A Pounding Head

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The band fastened around the top of my head tightens and does not seem to let go. The slightest noise is deafening as I tiptoe figuratively across the room. I hush my children as they excitedly share a story with me. I feel like an old woman as I prepare the dinner, wishing only for the solace of a quiet and darkened room. What I feel is more than a nagging headache: it is a vice centred around my brain that cannot be pushed under the business of daily life.

It is bedtime and I lie with relief on my pillow. But the relief is short-lived as the pain intensifies and I clutch my head in pain. I give in. I reach for two Tylenol extra strong tablets. The drug is sure to relieve the pain a little so that I am able to sink into the pain-relieving sleep that awaits me.

A migraine is a headache that may be experienced with some of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, throbbing on one side of the head, eye pain, and blurred vision. This intense head pain is triggered by physical or emotional stress; certain foods (such as processed, fermented, or marinated foods); foods containing msg; environmental factors; allergic reactions; extreme changes in weather patterns; over-exercise; and changes in sleep patterns.

If you can figure out the trigger for your migraine, you will be able to make the necessary lifestyle changes to avoid these debilitating headaches. If you are unsure of what the trigger is, you can consider doing the following:

  1. Reduce stress with exercise and relaxation
  2. Eat regular meals
  3. Make sure you have enough sleep
  4. Limit your use of medications
  5. And avoid trigger foods.

Some known trigger foods are cheese, chocolate, red wine, nuts, prepared sauces (such as mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise), and coffee. The best way to discover your food triggers is to keep a food journal. Personally, I have not tried keeping one yet.

Are you a migraine sufferer? What tips do you have to decrease the frequency of these intense headaches?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012


31 thoughts on “A Pounding Head

  1. Sorry for you! My darling Dad has suffered with migraines since he was six years old so I have a good idea how very debilitating a migraine can be. He became a pharmacist and later figured out that his trigger was any sudden sharp flash of light – so much so that he eventually had his chemist shop front windows laminated with something to reduce the glare! He also had a “cocktail” which he made up and took immediately he felt the onset of a migraine – something for nausea; something for pain – and rather oddly, one of those effervescent pills used to relieve the liver after overindulgence! But his ‘cocktail; became quite famous in our little country town and fellow sufferers would come and ask for Colin’s Migraine Cocktail – Apparently it worked very well!!!


  2. Well-written, and you have my sympathy in buckets. I don’t get migraines often, but have had my share! Devastating! With my head injuries, I get some pretty spectacular headaches, but none quite as bad as the migraines!


    1. It seems like all the headaches rolled into one – almost as if they are saved up because I always push them aside. Thank goodness I do not get them often.


  3. As a fellow migraine sufferer, I feel for you. I never figured out if there was any particular food that would trigger one. In my case I think the trigger was mostly stress. After the onset of my menopause my migraines have become quite rare, thank God!


    1. Sometimes I can fall asleep naturally (ie:without taking painkillers) but often i have to reach for the pills to lessen the pain a bit so that I can sleep


  4. I’m very thankful I don’t get migraines. My sister does and when they first hit, she can’t see, which contributed enormously to the panic attacks she had when her children were little.
    I’m glad you’re feeling better!


  5. I’ve had headaches since 1988. My sister has them and so did my Dad. I don’t think mine are brought on by foods, I think they maybe from stress or tiredness. I once spoke to a doctor who believed his were from sheer tiredness (maybe upset sleeping patterns). Over the years they’ve become more mild, and instead of pain I feel like I have a couple of bricks planted over my eyes. A horrible sleepy heaviness which makes thinking difficult. Sleep helps. Sometimes I throw ibuprofen at them. Either way they are such a pain in the bum. 🙂


  6. I hear from others that this kind of head ache is really bad! Don’t know it. My head aches are stress related and they know they have to be off after a nights sleep and some panadol! (Not that easy anyway) Going for a long walk also helps


    1. Unlike a simple headache, this pain sometimes lingers for more than a day – with the pain lessening after a long night’s rest. I think it is a way of my body telling me that I need to rest 🙂


  7. Glad to hear that your migraine is over! I have been lucky to not have suffered with headaches at all during my life. But, I have heard from others who have and it does not sound like fun. Some have said that the change in the weather seems to be trigger for them. We have had a huge barometric change over the last couple of days. Could that be the cause?


    1. I was wondering the same thing as I was standing in the classroom today. I felt a nagging throb in my head and made sure that I drank enough so that I would not be dehydrated. Thankfully today the beast did not enter my head 🙂


  8. I can relate to what you are experiencing. I was a frequent migraine sufferer and used to have them a few days a week. I know my triggers, and I have found treatments that help. My migraines have decreased significantly, and I’ve gone a few months now without a migraine (only if I can stay away from fragrance/chemical triggers). Here is a posting where I wrote about my experience and treatments. Hope something will help you:


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