Eva Wiseman describes migraines. And, my, does she do an upstanding job. I know precisely what she is writing about. I had a sick headache last night and had to cry off work. It is unusual for it to have that effect these days and I use the term sick headache instead of migraine because the two are not the same. A migraine is completely disabling whereas a sick headache passes in a few hours. A migraine is a twelve hour shift during which the world passes by in a semi-conscious daze and a cleaver spits one’s head down the middle. A sick headache is manageable most of the time.

I haven’t had one of those twelve hour jobs for nearly three years. Three years during which I have denied myself coffee. Yeah, that was my big trigger along with tiredness. Oddly, the night shifts at Sainsbury’s didn’t affect my migraines in the way that I expected. However, trying to fit in a double shift every Saturday while I have been rebuilding my self-employed work has taken its toll –  yesterday being a final straw, I expect. Now that I am struggling to fit in railway training, motorcycle training and Sainsbury’s and they are starting to clash, something has to give and it will be the latter. Thankfully, after just over a year of enduring the misery of night shifts stacking shelves, I’ll be handing in my notice. Those sick headaches on a Saturday evening will diminish, I suspect. However, the kind of ongoing headache that Wiseman talks of have been a part of my life for most of my life. You just take the tablets and get on with it. Once in a while, such as last night, it is just too much to ignore.

I think I’ll be giving the botox a miss, though. Shame about the coffee, I could murder a decent cup from time to time, especially when I smell the brew Mrs L has on the go.


  1. My trigger is stress and I don’t see a black spot. What I see becomes a nauseating, pulsating, growing number of triangular prisms that slowly grow from one corner of my eyes in an arc to the other.. and a sickly taste of almonds. I was told that migraine is caused by the blood vessels in the brain, expanding or contracting. I find absolutely no pleasure in mine, believe me. I get them less as I have aged but the odd one still finds me with my head buried in my pillow from excruciating pain for 24 hours or more. Worse still, my eldest daughter has inherited them and watching her in agony one or twice a month is horrible. I just hope my granddaughter doesn’t start getting them.

    • I get a blind spot – not a black one, just an area that I cannot see, which is weird. And, no, I don’t get any pleasure from them at all.

      Triptans help if you take them early enough.

  2. I don’t like taking pills. My Dr. once told me I’d have to take pills for the rest of my life for the condition. They were pills that dilated the arteries in the brain.. since then I’ve stopped asking about migraine. I don’t get them that often now, perhaps once a month and I live with them. Botox is not on my list either 🙂

    They are quite a personal condition. My daughter’s are exactly the same as mine, as were my mums. People seem to experience slight variations.

  3. Pleasure?! Do me a favour… The rusty spike hammered through the brain, the inability to see properly, form words clearly, keep anything down or move my head without vomiting, yeah, fun.

    I’ve gone from three migraines a week to about one every 7 or 8 weeks thanks to a lovely medication, Topiramate. Nothing else worked. It meant going to see a numpty neurologist (are all neurologists auditioning for Invasion of the Body Snatchers?) to permit my GP to prescribe it. I’ll take it for about a year and then come off it in the hope that I won’t go back to spending 80% of my life lying down in a dark room puking and sleeping and the other 20% in a daze.

    • I wouldn’t get too hung up on the pleasure aspect – I think what she means is the heightened sensations before the migraine strikes and I do understand what she is on about. It is oddly weird.

      For me the cure was a change in lifestyle. I no longer drink any hot drinks – coffee or tea, for example.

  4. Sue’s is like mine
    Circular, or arcs, of flashing triangles in all colours.
    I’ve learnt that, AS SOON AS THEY APPEAR ..
    … start massaging the back of my neck, vigorously, rotate head as much as possible in all three axes, and take a couple of “Neurophen” or equivalent anti-inflammatory tablets.
    So far, that has worked every time, and the symptoms have vanished in less than 30 minutes.
    Many (but not all) mignarines and similar are caused by restriction of the blood-supply up the back of the neck to the brain – and can be alleviated/cured by taking measures (as described) to remedy that deficiancy.
    I hope this helps.

    • Sometimes that has worked for me and sometimes not. Triptans work on the serotonin levels in the brain, which is also believed to be a cause of the problem. Again, the results are intermittent. If I catch it early enough, then the triptan will work and I can feel the migraine dissipating very quickly, generally within half an hour of taking them. Otherwise, it’s migralive and hope that I get it down before my stomach goes into stasis.

      All that said, not for nearly three years now.

  5. Used to have frequent migranes, no visuals and not usually desperately bad, although frequent. Didn’t come on with stress but triggered by the relief of it – Saturdays after a difficult week at work were hell.
    But I have not had one in 10 years, since I had a heart attack and got put on beta-blockers. It’s the only plus point of an otherwise very unpleasant experience.

    • Yes, I’ve had the relief from stress ones too. My father used to get those regularly when he was working. Saturday mornings were bad for him, too.

      My doctor tried me on beta blockers some years back. I don’t know how effective they were as I didn’t stick it. I would rather not take long term medication if I don’t have to.

  6. I recently started getting migranes daily, after a break of nearly 10 years. The trigger seems to be the opiate pain killers I need to take for another, unrelated condition. They would come on as zig-zag lines starting in my peripheral vision, slowly moving across the whole field of vision so I couldn’t see the computer screen to do any work.

    The solution: Instant relief, no more migranes, able to carry on with my usual opiates: I took up smoking again.

    I haven’t had a migrane since that first smoke 9 months ago.

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