By María (Guest Writer) –
I started being aware of my migraines when I was about 7 years old. My mom was a migraineur all her life. My dad is a doctor so we (my mom & I) have been searching all our lives for the cause of our pain and the possible forms of relief.
Every single doctor I’ve seen since I was a girl has told me that my migraines are hereditary. Hearing this is the worst because there is no explanation to what causes them. There are many types of migraines and many causes. For me, there is no physical cause making my head hurt: no tumor, no abnormalities, no head or brain injury, or accident. My mom had them (I said had because now that she is older and wiser the migraines have disappeared), my grandpa (mother’s father) also suffered from this disease but not as severely and an aunt on my dad’s side suffers from migraines as well.
Throughout my life I have visited infinite types of doctors or healers seeking for answers and relief. Some of them have worked a little but over time my pain always came back. Just to give you an idea I have tried neurologists in Venezuela and in the United States. I have tried every single preventive medication there is out there: acupuncture, homeopathy, I test my eyes and teeth regularly, I’ve changed my mattress and my pillows. I have been through countless MRIs, EEGs, etc, with no hope. I have tried neurofeedback, Botox shots, relaxation, exercise, and so forth. I have never found a specific food trigger. My last doctor told me that he had no more options for me. That was totally unexpected. No one is ready to hear that you ran out of options for your chronic illness.
As I got older the migraines have evolved. Not in a good way. They have become more intense, frequent, and harder to kill. At one point I was taking 20+ pills a day between painkillers and preventive medications. I was physically feeling the adverse reactions that excessive meds give you. I was getting worse each day. My migraines started to come not only on a daily basis and many times a day but also with nausea, heartburn, fatigue, stomach discomfort and, of course terrible mood swings. After many failed attempts with traditional medicine I decided it was time to make it stop. So I embarked on a journey dedicated to healing myself. I knew that I had to seek how to cure myself alone. I was determined to decrease my migraine attacks in half and make my pain less intense and chronic. I also knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task.
I was determined to find some kind of way to make my daily life easier but I was kind of lost. I knew there was a solution for me somewhere, but where? I felt hopeful, nervous and skeptical at the same time. The only thing that was left for me to try was a nutritional approach. I needed to get serious about my eating habits.
I decided I wasn’t ready to do it alone so I went to see a nutritionist, someone hat knows the human body well and how each food we put in our mouth affects us. The first thing he told me was to cut sugars and flours. Easy said than done, right? He was positive that my rebel migraines happened because I was eating to many sugary and over processed foods. He guided me every week for 3 months on how and what to eat. As I said before, I was very skeptical but I was willing to try anything. By the time I started this adventure, I was taking Topiramate 200mg and Venlafaxine 150mg daily. I had strong to unbearable migraines every single day. I have never been a good sleeper until recently.
After radically changing my eating habits my migraines had decreased 80%! It is not perfect but I have a life now. I now I will get to 100% better with time. Every morning I used to get up in pain or get one within 20 minutes. Not anymore! Last month I had over 10 days of zero pain! I still have to pinch myself while I write these words. When I get a migraine it usually goes way with the first round on painkillers. And what’s best: I AM NOT TAKING ANY MEDS TO PREVENT PAIN! Still, this is hard for me to process. I literally can’t believe it yet. My sleep has improved enormously. My mood and my energy have improved so much!
My advice to all the people out there who suffer from migraines and feel hopeless is: You are not alone. Find support. Find your tribe. It is not so easy to find your triggers. This is harder if you are in constant pain. It takes time and hard work BUT please try. If we feed ourselves crap our bodies will be crappy. Good nutrition is key for a long healthy life. If people ate better food there would be less chronic diseases around. It is way worse here in the US where almost everything has tons of hidden sugars and is over processed. Take the reins of your eating habits and your health. Start small and don’t get obsessed about it. You will thank yourself later.