By Kerrie Smyres | February 14, 2012
My head pain is currently at a level 3. Yes, you read that correctly. Yesterday it was at a level 2 for six hours and level 3 for four hours. Level 2? Level 3? I haven’t had pain levels this low in all the years I’ve been rating it.
I’m kinda afraid that acknowledging the improvement will somehow negate it, but a friend pointed out that if I could have a mental or cosmic affect on the migraines, I would have done so by now. So, I’ll take a deep breath. . . and shout MAGNESIUM! Magnesium is the difference. Last Tuesday I increased my magnesium dose from 500 mg to 700 mg per day and I’ve noticed a change in how the headaches feel as well as their severity.
I’ve still had headaches, but they feel different. The pain is more of a tight band of pressure around my head and moving doesn’t worsen the pain. Stretching under a warm shower and massaging my neck often relieves the pain. These factors add up to tension-type headaches, which, considering how tight my neck and shoulders are (something I was only vaguely aware of when the migraines commanded all my attention), makes sense.
The migraines aren’t gone altogether. Last week I had a couple I’m convinced were triggered by muscle spasms (I was experimenting with pillows) and spent Thursday as a couch zombie. I’ve also aborted a couple migraines when I noticed prodrome symptoms of feeling overheated, trembling, or ice-cold hands and feet.
I haven’t been absent from the blog because of this newfound relief. January was a rough month for me with both migraines and depression. The depression got pretty scary and really pulled me down the last couple weeks, though the last few days have been better. There appears to be a strong connection between how severe the migraines are or how long they last and my degree of depression. I’m not saying I’m depressed because of the pain, but I think something happens in the brain during a migraine that kicks up the depression. I don’t know if there’s any scientific evidence to back this up; I intend to ask my headache specialist about it.
I’m thrilled that my head pain is better, though still not convinced it will last. I am trying to enjoy it in the moment without assuming I will continue on an upward trajectory. This is a new challenge in my mindfulness practice — a challenge I am grateful to pursue!
Enough about me. Could magnesium help you? In addition to headache specialist Christina Peterson’s article Should You Be Taking Magnesium?, look into The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headachesby Jay Cohen. This short, inexpensive book is my preferred resource on magnesium and migraine. I’m working on a summary of the information I’ve gleaned from it, though don’t know when it will be ready to post. If you decide to try magnesium, it is important note to note that different types of magnesium supplements have different absorption rates and side effects. I am using Bluebonnet’s buffered magnesium glycinate chelate with no problem. It is more expensive than other kinds, but doesn’t make me nauseated.