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Dear Magnesium, Will You Be My Valentine?

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.

6 Responses to Dear Magnesium, Will You Be My Valentine?

  1. Timothy Bauer says:

    Kerrie:

    So glad you are feeling better. I am hoping
    magnesium is doing the trick. I don’t know if
    you have heard of “Derma Mag”-which is
    magnesium through skin lotion. You rub it
    onto your arms and legs. Just another way
    to get magnesium into your system.

    Have a wonderful St. Valentines Day!!!

    Timothy from Reno

  2. Laura Nadon says:

    I too take magnesium for my migraines. I have found that they have helped alot. They seem to be under control…I was taking four anti-migrain prescription pills a day. Since being on magnesium I now take one a day. The past three weeks I had actually taken none. Had a few headaches but no migraines, so I thought I would go back to taking one a day. I was guided in this direction by a physic actually. I take Natures Bounty Magnesium Oxide 500mg. I would advise anyone to try it. Glad it is helping you Timothy. Hope you get the migraines under control. Mine have gotten much, much better this past year. I used to get them three weeks out of a month at one time now I am lucky to have three a year.

    Cheers !! Happy Valentine Days !!

  3. Paula says:

    I am so glad that you are seeing improvement! I hope it lasts. I take a smaller dose of magnesium than you mentioned, but I’m going to give the larger dose (and brand) a try. (With my doctor’s permission.) I have had my headache for 7 years next month. Though it only gets up to a 7-8 for a short time each day. Anything that might help is worth a try!

  4. VB says:

    Hi Kerrie!
    I’m so glad you’ve had a better week! Keep it up!!
    Depression is a not uncommon postdrome symptom. I always get depressed after a severe and long migraine attack, and only when I have migraines with aura. You would think that the terrible pain was enough to make one depressed, but it’s more to it than that. I experience it as a true depression, but it only last for a day or two. I’ve discussed this a lot with my migraine specialist, and she is very focused on that it is not ME who is depressed, but it is a direct result of the attack.
    It gives me some comfort knowing that, but right after a severe attack, nothing seems reasonable to me..

    I cross my fingers for a lot of excellent and good days for you Kerrie, as I wish for myself and the rest of you migraine sufferers out there!!

    Vibi

  5. Sophie says:

    I really hope that the mag continues to bring you some relief. I’ve read your blog for a number of years and I think that it is one of the best patient experience blogs I have ever read.

    Although I don’t suffer from migraines myself, I have a chronic digestive disorder, and I use magnesium citrate at around 450mg per day. It has helped me for years.

    *******
    Thanks for the kind words, Sophie!

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  6. Lacey says:

    You wondered about migraines and depression, so I thought I would show you this link my sister showed me.She used to suffer from migraine. I am in the throws of chronic migraine. I just found your blog this morning so I am still going over it all.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/migraine-linked-depression-women/story?id=15765214#.T1nxf_W1WUN

    Check it out, it’s on an ABC new site.
    Lacey

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