7 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started my Migraine Journey
We all start somewhere on our migraine journey. For those of you that do not know my story, I had my first migraine at 12 years old. From there, I saw my pediatrician and was told I was a headachy kid and to just take over the counter medicine like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen at the first sign a migraine attack. From there, the migriane attacks became more frequent and I suffered from chronic migraine for over 10 years. I finally saw a neurologist at 22 years old (mostly waited because of fear of the unknown) and trialed many different medications and sadly none of them worked for me. Thankfully, I did not take no for an answer in continuing to suffer from chronic migraine. I took my care into my own hands and I began to learn everything there is to know about migraine and apply what I have learned to my life. Now, I have reduced my migraine days and truly get to live my best life! This is WHY i am SO passionate about helping others on their migraine journey.
Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I started my Migraine Journey:
1. Migraine is a lifelong illness and sadly, there is no cure for migraine (yet)
For years, I chased the dream of wanting to be CURED from migraine. I thought that one day I would outgrow migraine or at least find a medication that would cure me. This is SO far from the truth. The sad reality is that there is no cure for migraine. This is why Migraine Management is KEY.
2. Successful migraine management is knowing how to prevent migraine attacks and treating migraine attacks to get relief fast
Migraine Management is focusing on PREVENTING migraine attacks and knowing how to TREAT migraine attacks for fast relief.
Migraine prevention are things that you do that actually PREVENT migraine attacks and increase your migraine FREE days (this is also known as RAISING your migraine threshold). Examples of Migraine Prevention include supplements, medications, exercise, simple lifestyle changes, adequate sleep, migraine trigger management, migraine glasses, etc.
Migraine treatment is what you are doing to get relief from a migraine attack. This is why I always encourage a migraine toolkit - these are things you have on hand to help alleviate a migraine attack and help ease migraine symptoms. Examples of migraine treatment includes supplements, medications, cold therapy, migraine glasses, nausea bracelets, etc.
Click here for more ideas for your Migraine Toolkit
3. Getting support ASAP on your migraine journey can be a game changer
The reality is that doctors only spend 5 to 10 minutes with you every 6 months and that’s just not enough time to explain all the complex ins and outs of migraine. I am definitely not saying do not have a doctor on your migraine journey - you need them! I am saying that you need even more support!
One way to get more support on your migraine journey is to hire a migraine coach! A migraine coach can be SO helpful on your migraine journey because they offer education all about migraine and focus on lifestyle changes. I personally offer group coaching through The Conquering Migraine Academy! This way my students can reach out to me anytime with questions, seek advice, or even share wins! It's absolutely amazing how positive that having additional support on your migraine can drastically transform your migraine and help you succeed!
4. Preventative Medications work best when also used in conjunction with lifestyle changes
The sad reality is that a lot of people say that preventative medications do not work. I get this because I was once in the same boat. Did you know that when most people go and see a doctor for migraine that they have chronic migraine and they wait until their migraine gets worse. When your migraine frequency is HIGH, your brain is very overexcited and it's hard to calm down a very overexcited brain. So when all we do is add a medication, a lot of times is does not work. But when we apply simple lifestyle changes like sleep 8 hours per night, add in supplements, exercise 3-5x a week etc. All of these things (maybe adding in one at a time, go SLOW) can help to calm down your overexcited brain and actually allow the medications to work.
5. Always carry your migraine toolkit wherever you go!
A migraine toolkit is a collection of items that help you get relief FAST from a migraine attack, plus you can have items in your toolkit that helps to address accompanying symptoms. By having this with you at all times, you have everything you need on hand to get relief FAST and can move on with your day!
Click here for more ideas for your Migraine Toolkit
6. There is an ENTIRE Migraine Community out there (now I am so happy to be facilitating one!)
Community is SO important on your migraine journey. Migraine can feel very isolating and it can feel like no gets it (except those that actually have migraine). Thankfully, there are SO many migraine communities out there! I am SO happy to be facilitating a community on several social media platforms including TikTok and Instagram. Also, if you are looking for a more close knit group, there is community in The Conquering Migraine Academy.
7. Knowledge is POWER.
When it comes to successful migraine management, knowledge is POWER. The more you know about this disabling chronic illness, the more you can fight back! This is why here at The Migraine Nurse, I am SO big on education. Migraine is SO complex and affects SO many aspects of your life. By learning more about migraine and applying what I have learned to my life, I was able to decrease my migraine days. Now, I get to teach a comprehensive course in The Conquering Migraine Academy.