Last week, Kanye West went to the hospital for a severe migraine. Some people were all “Why would you go to a hospital for a migraine? It’s just a headache.” And those people would be very wrong. If you’ve never had a migraine, consider yourself extremely #blessed because migraines make you feel like your head is being crushed by a mountain.
I got my first migraine when I was 13 and used to get them 4-5 times a month. Migraines were one of the reasons I went on birth control at such a young age because my doctors thought they were caused by my hormones. While birth control did help a little, I was still getting migraines every few weeks. There was no rhyme or reason as to when I’d get them. My doctors ruled out hormones and tested my ocular nerves but couldn’t find a problem there either. Basically, I get migraines a lot and no one knows why. It’s common for most migraine sufferers to not know the direct cause since there are so many from hormones to weather to stress. They also have a ton of triggers which can change with age and your environment.
Migraines are super painful and can last for days. Along with being the worst headache you’ve ever had, they’re accompanied light spots, nausea, vomiting and light and sound sensitivity. They’re horrible, but you can get rid of them! (Not cure them, just treat them.) You just have to be diligent about taking care of yourself:
Track Your Triggers
I was getting migraines more frequently before I was on birth control. Once I got my hormones under control, they stopped happening as often. After tracking my migraines, I noticed that I would get them whenever the temperature changed drastically and sometimes if there were thunderstorms. Also, I have since been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety can appear in the form of migraines too, which explains a lot for me. If you're getting migraines, write down potential triggers or things that you were exposed to leading up to it. It can really help to know your triggers so you can avoid them.
Find A Quiet, Dark Place
One of the reasons migraines are so difficult to get rid of is because you become extremely sensitive to light and sound. It's hard to get away from that especially if you're at school or work. If you have a migraine, get to a dark, quiet place as soon as possible. If you can lie down, like in the nurse's office, that's even better.
There are different types of migraines. Some occur immediately without warning and others warn you with what's called migraine aura. Migraine aura appears as flashing lights, blind spots or some sort of weird line in your vision. According to Excedrin, "About one in five people who get migraines experience migraine auras, and they’re less common in women than in men." I have migraines with aura, which is really scary because you can't really see much and it's painful. But it allows me to treat my migraines before they get really bad because if I see spots, I take my medication right away. If you don't get aura, you might feel unusually tired or nauseous. Pay attention to the symptoms because you can nip a migraine in the bud!
Even though your head probably hurts too much to sleep, sometimes just lying down with your eyes closed for 30 minutes can help. Migraines are serious so if you can, get in bed as soon as you can and sleep it off.
Take Medication ASAP
If you have warning signs to your migraine, take something immediately. I take Excedrin Migraine, which works wonders. Doctors can prescribe you migraine medication and can also prescribe preventative medication that you take on a regular basis. I used to have a prescription for migraine medication, but Excedrin Migraine worked better for me so I just carry it around with me. There are several over-the-counter medications you can use, but in a pinch, take ibuprofen (like Advil) and acetaminophen can work.
One of the things that can ease migraines is caffeine. If I feel one coming on or have one, I drink coffee or a soda with caffeine in it. However, you need to be careful no to drink too much because excessive caffeine can actually be a trigger. There's a fine line.
See A Doctor
If you've never gotten a migraine before or are getting frequent migraines, you should see a doctor. Migraines can be the result of something much more serious. I don't want to scare you, but it's really important to get your head checked out. Even if it's not a more serious issue, migraines are very tough to deal with and can really impact your life negatively.
This was suggested to me when my migraines were more frequent, but I never went through with it. Botox has been found to be a pretty solid relief to people who get chronic migraines. Basically, Botox relaxes overactive muscles and nerves that may cause migraines although no one is 100% sure how Botox actually treats migraines since no one really knows why migraines happen. But it's an option if you're getting chronic migraines!