Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get out of my HEAD!

Let's talk about head pain. Migraines and otherwise. A dear friend posted a picture on Facebook... the following:

(Let us briefly thank the people at someecards.com for the joys of being able to make our own snarky e-cards.) She tagged me in the post, but only because she knew I do get TRUE migraines. I thought it was funny. Others thought she was making fun of me, but I knew otherwise. (So others... no need to bug her... she was standing next to me when I pointed out I wanted to fall down and cry earlier that day, but I kept working because the work wasn't going to do itself, and saved the rest for when I got home... she knows I was amused by the card.) The point of this is when people say they have a migraine, but it's not a migraine.

Because unfortunately, a lot of people think a bad headache is a migraine. Tension headaches are not migraines. Rebound headaches are not migraines. Sinus headaches are not migraines. They all hurt like hell in their own ways, but they are not migraines.

I go to the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute to participate in migraine research studies, in the hopes of helping them build a better mousetrap, as it were. In order to ensure that people who are testing the medications really do have migraines, they go through testing and extensive questioning to make sure it's not another form of head pain. My file lists the frequency, triggers, even the *side* of my head that the migraines generally affect (left, in case you wondered).

So you think you have a migraine?

Here is the official symptomology to determine whether you do or not:

"IHS diagnostic criteria

Migraine without aura (MO) diagnostic criteria

Migraine with aura is similar, just with an aura. Click on the link, it also gives the official criteria for other debilitating headaches. Think you have a migraine but it's across your whole head and a stabbing pain? You can probably figure out what it really is there... and from there, you can figure out how to get rid of it. Because naming the enemy brings you one step closer to defeating the enemy.

What's REALLY fun is when you have a migraine layered with a tension headache. Or with a sinus headache. Those bring me great joy. If, by joy, you mean "the urge to go hulk on the world and smash things". 

Right now, I'm on day 4? 5? of a migraine/tension headache roller-coaster, triggered by monthly hormones. Throw in a bit of PMDD, and I'm just a fun person to be around right now. But I'm still doing laundry, taking care of my kids, making sure food has been prepared, doing all the stuff I'm supposed to do. 

But it's not as fun. I want to be baking and knitting and sewing and washing all the wonderful dishes that came with the china cabinet I got from my parents last week. (You know... the stuff that, as a kid, you know you aren't allowed to touch, but you look at through the glass and make up stories about... I got that stuff.) Instead, I'm sitting in the living room, in the semi-dark, with sleeping dogs around me. Work this afternoon for a bit, that's all. If I'm lucky, the worst of all of it is behind me now, and tomorrow I will be refreshed and alert and a whole new woman! (*snort*) Or something like that.

But for now, seriously, all this pain can just get out of my head. Please.
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