Learning About Migraines and How They Affect Me
Sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals
There have been a few times in my life that I’ve had so much going on, and too busy to be concerned about the impact on my personal health. We moved to New York City from a sweet little suburb in California with a 9 month old and a 2 year old. The fear that encompassed me during that time was only shadowed by the sheer amount of actual work that needed to be done, packing a small van and preparing the babies for the travel and transition. During this time, I developed a chronic headache that was so different than anything I’d ever experienced. It was a dull, lingering pain that only seemed to alleviate once the stress in my life had also subsided-usually more than a couple of days but less than a week.
Once it went away, I didn’t really think much about it until it returned during each subsequent time of incredible stress. It was, and continues to be surprising to me that my body has a way of informing me that I’m not properly caring for myself in some way. The doctor’s appointments that I went to rendered me somewhat hopeless, as they didn’t have answers for me but I also know now that I didn’t go into each appointment properly prepared. Recently, Med-IQ reached out to me to help generate awareness around migraine and chronic migraines. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Some things I learned from working with them:
Migraines and chronic migraines carry the following characteristics:
- Untreated migraines last 4 to 72 hours
- Migraines are accompanied by nausea and/or light/sound sensitivity
- One criteria for migraines to be classified as chronic is suffering headache symptoms of any kind 15 or more days of the month
I don’t have any family history of migraines that I know of, nor does my husband’s family have much experience with them. Often I prioritize the well-being of my children and the nuances of our lifestyle and their schedules over taking much time to worry about my own health. It’s exactly what we’re told not to do as mothers though-we need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before putting it on our children. It’s a concept that I have to be deliberate about remembering, and in this situation I try to be cognizant of the layers of stress I’m adding before my health is impacted.
During this partnership, with the help of Robert G. Kaniecki, MD, Chief, Headache Division and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as well as Stewart J. Tepper, MD, Professor of Neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, I learned so much more about migraines and how to recognize and treat them.
They recommend before heading into a doctor’s appointment to have the following information available:
- TIME: Track how many days per month you have headache, for approximately how long do they last?
- SYMPTOMS: Do you have nausea with the headaches? What about throbbing? Any other symptoms?
- IMPACT:How does the headache impact your life? What level of disability do migraines cause? Does it prevent you from going to work or school? Are you unable to take care of your children? Does it inhibit your ability to move through your day? This is critical information to share.
I personally didn’t go into my appointments prepared, but now that I know what to look for I feel a huge sense of relief knowing that there’s a diagnosis for my condition.
I have a survey that I’d like you to look at and consider filling out if you even suspect you might be in this fun migraine club with me. It will take less than 10 minutes and as an added bonus, upon completion, you will be entered to win up to $1,000 in prizes. No personal information will be kept, sold or stored, in the survey completion process.
Find the survey HERE!
As parents and caretakers, it’s really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day schedules of raising children. Between school, homework, sports and basic meal preparation, I know that I am at max capacity and allow very little to eek through the hustle and bustle. It’s taken me until recently to prioritize my own health, but now that I’m actively caring for myself and aware of the factors that affect me negatively, I can be proactive about helping myself or at least knowing when I have a migraine and being able to treat it.
I would love to hear about your experiences and hope that you’ll consider filling out the survey if you even suspect you might have something similar!