Fire Frog's

My Migraines Page.

 Ever wonder what a migraine looks like from the inside? Wonder no more! With the magic of several paintshop programs I have rendered my migraines in living colour! Enjoy.

Before we begin, here is some advice on headaches - thanks to a Pharmaceutical Society of Australia pamphlet. I hope you find the information helpful (and reading it allows time for the pictures to load!)

Four Most Common Types of Headache

Tension Headache. - caused by muscle contractions (spasms) over the neck and scalp, causing pain in these areas. Stress, worry and anxiety can cause them. They often feel like there is a tight band around your head or a weight on top of your head or shoulders.

Migraine. - is a severe headache, which may only be felt on one side of the head. Some people have warning signs (aura symptoms) up to an hour before the headache starts eg flashing lights, tingling or numbness ('pins & needles') on one side of the body. Nausea and vomiting commonly occur. Often bright lights become very uncomfortable and any noise causes the headache to become worse.

Cluster Headaches. - occur in bouts (clusters), usually lasting for weeks or months and are separated by pain free periods of months or years. Severe pain occurs behind one eye or on one half of the head, with redness and watering of the eye and blockage of the nostril on that side. It can last for ten minutes to 2 hours and may occur again several times in 24 hours, often waking the person from sleep.

Sinus Headache. - caused by increased production of mucus within the sinus, or blockage of the drainage system or both. Pressure builds up within the sinus, causing pain. This pain is felt over the sinus affected, usually behind and around the eye or over the forehead. Usually only one side is affected. This side feels tender and the pain is worse when bending forwards or lying down.

Trigger Factors for Headaches.

Triggers aren't the same for everyone and they may be different for the same person at different times. They include -

  • Stress, tension, anxiety.
  • Coffee withdrawal
  • Too much alcohol
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Some foods (peanuts, coke)

  • Hormone changes ie periods, pregnancy, oral contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy.
  • Fasting, delaying or missing meals
  • Strong smells or fumes
  • Some medicines (ask your chemist)
  • Self Care

    * Try to find out what triggers your headache and avoid it.
    * Keep a simple diary record of your headaches and activities to help find your trigger factors.
    * Plan ahead, rearrange activities to remove stress, let others help.
    * Learn to relax, exercise regularly.
    * Get plenty of sleep.
    * Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet, drink lots of water.
    * Wear sunglasses to reduce glare.
    * Take regular breaks if you work in the same position all the time.

    Medicines

    Try simple over the counter pain relievers.***
    For sinus headache apply a warm, damp cloth over the sinus area, use an inhalation or decongestant medicine.
    With doctor prescribed medicine it is important to take the right dose at the right time. Follow the doctor/pharmacists advise on how much and when.

    ***Fire Frog's note - check that the 'over the counter' drug does not interact with other medicine you are taking ie I'm not to have 'asprin' because it interacts dangerously with Diamox.

    Important

    See your doctor if your headache-

    * Doesn't ease with over the counter pain relievers within a day.
    * Is severe and lasts for more than four hours.
    * Starts after exercise, sex, straining or coughing.
    * Is worse in the morning then improves.
    (ICH people note this one!)
    * Occurs while you are on the oral contraceptive pill.
    * Is sudden, severe or is a new type of headache.
    * Occurs after a head injury or an accident.
    * Is associated with
    - disturbances in your sight, loss of balance, vomiting.
    - any neck stiffness.
    - drowsiness, confusion, poor memory.
    - fever, joint & muscle pains.

    * Headaches in children are unusual and should be seen by a doctor.

     Crystal

    My migraine crystal. This is now the only visual disturbance that says 'migraine on the way'. The rest come and go at random. It kind of twinkles a little, as well, which I couldn't show.

     No nose

    This sort of thing precedes the migraine crystal, can you see what it is? It makes it hard to type when it turns up, and I would not try to drive when it hits. It also makes it hard to use the telephone, a fact I wish my employers would appreciate. They want me to immediately phone and make a doctors appointment when this happens, then drive to the doctors (on that day, presumably while the migraine is in progress) and get a certificate from said doctor. Riiight! I'm also afflicted with incredible lethargy during a migraine.

     Curves 

    These are little curves, just like the marks you get when you stab a bar of soap with your fingernail. There are a lot more of them and they fade to grey.

    little purple dots

    Little purple dots that spray across my vision. It's like having Xmas lights going off inside my head, some days. These also fade to grey.

      Big purple dots

    Big purple dots, twice as startling to see.

     Purple splot

    Purple splot, like someone took a wet paint brush and smacked me in the eye with it. Well, something like that. J

      Green splot

    Green splot. Variation on the theme.

     Note! The picture below is almost certainly the result of
    Benign Intra Cranial Hypertension. This is caused
    by the internal pressure of the skull pinching the optical
    nerve. If you see things like this or the link things in
    the picture below it, go to your doctor and ask to see a
    specialist. If you don't, it may cost you your sight.

    Grey gravel 

    Grey gravel pushing through, this stuff looks more textured than I could draw it, and tends to change shape a lot. Due to its size and tendency to hang around for a bit, this and the one below frighten me the most.

    Oatmeal splat

    This oatmeal coloured disc lasts for only seconds, but is frightening anyway.

     Links

    Grey links. These can be vertical or horizontal. They are more like true links than I managed here, like linked chain, and have a glowing outline.

     

    The links have recently degraded into this. The edges are more a tan colour.

     

    This is what the links grew into recently. This and similar patterns that have symmetrical shapes parade in rows across my sight.

    whirlygigs 

    There is another one I get that is all small grey whirligigs that wriggle like mad in tiny circles. No idea how to draw it. The whirligigs are shaped roughly like commas ,,,, or as a fellow sufferer has pointed out - wiggling sperm.

    Lightening.

    This is sort of my gold lightening. There can be more or less of it, and the edges glow golden. It is very startling.

     Black veins.

    Dark edging and reaching in veins, this is a common sight when waking or getting up.

     The Dot.

    For years I have had a small dot that remains in a fairly
    constant position, except that it seems to go back and forth in
    my focus. That is, I can see it if I focus at a certain distance,
    but not at another. The distances, and the dots size, change.

    Small dot

    On window.

    Fade dot

    On floor.

    burned through hole

    On window.

     Migraines are a pain in the ass to live with. Please try and
    find out what causes your migraines. Some people do get them
    from food allergies, but not everyone. There are other, more
    sinister reasons. And on that cheery note, I shall be signing off.
    Bye. Take care!

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