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Apple’s iOS7 Could Worsen Migraine, Headache Symptoms

The zooming, sliding, parallax and other features of the new iPhone and iPad software could worsen your migraine or headache disorder symptoms. The British newspaper the Guardian reports that iOS 7 is making people with vestibular and some neurological disorders sicker. Unfortunately, I learned this firsthand when I upgraded my iPhone. The dizziness, nausea, and increased headache when I use my phone means I went from loving my phone and using it constantly, to no longer even wanting to look at it. And that’s after changing the accessibility settings to “reduced motion” (Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion).

If you haven’t upgraded yet, spend some time on someone else’s upgraded device before you commit to it on your own. Once you upgrade, there’s no going back! I was very careful to backup my phone before the upgrade, thinking I could restore it if I didn’t like the new operating system. When I tried to restore it, I discovered that iTunes forces the iOS7 upgrade along with the restore, thus rendering it an ineffective solution. Some Googling revealed that Apple no longer allows such downgrades.

If you’ve been made sick by the new animations on iOS 7, you can send a short email to accessibility@apple.com to explain which animations are problematic for you and request directions for disabling them. Or if you’ve decided not to upgrade because of the potential of worsening your symptoms, email them at that same address to request accessibility accommodations so you can use their software in the future.

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Showing Others What a Migraine Attack is Really Like

Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #26: “From the Outside Looking In” — Write about what you think your family, friends and others think a day in life, a day with migraine disease is like.

This is the perfect time for me to reflect on what my life with migraine looks like to others. I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Minnesota, where Hart and I traveled for a wedding and to visit dear friends and family—many of his college friends, his sister, our closest friends from Seattle and my best friend from college. I spent much of the weekend in bed, though I made it out most evenings and managed to see everyone except my best friend from college. What was unique about this trip is that I was stuck in bed even though the pain never got above a level 6.

(Background: The longer people have known me, the less I have let them see how disabled I am. Counterintuitive, I know, but it has only been in the last three years that I’ve really let people see how sick I am. And by “people,” I mean everyone, including Hart. Including myself. There are many reasons for this, but two rise to the top of the list. First, I deluded myself into thinking I wasn’t as sick as I am by hiding from myself how debilitating the migraine attacks are. It was as if admitting how sick I was would somehow make it harder to improve my health. That if I couldn’t push through the attacks as I did for so many years, then something was really wrong with me. Also, I was ashamed of being sick and couldn’t shake the feeling that I was faking it. If being sick was a mindset, as I have so often been told, wasn’t my inability to get better a sign of weakness? Besides, how could a headache make me feel faint, weak and dizzy and make my knees buckle?)

I think most people I know understand that I am in terrible pain during most migraine attacks. I have been much more open about that aspect of the migraines in recent years and even began sharing my pain ratings. They also recognize the burden of nausea, because it is a relatable symptom, and photophobia, because I always wear TheraSpecs migraine glasses. [disclosure: I’m the co-owner of TheraSpecs]

I’m not so up-front about the less tangible autonomic symptoms—they are more difficult to describe and, even now, I’m still skeptical of their validity. Thursday night I was at the science museum with friends when my knees began to buckle and I thought, “Come on. Is this migraine really so bad that I can’t even stand up?” Yes. The answer is YES. Even I, a so-called patient advocate and the one experiencing the symptoms, could hardly believe it.

My college friend and I were scheduled to spend Friday together. It took me 30 minutes to gather enough strength to get out of bed. As soon as I did, my knees began buckling. I literally could not stand up. We rescheduled for Saturday. I awoke Saturday completely exhausted and nauseated, so I rescheduled for Sunday. Sunday I was so weak that I couldn’t even get out of bed. So I didn’t get to see my friend at all. The guilt is tremendous, especially because I still feel like I’m making up for being too sick to fly to go to her wedding three years ago. Also because I find it difficult to believe that the non-pain symptoms of migraine can be so bad that they keep me bedridden.

I’ve been struggling with this the last few months, actually. Even though I intellectually know better, I still tend to think of pain as the primary component of migraine. Since the pain has let up some since starting magnesium and, more recently, beginning to take Amerge at bedtime to reduce the severity of my middle-of-the-night migraine attacks, the autonomic symptoms have been more prominent. I assume they’ve always been present to the same degree, but pain overshadowed them. I can hardly grasp the impact of these symptoms myself—there’s no way I can expect my friends and family to understand them.

To answer the question, my friends and family probably think a day in the life with migraine is full of pull-your-hair-out pain, gut-wrenching nausea and recoiling from light. Some days are like that, though I’ve had far fewer of those in the last six months than the previous 10 years. Other days I physically feel like I have the flu and spend the day reading. Since I adore reading and migraine kept me from doing it for four years, those days aren’t too bad. Cancelling plans is particularly frustrating, though, because I think I should feel well enough to go out if I’m not in horrendous pain. (Should. Now that’s a word I’d like to strike from my vocabulary.)

These are just descriptions of my migraine days. There are similarities among migraineurs, but we’re all different. What are your migraine days like? Do your friends, family and coworkers see them as they really are or do you put on your game face?

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by Fighting Headache Disorders.

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Kerrie’s Latest Post on Migraine.com: The Many Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine is far more than “just a headache.” Skin sensitivity, difficulty finding words, inability to concentrate, constipation, stuffy nose, and dizziness are but a few of the many symptoms of migraine. Check out my full article on Migraine.com, Migraine is More Than a Headache: The Many Symptoms of Migraine.

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Working on Computer, Reading Triggering Massive Headaches, Nausea & Dizziness

Working on the computer and reading have been triggering bad migraines for the last week. I can handle the head pain, but the extreme nausea and dizziness are nearly intolerable. The combination of the three obliterated my weekend. I feel OK now and am going to try to save that feeling so I can have fun with my sweet husband tonight. Maybe we can even go out to dinner. I only need to make it seven more hours, so I’m done with the computer for the day.

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Dizzy and Nauseated

I’m on my third day of horrible dizziness and nausea. Today is a bit better than the last two. I can get up and do a couple things before I have to lie down again.

Hope your week is better than mine!