My Grain

It feels like a ball peen hammer thudding directly on my brain.

It feels like my eyes are being pulled and stretched from the inside.

It feels like a giant hand pressing down on the top of my head, pushing to my stomach, making me sick.

It feels like a migraine.

Those of you who know me know I’ve been getting migraines since Beena was born, so that’s going on 21 years. Debilitating migraines. Stay at home for three days migraines. Throw up until I pass out migraines. I’ve tried different prescriptions and they would work until I got used to them- then I’d have to change. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant to prevent them, but they made my life foggy, like I was walking through pea soup, so I stopped taking them. I learned to avoid my “triggers” – those things that will cause a migraine- like red wine, phosphates, hard cheese, too much caffeine and too much stress. But I noticed a few years ago that even if I avoided my triggers, I would still get two or three migraines a week, usually in the spring and the fall. Clicking around the interwebs, I found a trigger I never would have guessed- a change in the barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure, or air pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air over an area of Earth’s surface. This value factors in how many molecules of air there are in a specific area, how fast those molecules are moving and how often they collide. At sea level, gravity is strongest and attracts the greatest number of molecules, so air pressure is greatest. Because gravity weakens as you go up, air pressure is lower at higher altitudes.

Air pressure changes are caused by storms, which are areas of low pressure moving across the country. Clear skies are areas of high pressure. When a front- or boundary between warm and cold air- comes by, the air pressure can drop and rise rapidly. It seems that changes in air pressure can cause migraines and sinus headaches. They don’t know why, but that’s okay. I at least figured out why during these seasons I continue to get migraines.

Mom bought me a glass barometer for my birthday a few years ago. Zombiegirl used to watch it then run in and tell me that I’m going to get a migraine. Whenever the water rose in the spout the air pressure was decreasing- a storm was coming. I usually got hit with the migraine when the spout water was going down. Note to self: clean out the stupid thing and fill it properly so it will work! I pretty much stopped using the barometer when I started going to the chiropractor specifically to treat the migraines.

Having an adjustment on a weekly basis seemed to lessen the migraines down to once every three weeks in my peak seasons. Times of stress usually brought them on more, but they weren’t as debilitating as usual. Did I keep up with my adjustments? Of course not. I missed spring and summer and come this fall, they came back with a vengeance.

My migraines usually start with an “aura”. A spectral vision of zig-zag lines that start in the center of my vision then gradually grow outward to hinder my peripheral vision. It was hard to describe this aura to my family and friends until I found this flash animation on this post that nails my aura right on the head. Scroll down for the animation. Mine is reversed, though. It starts on the upper left side…

If I take medication (right now I’m relying on Excedrin for Migraine) while I have the aura the migraine usually won’t “take” and I can function like a normal human. What’s been happening to me recently is I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, or the morning already in the full throes of a migraine. How the hell to I combat that? I woke up with one this morning at 2:30 am, and yesterday when I got up at 5:00 am. I’m going to continue see Dr. Evelyn for adjustments every week and I’m going to limit my coffee intake. It HAS been a stressful week, though. Maybe that’s it.

If you suffer from migraines please let me know what you do to fight them. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I’m just going to put my head down on my desk for awhile…

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