physical last year and got talking with my doctor about migraines (where we were at in terms of treatment at the time was Percocet for pain--my migraines are ridiculously painful--and Valium for the accompanying neck-aches that go along with them). I was telling my doctor how unthrilled I was to be taking potentially addictive drugs for freaking headaches (I prefer to save the Percocet for when the pancreas is acting up), and she started telling me about a recent breakthrough in migraine treatment.

When my doctor first mentioned that a very low daily dose of the anti-depressant amitriptyline has shown to have very solid palliative effects on migraine sufferers, I got all self-righteous.

ME: I don't think I need an anti-depressant.
DOCTOR: It's an off-label use of it.
ME: But I'm not depressed.
DOCTOR: You're pretty damn depressed when you have a migraine. (I love my doctor)

Anyway, I decided to try it and, along with the occasional Max-Alt (which knocks them down before they can really get roaring), my migraine problem has ceased to be an issue.

I'm not sure what's going on today, other than a certain time of the month combining with a huge degree of stress to create the perfect migraine storm, but I'm just glad that I now feel this way so infrequently.