December 15, 2017
This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions are my own.
With Thanksgiving freshly in our past and December launching the final countdown of the quickly approaching festivities, we are in full preparation mode. I will be hosting our family both on my side and Justin’s side for Christmas dinner, plus of course, planning for and appropriately accommodating Santa and his needs as well as breakfast on Christmas morning.
The beauty of working from home is having the flexibility to make my own hours. I can pick and choose when I spend time working, volunteering at the kid’s elementary school, taking Evangeline to gymnastics, scheduling doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and cooking. The problem is, there is so much to be done nearly every waking moment that I struggle to prioritize when there’s 10 items in the top tier alone. When a few unexpected situations that require my full attention pop up, everything gets derailed, and that happens often. None of these things wait for fulfilling the holiday demands, so I have to be very careful and considerate of my stress levels, as they lead to migraines and a week of feeling terrible.
I decided to work with Med-IQ to help generate awareness around migraine and chronic migraine. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company whose goal is to improve patient outcomes through education. For years I had no idea what was going on with me health-wise, I only knew that the onset was high stress. I recently wrote about migraines, and within that first post with Med-IQ, I covered information about the diagnosis of migraines including the difference between headache, migraine and chronic migraine. This included tips from neurologists Robert G. Kaniecki, MD, and Stewart J. Tepper, MD, both of whom were on a conference call with me, sharing tips as to how to best prepare for an upcoming doctor’s appointment.
Dr. Kaniecki and Dr. Tepper both discussed how it is common for migraine sufferers to be in search of the holy grail…that one thing or combination of things that will make migraine stop. The reality is that suffering from migraine is inherited and part of your brain physiology.
Here are some expert tips for managing your migraine and health during this busy, stressful, hectic time of year:
- Follow your treatment plan: Stick to your treatment plan, which should include medications and lifestyle management strategies to prevent and treat migraine
- Avoid overuse of acute headache medication: Don’t take prescription or nonprescription medication for migraine pain more than 10 days per month
- Keep a headache diary: Track changes in headache frequency and/or intensity as you begin or change medications
Doctors know that the inadequate control of the immediate pain of a migraine attack can lead to chronic migraine. Inadequate pain control can lead patients to take acute medication (which treats the attack once migraine has started) too often, and overuse of acute medication (including over-the-counter medications) is a risk factor for developing chronic migraine. Doctors also know that patients are unaware or sometimes hide the fact that they often self-medicate using over-the-counter acute medication. This makes it difficult for doctors to understand the full picture of a patient’s health and what might be playing a role in headache frequency. Overuse of acute medication is defined as taking prescription or nonprescription medication 10 or more days per month. If you or someone you love takes medication for migraine more than 2 days per week, please make an appointment with the doctor to discuss the right treatment plan.
For me, understanding what was happening to me health-wise, plus learning my triggers and addressing them early, has been absolutely crucial. Of course, it’s not easy to simply stop being stressed or to put my life on hold until my stress levels are lower, but making sure to pay attention to my body is key.
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Much love and luck to all of you this year. May you conquer your to-do list and maybe even book an extra pampering day just for yourself.