Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
**Though this post is much longer than my normal blog posts, I feel like I could write an entire novel on my headaches. So, consider this the short version 😀
365 days. That’s how many days my headache lasted (give or take, of course). What started out as a “sinus headache” and/or what I thought was a sinus infection turned into a year-long battle. SO many days and nights spent Googling, confused, sad, in tears; It wasn’t so much as to why this was happening to me, but rather—why now? Why all of the sudden?
It wasn’t until the doctor asked, “When did your headache begin?” that it hit me. Originally I told her they started almost a year ago (this was back in February 2018, I believe), and then she replied “No, when did your headaches really begin—start from the beginning”, she said.
Whoa. It doesn’t sound like much, but that question made me realize that I’d been getting headaches for as long as I can remember, which to my memory is since around the time I was in middle school. Granted, for awhile I was getting them 1-2/week, rather than daily, but still. I’d later come to find that headaches run in my family thanks for my dad casually telling me that he gets headaches multiple times per week (thanks dad). This sort of helped to clear things up for me because headaches are genetic (to an extent, of course).
Back in April 2017 when this all started, I recall thinking it was a sinus infection/headache because that’s exactly where my headache had situated itself—right in between my eyebrows and even in my nose a bit. So, I took sinus medicine and also allergy medicine for a few weeks, but nothing happened. I Googled for hours and hours and DAYS, which I know they say you’re not supposed to do, but I really didn’t know what else to do. I wanted to feel less alone, and oddly enough, the internet can make you feel less alone.
My next plan of action was to tackle this thing through holistic approaches. I was already getting monthly massages, something I’ve prioritized for years. I’m a huge fan of self care, but I think it’s important to just find 1-2 things that make you happy and that make you feel better, and for me that is massages.
Besides the massages, I tried acupuncture, chiropractic care, and tons of essential oils. What people don’t tell you is how expensive all these things are. I spent way more money than I care to admit trying to cure myself, both holistically and through traditional medicine (even with insurance, MRI’s are not cheap). It was expensive and exhausting. I even went to see a naturopath doctor, who was actually pretty helpful but wanted me to cut out different foods, and mentally I just wasn’t there yet, so I sort of ignored her advice (I know, I KNOW–ugh). Once I realized the holistic methods weren’t helping, I went to see a headache specialist, which I should have done way sooner (though I believe the wait to see the doctor was around 4 months). The doctor listened to me, and was very honest with me when she said that she didn’t know what was going to “cure” my headache, but that she could think of a few different courses of action to try out. She originally prescribed me Imitrex, which I believe is one of the most popular medicines for migraines. It wasn’t that the medicine didn’t help—it did—it just didn’t work as well I wanted it to. I figured if I was going to be taking a daily pill, I wanted it to work 100% of the time, and this didn’t. So, back to the drawing board. She then prescribed me another pill, and within less than a week I was feeling the side effects from it. The cool thing though, is that I could send her an email with updates, rather than having to go see her all the time. I emailed her and told her about the side effects, and she told me to stop taking it immediately, and to just take a magnesium supplement, which has been shown to reduce migraines. This was at the beginning of May 2018.
Since I started taking the magnesium—and JUST the magnesium (ok, plus the massages)—I’ve maybe had 2-3 headaches TOTAL and my daily headache is gone. It’s wild and I still sometimes think it’s too good to be true, hence why it’s taken me so long to write this post. I’ve also completely given up chocolate—ever since creating this cake recipe, which ended up giving me a horrible horrible headache, I vowed that I’d stop eating chocolate, and somehow I’ve stuck to it. But, other than the chocolate, I haven’t adjusted my diet at all. The thing that makes me the most annoyed [at myself] is that I knew months ago that I should give up chocolate—I had read online that it’s a major migraine trigger—but I was too stubborn to do it. I mean, who really wants to give up chocolate?? No one. But trust me when I say it’s FAR better than having a headache. Chocolate is good, but not consuming it has been surprisingly easy. I think I’m just so happy I feel better.
I don’t think my headaches are gone forever. I don’t think I’m “cured”. But I feel SO much more confident in handling my headaches than I did before. Nowadays when I feel a headache coming on, I can usually just drink more water, maybe eat something, maybe rest for a few minutes—normal methods of treatment that simply did not work before. I think it’s going to be a life-long journey for me, but at this moment, I no longer feel like my headaches control me. And right now, that’s all I need.
I also want to say THANK YOU to everyone who provided advice, insight and kind words as I was going through this. You helped me feel less alone, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you, thank you.