Advance Warning

About a month ago, I was in a nasty cycle where I’d have a migraine, have three hours off, then have another migraine. On the third day of this, I already had plans to go out for coffee with a friend and thought I was coming out of the cycle, so I went. I expected to be dragging a little, but I had tons of energy. I couldn’t keep a train of thought and I had a terrible time finding words, but I couldn’t stop talking. No more than 10 minutes after I got home, another migraine hit.

Not long after that, I went to my book club meeting and, again, was charged. I felt like energy was practically flowing out of my joints. When I got home that night, a migraine hit.

I’ve since realized these bursts are part of prodrome, the period before a migraine. I’m always fascinated when I learn how migraines affect the body beyond pain, but more importantly, abortants are most effective when taken during prodrome. Figuring out what your prodrome symptoms are is easier said than done. They’re a study of contradictions.

You could be sad, easily annoyed, yawning and tired or hyper, talkative, having trouble finding words and slurring the ones you do find. You might be hungry or have no appetite, have food cravings (especially for carbohydrates) or be disgusted by certain foods. Maybe you’re sensitive to light or sound and your muscles are stiff. You might have constipation, bloating, diarrhea and have to pee all the time. You could have any of these symptoms in any sort of combination and they aren’t necessarily consistent from one event to another.

Tempting as it is to dismiss these as just a funk, a good mood or an upset stomach, being aware of prodrome symptoms might help you get better treatment. If your migraines are close together, something that seems like a hangover from the previous headache (postdrome) could actually be prodrome. Knowing that taking a triptan early may keep your headache bay makes a good case for keeping a headache diary. I definitely know now that when I’m bouncing off the walls, I should have a triptan handy.

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