ABC’s Medical Reporter, Sophie Scott, Painaustralia’s Pain Champion
Living with a condition like migraine can be tricky for people to understand. While pain is definitely a key symptom, when you get an attack, you can feel a range of symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, nausea, just to name a few. So it’s definitely not just like a ‘bad headache’.
I only started getting migraine attacks when I was in my 40s and it was pretty well managed with medication. But in the last few years, the side effects from the medication became worse and the medication less effective. So preventing attacks is the best approach for me.
I follow a low-histamine diet, manage caffeine and water intake and have to get regular exercise and sleep. I’ve had to cut out alcohol completely – difficult at first but actually now I am used to it. (It makes getting up easier in the mornings!)
Managing your mindset makes a massive difference too. Often, I would worry about getting a migraine attack as it’s so unpredictable. Then during an attack, I would be concerned how long it would last and how the medication was going to impact my wellbeing the following day.
Learning to meditate and relax through pain and not focus too much on the future has really helped. I have also found a great community on social media of women who live full happy lives while managing a chronic condition like migraine.
Chronic pain isn’t always the easiest condition to manage. But you can minimise the impact by using techniques like deep breathing, movement, staying present and seeking support of the people around you.