Calling All Migraine Sufferers!

I have experienced migraines for decades and have relied on over the counter medications, caffeine, chiropractic adjustments, rest and alternating ice/heat to treat the migraine-related symptoms.

For those of you who suffer from this particular brand of headache, you understand how disruptive they can be. Most of us can't predict exactly when they will come, but we experience an aura, symptoms that tell us the pain is coming followed by a full-blown headache. The alternating throbbing and stabbing pain can be excruciatingly severe and can last for hours or even days. There are some of us that can predict when a migraine will likely come but even then, is there anything that can be done to prevent their onset?

My very sweet co-worker Tiffany B. caught me at my desk in the office one day wearing my sunglasses, sipping on a RedBull with a bottle of Advil next to my monitor. She asked me what I was doing? I informed her that I was trying to get rid of my migraine or at least reduce my symptoms enough to get through the workday.

Tiffany then exclaimed in a slightly sarcastic voice but with the sweetest intention, "They have medicine for that you know!" I laughed of course because she was right. Self-medicating and pushing through the pain is not always the best answer. I've been working in Clinical Research for over a decade now, so of course, I know new medications are continuously developed for all different types of diagnosis. Tiffany referred me to her neurologist, Dr. Christy Jackson, MD.

Part of the journey to wellness is connecting to the appropriate health care provider, one who can help discover the correct diagnosis after listening to your list of symptoms. Dr. Jackson not only has excellent bedside manner but is an expert in her field. After the nurse collected my vitals, Dr. Jackson asked a few questions and was able to quickly determine that I suffer from menstrual migraines meaning I suffer from the same time every month as the result of hormonal fluctuations in my body.

With the confirmation of a diagnosis, Dr. Jackson provided two medications for me to try during the month following my visit with her. She also armed me with a headache calendar, a list of possible food contributors, the contact information for The National Headache Foundation, as well as the contact information for the Dalessio Headache Center who could provide an alternative to an ER or Urgent care visit if I ever experience a Migraine that is severe and persistent.

For me the first round of medications did not prove to be successful so during my follow-up appointment with Dr. Jackson's office a month later, a different prescription was suggested. For me, Naratriptan which is a generic for Amerge stops my migraine in its tracks so that I don't have to spend 2-5 days a month sipping on RedBull and ingesting large amounts of Advil to keep a headache at bay until it goes away.

Another impressive quality of Dr. Jackson is that she cares. Many practitioners can appear busy or dismissive, not Dr. Jackson. She listened to my history, my health goals and she was willing to partner with me on my journey. Not only did I want to find a better solution for treating my monthly migraines but I wanted to address the source of the issue. Dr. Jackson referred me to Dr. Katrina Kelly, whose bedside manner and expertise in her field are equally impressive. After talking through my history and my health goals, we decided on hormone replacement therapy that will theoretically prevent the hormone fluctuations that lead to the onset of my migraines, hopefully eliminating them.

So if you have a persistent health issue, make sure to address it by following these steps: seek help, partner with a professional to find a diagnosis, try the prescribed treatment, remain hopeful and remember the journey to health and wellness can take time.