A migraine is far from “just a headache” and it’s even far from “just a really bad headache.” A migraine is a collection of symptoms, each of which can be debilitating and difficult on their own, never mind a combination of them. However, there are ways you can deal with each symptom.
Sensitivity to Light: Photophobia
While photophobia literally means “fear of light,” it is actually a sensitivity to light. It can often be to bright lights, the sun, the light emitted from your phone or TV, and especially to fluorescent lights If you have difficulty looking at a computer, try getting a red-shift extension such as Melatonin, or a webpage color inverter Chrome extension such as Dark Reader.
This makes it easier to look at the computer and can decrease your photophobia. As Mentioned in the Migraine Survival Pack, I use a pair of FL-41 tinted glasses. These are glasses with a special tint (see picture below) that blocks out the wavelengths of fluorescent lights that often trigger photophobia. While they are an upfront investment, I do not know how I ever lived without them. I have Axon Optics but you can also use Theraspecs.
Sensitivity to sound: Noise Sensitivity
Loud noises can make migraines a lot worse for some people, myself included. This is sometimes difficult to deal with because you never know when you might be in a loud environment, and you can’t always avoid it. For example, I went to the Cheesecake factory last week with my friend, expecting it to be a normal dinner. However, when we walked in it was extremely loud, and I didn’t bring my earplugs for once, not thinking it would be too loud. I regretted not thinking to bring them immediately, and I will not be making that mistake again: Earplugs are a must. As mentioned in the Migraine Survival Pack, always carrying around earplugs is vital. I use concert earplugs, which block out loud noises but allow conversational noises which I found to be the best type.
Sensitivity to Smells
For some people, certain smells may make a migraine worse. Perfume is a common culprit and can be extremely problematic as you cannot control it. I also personally find that any strong odor and cigarettes is a trigger for me. I have not found any great solutions for this but if you have any solutions please comment them below and I will add them to this article with credit.
Nausea can be with or without vomiting. While you may often feel too sick to eat, it is important to stay hydrated and have some food in your system or your migraine could get worse from dehydration or from lack of food. Movement often makes the nausea worse, while lying down or staying still could make it better.
About 25% of all migraines are with an aura. There are countless auras including:
- Vision auras like spots in vision and blurred vision
- “Foggy brain” and a difficulty to form thoughts
- Fatigue and excessive yawning
- Food cravings
- Stiffness (especially neck stiffness)
The most important thing to do regarding auras is to recognize your own auras and take medication at the onset of one. The sooner you take a migraine abortive medication, the greater the chance of it working, so take it at the onset of an aura.
Please feel free to comment what migraine symptoms you have and how you cope with them or questions you want me to answer in a future Q and A post. Keep on fighting migraine and disability warriors, you got this!
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