How To Cope, Treat Migraines | Local News

The first time Kimberly Grizzle had a full-blown migraine, she misinterpreted it for a life-ending stroke.

“It burned my brain,” said the Carl Junction resident. “(I thought) I was about to die.”

She never forgot that moment: it was a beautiful summer day, with the sun shining and a lovely southerly breeze blowing through her window. She was in her office, sitting at her desk under the fluorescent lights, when “I felt a slight ping on the left side of my head.” Visual distortion followed, “blurry with black dots as if I had just stared too long in a camera light or flash.”

Rapid blinking and other symptoms quickly followed – overwhelming nausea, dizziness, fear and confusion; so many of these that she quit work and went home, rather than going to the nearby doctor or hospital. “I have no idea how I drove home, however… I couldn’t get to bed fast enough.” No light, no sound, and I buried my head deep in the down comforter.

Seems familiar? For people with migraines, her story is certainly a model. After more than 20 years of migraines pounding her brain like heavy surf, Grizzle can identify the signs when one is brewing on the horizon, she said; after all, she has two to three a month. For those who have never suffered from the “mother of all headaches”, however, this can be “one of the worst things a person can experience,” she said. “What I can say about a migraine is that it is debilitating, excruciating, exhausting, distressing, immobilizing, uncontrollable and disturbing.”

Manage migraine

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, and a recent study conducted by both the National Headache Foundation and the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients found that during the COVID-19 pandemic that has started last March, migraine attacks in Americans have increased by 70% – mostly due to the extra layers of stress.

Although Dr. Amanda Lewton, family physician at Mercy’s Neosho Clinic, has not personally noticed an increase in the number of migraines in her patients, “there is certainly a lot of stress that can turn into a headache.” she declared.

“If it’s stress-related headaches, we try Ibuprofen or Tylenol first,” she said. “We also try to minimize stress, sometimes that includes helping sleep and getting more exercise. If that doesn’t work I will try propranolol as it helps relieve anxiety and migraines. Sometimes we need to add an antidepressant to combat anxiety, stress, or depression.

Dr Gulshan Uppal of Freeman Health System, who plans to start a local headache clinic soon, said migraines have long plagued Americans, with 40 million people in America suffering from them, including 1 in 5 women. .

“A migraine consists of nausea, a lack of concentration, a feeling of tiredness before and after the headache, so the part of the headache is not important, the whole spectrum of migraines … can affect someone for almost a week, ”Uppal said.

Treatments for migraines can include Botox injections and medications, he said. While stress in men and women, and hormonal changes in women, are common causes, something as simple as dehydration can have a major influence. When people are dehydrated, they lose fluid throughout the body, including the brain. This causes the brain to temporarily shrink and move away from the skull, which can cause migraines. When enough fluids are consumed, the brain takes over.

Migraines and age

Webb City resident Cruciatus Conway Gladden suffered at least one migraine per week during her pre-teen years, describing them as “the worst kind of headache.” The only relief she found was falling asleep in a dark room, swallowing ibuprofen, crying in pain, and praying “that it will go away.”

“It’s not like a sinus headache or a stress headache, a migraine affects all parts of your body,” the 49-year-old said. “Your world comes to a screeching halt when you have one. You feel like your head is going to explode and your eyes are going to come out of the pressure. Light hurts; the sound hurts; touch hurts; movement hurts – it makes you nauseous and makes you vomit when things are really bad.

Today she has maybe one migraine a year, a remarkable improvement, she says; they decreased with age, which made him think that his aches and pains were affected by internal hormonal changes more than anything else. Still, she added, “I don’t wish my worst enemy a migraine.”

Young people are not spared

While migraines typically affect people between the ages of 35 and 45, they can strike any age group. Just ask 24-year-old Hannah McNutt about them. The former Joplin resident suffered from her first migraine while in second grade.

“They are truly one of the worst pain I have ever experienced; you are in so much pain but unlike a sprained ankle you cannot put ice on it and lift it, ”she said.

The best way she’s found to ward off the pain, she said, is to lie down in a dark room with her eyes closed and a cold washcloth covering her face, with lavender and lavender oils. peppermint scenting the air. “And if I can catch it early enough, the medication will help. The hardest part is when you have to overcome them, like when I’m at work – I don’t have the opportunity to do what I need to do ”, like lying in a bed. dark room.

Karol Mayer, a resident of Neosho, was injecting herself with Imitrex; she said Demerol would only ease the migraine symptoms, not stop them completely. Imitrex was the only drug that could effectively block his headaches. “I was so happy that something worked,” she said.

Migraines not limited to sex

While a large majority of people with migraines are women, men do too.

“I have had them for about 30 years now and they are commonly referred to as migraines with aura. Doctors tell me there is no cause or trigger for them, they just happen at random, ”said Jim Whitney, a resident of Joplin. How random? He won’t have a single migraine for six months, then over a two-week period he might have five or six.

When that happens, Whitney said, he’ll get a little visual disturbance, like a hole in his vision, which turns into a colorful aura – “it looks like one of those kaleidoscopes we used to hold on to. sun when we were children, except it appears in my vision as zigzag lines moving.

During an attack, he will lose up to 40% of his vision before the pain begins, which begins in his right eye and spreads, causing mild nausea. The pain and nausea worsen if he moves his head.

“Doctors have tried so many things, from Imitrex to Botox, and nothing has worked,” he said. “Last year, one of my neurologists prescribed Nurtec for me, and it’s improving it a bit. I’ve had them for so long that I can still work on them because I know there won’t be any more in 48 hours.

Self-education is the key

Grizzle said self-education is the best way to prepare for migraines.

“Educating yourself with an understanding of the basics of migraine: symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and an open dialogue with your doctor is the first step in managing and hopefully controlling chronic migraines.”

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