Sunday, June 3, 2012

Just Shoot Me Now (Day 3)

I once read a quote that stuck:
"There's nothing that cannot trigger a migraine." 
So relax and take life as it comes.

Life is a trigger for me, it would seem. I've had migraines all my life, and they've gotten progressively worse over the years. So maybe I ought to say that time is my biggest trigger. And it's very hard to avoid the passage of time, as my time machine is broken currently. Now that I've laid the foundation of my migraine triggers, I'll share some of the slightly more avoidable ones.

1) Stress is a very common trigger of my migraines. Well, actually, that's not quite true. It's about a 50/50 shot on whether or not a very stressful situation will induce a migraine for me. Sometimes I'll collapse into a puddle of pain when my stress gets above a certain level (say a 7/10) of severity. However, it's not always the case that a 7/10 stressful event will trigger a spike. 
For the most stressful situations, when there's a true crisis of some kind, my pain will actually recede, taking a backseat, so to say, until the uber stressful situation is completely over. Only then, when it's completely safe, and everybody else is taking a sigh of relief, I fall apart at the seams and end up in the fetal position for who knows how long as the migraine pain that receded returns with the stress induced migraine on top. 

2) Foods are another big trigger of mine. Chocolate, MSG, and tyramine are the three biggest food triggers for me. People are often unaware of tyramine migrianes as it is naturally occurring in foods, and therefore doesn't show up on the list of ingredients on packages of food. 
I know it's tiresome, frustrating, and generally a pain in the rear to do, but keeping a food diary of everything that goes into your mouth is tried-and-true method of discovering food allergies/triggers. 

3) Sleep can also make the pain worse, instead of better. I've found that I need 9.5 - 12 hours of sleep per a 24 hour period to stay optimal, pain-wise. If I get much less than 8, I'll get a sleep deprivation migraine. However, if I sleep for more than 12 hours on any given day, I've found that I wake up (eventually) with a killer migraine. I once slept 16 hours straight, and was then in bed for close to a week with the sleep-rebound migraine. 

4) Painkillers are my last major trigger. This might sound weird, but it's true. I get rebound migraines from aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen because I took way too much of them when I was younger without knowing that I was shooting my future self in the foot. I now only can take the OTC painkiller naproxen, and only then in very limited amounts. 
My neurologist, who was the one who discovered that I was getting rebound migraines has given me the rule of thumb that I take any painkiller only up to 3 days per week. The same goes for my abortive medications, 3 days max, as, if I take them more often, I run the risk of developing a rebound migraine from that medication as well. 

But yeah, life is the biggest trigger of all, and I've accepted and learned to live with it.

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