Month: March 2022

The Best Way to Treat Migraines

March 30, 2022

The best way to treat migraines is to find the combination of therapy that works best for you. Whether that is a cocktail of prescription meds and OTC meds or an infusion cocktail or meds and exercise along with stretching, etc.

If there was one best way, you would be pain free and I would be rich.

You are different than someone else. Your triggers are different. Your needs are different. Go ahead, get mad and frustrated. It is maddening and very frustrating. Now, it is time to get to work. Railing against the pain will only make it worse.

Lessen Migraine Pain

What if you could lessen the pain considerably AND decrease the number of attacks? I am up for that, are you? We are going to be realistic. Nobody likes reality when they are in intense pain, and the goal will be to decrease that intensity. You get to choose. You can keep on going as you have been or you can make changes that will help you over time.

Will you choose to be disciplined in your treatment plan to reach your goal? It is simple, but it will not be easy. It will take some trial and error. What are your three goals? You get to pick what is important to you and your needs. Make them personal. Make them things you want to accomplish for yourself. These are the things that will keep you focused when you are not seeing much, if any, improvement at the beginning. It will be a long haul. You have probably been dealing with the attacks and intense pain for many years, so what is 6 more months?

Be Open to the Possiblity that you Can Lessen the Pain

Being open to the possibility that you can lessen the pain. Being open to the possibility that your attack days will decrease considerably. Why is your belief and thought process so important in this area? If you don’t really believe that you can actually be better and feel better, you will not stick with the plan. Barriers and failures will occur. Realize that, and get back on track. You messed up. You didn’t do what you had planned. Admit to yourself that you messed up. No excuses and no beating yourself up. Get back on track and move forward.

As we move forward, always check with your healthcare provider before trying OTC meds, supplements and adjunctive therapies.

About 40% of folks do not respond to prescription triptans. So, for them it is like taking water … they get no relief, but they sure do get that increased heart rate.

It is usually 3 or 4 things together that make the difference. You job is to find those 3 or 4 things that work for you. Here is where it can be difficult as you have to do those things for 3 months before deciding if it is helping you or not. Remember, it is a process. A wanted process that will help you to get better and feel better.

Keep a Headache Journal

If you have never done so, start a daily journal or diary. A spiral bound notebook is fine. You want to address the following:

    • Date

    • Morning – food and drink

    • Mid-morning – food and drink

    • Lunch – food and drink

    • Mid-afternoon – food and drink

    • Dinner – food and drink

    • Evening – food and drink

    • (noting the times will be helpful)

    • Overall mood – address morning, mid-day and evening and any significant stressors

    • Exercise – what, when and how long?

    • Headache today – Y or N

    • If, Yes –      what time began?
        • Notable weather (barometric pressure increase/decrease)

    • Medications taken – how much and when?

    • Relief – Y or N (maybe not gone, but much improved)

    • Symptoms prior to headache

    • Symptoms during headache

    • Time headache is gone

    • List your known triggers that may have precipitated this attack

    • Describe your body sensations – muscle tightness, teary eyes, numbness, tingling, nausea, etc.

Headache Treatments and how much they did or did not help

          Ex. Ice pack, Heat, Meds, Stretching, Trigger point release, etc.

Anything else that is particular to you.

We are looking for patterns. Not all migraines have patterns, but for those that do, we can work towards modifying or eliminating triggers. Triggers don’t cause migraine, but they set off the processes that cause the migraine.

It is best to fill this out on an ongoing basis. There are probably apps that will help you do this if you don’t want to do the writing. This is your research. This is your unique information. This is what can best help you to get better. For those of you that need help in finding your pattern and plans of action, contact me to see if we are a good fit to work together. and place Migraine in the subject line.

I do recommend that a person with migraine see a neurologist that specializes in treating migraine. You have to work with your health care provider. It is a team approach.

Things that you can try (home remedies) to see if they help:

    • Gel Ice pack – use for 20 minutes on your neck, shoulders or back area
        • Some folks like to place it on their eyes

    • Far Infrared heat – Migun mini wrap or mat (there are other manufacturers)
        • You can use far infrared heat for hours. It is to relax tight muscles.

    • Watch out for Medication Overuse Headaches – they are most common in folks that use OTC pain relief products multiple times per day (3 or 4 doses) and multiple days in a row (3 or 4). This is also known as a rebound headache.

    • Deep breathing exercises – Slow, deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4   and breathe out through pursed lips for a count of 6. Make that belly rise. Do this five times. You may be a little light headed. You can do this exercise 3-4 times a day.

    • Acupuncture

    • Massage (weekly or every other week)

SEEDS for migraine control – these are things that you can control to help ease migraines

S – Sleep – be consistent with your sleep schedule, even on your off days. Go to bed and get up at the same time. You may want to consider a sleep study test, especially if you have morning headaches or insomnia. You may or may not have sleep apnea, but there are other sleep disorders that may be impacting you.

Maybe you will benefit from a neck contour pillow? Roll up a towel and place it in the bottom of your pillow. Yes, scrunch your pillow up above the roll. You want to relax your neck muscles.

E – Exercise – Yep, off ass and on feet. Walk or run three or four days a week. Work up to 30 – 40 minutes. Start out with 5 minutes and walk three times a day. Consistency is the key here. You can actually do your breathing exercises while walking/running. Add weight training 2-3 times per week. Yoga, Tai chi or stretching three times a week. Start slow and build up. Find what you enjoy doing. If you think it is a chore, you won’t be consistent. You don’t have to love it, but you do have to like it enough to keep doing it. Maybe, you will like the benefits after it is over.

E – Eat – Foods and hydration are important. Regular meals and consistent hydration are important for overall good health. Eat for nutrition. Drink about half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. I know, most all liquids count, but do your water, too. If you weigh 160 lbs. then drink about 80 ounces of water throughout the day. A bottle of water is16.9 ounces. That comes out to 4.7 bottles of water per day. So, do 4 bottles of water per day and your other liquids. I would suggest a higher protein and a little lower carb diet plan. A heart healthy plan, an anti-inflammatory plan, the Mediterranean diet plan. Find one that works for you. It is a lifestyle change. Change takes time, discipline and planning.

D – Diary – Take the time to invest in yourself. Look at what is going on in your life with work, family and friends. What does your body feel like? How is your emotional state? How is your spiritual state? Make notes about your day, your health, your eating, your hydration and your exercise. We are looking for patterns, if they exist.

S – Stress – It can be good stress or bad stress, but it is all stress. Do something that you enjoy doing. Turn off the computer and your phone at 8:00 pm. Take a break, read, watch tv, talk, etc. Mindfulness meditation is a great tool to help decrease your stress. Journaling for 15 minutes a day to let everything on your mind get out. Practicing gratitude every day will decrease your stress. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. No, they cannot be the same three things each day.

Non-prescription supplements:

You do need to talk with your healthcare provider before stating these.

Riboflavin (B2) – 400mg per day

Magnesium – 400 mg per day (up to a maximum of 600mg per day)

Co-Enzyme- Q10 – 150 mg per day

These are the only three that have shown some promise in migraine therapy treatment. We still do not have any hard proof.

OTC Pain relievers:

Brand or Product name                      Active ingredients per tab/cap

Aleve®                                              naproxen sodium 220 mg

Advil®                                              ibuprofen 200mg

Bayer®                                             aspirin (ASA) 325 mg enteric coated

Anacin®                                            aspirin 400 mg and caffeine 32 mg

Excedrin® Migraine                          aspirin 250 mg, acetaminophen 250 mg,

                                                          caffeine 65 mg     

Excedrin® Tension headache             acetaminophen 500 mg, caffeine 65 mg

Tylenol® Regular strength                 acetaminophen 325 mg

Tylenol® Extra strength                     acetaminophen 500mg

Tylenol® 8 HR Arthritis Pain             acetaminophen 650 mg

Motrin® IB                                       ibuprofen 200 mg

Sudafed®                                          pseudoephedrine 30 mg (have to sign for at


Maybe you have found that taking two generic Excedrin® migraine, one 30 mg tab of pseudoephedrine and a prescription muscle relaxer works for you. Maybe you need a triptan or prescription preventives or a cocktail infusion. Maybe your migraine meds leave you out of sorts for two or three days later. Let’s find the best non-medication ways that will help you. Only take the medications that you need, they are not without risks.

There are many prescription medications to try. Hang-on, you may need to try quite a few to see what works for you. For those of you that have been unable to find a medication that works for you, give the non-medication adjuvant therapies a try. Scientists keep working on ways to prevent or lessen migraine.


What I wish you knew about migraines

It isn’t just a severe headache. Info for those that don’t know. March 23, 2022 Migraines not only affect the person that has them, it also affects their loved ones. Everyone’s emotional health and well-being are affected. Irritation, negative feelings and sometimes anger shows up. That is normal. The problems arise when we don’t deal with the irritation, negative feelings and anger appropriately. Look, the person that has migraines does not want to have them. They are sometimes debilitating and their quality-of-life sucks. Remember, it is not just a severe headache, it is a brain disorder. I have been on both sides of this issue. I have only had three debilitating migraines in my life. I also have had many migraines that were annoyances and I have had some that you cannot think clearly for hours. When you can’t think clearly, it takes about four times as long to work on a project than it normally does. Sometimes, you can push through and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, medications work and sometimes they don’t.


I know what most of my triggers are and I can do a pre-emptive strike with over-the-counter and prescription meds when I feel the familiar pain beginning.  I call it, the cocktail. I usually only have to take the cocktail once and the pain decreases to where I can function almost normally. The great thing about the cocktail, I use less medication overall. My migraines are acute. If they were chronic, then I would have to take preventative measures all of the time. Preventative measures include prescription medications, supplements, massage, running, walking, stretching, etc. As you can see, there are many things that may help with preventative measures. You have to find the group of things that will work for you. We will talk more about treatments and prevention next time. I am thankful that I do not have chronic migraines. For those that do, I can empathize with you. I can also empathize with your family. It is hard on the family when you have plans and then a debilitating migraine flares-up. The plans go out the window or the one that is having the migraine flare-up is left at home. It sucks. If someone is having a severe migraine, they probably should not be left alone. They should be watched. Why? Because they usually cannot get liquids or crackers safely on their own. A person that is having a severe migraine may be having neurological deficit problems and they could even have a stroke. If a person gets to status migrainosus (severe pain, lasting 3 days or more) they can have a stroke. They usually need to be in the hospital at this stage with a neurologist monitoring their condition. As you can see, migraine is not just a bad headache. It takes the whole family working together to help get a handle on calming down migraine. Learning and understanding what a migraine disorder is and the ways in which each of you can help makes it much less stressful on all involved. Eating nutritionally better, regular exercise, staying hydrated, learning more effective ways to deal with stress will help all involved. Help lighten the load at home for the one that has migraines. Be supportive. Ask how you can help them. Don’t be an ass. This is hard when you have been dealing with migraines for a while. During an attack is not the time to go through all the preventive measures “they should be doing.” Learning their own preventive measures takes time. For those that have migraine flare-ups. Are you actively doing anything to try and find ways to decrease your attacks? Are you open to trying two or three things for 3 months to see if they help? Some of you have hurt for so long, that you don’t feel like you have the energy to find things that help. Maybe, you need help in getting plans of action that are unique to you and your needs.

**Shameless plug – I help with these types of plans. – Shameless plug over.**

If you have given up, I hope that you reconsider. Will you be open to the possibility that you can be helped? That you can get better and feel better? Yes, it will take time and effort on your part. You deserve to have fun and a good quality of life. If you are looking for an end to all the flare-ups and pain, that is not realistic, at this point in time. A decrease in migraine days and a decrease in the severity of pain is possible. I encourage you to share this with others. Especially those that do not understand what happens during a migraine attack. My goal for this article is to help others better understand what a person that has migraines goes through.

Headache Types – Migraine, Non-migraine and Mixed

There are many types of headaches, about 150 different types. First, we have to figure out if the headache is a primary headache or a secondary headache. A primary headache has no known underlying cause. A secondary headache is the result of another condition. The other conditions are things like, inflammation, bacterial or viral infections, a trauma to the head or neck, sinusitis, etc.

Examples of the most common primary headaches:

    • Cluster headache
    • Migraine (with and without aura)
    • Tension headache (medically known as tension-type headache)
    • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC), including cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania
    • Silent migraine
    • Basilar migraine
    • Abdominal
    • Ocular
    • Vestibular
    • Status Migrainosus – ongoing pain lasting for more than 3 days

Examples of the most common secondary headaches related to another medical condition:

    • Disease of blood vessels in the brain
    • Head injury
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Infection
    • Medication overuse
    • Sinus congestion
    • Trauma
    • Tumor
    • Hangover
    • Menstrual
    • Exertional
There is a mixed type of headache, a migraine and a tension type headache that happen at the same time. Some call it a mixed tension migraine.

A migraine can occur in four different phases. Not everyone will experience every phase.

Premonitory phase – also known as the prodrome phase Non-painful symptoms that may occur a few hours of a few days Before the headache arrives.
    • Unexplained mood changes
    • Food cravings
    • Neck stiffness
    • Increased yawning
    • Diarrhea or Constipation
    • Increased sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
Aura phase – sensory disturbances that may occur before or during an attack Visual auras may occur in one or both eyes
    • flashing lights
    • zig-zagging lines
    • blurred vision
    • blind spots that expand over time
Sensory auras cause numbness or tingling that starts in the arm and radiates to the face. Motor auras cause problems in the person’s ability to think clearly and communicate verbally.
    • slurred or jumbled speech
    • difficulty understanding what others say
    • difficulty writing words or sentences
    • having trouble thinking clearly
Headache phase – pain ranges from mild to sever (not everyone will have a headache, but they may have all of the other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, off balance, etc. Postdrome phase – happens after the headache subsides and lasting a few hours to a few days
    • exhaustion
    • confusion
    • generally feeling like crap

Migraine Triggers:

    • lack of sleep or jet lag
    • hunger or dehydration
    • foods
    • additives
    • alcohol
    • caffeine
    • medication overuse
    • smells
    • lights and sounds
    • weather
    • female hormones
    • physical activity
    • stress

Unusual signs and symptoms of migraine:

    • Body chills
    • Phantom smells
    • Brain fog
    • Insomnia
    • Stuffy or Runny nose
    • Watery eyes
    • Your skin or hair hurts – Allodynia – pain from things that do not normally hurt
    • Hiccups
    • Ringing in your ears
    • Double vision
    • Trouble hearing or understanding what others are saying
    • Sparks of light in vision

The Complete Headache Chart

Type Symptoms Precipitating Factors Treatment Prevention
  Hangover Headaches   Migraine‐like symptoms of throbbing pain and nausea not localized to one side. Alcohol, which causes dilation and irritation of the blood vessels of the brain and surrounding tissue. Liquids (including broth). Consumption of fructose (honey, tomato juice are good sources) to help burn alcohol.   Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  Caffeine‐ Withdrawal Headaches Throbbing headache caused by rebound dilation of the blood vessels, occurring multiple days after consumption of large quantities of caffeine.     Caffeine.   In extreme cases, treat by terminating caffeine consumption.     Avoiding excess use of caffeine.
        Exertion Headaches Generalized head pain of short duration (minutes to 1 hour) during or following physical exertion (running, jumping, or sexual intercourse), or passive exertion (sneezing, coughing, moving one’s bowels, etc.).   10% caused by organic diseases (aneurysms, tumors, or bloodvessel malformation). 90% are related to migraine or cluster headaches. Cause must be accurately determined. Most commonly treated with aspirin, indomethacin, or propranolol. Extensive testing is necessary to determine the headache cause. Surgery to correct organic disease is occasionally indicated.       Alternative forms of exercise. Avoid jarring exercises.
    Post‐Traumatic Headaches Localized or generalized pain, can mimic migraine or tension‐type headache symptoms. Headaches usually occur on daily basis and are frequently resistant to treatment.   Pain can occur after relatively minor traumas. Cause of pain is often difficult to diagnose.     Possible treatment by use of antiinflammatory drugs, propranolol, or biofeedback.     Standard precautions against trauma.
    Hunger Headaches Pain strikes just before mealtime. Caused by muscle tension, low blood sugar, and rebound dilation of the blood vessels, oversleeping or missing a meal.     Strenuous dieting or skipping meals.   Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates.     Same as treatment.
  Temporomandibul ar Joint (TMJ) Headaches A muscle‐contraction type of pain, sometimes accompanied by a painful “clicking” sound on opening the jaw. Infrequent cause of headache.   Caused by malocclusion (poor bite), stress, and jaw clenching.   Relaxation, biofeedback, use of bite plate. In extreme cases, correction of malocclusion.     Same as treatment.
      Tic Douloureux Headaches Short, jab like pain in trigger areas found in the face around the mouth or jaw. Frequency and longevity of pain varies. Relatively rare disease of the neural impulses; more common in women after age 55.   Cause unknown. Pain from chewing, cold air, touching face. If under age 55, may result from neurological disease, such as MS.       Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. Neurosurgery.       None.
  Fever Headaches Generalized head pain that develops with fever. Caused by swelling of the blood vessels of the head.   Caused by infection.   Aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDs, antibiotics.   None.
      Arthritis Headaches Pain at the back of head or neck. Intensifies on movement. Caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck.     Cause of pain is unknown.     Anti‐inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants.       None.
Eyestrain Headaches Usually frontal, bilateral pain, directly related to eyestrain. Rare cause of headache. Muscle imbalance. Uncorrected vision, astigmatism.   Correction of vision.   Same as treatment.
      Temporal Arteritis A boring, burning, or jabbing pain caused by inflammation of the temporal arteries. Pain, often around ear, on chewing. Weight loss, eyesight problems. Rarely affects people under 50.     Cause is unknown. May be due to immune disorder.     Steroids after diagnosis. Confirmed by biopsy.       None.
      Tumor Headache Pain progressively worsens, projectile vomiting, possible visual disturbances speech or personality changes; problems with equilibrium, gait, or coordination; seizures. Extremely rare condition.       Cause of tumor is usually unknown.     If discovered early, treat with surgery or newer radiological methods.       None.
      Tension‐Type Headaches     Dull, non‐throbbing pain, frequently bilateral, associated with tightness of scalp or neck. Degree of severity remains constant.       Emotional stress. Hidden depression. Rest, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, combinations of analgesics with caffeine, ice packs, muscle relaxants. Antidepressants if appropriate, biofeedback, psychotherapy. If necessary, temporary use of stronger prescription analgesics.     Avoidance of stress. Use of biofeedback, relaxation techniques or antidepressant medication.
      Migraine without Aura     Severe, one‐sided throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cold hands, sensitivity to sound and light. Certain foods, the Pill or menopausal hormones, excessive hunger, changes in altitude, weather, lights, excessive smoking, and emotional stress. Hereditary component. Ice packs; isometheptene mucate, combination products containing caffeine, ergotamine, DHE injectable and nasal spray, 5‐HT agonists; analgesics or medications, which constrict the blood vessels. For prolonged attacks steroids may be helpful. Biofeedback, betablockers (propranolol, timolol), anti‐convulsant (divalproex sodium). Calcium blockers and NSAIDs may prevent or treat migraine headaches.
      Migraine with Aura Similar to migraine without aura, except warning symptoms develop. May include visual disturbances, numbness in arm or leg. Warning symptoms subside within one‐half hour, followed by severe pain.       Same as migraine without aura.   At earliest onset of symptoms, treat using biofeedback, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine or a 5‐HT agonist. Once pain has begun, treatment is identical to migraine without aura.     Prevent with same techniques as migraine without aura.
          Cluster Headaches Excruciating pain in vicinity of eye. Tearing of eye, nose congestion, flushing of face. Pain frequently develops during sleep and may last for several hours. Attacks occur every day for weeks/month, then disappear for up to a year. 80% of cluster patients are male, most ages 20‐50.         Alcoholic beverages, excessive smoking.       Oxygen, ergotamine, sumatriptan or intranasal application of local anesthetic agent.       Use of steroids, ergotamine, calcium channel blockers and lithium.
      Menstrual Headaches     Migraine‐type pain that occurs shortly before, during, or immediately after menstruation or at mid‐cycle (at time of ovulation).       Variances in estrogen levels.         Same treatment as migraine. Small doses of vasoconstrictors and/or anti‐inflammatory drugs before and during menstrual period may prevent headaches. Hysterectomy does not cure menstrual headaches.
  Hypertension Headaches Generalized or “hairband” type pain, most severe in the morning. Diminishes throughout day. Severe hypertension: over 200 systolic and 110 diastolic.   Treat with appropriate blood pressure medication.   To prevent, keep blood pressure under control.
          Aneurysm Symptoms may mimic frequent migraine or cluster headaches, caused by balloon‐like weakness or bulge in blood‐vessel wall. May rupture (stroke) or allow blood to leak slowly resulting in a sudden, unbearable headache, double vision, rigid neck. Individual rapidly becomes unconscious.           Congenital tendency. Extreme hypertension.           If aneurysm is discovered early, treat with surgery.           To prevent, keep blood pressure under control.
            Sinus Headaches Gnawing pain over nasal area, often increasing in severity throughout day. Caused by acute infection, usually with fever, producing blockage of sinus ducts and preventing normal drainage. Sinus headaches are rare. Migraine and cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus in origin.       Infection, nasal polyps, anatomical deformities, such as a deviated septum, that block the sinus ducts.           Treat with antibiotics, decongestants, surgical drainage if necessary.             None.
  Allergy Headaches   Generalized headache. Nasal congestion, watery eyes. Seasonal allergens, such as pollen, molds. Allergies to food are not usually a factor. Antihistamine medication; topical, nasal cortisone related sprays or desensitization injections.   None.
Source:‐_The_Complete_Headache_Chart Sometimes the dang chart does not completely transmit correctly, so you can use the link above. Pat

Describing a migraine to a non-migraine person & Which Time is best, Standard or Daylight-Saving?

You get a “two fer” today.


A migraine is NOT just a bad headache. Did you know that there are people in the world that have never had any type of headache? I have met a few. I could not believe that there were people that had never had any type of headache. Well, I had to talk to them and explore further. Sure enough, they had never had any type of headache. One thing that I learned is that it is very difficult to explain a pain that they have never experienced, so that they can understand that pain.

Pain is subjective.. It depends on the type of pain and the person experiencing the pain. Why is it so hard to explain? I think one of the reasons is that we need a base reference. What are the different types of pain you have experienced? Tension headache, broken arm, broken leg, broken toe, kidney stone, childbirth, arthroscopic surgery, major surgery, heart attack, arthritis flare-up, etc.

Even if someone has the same kind of injury, the pain may still be different than yours. I know. It is crazy, isn’t it? What if we learn how to better state the pain we are experiencing and how to help others understand what a migraine is? They may never understand the pain you experience, but let’s try to help them understand what a migraine is and what a migraine is not.

Here is the definition of a migraine by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “The pain of a migraine headache is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. However, it is much more; the International Headache Society diagnoses a migraine by its pain and number of attacks (at least 5, lasting 4-72 hours if untreated), and additional symptoms including nausea and/or vomiting, or sensitivity to both light and sound. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men and affects more than 10 percent of people worldwide. Roughly one-third of affected individuals can predict the onset of a migraine because it is preceded by an “aura,” visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zig-zag lines or a temporary loss of vision. People with migraine tend to have recurring attacks triggered by a number of different factors, including stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, bright or flashing lights, lack of food or sleep, and dietary substances.  Migraine in some women may relate to changes in hormones and hormonal levels during their menstrual cycle.  For many years, scientists believed that migraines were linked to the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. Investigators now believe that migraine has a genetic cause.”

Look at that. Does that look like just a bad headache? No! It is a brain disorder. It can cause a stroke. It can be debilitating for hours, days and sometimes months.

Look at this information from the Cleveland Clinic. “A migraine is much more than a bad headache. This neurological disease can cause debilitating throbbing pain that can leave you in bed for days! Movement, light, sound and other triggers may cause symptoms like pain, tiredness, nausea, visual disturbances, numbness and tingling, irritability, difficulty speaking, temporary loss of vision and many more.

What’s a migraine? What does a migraine feel like?

A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that it’s the sixth most disabling disease in the world.

What are the types of headaches? What type of headache is a migraine?

There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isn’t caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning there’s no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.”

Learning to describe your pain more effectively.


    1. Nociceptive Pain: Typically, the result of tissue injury. Common types of nociceptive pain are arthritis pain, mechanical back pain, or post-surgical pain.

    1. Inflammatory Pain: An abnormal inflammation caused by an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system. Conditions in this category include gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

    1. Neuropathic Pain: Pain caused by nerve irritation. This includes conditions such as neuropathy, radicular pain, and trigeminal neuralgia.

    1. Functional Pain: Pain without obvious origin, but can cause pain. Examples of such conditions are fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Words used to describe pain.

    • pressure

    • aching

    • squeezing

    • cramping

    • burning

    • freezing

    • numbness

    • tingling

    • shooting

    • stabbing

    • electric shocks (jolts)

    • burning

    • sharp

    • dull

    • intense

    • aching

    • cramping

    • shooting

    • stabbing

    • gnawing

    • gripping

    • pressure

    • heavy

    • tender

    • prickly

    • stinging

    • pounding

    • pulsating

    • throbbing

    • sick (associated with nausea)

    • tightness

    • vise-like

    • jabbing

    • lightning bolts

    • constant

    • constant with jabs

Record your Migraine

Keep a record. Clues are very valuable.


Time (how long did it last)

Where is the pain located?

Are there triggers? List them.

How quickly does the headache develop? (Suddenly, over time, starts low and increases, etc.) Describe the start. You may have to think back before the pain started, what was going on?

Is there a family history of migraines or headaches?

What do you take? What works? What does not work?

Things that may happen Before a migraine

Can you recognize some of the lesser-known symptoms of a migraine? The things that may happen before the pain begins.

    • Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one side of your head or both sides.

    • Pain that worsens with physical activity.

    • Nausea or vomiting.

    • Changes in how you see, including blurred vision or blind spots.

    • Being bothered by light, noise, or odors.

    • Feeling tired and/or confused.

    • Stopped-up nose.

    • Feeling cold or sweaty.

    • Stiff or tender neck.

    • Lightheadedness.

    • Tender scalp.

We should talk about the different types of migraines and medication overuse headaches next time.

Next is the time change debate.

Time Change Stuff

Everybody has an opinion. Especially the two weekends a year we change our clocks. Most of us are out of sorts for a week or two. The “reasons” that are used to change the time twice a year are plentiful and are usually exaggerated or down right wrong.

We aren’t gaining any daylight. The amount of daylight is still the same, our time of day has changed. I am a night owl, but I think that I would prefer the Standard Time to be the one we stay with. Settle down, you can have your say later and I hope that you do. It is much more interesting when we can have a discussion.

When I was younger, I would ask why do we do this? I was told it was to help the farmers and conserve energy. The very next questions was, you guessed it, “how?” So, we would have more time in the evening to do hay. Since most of my family had other jobs during the day and did the farming chores after work and on the weekends, that made sense to me. As for the energy conserving … well, that did not get a good explanation. We stayed out until dark-thirty so I guess we didn’t have to use as much electricity for air conditioning. I know now that there isn’t a good explanation. We no longer use coal to heat. We have much better light bulbs now. It is much better to set the thermostat and leave it alone.

Our body’s circadian rhythm is closer to Standard Time

What happens if the change to Daylight-Saving Time is made permanent? I guess we need to decide if that hour of daylight is better for us to use in the morning or the evening. Our circadian rhythm is closer to Standard Time. It seems as though it is better health wise for us to stay on Standard Time. Kids catching the bus would benefit more from Standard Time. When it is dark out, I don’t want to get up and I know that it is harder to get the kids up. It is hard to get them to bed when it is daylight outside and they have school the next day. Even if you can get them in bed, they don’t go to sleep. They are getting a double whammy. They lose out on sleep time and they are hard to get up in the morning while it is still dark outside.

Maybe the farmers want more light in the mornings. It is really hot outside after two or three.

Now I hear that Congress is getting ready to get in to the time change game. This may be interesting. It looks like our representatives are leaning towards Daylight-Saving Time. If it passes then Hawaii and Arizona will have to change their clocks. Whichever group has the best lobby will probably win.

I do like the idea of never having to change our clocks forward and back. I prefer us to be on Standard Time for health reasons and kids that have to get up early and catch a bus. For the parents that have to get them to bed, it will be easier on you to get them to bed when it is dark outside.

Yes, I do know that Daylight-Saving Time gives us more daylight in the evening to be active or “do stuff.” Is that one hour in the evening worth all the other issues we will have to deal with?

I don’t know 100% which is best, but I am leaning towards Standard Time. If Daylight-Saving Time is picked, then we will make the best of it, do some studies over 10 years and see. Just pick one!

And your thoughts?


If it isn’t visible, it isn’t happening and other bull$%^!

Invisible Illness: how do you get others to “see” what is happening to you on the inside?

If it hasn’t happened to them, they have no idea what is going on. But, a lot of them have an opinion about how you are; how you should or should not feel. Even if they have experienced it, it may not be the same as how you experience it. March 9, 2022 We are all different. Our life experiences are different. Our pain tolerance is different. Our bodies are different. Sure, they are comparable, but they are not exact. We metabolize foods and medications differently or not at all. So many variables affect our immune system. So many things affect the inflammation inside of our bodies. Biological processes are variable. Cultural traits are different. Genetic make-ups are different. We all have special qualities. We have our own body type.

When did healthy become based on appearance?

You can be really thin and be very unhealthy. You can be overweight and be really healthy. People of all shapes, sizes, weights, can either be healthy or unhealthy. You are in your body 24/7 how do you feel and what is going on with you? Is your body nourished with the foods that it needs? I am not talking about stress eating or emotional behaviors, just plain old giving your body what it needs to function at its highest level. Food, hydration, rest, activity and sleep are all important for a healthy body. What happens when a body has an autoimmune disorder? An autoimmune disorder is a condition when your own immune system mistakenly attacks your body. It destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.

What happens inside the body of one with an autoimmune disorder

How would you think a person might feel while all of this is going on inside their body? They have pain, tiredness, fatigue, nausea, rashes, headaches, dizziness and more depending on what disease they have. They feel these things, All-of-the-time, because they have these things all-of-the-time. It would be rare for them to not to feel bad because their body is under attack. My hope is that these folks are working with their doctors and other health care providers to find out what works best for them and their needs. To have the best quality of life possible. I only want folks to take the medications that they need. To use other means to help manage their conditions. Nutrition, hydration, strengthening, mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation, stretching, rest and activity. It takes all of these things plus medications to improve quality of life. I get it. It is hard to do all of these things, work full-time, have a family life, friends, etc. Don’t look at it as giving things up. Look at it as caring for yourself to improve your energy and strength so you can spend more time with those that you love and do the things that you enjoy doing. Your friends and family can do all of those things with you, except, take your medication. It is probably easier to have a work-out buddy to keep you engaged and committed to the routine. That is the key anyway. It will become a routine and then a habit. Once it is a habit, you no longer have to use a lot of brain energy to figure out all the particulars.

Chronic disease is hard on everyone

Living with a chronic disease is hard. It is hard on the person that has it and it is hard on those that love them. It sucks to make plans and then they get cancelled because of a flare-up or a bad day. Once or twice, you can usually get over it, but more than that, it begins taking a toll on all involved. No body wants to make plans because they get cancelled. A wall begins to build up. Everybody is pissed and nobody is talking to nobody about the elephant in the room. Maybe, it is because you don’t want each other to feel bad? Maybe, it’s because, you know that sometimes shit happens and you have to adjust. It is great to realize all of that. You must also talk with each other about it. How you see things, how it makes you feel and what you want. You aren’t really mad at each other; you are mad at the situation. If you are mad at each other, I suggest you go and get counseling now. It does not matter if it is a partner relationship or a friend relationship, you do need help in navigating these issues.

Non-medical messy side of chronic disease

Too often, only the medical side is addressed. No body wants to deal with the messy part of a chronic illness. The parts that leave families strained and sometimes broken. You have to deal with the messy parts. Once you do and you have a workable plan, it can make all the difference in your relationships. It is not easy, but the results are worth it. In my business, I deal with the medical side and most parts of the messy side. If you need a therapist, I will recommend that. Learning and understanding what is truly going on with a person that has a chronic illness is eye opening. Being able to modify plans or activities will improve relationships. You want them at their best, so what are you going to do to help them get to their best?  Can you relate to what they are experiencing? Pain is subjective. We all have different tolerances and what may be a 10 (the absolute worst pain you have ever had) may be a 3 or 4 (mild to moderate) to me. I am sure you have heard people state that they have had a kidney stone and it was the worst pain possible. It has to be worse than having a baby. Why? Because you “say so?”  Because the pain you experienced was the worst pain in your life does not mean that it was worse than the pain of childbirth. Some of you mom’s that have had both can speak to this. I have heard a few moms say that childbirth pain was the worst and I have heard a few moms say that the kidney stone pain was worse.

Chase the Rabbit

Here comes a rabbit chasing. No one needs to suffer from uncontrolled pain. I understand that all pain cannot be eliminated and that is not really the goal of treating chronic pain. We treat chronic pain to help those with that type of pain to live the best quality of life possible. An active life. A fulfilling life. Managing the pain to a tolerable level is the goal. Treating chronic pain takes a multi-prong approach. Medication alone will not provide the relief needed. Strength training is one way to reduce pain. Running or walking is another way to reduce pain. Eating for nutritional needs, is yet, another way to reduce pain. Hydrating every day is another way to reduce the pain. It is all connected. Yes, I know there are many different types of pain. Thus, the multi-prong approach. I don’t believe in cookie cutter approaches to treating pain. People are different, their pain is different, their tolerances are different, medications work for some, but do not work for others. It is very easy to get frustrated when every thing that you try does not work. I use a combination approach with my clients and that seems to work better for pain relief and pain control. It will take effort, some fine tuning to the plans to get the right combination that works for you, but it will be worth it. Rabbit chasing over, for now. After a while, folks just give up. The one with the chronic illness and the one without the chronic illness, just give up. If your loved one has a chronic illness, help them to become they best they can be. Encourage them to take back control of their life. Help them to focus on the solutions and not the freaking problems. What can they do? What can they improve? What will it take to help them? You can’t make them, but you can encourage them, believe in them and help them when they ask. You can’t do it for them and they do get to decide what they will or won’t do. To the one without the chronic illness, you need to take a look at your beliefs about the one that has the chronic illness. This may get ugly. Do you understand what they go through every day? Do you understand that they feel like they let everybody down? Do you understand your part in not being able to go and do? Are you becoming an enabler to their lack of action or lack of participating in activities? There are other things, but you get the idea. Don’t give up! There are things to try. There are things that will make your life easier. Get ready to look forward to activities again. Yes, you have to think about getting ready. You have to reason it out in your mind. The negatives will come rushing at you. All of the “you have tried this and it didn’t work,” thoughts will flood your mind. It may not have worked then, but it is possible that it will work now by doing “x,y and z.” If you are not open to the possibility that things can get better and actually be better, then they won’t.

Who do you need on your healthcare team?

Who do you need to add to your health care team? Me? A sports psychologist? A nutritionist? A therapist/psychologist? A trainer? A workout partner? A deal with my anger and other emotions therapist? An autoimmune disorder may cause destruction of body tissue, may cause an abnormal growth of an organ, or even cause changes in organ function. The areas most often targeted are blood vessels, connective tissue, joints, muscles, your skin, red blood cells, your thyroid or your pancreas and other endocrine glands. Very few of these disorders can be seen. It is all happening inside the body.

Here are some of the most notable autoimmune disorders:

Next time, we will touch on other non-visible health conditions such as migraine, depression, heart disease, etc.

    • Crohn’s disease
    • Lyme disease
    • Narcolepsy (looks more and more like an autoimmune disorder)
    • Psoriatic arthritis
    • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

How do the 5 Senses Change in a Person with a Dementia

No, they are not just being difficult.

March 2, 2022

Your loved one is having an unexpected reaction to the food they are eating. They stop eating, declaring that it has no taste. They become very apprehensive while walking through a door into a restaurant. They are nervous and are becoming more and more irritated. They cannot seem to judge how to sit down in the seat. They seem so distracted that they cannot read the menu or decide what to order.

These things and more are due to the brain not being able to process the sensory inputs correctly or in a timely manner. Their sense of taste and smell have lessened or may even become non-existent. When areas are too dark, they are unable to differentiate the floor from the walls, tables or chairs. Their depth perception is way off and maybe they begin to sway more and even fall more. Noisy places can send them over the edge. Too much sensory information overload can cause a meltdown and unwanted lashing out behaviors. The talking, the music, the televisions may be too much for them to handle.

You probably will not be able to calm them down and so it is best to remove them from the situation. They cannot follow the conversation with all of the distractions. They will become disoriented more easily and their balance will be affected as well.

Dementia Affects Changes in Perception and Processing

Why is this sensory overload happening? It could be an auditory processing disorder. That can be tested by an audiologist. In mild cognitive impairment, any dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease too much “noise” can strain the brain and make it work harder. Our brains only have so much focused energy to use during the day and an impaired brain, has way less energy to use. If they expend all their energy on the “noise” issue they have no energy left to work on anything else. They may be able to hear well, but they cannot process/interpret the sensory input. By the way, hearing also affects balance.

Sight/Vision issues:

    • Lack of depth perception

    • Decrease in ability to detect movement in the room

    • Decrease in ability to see colors

    • Problems recognizing people, faces or things

    • Shadows and light can mess with their minds and what they think they are seeing   .

    • They may be able to see, but are unable to interpret what they are seeing.

    • Things may appear blurry.

    • They may no longer have peripheral vision.

    • They will need more light to see.

Smell issues:

    • Sense of smell decreases

    • They can no longer smell smoke, odors, foods that may be spoiled.

Taste issues:

    • Sensitivity to taste declines in dementias.

    • The last taste to go is the sweet taste.

    • They will add a lot of salt, if the salt shaker is visible.

    • It is perfectly fine to use other spices to help them “taste” their food.

    • When the sense of smell goes, taste goes too.

Touch issues:

    • They may be unable to tell when things are hot. You might want to decrease the hot water heater temperature.

    • They may not know when they have cut themselves with a knife.

    • They may not be able to tell the difference in hot water and cold water on their body.

Hearing issues:

We talked a little about that in our example above.

    • A person with dementia may have normal hearing, but they will probably be unable to process the information correctly. Remember, we hear with our brains.

    • Competing noises are very distracting. Even if it is normal to you, a person with a dementia cannot filter out the extraneous noises.

    • Are the batteries in their hearing aids good? Are their hearing aids working?

    • Do they need to be checked by an audiologist? NOT, a hearing aid specialist.

    • They need a quiet setting. Low music is usually fine. TV is not good and needs to be turned off, while they are eating and talking.

Impaired movement issues:

    • They may take shorter steps.

    • They may drift to one side.

    • They may shuffle their feet.

    • They may slow way down as they walk.

Balance issues:

    • It becomes harder to judge distances and they may bump in to things.

    • They struggle or can no longer negotiate stairs.

    • Balance and coordination may be off and so they trip or fall more easily.

Stiffness/Shaking issues:

    • The muscles can become more rigid which makes it more difficult to move.

    • The muscles can become tighter and restrict movements.

    • The muscles can waste away from inactivity and malnutrition.

Coughing/Choking issues:

    • The ability to chew and swallow may become compromised and even lost.

    • It becomes easier for them to aspirate and a pneumonia set up in their lungs.

A person with a dementia is actually having brain failure. The brain can no longer receive, process, interpret and react to sensory signals appropriately. What is so frustrating is that sometimes ou