Migraines: how much do they suck?


Not during migraines. In fact, if I’m at home when getting a migraine, I will try to get some sleep but always be awake within an hour, unable to fall asleep again. The days after a migraine, however… I feel like I could (and should) sleep the entire day then…


I feel like I should also, but it’s really hard to convince myself and others that I should. Since I’m not in pain anymore, it’s hard to justify becoming unavailable for the people who depend on me. And for those people, they see I’m “better” with the passing of the migraine and start expecting attention again.

Yeah! Invisible illnesses are so hard to explain.


Absolutely. My best hope is to take painkillers w/ sleeping aid and hope that 12 hours later they’ve subsided.


Note: I don’t get a lot of serious migraines, so my sympathies to you and everyone else with them.

Yes, I need to sleep it off big time. When I start to feel a migraine coming on I down caffeine, ibuprofen, a bunch of water, something to eat, and then sleep as much as I can with a target of 12 hours. This covers pretty much all of my triggers (caffeine withdrawal, low blood sugar, dehydration, lack of sleep). Even after all that I tend to lag like crazy the day following and usually try to get a nap in. To me it feels like when you work out too hard and your muscles ache the following day(s). Only in my brain instead of my arms/trunk/back.


I’m glad to hear that your migraines have gotten less intense over the years. Do you think it’s just a matter of getting older, or that you’ve been really good at managing the triggers or the migraine itself? My grandma, who had two- to three-times weekly debilitating migraines lasting 48 hours each, says her migraines just stopped when she hit a certain age. My neurologist said that’s pretty common.

I was worried that picking up kendo, a Japanese/Korean martial art, would be bad for migraines, but I haven’t seen much correlation with being hit in the head with a stick repeatedly, and having a migraine. But maybe kendo trauma doesn’t compare with punching trauma.

My kid’s dad used that strategy. As soon as he saw his first bit of aura, he’d practically inhale dinner, down some sort of blueberry juice for the B-vitamins, take ibuprofen, and chug a bottle of water, all in rapid succession, then go to bed in a perfectly dark room. He didn’t get much sleep before the pain hit, though.

That’s a really good way to put it. My kid’s dad (again) wore a beanie in the day(s) surrounding migraine. At the peak, he wore one of several beanies every day for probably 8 years until he had some brain changes that made the migraines stop… but that’s a different story.

Migraines come in lots of flavors, even not “serious” ones. :) I don’t get auras and usually my migraines are slow onset (about once a year I’ll get rapid-onset intense migraines, but they’re rare). So often I find myself trying to figure out how bad is it really? I mean, should I take the awful meds now, or should I wait and take them later? The last few times I decided that if I’m having that internal debate I should just take the goddamn meds, because the migraine makes me think poorly anyway so I can’t be trusted to make a good judgement. I’m probaby the only person in the world who hesitates to take pain relieving meds, but I really just hate how they make me feel all over.

After the initial migraine and the days of exhaustion that follow, the next problem is the duration of my migraines… The slow-onset, moderate-intensity migraines outlast the meds, so on Day 2 and Day 3 I don’t know whether it helps or not to take something for them. Ibuprofen doesn’t seem to help. Coffee doesn’t seem to help. Oh, and neither does cowering under my desk and weeping softly. And it’s not “bad enough” to take more of the hell-pills.

Any of you guys have really really long migraines and how do you manage day N?

What’s your migraine’s dramatic arc like?


Coffee, but not caffeine*, is one of my triggers. Have you ever tried going off the stuff?

* I drink one metric fuckton of black tea every day now.


Yes, and life became unbearable. ;-)
I switched to weak instant from strong espresso and I did see some improvement. I tried switching to 100% tea and that actually made things worse, though now I’ve re-escalated and drink a pot of tea in addition to the cup of coffee every morning.

You can pry my morning goods out of my cold, dead hands. There is no reason to wake up in the morning if there’s no tea and coffee.


That one punch that ended it for me is nowhere near anything civilized kendo should ever inflict. I was out for a good couple minutes and had all the signs (and recovery process) of a hefty concussion. It was not the sort of punch I took in sparring, and it was not good for me lol. I never should have taken that fight. But that’s hindsight.


I get a lot of the not serious ones. Usually they develop in the evening and last overnight and I think sleeping basically keeps them low. Still all of the migraine symptoms just much lower in intensity. However, they cause me to have that exact mental battle you have. Is it really bad enough to take the sumatriptan? Maybe it’s starting to feel better? I almost always regret it the next morning when it’s still there and I’m now faced with whether to try going to work or not. I’ve managed my 20 minute commute in the past only to find that it drained everything and I can’t actually get out of my car and go into the office. Or the time I walked into the office and as soon as I heard there was a loud conversation going on I noped right out and back into my car. Boss showed up at my car window 30 minutes later to find out what was going on.

I’ve never had a multi-day migraine before so I can’t help there.


I don’t really know. It’s definitely not a matter of managing the triggers: positive and negative stress situations simply cannot be avoided. I don’t get migraines every time I’m stressed (thank god for that, as I am pretty stressed right now, being in the near-final phase of my PhD…), but when I do get a migraine, 9 out of 10 times I can relate it to stress of some kind.
Part of it may be the painkillers, particularly the Lysine, although that doesn’t really make sense: Lysine in itself is nothing special. Still, I do get ‘ordinary’ headaches that Ibuprofen does nothing to relieve, yet the combination of Ibuprofen and Lysine works wonders in those cases. It just numbs the pain down to a level I can handle easily (which is probably helped by the high pain threshold I have developed over the years when it concerns headaches). Taking long hot showers also helps (but then again, that helps for pretty much anything…)
Perhaps it is indeed just a matter of growing older. If that means it will progressively get less painful, I won’t object :-).

Btw: am I the only one feeling somewhat hesitant to talk about migraines for too long, as just talking about it makes me feel kind of sick? Goes to show that even if you only suffer from them incidentally and the pain itself is bearable, migraines still have a major impact. I cannot imagine what that must be like for you Fire, when you get them so regularly and severely…

Seeing that you do get them regularly, you’ll probably already have tried this long ago, but just to be sure: have you checked your eyesight?


Pretty much spot on, except I feel it in my entire body. I truly feel exhausted sometimes. The body really does appear to take quite a hit with every migraine…


I … uh … I’d put that into the “bad enough” category. Like @abrandt I don’t have multi-day migraines. That would most assuredly throw me over the edge into stronger medications to prevent them.

I continue some of my triggers as well, though some are hard to avoid. I drink coffee, I still consume alcohol. There is talk about nitrates at one point and I still enjoy bacon about every other weekend or so. But I also trigger on weather (barometric pressure) changes. Try avoiding that!

For what it’s worth, Fire, you might want to look up the recent links of migraines and gut bacteria. Hell it seems everything is related to that, to be honest. And I’m sure as my migraine intensity and frequency have waned over time it is due to much more than just getting older. There has to be some correlation.

No I feel it too. I have a mild headache today and am wary that it isn’t a migraine as though I’m double thinking it.