Archive for the ‘Migraine’ Tag

Good Resource Before Your Next Appt   2 comments

Does this image look familiar?

It does for me. . . minus the full makeup, the smile, the perfect hair, and the spandex clothes.

ūüôā

I don’t even like to use the word headache anymore because I have dealt with my own migraine enough to understand that they are a whole-body dis-ease.

Today, I woke up at 4 am. ¬†I kept hitting my tooth that has a temporary crown on it. ¬†I slept off and on from 4 am to 7 am. ¬†I don’t think i had dreams, but I had a lot of “fretting” and it was not pleasant.

Before work, I scrambled some eggs and they sounded really unappetizing.  All I wanted was plain toast.

I got to work at 8:30 and went right in to a meeting with a smoker . . .

By lunch time, I was nauseated and a bit dizzy.

Back to work, with an ice pack for good measure.

Only to find that there was a huge machine tearing up the driveway in front of my office.  The noise was crazy and I could hardly concentrate.

Ugh.  Calgon could not take me away.  I had a report to write.

It does seem that I took my meds quick enough to stop the headache before it got worse and I could make it through the hot, humid, noisy afternoon.

But I came across this:

http://migraine.com/blog/doctor-patient-communication-set-up-your-own-migraine-summary-document/

I was happy and it was good timing.  I go to a new headache clinic/neurologist tomorrow and this will help me prepare.

Soon I will post about the tracking method I now have and whether or not it helps going to the doctor or not.

Anyway, I hope this document helps you too!

Namaste, Jennifer

It’s All Interconnected: A Call for an Eightfold Path to Health   2 comments

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think one of the problems with successful migraine¬†maintenance is that there can be many comorbid conditions that you are experiencing… take a look at this post:

http://www.migrainesurvival.com/related-conditions

Most people don’t tend to get that migraines are a biopsychosocialspiritual dis-ease that affects ALL aspects of our lives. . . from how we manage our career and schooling, to mates we pick, to whether or not we have the energy for any kind of relationshps, to mood, perception, digestion, etc. ¬†Look at the comorbid disorders. . . cardiovascular, metabolic, gastrointestinal, sleep, etc.

I am pretty convinced that my migraines started from some pretty drastic dietary changes I made and a sleep disorder that I helped to co-create. ¬†I do believe that I had a predisposition to them as both of my parents have had headache problems over the years and the entire time I was growing up in CT, I had “sinus” headaches all the time.

I found a great letter in a book for you to share with people in your life who just don’t get your migraines (and I bet there are similar ones out there for other chronic pain conditions). ¬†I’ve thought about sharing it at work but hesitate. ¬†(I will post it in a few days). ¬†My supervisor has made some slight changes simply because she knows that she needs to make reasonable¬†accommodations¬†despite the fact that I am not disabled.

But I get tired of odd looks when I don’t go into a meeting because at least one person is a smoker and 3 are wearing things that make my face flush and my sinuses¬†inflamed¬†within minutes. ¬†I get tired of snide remarks when I have to wear sunglasses or earplugs.

I get more tired that people continue to talk loud, let doors slam, and wear scents when they know that they have to meet with me.

I get annoyed that people think I’m just having a headache and they don’t get that simple things like light, smells, sounds are literally painful to me. ¬†That something as simple as a client’s dirty diaper left in a hot bathroom all day long in my hallway is enough to have me in my office with ice on my head for a good part of the day. ¬†Or that keeping my window open all winter helps the room stay cool and that helps with the inflammation that I experience.

At work, I hear some pseudo-supervisors make comments about people’s “so-called two-day headaches”. ¬†I got tired of getting into trouble for making it into work for all my meetings during the week instead of taking off and then crashing by Friday or over the weekend.

It’s a pattern when you take off Monday or Friday don’t you know?

If someone would just google the incidents of “letdown migraines” they would see that this is not uncommon.

So what to do? ¬†Well, I can’t change the system and right now I can’t get out of the system.

But what I can do is try to live a whole-life approach to health. . .

Right Sleep

Right Meditation

Right Stress Relief

Right Nutrition

Right Relationships

Right Exercise

Right Mindfulness

Right Gratitude.

No, this is not the 8-fold path of the Buddha. ¬†ūüôā ¬†But maybe our biopsychosocialspiritual dis-eases and our living with them should have an 8-fold path. . .

So, let’s explore this together…

Yes, I think this is something that we will start looking at and I will kindly and compassionately challenge you to look at it and perhaps live it. ¬†I know when I incorporate more healthy living in my life, there is more health. ¬†I can’t cure it, but I can have much better quality of life.

Let’s touch base with each other and see what we come up with.

 

With deep compassion and gratitude,

~~ Jennifer

 

Don’t Let Up   4 comments

Lightning Strike In Sydney

Don’t let up when you find a protocol that seems to help!

I’ve seen this for years with people on psych meds… they take them, get to a good place and think, I’m fine. ¬†I don’t need those meds.

I’ve seen it with people struggling with addiction… I’ve changed people, places, and things. ¬†I’ve had some time. ¬†Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. ¬†I can go to happy hour with the gang from work and drink club soda. . .

I’ve seen it with AIDS patients… I’m feeling great… I can let up on the cocktail of drugs. ¬†I already have AIDS, I can have unprotected sex.

And I’ve seen these very same people have rebound depression from stopping meds too quickly, have relapses from the slippery slope of that one drink, that one old using friend, and I have seen. . . well, people die from thinking they have outsmart AIDS.

Magical thinking doesn’t just go away when we reach a certain age like grade school age. ¬†We still think we have magical powers. ¬†Guess what, what we have is¬†responsibility¬†for our actions, thoughts, and words, not magic.

I’m writing this after having come from the doctor’s office. ¬†I let my guard down and feel like I’m paying the price. ¬†I started a new med that the doctor had suggested without going to “THE google” first.

I didn’t pay attention to the signs like dramatic shift in my thinking and behavior.

I didn’t listen to a friend when she said, “What the hell are you doing rolling the dice”…

So, I’ve had a migraine since Tuesday, on the heels of some stress at work, with really humid, crazy-shifting barometric pressures, and after bending the rules while taking my mom to brunch for her birthday.

I haven’t had a migraine this bad since I first got diagnosed 8 years ago. ¬†Well, this intense that I thought about an ER visit. ¬†I had a few years where I had daily migraines and thought a stray bus running over me was the only thing that would put me out of my misery. ¬†Mind you, I didn’t want jump in front of it, but if one happened into my dreams, while I was trying to sleep and could end it all, especially the pain, well, so be it.

But that was a dark night of the soul and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am.

You can’t stop the biofeedback.

Let me be more honest than that…

I can’t stop the biofeedback.

I can’t stop the mindful diet of foods that don’t create inflammation.

I can’t stop second guessing the doctors who don’t know enough about migraines or pain.

There are no holidays for good health.

There is learning from ill-fated decisions though.

A long time ago, I was a trainer for weight watchers and I learned a valuable lesson… when you screw up, don’t think, I can screw up all day today, the day is wasted… I can start over tomorrow.

B.S.

You start with that moment and make a better decision.

You make that day still count.

You can turn things around at any moment and get back to healing.

You need a plan.

You need friends to support you.

You need experts who you can trust.

You need love and compassion for yourself.

For me, this means making sure there is healthy food in the house — ie, high quality protein and lots of veggies with a few healthy grains like brown rice.

For me, this means being honest with friends so they can call me on my “stinking thinking” — to use a phrase from the 12-step tradition.

For me, it’s about making the time to manage stress by doing things I love.

For me, it’s about making sure I find mindful moments every day, every where, and in every aspect of my life.

For me, ultimately, it’s about walking the middle path, the road of balance and I’m lucky that I have something like the Eight-fold path to help me. . . as well as the Dharma, Sangha, and Buddha.

So, let’s get back to basics.

Let’s get on the cushion today, even if I have to sit there with ice on my head.

Let’s mindfully wash the dishes even if it’s one plate and then laying down for an hour to rest.

Let’s be gentle, honest, compassionate, and real with thinking and feeling.

Let’s start with that compassion and the breath. ¬†Let me, today, remember that it starts with being compassionate for myself and finding that connection with everyone else who is in that same place so that the armoring can melt and I can get in touch with the raw achy heart of the warrior.

And I have to remember, I have choices all along the path.

I let my guard down. ¬†But, I’m in pain and there is no reason who add shame, guilt, or anger onto what already is.

It’s time to remember what’s important, healing, and pertinent in this very moment… that would be health, breath, compassion, love, and connection.

So, at 12pm, I intend to turn the day around, even if it is only in very small ways… with every breath, I have that chance.

I hope you remember you do to.

~~ With lovingkindness

For Love. . .   3 comments

cold-cuts-photo-from-alex-belths-bronx-banter-blog

cold-cuts-photo-from-alex-belths-bronx-banter-blog

(Things to Avoid List Below)

Things are so much easier to do when you are doing them out of love… or for someone you love.

I guess I must have loved myself enough to do all this research…. but I am sharing it because someone I love has pain issues and I don’t ever want someone to feel un-empowered.

We might be able to take away pain, but we can take away suffering.

My neurologist only did so much… well, he took me off of 7 different medications that could have killed me. . . that’s a lot. He told me dead on though that if I thought foods were a trigger, I needed to solve that on my own.

There were so many things that the pain psychologist, pain specialist, biofeedback technician, primary doctor, etc didn’t do and well, all I can say is I am grateful to Google and other search engines.

We can become empowered when we learn… doctors usually don’t take the time to teach which is a shame. ¬†When I told the pain specialist, I want to figure out what part of my pain I am causing and figure out ways to stop it, he looked at me with a blank look… then he proceeded to say… well, you’re more sophisticated than most of my clients, they just want me to fix them and they won’t take any of the blame.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH, it’s not about blame, it’s about¬†responsibility, it’s about being an agent of change!

Never will I have a doctor (or anyone else tell me)… I’m sorry… it will be like this forever, there is nothing you can do.

Why?

Because even if I was diagnosed with something that could end my life, I still have choices, I still have my attitude, I still have my breath, and I still have hope.

Now, I’m not talking blind hope or something like denial. ¬†I’m talking hope… the kind I had when I trusted my¬†acupuncturist, like when I trusted my physical therapist and massage therapist. ¬†Like when I trusted myself to keep data and do my homework, including reading everything that was out there.

These foods can create difficulties for a number of reasons:  having histamine responses, being high in tyramine, tannins, nitrates, etc.  And not all of these foods will bother you.  But this can give you a guideline.

Interestingly, if you look at diets suggested for some health conditions, like rosacea, there are a lot of similarities.. well, many diseases have at their root inflammation and so similar things will trigger inflammatory responses.

Now, I make my own choices… if I am craving pizza, (can you tell that I love pizza I keep writing about it)… I make sure I don’t do something silly like eat it with a bowl of soup or with a big salad with lots of cheese. ¬†I can still have a headache, but I minimize the possible effects. ¬†And I know to take my migraine medicine before hand. ¬†I don’t make a practice of it but if the craving is there, I’ve tried some mindful eating, and it persists, I don’t beat myself up any more… I take cautious action.

So, I’m going to give you another tool… A list of Foods to Avoid if you have symptoms of migraine headaches. ¬†Here it is: ¬†foods to avoid Sheet1

I spoke with someone I love today and promised this list… so here it is to anyone who reads this blog.

I hope it helps you to feel empowered to change your own health.

I hope it helps you to find safety, deep peace, joy, and lasting success.

What’s next? ¬†A list of foods that are usually safe. ¬†YES, there are safe foods.

So, may this be a labor of love for the people in my life that have pain, particularly migraines.  May the merit of my work and my words bring some comfort and ease to others.

Namaste!

Posted March 31, 2012 by Namaste -- Seeking Peace in Uncategorized

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What is Migraine?   3 comments

Did¬† you know that a migraine is not just a headache… that’s only the tip of the iceburg

 

from www.gottheadache.com

Migraine is a disease and the headache is only a symptom. Migraine is characterized by attacks in which people will experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound and smells. Sufferers often complain of mood changes such as anxiety, depression and irritability. They may also have difficulty concentrating and suffer from fatigue as well. A few migraine sufferers may experience brain symptoms such as abnormal sensations, loss of balance or movement, speech problems and visual disturbances. These abnormal sensations called an aura often occur before the headache starts and even occur without the presence of a headache. When an aura is not present, a misdiagnosis of ‚Äútension headaches‚ÄĚ is made, when in fact the patient is suffering a migraine without aura.

Posted March 10, 2012 by Namaste -- Seeking Peace in Uncategorized

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Migraines: Have you thought about being what you eat?   3 comments

Mercat de la Boqueria, sweets, nuts and dried ...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you thought about what triggers your migraines?  For me, food was a huge trigger. . . I have so much to say on this subject but to get us going, I wanted to leave you a list of foods that are known food triggers for many people.  There are several reasons why these foods are on the list:

  • high tannins
  • high tyramine levels
  • glutamates of some kind (natural and free or MSG)
  • things like citrus that have antihistamine properties
  • foods that are more likely to have a higher mold content. . .

My best advice is to do an elimination diet. Take each of these classes of food out of your diet for a month and then reintroduce them one at a time.

Keep in mind that one food might be your trigger, but the more triggers you pile on top of each other, the more likely you will be to experience a migraine. ¬†For instance, once in a while, I can add a little goat cheese to food for flavor and be fine. ¬†But if I had a salad with walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar (add greens, apples/pear and I just described my favorite salad), I am most likely going to experience a headache as everything except the greens and apple or pears are migraine triggers. ¬†I make sure I would never temp fate when I know that the barometric pressure is going wacky, I’m under a lot of stress, I haven’t been sleeping well, etc.

Learn your triggers.  In a couple of days, I will explain how I deal with trigger foods and cravings.

Here is the list of known triggers:

  • Aged Cheeses
  • Leftovers
  • Alcohol
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nuts
  • Tuna (canned), Dried or smoked fish
  • Sourdough, freak baked yeast goodies
  • Ripe fruit including: ¬†bananas, citrus, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwis, pineapple
  • Dried fruits (figs, raisins, dates)
  • Any soup made from beef or chicken broth that you don’t make at home*
  • Cultured dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk
  • Caffeine
  • Artificial Sweetners (Stevia, etc don’t seem to count)
  • Cold Cuts
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar

So, I certainly wouldn’t want to add dried fruit to that salad I mentioned above. ¬†What else… think about a quick dinner out… suppose you want pizza and a salad or pizza and soup…

let’s look at that.. if you go out, you don’t know what’s in the soup but you can probably bet that there is MSG in the broth… if it doesn’t have MSG (suppose it’s organic soup, a really good quality one… it might have yeast extract that breaks down in your body like MSG…).

Okay, you pass on the soup… but, maybe you’re like me and ¬†and love pizza (I can’t help it, I’m from the East Coast)… ¬†but the crust is a hot yeast bread, store bought sauce (most likely with MSG or a substitute), cheese, and if you eat meat or mushrooms. . . you have a little slice of heavenly triggers galore!!!!

If you have to have your pizza, don’t eat it with other trigger foods… maybe skip the have a white pizza … garlic, olive oil, spinach, ricotta cheese, and ask them to go light on the mozzarella.

I know it’s a bummer to think about having to make behavioral changes… but I think of some wise words when I want to whine about it… When I was a drug and alcohol ¬†counselor, I listened to a recovering person who said this about going to AA meetings: ¬†“you know if you went to talk to parents of a child with cancer and you told them to go to a meeting every day, have multiple cups of coffee, smoke cigarettes, follow some steps, and read a big book, every parent in the world would do it in a heart beat. . . so why don’t we?”

That puts things in perspective for me. ¬†I want to whine about the past and going to a Jewish deli for a roast beef, thousand island, provolone, cole slaw sandwich on rye bread and how I can’t have that piece of “home.”… and then I think about it… is having that bit of my history worth pain for several days? ¬†I’d rather think of my best friends and my long lost family members, St. Mary’s seafront walk way, the Autumn leaves, and driving to Vermont to get homemade jelly. . . that’s what is important.

I’m a better person when I work to minimize my pain and suffering. ¬†It’s my choice and I chose to be healthy!!!

Please let us know which of these are real triggers for you.. because not all of them will be… ¬†Good luck!

Come back in a few days to see what foods are safe for most people!