A Reason to Celebrate: My Migraine Anniversary

I have suffered from migraines and lesser headaches since high school.  While they were moderately severe in the early years, they were spread apart.  Within about the last five years, they have been more severe and much more frequent.  Severe enough that my daily routines and obligations were being affected.

I was starting to have migraines about once a week that would last for at least 2 days, involving vomiting and dizzy spells.  Something had to be done.  I was already on a migraine medication taken as needed until migraine subsided, but it was starting not to be effective.  In early December 2010, I saw a general doctor who wanted to put me on a sleeping aid and a continual migraine medication.  I was very hesitant about taking either.  I don’t like medicine and prefer to take a more natural approach, if possible.

As I was researching the medication to which I was prescribed, I did not like what I was reading.  Side effects such as weight gain, being drowsy all day, and not being able to wake up.  My children still have the occasion to wake up in the night, I have to be able to wake up for them.  Yet, I also needed to be able to function without weekly migraines.

Providential Care.  I happened upon an article in delicious living magazine (sometimes a free periodical found in the produce or natural food department of your grocery) that addressed natural approaches to migraines.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  I reasoned that I could try a natural approach first and switch to the prescribed medicine if the former was ineffective.

The article (which I can’t find now) suggested numerous vitamin supplements that could be taken to help relieve migraines.  There were two supplements that I decided to give a whirl, for better, but surely not for worse.  Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Magnesium.

  • Vitamin B2:  Take 400 mg per day.  I decided to start out on the low end with 200 mg and then increase as needed.  (I will sometimes add 100 mg if I am feeling a severe headache coming on.)  The following excerpt suggests starting with even lower amounts that may be just as effective.

Riboflavin was originally considered for migraine prevention because researchers observed that migraine sufferers tend to have impaired energy production in brain cells, which riboflavin has the potential to enhance as it is a cmponent of a key substance involved in the body’s energy production.  (A Little Riboflavin Goes a Long Way for Migraine Relief, 2005.)

  • Magnesium:  Take 250-350 mg per day.  I started with 300 mg.  Magnesium is believed to be the mineral that is of low levels in those who suffer from frequent headaches.  It also helps with anxiety, sleep, tension, and other disorders.

A Reason to Celebrate

I have been nearly migraine-free for almost 1 year!  For me, this is a huge reason to celebrate!  And it all happened through a natural approach to treatment, as opposed to prescription medication.  Furthermore, when I feel a headache coming on, I can take over-the-counter medication and it actually works.  This hadn’t happened for years.  Now, I did say nearly migraine free.  I still get headaches, but much less frequent, a few on the verge of a migraine, but only 1 or 2 full-blown migraines for an entire year.  I’m also sleeping better and less anxious about the disruptive lifestyle of migraines.

A few additional notes….

  1. I purchase vitamins that are free of fillers as much as possible.  I buy them at Whole Foods (WF brand), but have also purchased Swanson’s brand from Amazon.
  2. I also cut back on foods that seem to be triggers, including caffeine (My husband makes fun of me because I drink a cup of decaff every morning.), alcohol, bread products, chocolate, and products containing corn.  I don’t completely avoid them, but just don’t have them in my daily diet.
  3. I drink a lot of water.
  4. Finally, I try my hardest to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Upon a follow-up appointment with my doctor, he asked how the prescribed medicine was working for me.  I let him know that I was doing very well, but not because of his medicine.  He was happy to hear that something was working even if it wasn’t his approach.

And that’s my reason to celebrate for being nearly migraine free for an entire year! Do you have a similar story? A reason to celebrate?

Come back next Wednesday when I share one more reason I needed to get relief from my headaches.

Post shared at Simple Lives Thursday.

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8 Responses to A Reason to Celebrate: My Migraine Anniversary

  1. Becki says:

    I may give that a try. I also have had headaches and migraines since high school. I know mine are weather related but haven’t found out exactly what triggers it. I am also going to have my family totally gluten free by this time next year (hopefully sooner). Thanks for the perfect timing!

    • Cook says:

      Becki,

      You’re welcome. I’d love to know if it works for you. I’m not sure if it will work for everyone. However, when I was doing some research last year, I saw a lot of anecdotal evidence in support of it. The way I see it, it won’t hurt you and it might just help you!

      Michelle

  2. Jennifer says:

    Very informative Michelle! And I am glad you are not suffering from migraines anymore. I take magnesium to help with PMS symptoms and I have noticed a lessening in the severity of menstrual migraines as well. I will have to give the vitamin B2 a try as well. Merry Christmas!

    • Cook says:

      I’m learning more and more about magnesium. I didn’t know about it helping pms. Let me know if you try the B2 and it if works for you.

      Merry Christmas! We would love to see you guys in 2012!
      Michelle

  3. Jeanene says:

    Michelle,

    I totally understand where you are coming from on the headaches! I had migranes for over 20 yrs before I found a Dr (woman Dr) who put me on the elimination diet. That’s when I found out I had numerous food allergies. As I eliminated the foods, the headaches went away!
    I also wanted to tell you that I have learned that decaf coffee has more chemicals in it. That can cause headaches. I was told one cup of organic (regular coffee) would be a better choice. How about 1 whole cup of “real” coffee everyday? Yummy!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Jeanene (Jeanie)

    • Cook says:

      Jeanie,

      That’s good to know about the decaff. I’ll have to research that and see where it leads me. I’m glad to hear your headaches went away with diet.

      Merry Christmas!

      Michelle

  4. Kim says:

    I have suffered from migraines for 14 years and got to a breaking point a little over 6 years ago. I was on daily medication to no avail and struggled with functioning in a day. The neurologist increased my dosage only for me to get 18 of the 22 side effects, which included hallucinations and it still didn’t touch my migraine. At one point I had had a migraine for over 2 months straight. With a preschooler and an infant (at the time), it wasn’t a joyous time in our home. The doctor was stumped and decided the best course of action was to cold turkey off my meds and send me for physical therapy. I know, it sounds insane and weird, but I have to say that I’m officially 6 years for the most part migraine free. I have one occasionally and increase my magnesium to battle those, but life has been great off meds. I recommend anyone who has migraines and want an alternative way to investigate those because once you start putting those medications into your body, you don’t know how it is going to react. Thanks for the great article as always!!

    • Cook says:

      That is wonderful to hear that you’re migraine-free and med-free! It doesn’t sound weird to me. I’m often on the opposite side of modern medicine, although there are some many wonderful benefits to modern medicine too. Thanks for sharing!

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