MS and Headaches
MS and Headaches
I’ve had headaches for the longest time – in fact, I can remember my first one like it was yesterday. I was 11 1/2 (back then you were more than happy to add on the 1/2, these day…not so much!) What started out as ‘tension’ headaches, later morphed into full-blown migraines that literally wiped me off my feet for at least 48 hours.
The original tension headaches were caused by stress. Apparently I was a highly-strung individual who had to be the best at everything to stave off impending doom. My thought process was that if I didn’t do well at a test/sporting event/friendships, then something bad was going to happen which was a key-motivator for me to try and control every aspect of my life…an impossible task for anyone.
The migraines developed later, probably when I was in my late twenties. They were bad enough but they would reach epic proportions before I actually went to see a doctor about it. Looking back at all the years I have suffered with headaches and migraines, I only wish I had sought help sooner. The migraines eventually got so severe and became so frequent that I was first prescribed pills usually given to sufferers of epilepsy and then beta-blockers. These were a bit of a life-saver, really, and brought some normalcy back to life. At one stage I was having 2/3 migraines a week…that was wiping out between 4-6 days of my week. 4-6 days of the week where I was barely functioning…that’s no way to live!
There are no food triggers that I have been able to identify over the years, no foods that increase the chances of getting a migraine (even the coffee was tested – PHEW!) but, I have noticed, that if I have a bad night (this can either be lack of sleep or a deep, comatose sleep) and I wake up feeling groggy in the morning…this ‘grogginess’, feeling fuzzy-headed, I don’t know how else to describe the feeling, is a warning sign that something might be brewing in my head, literally.
The migraines themselves are absolutely excruciating?. Anyone who has ever had a migraine can tell you, if they are really severe, you would willingly chop a limb off if you would be afforded even 5 minutes relief. I become very sensitive to light and sound, I’m nauseous and I’ve had my fair share of hallucinations. I know, right! Hallucinations: not in the ‘I see dead people’ sense but I will see people in my room, shining torches on my face, reading books to me, talking to me, running around the room playing games. I mean, I’ve seen some bizarre stuff going down in my room…like an episode from the twilight zone?.
I can look back on these hallucinations and laugh, once I have ascertained from hubby that he didn’t bring the circus through my room, etc but, at the time, it’s a very frightening experience. I have to pause here and ask if anyone else has hallucinations?
I’m not on the beta-blockers anymore because they are contra-indicated with the MS meds but, touch wood, I’ve not had a migraine for about 3 months now. I still get regular headaches but these I can treat with your run-of-the-mill, over-the-counter paracetamol pills. Give me a regular headache over a migraine any day.
It’s unclear whether or not MS is directly responsible for the migraines – the literature says it’s an uncommon symptom and I have been living with migraines a lot longer than MS…but what I am sure of is that the migraines have increased in intensity over the years and these past couple of months have been the longest and most blissful respite I’ve had in years. It would be nice to pin the migraines squarely on the multiple sclerosis…it’s to blame for so many other things?, but, for now, I’m just going to let sleeping dogs lie!
Thank you for reading!