I’m one of those unfortunate people who really suffer with regular headaches and migraines. They run in the family so it was inevitable that I would have them too.
I’m now on regular medication but previously it was rare for me not to have a headache. Occasionally I would realise it and think “Hmmm that’s weird, I don’t have a headache.”
Image from Headspace
I remember I’d get pounding headaches while on the bus on the way home from school while everyone else was screaming, shouting and jumping all over the seats. Once my stepdad had to pick me up from a friend’s birthday sleepover because I started to get a migraine, and 60 seconds after pulling away from her house he had to pull over so I could throw up by the side of the road. And I’ve had to go home sick from work on numerous occasions because the headaches were so debilitating.
I thought a lot of that was behind me. I’ve had all the tests to rule out anything nasty but beyond that my doctors just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. So they prescribed beta blockers. I’ve now been on them for about two years and until recently I’ve had fewer headaches (certainly not every day) and only one migraine that I can recall.
However I’ve started getting them really badly again. It feels like someone has smashed my head with a brick.
I’ve just had one for six days which let up on Saturday night and then returned again on Sunday. And I’ve got it again now. When it’s mild I can cope with it, but when it pounds and makes me feel sick it’s awful. I went back to the doctors again and they think it’s stress. I’m not sure that I feel that stressed, but perhaps it’s subconscious? The body reacts to stress in peculiar ways.
I try to avoid taking standard painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for headaches. I normally find they don’t work anyway (unless I take something really strong, in which case they make me so spacey I’m unable to do anything anyway) and I’m conscious that taking painkillers for too long creates a kind of ‘hangover’ effect where you’ll get a headache when you stop taking them. Damned if you do, damed if you don’t.
My doctor advised that I double my intake of beta blockers for about a week and try meditating to relieve stress. I mentioned that I used to go to yoga classes in Brighton so he’s recommended I start going again. He also referred me to a website called Headspace. It comes with an iPhone app and plays you audio clips which encourage you to meditate for 10 minutes a day for 10 days, helping you to lead a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life. I’m all for giving it a go and actually, the yoga classes I went to at the Brighton Buddhist Centre incorporated meditation into the exercises.
I’ve started trying to unwind before going to bed (I sleep very badly too which obviously doesn’t help the headache situation) by having a bath and reading before trying to go to sleep.
Fingers crossed it all makes a difference!
Do you suffer from headaches? How do you deal with them?