Monday, June 14, 2004

I'm a Migraineur

Have you heard that word before - migraineur? It's the fancy word for a person who suffers from migraine. Actually, would I be called a "migraineuse?"

Migraine is a condition characterized partly by headaches. When we refer to "migraines," we are usually referring specifically to "migraine headaches." Some people have migraine (the condition) without ever having a headache.

There are three clinical types of migraine headaches (besides the basilar arterial type, which are far more serious than the usual brands.) Common migraines occur with no warning. Classic migraines are preceded by an "aura" (visual disturbances). Complicated migraines occur with other neurologic symptoms such as difficulties with movement or speech.

I have complicated migraines. Not every migraine that I have comes with other neurologic symptoms, but some of them do. Imitrex, the popular migraine medication that you've seen advertised on TV, is not indicated for use on complicated migraines as it can cause vascular episodes such as stroke. All of my migraines do start with an aura, although sometimes I'm asleep when that occurs and I then miss the aura and my chance to take medication. The medication I take is none other than over-the-counter Aleve (Naproxen sodium)... although I take it in a non-over-the-counter dosage. That was recommended by my neurologist and I have to say that of all the medications I've tried for my migraines (prophylactic as well as abortive), naproxen is the only one that has helped at all. It only helps when I take it during the aura with enough time left before the pain starts. Once the pain has started, no medication I've tried, including Aleve, does anything to help my symptoms.

For further information on migraine, check out the following links:

One interesting note about my migraines is that when I'm on the way "out" of a migraine, I become creative. I'm never wildly creative like an artist, but my thoughts and ideas are more creative than usual after the peak of a migraine. I find that my writing and craft projects are noticeably different at those times. I expect that the differences are only noticeable to me, but it's an interesting phenomenon, nonetheless.

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