Saturday, November 3, 2012

Curing Migraine....

Two years ago when my migraines suddenly took over my life, I got a LOT of suggestions for things that would improve the situation.  Now that Babygirl is riding in the same boat (I HOPE it's the same boat - I really don't want anything worse than migraine!) I am getting a ton more.

I'll do my best to cover some ground here. 

First, I DO believe in massage, manipulation, chiropractic care and so on.  I have had manipulations done while I was having migraines.  It worked beautifully.  But it didn't stop the headaches from coming back, and it is not a skill a lot of people have.  Massage is wonderful, but for me it tends to accentuate an active headache, and it's difficult for me to assess whether it decreases frequency. 

With Babygirl, treatments that involve having someone touch her are difficult.  As a toddler we discovered that she as some Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  She was extremely sensitive to clothing, shoes, socks and so on.  I think her current love of skinny jeans stems from the fact that they apply even pressure from her waist to her ankles, no tickly flapping material.  She wears fairly tight camisoles under her tops, and I think for the same reason.  She is so severely ticklish that CHOP anaesthesia has made note of it.  She requires extra sedatives for procedures because touching her belly makes her pull up her knees and giggle, even when heavily sedated.  She HATES back rubs, pedicures and shampoos at the hair salon.  However effective these treatments might be for her, she cannot, oddly, tolerate them.

Various herbs and natural products have been suggested.  Because her anti-rejection medications have many, many interactions with other drugs (and potentially with food, IE grapefruit, and herbs) we have been advised to not allow her to use them.  Topical peppermint oil seems to make her worse, while it seems to make me feel better.

Someone suggested sports drinks like Gatorade to help increase potassium.  Usually her diet is fairly potassium-rich, and her blood tests always show her potassium levels to be at the higher end of normal.  But we are also forbidden to use sports drinks.  The salt/sugar/potassium combo is not at all good for people with kidney disease.  It is true that hydrating her helps the headaches get better.  We use water, dilute iced tea (wouldn't be my first choice but it is hers), and low-salt chicken or beef broth. 

As for the list of suggested "It might not be migraine ask the doctors about this instead" idea, I have made a list.  I have, banging around inside my head, my own paranoid and worrisome list.  Frankly, it's times like these when it truly, truly stinks to be a doctor. 

There's a saying in medicine: "When you hear the sound of thundering hooves, you should picture horses, not zebras."  For example, a patient in my office who is coughing is far more likely to have asthma than a lung parasite.  That being said, I've had the patient with the lung parasite.  Zebras seem to rampage through my office, and we aren't surprised anymore by the occasional pygmy hippopotamus. 

My head is full of zebras, a few Tommy gazelles and a river full of hippopotami.  Babygirl already possesses one zebra disease.  This time I want a horse.  Migraine would work for me.  That, at least, won't endanger her life any further than the zebra she's already riding.



  1. I am hoping that there is something that can be altered in her diet or meds that can relieve this poor child.

  2. Because you mentioned pygmy hippos -

    I figured you probably haven't seen this, as it was a Canadian TV ad a few years ago. But it might make you smile. And probably make you *want* a hippo. :)

    1. Awwww - I want a house hippo! You have changed my mind.