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Delaying the Inevitable With Triptans (Yet Another Migraine Superstition)

Do you ever feel like taking a triptan only delays the inevitable? After three days in a row in which I noticed major tooth sensitivity (my current reliable prodrome symptom) and taking naratriptan within 30 minutes of its onset, a migraine has walloped me upside the head (pun intended). The attack is as bad as they get these days (knock on wood) and I’m completely wiped out. While the pain is only a level 4, I feel like my bones are made of wet dishrags and my mind is as muddled as the mint in a masterful mojito.

As I understand the science, triptans do, in fact, abort migraine attacks and each subsequent attack is a separate entity. But as a chronic migraineur, it doesn’t seem like that’s happening. Instead, I wonder if I would have gotten this migraine attack out of the way if I’d not taken the naratriptan Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday). Forget the fact that the weather is changing today and that I haven’t slept well all week. And that The Doctors’ description of TheraSpecs was spot on and the TheraSpecs site had great traffic yesterday, thus relieving my anxiety and potentially triggering a “letdown migraine.” These don’t factor into my superstitions.

As I think myself in circles, I wonder how many headache specialists grasp the magnitude of the mental and emotional aspects of migraine. Even though they aren’t trained to help us deal with these components, they should be aware of how deeply migraine affects not only our physical state, but our mental and emotional well-being as well. If I ruled the world, every headache clinic would employ therapists who understand migraine’s reach and can equip migraineurs with a toolbox to manage the non-physical parts of migraine.

I write this from a mental fog, so please excuse me if this meandering post makes no sense. I think it contains at least one important nugget of information, but I won’t know for sure until I re-read it after this migraine passes.

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My Latest Posts for Migraine.com: “Shoulds,” Comparisons & Prodrome

Oops! I’ve forgotten to share my most recent Migraine.com posts with you. They’re just like what I write for The Daily Headache, just published somewhere else. My latest:

  • Wrestling With Self-Criticism and “Shoulds”: “I have that nagging voice that says, ‘You’re so much better than you were. Why aren’t you doing more?’ I try reminding myself that ‘better’ is far from great, but I still feel like I’m not doing enough.”
  • Migraine Perspective: No Two Migraineurs are Alike: “Human nature is to assume everyone else experiences something the same way we do. Like snowflakes, no two migraineurs are alike. Our migraine attacks differ, as do our responsiveness to meds, our support systems, and our ways of coping emotionally differ.”
  • Prodrome: Migraine Warning Signs: “Tearing is the most reliable warning sign for me. Sometimes it is accompanied by yawning, but not always. Frequent sighing is often a predictor, though I also sigh a lot when I’m physically tired and it can be hard to tell which is which.”

Take a look around while you’re there. Migraine.com is a tremendous resource for information and support. I feel fortunate to be part of the team of patient advocates and to work with the Migraine.com staff.

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Women Feel More Pain

Have you heard that women have higher pain thresholds than men? A recent study suggests that the opposite is true: women feel pain more easily than men and that they focus more on the emotional aspects of pain, which makes it worse, than do men.

These findings fit right into the hysterical woman stereotype, but if they are supported by more research, the potential for more effective pain treatment and meds is huge.

Thanks to Kevin, M.D. for the tip off.