24 November, 2007

Migraine Experience?

An odd thing happened on Thanksgiving Day. I had finished a hard workout and was sitting at the trusty 'puter, getting ready to shower and head off to my Thanksgiving meal (thank you, thank you, thank you to the church for the kindness in taking in orphans) when the migraine struck.

That's not an odd thing. It's been a little over a month since my last one, so it was almost overdue. And a hard workout will provoke the onset if it's sitting out there waiting for a chance to pounce. No sweat. Wait a half hour or so for my vision to return, so I can drive safely and off we go. As I've said before, my migraines meet the technical definition of a migraine, but they are not terribly painful. I just have to work a little harder to think or socialize.

Then again, depression was singing her siren song to me, so I thought about staying home and licking my wounds. Knowing I was impaired, I figured I'd keep getting ready to go, and probably feel like it when the moment came to either put the key in the car or crawl back in bed.

Then I hopped into the shower.

Bam! The symptoms were gone.


I was in full aura-mode, and could not really see the bar of soap when I hopped into the shower, but as soon as that hot water hit the back of my neck I could see again. All the pretty little rainbows were gone, and I could read the print on the back of the shampoo.

As the day went on it felt kind of like I was on hour 24 of the migraine instead of hour 3. It was there, but it was the downhill slide when I am at a good 80%. And the next day I played 3 hours of tennis and today I did an even harder workout without provoking an incident. So, I did not merely postpone the migraine. I seem to have actually gone through it.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

My working theory is that the hot water on the back of my neck caused the blood vessels in my head to constrict. I believe migraines are confirmed to be caused by some kind of vascular swelling or some such, so anything that would tend to make them constrict would alleviate the symptoms.

Next time I feel the symptoms start, I'm putting a hot pack on the back of my neck immediately, and see what happens.

Just thought I'd throw it out there.


Kansas Bob said...

What a great story CP.. you might jump in the shower if the hot pack doesn't do the trick :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

codepoke said...

Hehehe. I might, except half my migraines happen in a 31 story high-rise with 2,000 other people. Someone might frown. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Milly said...

I’ve used the shower to relax when I had one. I’ve also been told that putting your feet in hot water helps. Most of the time I need a pill and a quiet room to take it away. I have had the pressure and light flashes then only had a small head ache that keeps me dragging but not throwing up.

Glad you didn’t have a big head banger.

karen said...

some migraines are caused by vaso-constriction, some by vaso-dilation...yours sounds like constriction because heat will make them relax and dilate. I have to use cold packs.
Also, mine have changed to aura only...except that one hideous one that caused the retinal occlusion. Sometimes that happens..you get the aura but no pain--glad you had the no-pain.

codepoke said...

Hmmm, Milly. If warming the feet can do the same thing, I might be more readily accepted at work - and that's a good thing. :-)

codepoke said...

Thank you, Karen. I thought I might be able to count on you for some solid data - I certainly hoped so!

I bet the constriction is less painful than the dilation, too, so that kind of makes surface sense. And I like it when things do that. :-)

I'm tickled to hear yours have progressed to aura-only. That has GOT to be a lot better, but I know how scary that occlusion was. It was scary just to hear about it.

Thanks again.

karen said...

You know about the occlusions! I did some research on those + migraines. Interesting. Some people have cessation of migraine after the vein blows.
Good news is if it is going to happen again, it's usually soon, so I think we're good if we stay good and healthy actin'!
I hate word verification. There's a big red blob for me to translate. No, it's not my eyes!

codepoke said...

> so I think we're good if we stay good and healthy actin'!


We wrote back and forth about your occlusion, so I know of it that way, and I know of it because I gave myself one while working out. It was not migraine related. My opto thought it was blood-pressure related. Actually, it was more mundane than that. I was straining really hard (increasing blood pressure in the eyes and head) but I was also exhaling slowly by making motor sounds through my lips. (Sometimes it's so good to be alone!) Anyway, it was the vibration plus the pressure that burst my retinal blood vessel.

Fascinating that one little vessel bursting in the eye can switch a migraine off. You'd think someone would figure out how to mimic that reaction.

And I hear you on the verification. Maybe when I have a little more time to kill spammers. I made it up to 2-3 a week, then someone hit me with 50 all at once and I turned it on. I might could turn it back off now. I NEVER finish a comment quickly enough to use the first verification word.