Today is a lovely day. I don’t have a migraine. My head is clear and all is well with the world.
But not every day.
I call them “my migraines” but immediately think this is wrong. They’re not mine. I don’t want them. Didn’t ask for them. I suffer them for as long as they hang around but I really think I should stop calling them “mine”
Back in May I had the migraine to end all migraines. It was really 2 migraines back to back. I was out of action for about 10 days.
They normally last 3-5 days.
Day 1 is a pre-day when I feel off colour and a bit grumpy because I know it’s coming. Mr Bond will tell you. Then I get 3 straight days of quite bad pain above my eyes which I get through with high strength codeine, darkness and sleep. I don’t eat much due to the nausea and my poor husband has a very lonely time.
Black out blinds are my best friend.
Then there’s a 5th day when I feel delicate, wear sunglasses round the house and drink lots of water, and eat mainly poached eggs.
So you get the idea – it’s the best (or the worst) part of a week.
Well this last one. I got to day 5 and it just didn’t lift but went straight into another cycle.
I haven’t always had migraines, but I can remember headaches from quite an early age. Mainly from too much time hot summer sun.
I suspect it’s genetic from my Dad who has suffered in silence for many years. My Mum, on the other hand, can count on one hand the number of headaches she’s had in her life.
Daddy’s never been one to complain and won’t take tablets unless he’s forced to – so I can only imagine what he’s put up with over the years.
My sister and I share the headache gene. We have both suffered anxiety and depression in recent years and this has made the migraines more of a regular occurrence that we’d like.
I’ve read a lot recently online about migraine triggers, dietary factors and treatments. I thought I’d share with you some of the ideas I’ve been trying which so far have met with success. It’s almost 4 months since the last migraine.
Please understand that I’m not a medical expert of any kind. I’ve just read a little and tried a few things.
Most of us are magnesium deficient. You can only get your RDA (recommended daily amount) of magnesium through eating barrows full of green leafy veg. You need to love cabbage, spinach, kale and sprouts. I don’t. So I started taking magnesium supplements every morning along with my “Perfect Woman” Multivitamin. Haven’t reached perfect womanhood just yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
Magnesium deficiency can be an additional trigger for migrainers so I decided an extra tablet every morning was worth the (small) effort. I take Magnesium Citrate which has a higher absorption that the more widely available Magnesium Oxide.
How about a hot bath to relax at the end of the day? As hot as you can stand it with Epsom salts – another good way of absorbing magnesium. Check the packaging before you buy though as not all bath salts are equal. Epsom Salts, apparently, help regulate the activity of over 300 enzymes in the body. Who knew?
Be careful with scented products. Natural organic ingredients are best. For bubbles, I use Radox Stress Relief Bath with rosemary and eucalyptus. For super soft skin, my favourites are Nathalie Bond Organics Revive Body Scrub, Peppermint & Eucalyptus and Tropic Body Smooth, packing with Vitamin E and lemon myrtle.
Peppermint and lavender are essentials for your bath time if you’re at all prone to migraines. They’ll help you sleep well too, a happy side effect.
I have really struggled with the sun for the last few years. Particularly around May time when the temperature rises and we start to get bright sunny days.
The first few days of foreign holidays are dodgy too. I have to be really careful with the heat and allow my head to acclimatise slowly.
This year, in the wild heatwave we’ve been having, I’ve been super conscious of looking after my head. I’ve sat in the garden quite a bit but always under my parasol with a large glass of water, retreating indoors when it gets too hot and sticky.
Naps are everything when it’s really hot. I keep the curtains closed in our bedroom during the day and the windows open. Sleeping is the perfect way to rest your brain and your body and stop any nasty pains developing.
This is a big one for me. It feels odd to call myself ‘Dairy-free” but I feel like it might really be making a difference.
I’ve never been a big milk-drinker but I like a drop on my muesli and in my cappuccino. I buy Alpro or Arla milk and yoghurt from the supermarket. Both are fine. I eat plain yoghurt for breakfast and little yoghurts for snacks so switched these for the dairy-free alternative.
I mostly drink black coffee these days but sometimes ask for oat milk in coffee shops, which I’m getting used to.
I miss cheese a little bit, but it’s not the end of the world. Except it might be when we travel through the South West France later this month.
A friend mentioned citrus to me. It’s a known trigger so I just switched my breakfast OJ for grape juice which has healthy properties in the grape skins.
I’m not sure if a slice of lime in my G&T counts so I’ll pretend it doesn’t.
Drinking gallons of water in a summer heatwave is not that difficult.
I bought myself a Joseph Joseph water bottle with little notches on the neck to track how much I’ve drunk. 4 notches down and I’ve had my 2 litres every day. Use the discount code “JUDITH BOND” and you’ll get a happy 20% off.
We all know it helps, and not just migraines.
Finally, I bought myself a cute little Busy B diary which I keep by my bedside. In it I write significant things that I’ve done which might lead to something. Also I track headaches and write little notes of things to remember..
For example if I spend a day out in the hot sun I’ll write it down in case it causes me problems.
Nothing new. Nothing clever. Just things to try. I was a bit eager and started them all at once, so I don’t know whether it’s just one thing that’s working (and if so which one!) or all of them together. It’s probably wiser to try things one at a time.
I’m also on some prescription medications for my anxiety which have a protective effect against migraines. Don’t be afraid to talk to your GP as there might be something they can give you to help.
Before I finish let me tell you about some products that I’ve started using which I find really helpful and soothing.
Keep it in the fridge and apply to hot skin – it’s amazing. I’ll be taking it on holiday with me to use as an after-sun gel.
Keep in your handbag and spritz whenever you feel a bit hot and overwhelmed. The mint is my favourite, but there’s coconut, rose, strawberry and mandarin.
I love the Revive Body Scrub and Revive Liquid Soap – both are permanent resident in my bathroom. With peppermint and eucalyptus as the prime ingredients, they’re great for all kinds of relaxing.
I started using this at the beginning of the year and it’s transformed how I feel about my skin. It’s contains eucalyptus, jojoba and avocado and is super refreshing morning and night.
I only use these when my head is really bad. They’re cooling and soothing and really help to get you off to sleep for a long nap.
I’d love to hear from fellow migrainers – have you tried any of these things? Do you have any other ideas I could try? Please let me know in the comments.
Here’s to the headache free life
I’m Judith – 50% Caker, 50% Blogger, and this is my Food & Lifestyle blog where I tell you my cake stories, review products I love and share my top baking tips. I love to write and take pretty photographs so have a read and see what you think.
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