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Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating. Ever wondered if you are experiencing a migraine? For those that have suffered a Migraine, you know that it is more than just a headache.

Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

I will never forget my first migraine. It’s truly something you can never forget if you’ve experienced it. We were visiting the husband’s family when I started to have a headache. I took regular headache medicine and figured I’d be just fine. I mean it’s always worked before. I didn’t give it a second thought.

About 30 minutes later instead of feeling better, I found myself doubled over vomiting, my head feeling like someone was literally beating it with a heavy metal hammer. Every TINY noise sent another wave of nausea through me and additional agony on my head. Even the smallest flicker of light felt like someone had seared my eyes with fire, and was pulling each eye in different directions plus laid a 50 lb metal brick on the front of my face.

I had the worst chills. I was freezing. Yet at the same time I was sweating like I had just ran a marathon! Every movement I made sent a new wave of pain and explosion of pressure through my head. I was lightheaded, my vision blurred. There is no understatement that I literally could not function.

I ended up curling up into a literal ball in a room in the basement, with all lights off, and my head hiding under pillows to block out any noise. And I just cried. Which honestly made the migraine worse. But I just didn’t know what to do. I had never experienced this before. I didn’t know what was happening to me!

About 30 minutes after I had taken refuge in the pits of the basement my Mother-In-Law found me. She asked what was wrong. Thank goodness for my Mother-in-law! She knew instantly what was happening. She gave me some common migraine medication and within an hour I was finally able to pull myself out of my hibernation den.

I will never forget that experience. It’s when I truly had my eyes opened that a Migraine is far more than just a headache!

What is a Migraine?

Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

For you that may be wondering, a migraine is more than JUST A HEADACHE. A migraine can often leave you completely debilitated. Did you know that  nearly 36 million Americans suffer from migraines. About 18% of American women and 6% of American men suffer with migraines, and they can last anywhere from 4-72 hours, sometimes longer. Can you imagine being in that type of pain for 3 days? From someone who has been there, I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience.

Common Migraine symptoms include :

  • A pounding headache (obviously)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Pins and needles in your arms
  • Blurred vision and sometimes loss of vision
  • Lightheadedness

Plus each attack can be different between each person. So my migraines can be completely different from say my Sister’s migraines.

Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

What Triggers a Migraine?

After the husband joined the army we were stationed in Germany. I was in heaven! I loved it there. But then he deployed to Iraq a few weeks after we arrived in Germany. So there I was all on my own, in a foreign country where I didn’t know the language. I didn’t know where anything was. I had no family and no friends. My husband was deployed for 15 months. I had 2 little boys under the age of 2 to raise on my own. To say I was stressed was an understatement.

And that is when the migraines started to become a regular occurrence. Up until this point I had only experienced 2 migraines in my life. And they were very well spaced apart. But now I was experiencing them so often I couldn’t take care of me or our little boys. It was easier to say when I didn’t have a migraine than to track when I did have a migraine. I went to the doctor for help. He had me begin a Migraine Journal so we could figure out what was causing my frequent migraines.

I was to record in a notebook

  • all foods I ate and drank and when I ate/drank them,
  • what demands I had on me each time a migraine began
  • how much sleep I got each night
  • how I felt emotionally before, during and after a migraine.
  • when a migraine started, how long it lasted and when it ended.
  • what the weather was like around when the migraine began
  • any medications I was taking
  • what activities I was doing when a migraine began.

We were using the journal to keep track of everything that could possibly be causing my migraines.

Common Migraine triggers can include

  • Foods (especially simple carbohydrates or lots of sugars)
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Lack of sleep
  • Too Much caffeine
  • Caffeine Withdrawals
  • Dehydration
  • Changes in weather
  • Medications
  • Odors
  • Bright lights
  • Amount of time on electronics, video games, watching TV, movies, etc that has lit screens

Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

After a few weeks we were able to see a pattern emerge with each migraine I experienced. And with this knowledge and guidance from my doctor we were able to begin setting up a treatment plan and how to eliminate my triggers.

Did it alleviate all of my migraines? Well, no. I still get them. Because there is no way to eliminate all of my triggers 100% of the time. I can’t control the weather or my allergies. But we have definitely drastically reduced the number of migraines I get, how often and how severe they become.

Do I have a Migraine? Why a Migraine is More than a Headache

If you think you may suffer from migraines, or know someone who does, you can learn more at to find relief.


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