Migraines: the Debilitating “Invisible Disease”

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One of the hardest things about being a migraine sufferer is that it’s an invisible disease: no one can see the pain you’re going through. I had a few as a young teen, but they came back in full force when my eldest, who is now 24, was six  weeks old. I suspect my hormonal fluxes had something to do with it. However, it didn’t end there…I had countless “cluster headaches” that seemed to be triggered by every little thing: too much sleep, not enough sleep, diet, stress, no stress, hormones….

Over the years, I tried so many medications. I hate to think what it did to my liver but when I was in severe enough pain, the last thing I cared about was my liver. I literally would pray that God would let me die so that I’d be free of the excruciating pain in my head. I never did find the perfect medicinal cure. Most of the meds barely took the edge off the pain and I always ended up vomiting.

I’ve been managing my migraines lately without pain meds, but it’s not a fun process. My triggers tend to be weather (when the barometric pressure changes) and being dehydrated. Those who know me well have realized that I never travel anywhere without water. It is not a cure-all, but making sure I’m well-hydrated helps a lot. Sometimes, my hormones can trigger migraines as well. So when I was really looking forward to my periods, I could double-the-fun with a migraine attack, too. That seems to be less of an issue now.

A few weeks ago, my newly-minted teenage son started getting migraines. All I have to do look outside: if it’s even remotely overcast, I know he’s going to miss school again. We are waiting for the doctor appointment that is going to lead us to umpteen medications to try. As someone who tries to be mostly holistic, that is hard for me to swallow. I don’t want him taking powerful drugs as a boy, but I also don’t want him to suffer.

Websites like this don’t seem to offer much help as far as treatment, though they are extremely helpful in educating a non-migraine sufferer. I really think it’s up to each individual to figure out what will work for him or her.

Since conventional meds don’t work for me, I decided to look into alternative forms of treatment. Hands down, the most popular treatment is through Daith (rhymes with “moth”) piercings. This particular article–as well as others– makes it clear that this doesn’t work for everyone. But the same can be said for conventional meds. The idea is that the piercing provides constant pressure to the acupressure point that brings pain relief.

Today is Thursday and my piercings are only a couple of days old. The owner, who pierced my ears, suggested that I get both sides done. Since he cannot see pressure points within the body, I just have to hope and pray that he got one. The piercing process only took about five minutes total. My left ear piercing was relatively painless, but my right piercing forced me into Lamaze breathing for a couple of minutes. I heard him say several times, “We got a bleeder”. The piercings have to be cleaned twice a day, by someone other than me because I can’t see them. This will go on for 6 weeks, and then it takes about 8 months for it to heal since the piercings go through cartilage. I would love for this to work for me so that the money ($60 for both ears) and pain to clean it are worth it. Even more importantly, I want it to work so that we can consider it a viable option for my son.

If you decide to get a Daith piercing, make sure you do your research. Your person should have a high success rate for the piercings working in migraine clients, even though they don’t necessarily work for everyone. I chose a guy that I learned about from word of mouth. He is a pro at it, and I felt that to be true when I saw him for my piercings.

Are you a migraine sufferer? What treatments have you found to be the most effective? I’d love to hear about it.

Writer: CJ Heath

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