Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and 1 in 8 Have It and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
I had my first migraine when I was 10 years old. At the time, though, I had no idea that what I was experiencing was a migraine and unfortunately it wasn’t until my early twenties that I was diagnosed as a migraine sufferer. I simply thought I had headaches and treated them with over-the-counter medication, which didn’t even come close to touching the pain of my migraines.
I suffer from “migraine with aura”. This means that about 30 minutes before my migraines smack me in the head (literally), I experience an “aura” in my eyesight. This is most inconvenient when I’m driving because…well…for me, my aura looks like a candle flicker and I lose sight in my left eye. Completely. I honestly cannot see a thing (and yes, I pull over for 30 minutes if I’m driving, I promise!). From there, if I don’t take my migraine medication, I know I’m about to experience the throbbing, eye-exploding pain of my migraine. The good news? I have medication now that, 95% of the time waylays my migraine and leaves me only with a “heavy” dull headache-y feeling.
Trust me. It’s better than a full-blown migraine. Once my migraine medication is coursing through my body, I can typically carry on with my day then, at the end of my day, treat myself to some tea, essential oil and a good sleep to wake up a-ok the next day! Phewf!
As a super busy Mama, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast and all the other hats I wear, I really do not have time to be sidelined by a migraine. Migraines can be absolutely debilitating. I’m talking “close all the blinds, turn off all the sound, vomit and then hide under the blanket for hours and hours” type of debilitating. And…who the heck has time for that?! Not me. Not you. Not anyone. No one should suffer like that. Ever.
Want to know the crazy part that most people don’t know about headaches versus migraines? The difference between a headache and migraine is that they are the exact opposite problem to one another.
- Headaches are typically caused by a constriction of the blood vessels to your brainbox, meaning not enough blood is getting to your brain. So, over-the-counter medications help to vasodilate (expand) your blood vessels and get more blood to your head, which stops your headache.
- Migraines are caused by the opposite! Meaning, blood vessels have dilated (gotten bigger), so there is too much blood flowing to your brainbox which (in part) causes the throbbing pain, typically on one side of your head, migraine sufferers experience. Those over-the-counter meds you’ve been taken actually exacerbate your migraine by further dilating already dilated vessels! It gets worse! Researchers now believe that not only is there a difference in blood flow, but now they’re discovering that chemical reactions in the brain may lead to swelling and irritation of the blood vessels and THAT may explain the “throbbing” characteristic of migraines. Yowza.
While it’s estimated that nearly 2.7 million Canadians report living with migraine, many people don’t seek help for their symptoms – due to the use of over-the-counter medication – and therefore the actual number is thought to be much higher. The crazy part? Over-the-counter medication may not be right for you as a migraine sufferer.
Yup. Migraine pain requires migraine meds. I wish I had known that I was a migraine sufferer as 10-year-old me. It was confusing and painful and awful and I remember readying myself for excruciating pain whenever I experienced the candle-flicker aura. I wish I had known that the medication I took was actually feeding my migraine.
But, now I know! And, I get to treat my migraine before it hits…and what a game-changer that is! If I can help even one of you discover that the pain you’re experiencing is not “just motherhood” or not “just a headache”, then I’m thrilled to have educated in even this small way.
Worldwide, about 1 in 8 people suffer from migraine. If you have persistent headaches, it’s important to get the right diagnosis. And, if you do have persistent headaches, my friend, you gotta, gotta, gotta check out the quiz at www.1in8haveit.ca to share results with a medical professional. It’s quick. It’s easy…and it may open an entire new conversation with your doc that can help you so much more than the meds you take now!
Trust me. Getting diagnosed with migraines was a relief. Getting the right medication changed my life. I can now get on top of my migraine before it takes me out for the day. Go…take the quiz and then get to your doc. It’s important. You’re important. Take care of yourself. xo