Monday, March 30, 2009


Monday, March 30, 2009
In the middle of washing my dishes, I get this premonition that I'd be spending my afternoon in the company of my bed. I had this mind numbing, or was it throbbing, idea of sulking it off throughout the rest of the day. After a while my head starts to throb and I turn off every light and sound source. Start to pray that I had access to the coldest room while I try to lull myself to sleep. I used to curse every pain medicine, afraid that I'd be dependent on it. Lately I've decided that my time wouldn't be wasted on migraines. Thirty minutes after taking in one pill, the excruciating pain disappears.
Its not a joke having migraine. Through out my stint in the ER, I realized how these headaches could paralyze one's day. Its classical presentation begins with an aura, then it progresses to this severe one sided headache (from the old enlish "megrim" meaning severe headache). It may be accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light or even sound. I used to induce vomiting as I've learned that sometimes it relieves me of the headache. The downside of that was I was scarring my throat. While treating my patients I soon realized that I should do what I was preaching. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Migraine has so many triggers and it varies from one person to another. I've encountered people whose trigger included caffeine while I on the other hand found that caffeine relieves me of my headache. Until now I don't know what exactly my triggers are, but one particular ingredient I was able to pinpoint yesterday. Pepper and a certain amount really triggered my migraine.

Here are the most common triggers:

  • Strong odors/perfumes
  • Bright lights, loud noises
  • Changes in sleep/wake patterns
  • Skipping meals
  • Alcohol
  • Menstrual cycle fluctuations
  • Stress
  • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami)
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods

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