When I was in 8th grade, our basketball team was unstoppable. We went undefeated in the regular season and were playing a big tournament game that everyone was so hyped up for it. The day before the game, I experienced what would be my first in numerous migraines and the pre-migraine symptoms were incredibly scary. Out of the blue, I lost vision in my left eye with a large white spot blocking most of my sight. The entire left side of my body went numb – my mouth and speech, my hand and leg. I became nauseous and light-sensitive and it was one of the scariest bodily moments I can remember, especially for a 13-year-old. I had no clue if I was stroking, having a brain aneurysm or simply dying. These symptoms lasted about 2-3 hours and then the extreme throbbing headache that took my breath away followed behind. The migraine would last 2-3 days and could literally put me flat on my back in bed.
The first time it happened, I was in so much pain that we went to the ER and they gave me pain meds. But the second time it happened just a month later, the doctors starting playing detective. I had all kinds of tests done, brain scans taken, experimentation with medicines. I had to wear nitroglycerin tablets in a necklace around my neck, a heart attack medicine that opens up the veins in the body (including my brain) in case of an emergency. Eventually Imitrex became an option, along with taking a daily aspirin, which didn’t go over well with me. The last thing I wanted was to spend my life on medicines.
When many of these tests came back clear, the doctors started looking at the “why” of the matter and what was triggering the migraines. I was young to be going through this and in every instance – I think I had 5 migraines in 6 months – I was under, what I considered at the time, a high level of stress and anxiety. They all occurred before stressful events in my life, an important basketball game, the science fair, high school volleyball try-outs, changing schools, etc. Being stress-induced, I started focusing more on controlling my emotions and not getting so worked up over things. I was an even crazier perfectionist at the time, so I begin breathing easier and really tried not to worry about tomorrow. The combination of all these things seem to be the cure.
Fast Forward 15 Years
I am now in the middle of my very first migraine since that period in my life. I am normally a very healthy person, even as a kid. I am hardly ever sick (minus pregnancy morning sickness, which kicked my butt) and I’m not one that just gets headaches. I was shocked to wake up Wednesday morning with this throbbing, pounding headache that slowly started in my forehead and made it’s way to the top-back of my head over these last 3 days. And that’s how long it’s lasted – 3 days. I paused for a moment on Wednesday morning and really evaluated where I am at in life and I don’t feel like I am under any amount of high stress or anxiety but I’ve been trying to really take it easy and stay calm.
I obviously don’t have any of the medications from when I was a kid, but I do remember that doctor once telling me that if I need relief on-the-spot to drink a Surge or Mountain Dew, anything with a high-level of caffeine. Yesterday I was in so much pain and home with my kids all day that I drank some 30+ ounces of Dr. Pepper (gross) and it relieved the pain somewhat, but this morning I woke up to a new round of jack hammer pounding that makes it hard to even see straight.
So now…not wanting to go on any medications, I am in search for a natural remedy for this. Tonight I am going to try a couple of different approaches:
#1 – Essential Oils – I love my oils and I’m not sure why I haven’t used them earlier this week. They are so powerful at naturally healing so many different types of ailments. I have peppermint, which is known to relieve headaches. Rub a few drops on the temple area and back of the neck then breathe in deeply the beautiful scent into the nasal cavity. Peppermint relieves stress and anxiety and opens up any sinus pressure. Lavender oil (my fav!) has been used for centuries for its calming effects. Add a drop or two to a neck or head compress and relax. I may even try rubbing a combination of peppermint-lavender-eucalyptus on the bottom of my feet with a carrier coconut oil, propping up my feet and get lost in a good book.
#2 – Vitamin-Rich Smoothie – I have read that a vitamin or mineral deficiency can trigger a migraine so I found a recipe for an all-natural migraine reliever smoothie that I am going to make. It has simple enough ingredients:
- 1/2 pineapple
- 4 kale leaves
- 1 stick of celery
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/4 lemon
- 1/2″ ginger root
Blend and enjoy! Even if a deficiency isn’t the trigger of my headache, having all these awesome nutrients in one smoothie can only help me recover.
#3 – Java Chip Frappaccino – I don’t drink coffee, but I may just get one of these on my lunch break. A little caffeine couldn’t hurt, right? 🙂
Do you have any natural remedies that you use for migraines? I’m looking for suggestions to kick this thing in the butt!