Friday, 5 November 2021

Anyone for Migraine Tea?

Hello loyal migraine blog readers.  Here is a post that I started... um.  5 years ago and thought it was about time to finish.  Sorry.  Been rather busy.  But there are some more interesting stories and cures that I have tried recently so I decided to resurrect the ol' blog.  Good to have you all back :-D

I know that I am a gluten for punishment.  Call me crazy but I thought that I should try acupuncture again.  It's been a while since I had any needles stuck in me so what's the worst that can happen.

I want to do go authentic this time so I walk into the centre of Manchester to the Chinese quarter to find an acupuncturist shop that looked like the real deal.  In I go and get an appointment.  But the appointment didn't turn out quite like I had expected.  I was psyched up ready to have lots of lovely needles stuck in me, not my favourite pass-time, and he said no.

Um, sorry what?  I want to pay for acupuncture please?
"No, you have had it before so I prescribe tea."

Now, let me think, needles v's a nice cuppa.  No competition.  So I let my slight disappointment disappear and replaced it with slight shock at how much a pot of tea could cost.

Looking at the ingredients (shown on the pic) this certainly wasn't any normal cup of tea.  So I could forgive them the cost.  Plus I was going through a particularly bad patch to anything was worth a try (I'm sure you know how that feels).

The instructions were quite easy.  Brew it in a saucepan for 20 minutes.  I could add a dash of honey for taste but that was it.  A full mug, twice a day.

And that would cure my migraines.


What could possibly go wrong?

Ok, so nothing actually went wrong.

It had a distinct taste of mud.  Disclaimer, I haven't actually eaten mud, but you get the idea.  It was very... earthy and bitter and strangely looked like mud and even more strangely, for tea, had the slight gritty consistency of mud.

Ah, but the big question, did it cure the migs?

In a word... No.  I stuck with it for the whole 2 week treatment.  No amount of honey could cover the bitterness so I waited for it to cool and drank it as fast as I could.  I was assured that I would need no further treatment and 2 weeks of mud tea would clear the pain.  But nothing.  No change.  Still getting them.

In fact, if you remember my post of the miracle cure for migs, Click here to read it though, a cracking good read if I say so myself... (not that any of you will as it was posted over 10 years ago).  Essentially that post described my personal discovery that coffee helps migraines.  The point here is that a simple cup of coffee helps them better than mud tea.

As always. this post isn't meant to put anyone off this cure.  If drinking Chinese tea helps your migs then go for it.  It's just that, as per usual, it didn't help me.  The search goes on..!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Cefaly Take 2

My apologies to you all for the delay in following this up.  The Cefaly didn't really work for me and I decided last year to take a break from other treatments for a bit.  Here is a brief part two of my Cefaly experiment from much earlier in the year.

After my rather traumatic experience of the preventative mode on the Cefaly, I decided to give the company a ring to see what went wrong.  A rather nice lady called back telling me to keep it on a lower level until I get used to it as sometime it take a while to get used to the sensation.  So, that evening I placed the device on my forehead and hit the go button twice.  After two minutes I felt a migraine appear above my right eye.  It takes twelve minutes to reach maximum intensity so only being able to get up to two minutes is a bit rubbish of me really.

I tried it a few more times on various levels and settings, but struggled to get very far with it and if anything, my resistance seemed to be reducing rather than increasing.  After a couple of weeks of this I contacted the company and was told that I could return the machine to them for a full refund.  It sounded like this happens a lot so I am grateful to them for providing the service.

I have to stress that Cefaly works very well for a lot of people.  But, it seems, like most if not all of the treatments that I try... it didn't work for me!

Chiropractor v's Migraine

Another year and another possible cure for my migraines.  I am working my way through them all, just for you dear reader.  Today it is the turn of the chiropractor to see if he can click my migraines away for me.  It started with the usual slew of interrogations and form signings, the type of which we become accustom to when entering the realm of a new practitioner.

Once we got down to the matter in hand, my shirt was off and I was lying on my front ready to be clicked.  Only he isn't the sort of chiropractor who clicks.  He can click my back if I want, but he doesn't.  Apparently there isn't any benefit to it and other practitioners only do it for show.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed as I was expecting one huge clunk and my migraines would fade into the distance.  Ok, maybe I was hoping for a bit too much, but one can dream.  To his credit, he was very methodical in his methods.  He actually runs a migraine clinic so specialises in treating people with head pain so my hopes were high.

The aim of our sessions was to work the muscles that get tense when I get a migraine.  After a brief feel of my back, he sat me up and started by working the muscles in my cheek, but not just from the outside.  I was a little put off by this intrusion into my mouth.  Yes, that wasn't a typo.  He massaged from inside my mouth.  A very odd start to the session, but surprisingly I could feel the tension there, so kudos to the doc.

From then on things got... well even stranger.  I was expecting manipulation of my back and neck with a bit of arm bending and head clicking.  I wasn't expecting the mouth, ears, arm-pits or eyes.  This man was on a mission and that mission was to find the route cause of my migraines.  He was chasing tense muscles around my body and as soon as he felt happy that one area had been calmed, he followed the muscular path to the next. 

Let me tell you, manipulating muscles in your arm-pits is something that I would not recommend you try.  There are certain parts of your body that you know are off-limits and then there are others that you randomly discover and very quickly add to the forbidden list.  Arm-pits are now on mine.  Try as I might, I cannot find the words to portray the odd, stabbing, penetrating, pressure that felt almost as if he were inside my body.  Ok it seems that I have found some words to describe it and I will add another one for good measure.  Bizarre.

There were some interesting side plots to his quest.  My shoulders clunk when I raise and lower them.  Apparently this shouldn't happen and he was determined to stop this from happening.  I am sorry to say that he failed in this quest.  I am also sorry to say that he failed in his mission to cure my migraines.  He did change their nature somewhat.  It is hard to describe but my migraines felt different.  Like an old friend suddenly turning up all smiles riding a brand new bike when you know that they've never ridden a bike before.  Same friend... same smile... different mode of transport.

After six treatments of chase the pain around my body, the doc finally admitted that he wasn't getting anywhere and that he didn't think that it was worth me spending any more money.  Again, kudos to the doc as I was ready to hand over my hard earned cash for more hope.  But it seemed that was it.  Back to the drawing board again.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Early Start

Merry Christmas to all of you reading this (assuming that you read it today, which most of you probably won't, so I hope that you had a nice Christmas, or are having a nice, pain free day).

Ahh the joys of waking up with a migraine.  It's my own fault as I had a migraine yesterday and after taking a triptan at lunch time and a paramol mid afternoon, I decided that it was sufficiently in the background to leave for the rest of the day.  Just before bed it started to come back, but I took the decision that a good night's sleep would do the job.

So I wasn't completely surprised that at 3:52am I woke up with a raging mig.  Cursing my bad judgement I tried for all of 3 minutes to go back to sleep, failed miserably and stumbled downstairs to dose up.  "Just give me the drugs man" is a phrase that is becoming quite common in our house, although it's me that says it the most, my daughter sadly has a need to say the same as she has recently started to get migraines.  She is 13 and we think that they are linked to her newly acquired womanhood (hey, I'm a bloke so don't expect details here!)  In a sad selfish way it is kind of nice to have someone else in the house who really understands what I am going through.  And it is also kind of nice to be able to offer support to someone else who has migs as I really understand what she is going through except auras which I don't get and she does.  Our docs are really good in that if we do the research and ask for a specific medicine, they will give it to us.  So she has some triptans of her own now which is kind of cute as her single box is nestled up against the dozens that I have!  Thankfully, she didn't get one last month and this month also seems clear so far, but being the old pro that I am, I made sure that she kept a diary of the previous 24 hours so we can hopefully find a pattern next time she gets one.

Ok I digress, even though it was an important digression.  So I stumbled downstairs, opened my box of tricks and took 2 drugs which contained pretty much everything I needed; paracetamol, neurofen, aspirin, co-codamol and caffeine.  Stumbled back upstairs into bed, put my earpiece in, turned on an Andrew Johnson MP3 and tried in vain to sleep.  Andrew Johnson is a life saver.  He has produced a huge number of apps and MP3s to help people relax, change and create.  I have about a
dozen of them and they have regularly saved me from a sleepless night.  Many a morning I have had to fish through the bedsheets to find my earpiece which has fallen out in the night.  I just wish that I knew what he said at the end of his MP3s as I rarely stay awake long enough to hear that far through them.

But this morning I didn't fall asleep as the pain was too much even for the gentle tones of the mighty AJ.  I am now awake with my boy and feeling the groggy after-effects of the drugs, mig and lack of sleep.  But, at least the pain has gone.  Next time I try to sleep a mig off, will you remind me that it is a bad idea!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cefaly - at last

I have resisted buying the Cefaly machine for a long time as I have never been convinced by the lack of proper research into it's effectiveness.  There have been tests but they have not been clinical enough to be approved in this country (although it is available on insurance in America).  What we need are some proper double blind tests to prove beyond all doubt that it works.  The other reason that I have been resisting is that in America you can get your money back if it doesn't work whereas in the UK they don't offer the same policy and £250 is just a little bit too much to pay just to try something out.

But, my migraines have been getting slowly worse (I am currently getting 27 days of headaches per month with 18 being migs) so I decided that it was worth the expense to try and manage my migs (actually my mum helped with the costs so yay mum!)

It arrived yesterday and I eagerly unwrapped the boxes to see what it;s all about.

It comes in a cool case to keep it safe.  Quite sturdy and looks good.  The machine itself is disappointingly flimsy.  The battery covers are loose and seem to be gripping on by the skin of their teeth.  But, looks aren't everything, after all, I would gladly slap a piece of rusty metal round my head if only it would keep the pain at bay.

It is easy to put on. You put the plaster on your forehead and rest the machine on the protruding metal contact.
It doesn't click into place but just rests there.  I like to make a clicking noise as it makes it more fun, but that's just me.

Ok here we go... Two presses of the button for migraine preventative...
I am making these notes as I go so sorry for their brevity. 

  • Immediate migraine over right eye.
  • Eyebrows feel like they are standing on edge.
  • Then feel like they are trying to fly off.
  • Migraine then over both eyes.
  • The fuzziness creeps up my forehead.
  • Goes into my head.
  • Right back to my crown feels fuzzy and numb to the touch.
  • Ouch.
  • Ouch.
  • Ouch.
  • It feels like a hammer above my eyes.
  • If I raise my eyebrows up the fuzz stops but the pain increases.
  • Ouch.
  • No pain no gain.
  • Ouch.
  • Pins and needles in forehead.
  • I think it's reached it maximum now. It does that after 12 minutes.
  • Did I say ouch???
  • My eyes are vibrating.
  • It feels like my forehead is climbing down over my eyes.
  • My eyes are bloodshot now.
  • If I close my eyes my forehead stings.
  • My teeth are aching but I think that's because I am tensing them.
  • Do you know I said it had reached its maximum, I think I was wrong.
  • My forehead feels like it is made of sand.
  • My skull is completely numb to the touch.
  • Ouch.
  • Ouch.
  • This feels like a bad migraine over both eyes.
  • At least I know this pain won't last more than 20 minutes.
  • I hope the timer works as I've forgotten what time it started.
  • It's like a mig without the side effects.
  • I was hoping to be able to do things whilst using this but I'm not so sure now.
  • I can't see now as everything is wobbling.
  • Either I'm getting used to it or the intensity is decreasing.
  • And it's over
  • Wow release
  • My forehead is aching slightly and head is numb a little.
  • Slight ache in forehead and it is red in the shape of the electrode sticker.
Wow I feel a bit drained after that.  You can stop the intensity increasing at any time by pressing the button again, but I was determined to leave it and cope. No pain no gain.
I tried it again this morning and just as my forehead started to go numb after nearly 5 minutes (I remembered to time it this morning), the batteries ran out.  Slightly disappointing as they are meant to last a month, but I was actually relieved to avoid the pain again...  Still, it won't stop me, I just might press the button before the full 12 minute build up next time!

Nurofen Price Cheats

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but there hasn't really been much to post about.  My migs have been getting steadily worse and there are no other cures on offer.

It seems that the news has at last caught up with my previous post stating that headache drugs are a rip off!  Nurofen are currently in the spotlight as they have been caught in Australia offering the same drug in different packets at different prices (again, see my previous post stating just that).  But as I found, Nurofen are certainly not the worst offenders.  That prize went to Migraleve Yellow tablets (32p per tablet v's 3p for exactly the same unbranded tablet).  The rest of the industry should be worried as fingers need to be pointed in all direction.

The general advice (as per Radio 4 this morning) is that you are safe to take generic medication over branded alternatives.  They are put through the same tests, the same safety and will act in the same way.  If in doubt, ask your pharmacist.

What my previous post did help with is finding a new tablet.  My new favourite drug is Anadin Extra.  The pound shop near me sells them for £1 for 8 which is pretty good so I stock up whenever I go.  They don't seem to mind me buying multiple packets at once.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Over the Counter Medicines Compared

As nothing was working for my migs, I decided to start an investigation of over the counter medicines.  It was initially in pursuit of something stronger, but ended up being rather an interesting comparison which clearly shows that if you purchase the wrong brand, you risk paying way over the odds for something simple.

The worst example that I came upon is Migraleve Yellow tablets.  They are marketed directly at people with migraines and we are a desperate lot so will quite eagerly try anything.  24 Migraleve tablets have an RRP of £6.38* which is 27p per tablet.  The active ingredients are 500mg of Paracetamol and 8mg of Codeine.  For 84p you can get 32 unbranded Co-codamol tablets with exactly the same ingredients in.  That's 3p per tablet.  Shocking!

I searched the internet for the cheapest comparative price for the same item and chose the cheapest option for each.  So if buying 32 tablets was cheaper than 16 of the same brand, that's what I list.  The prices are as at April 2015 and some sites add postage so prices should only be used as a guide.  The chart is sorted by price per tablet.  All prices are in £ GBP.

(Click on the chart to see it full size)

Let me know if I have missed anything (other than more duplications of the same) and I will happily update this blog post.

* Migraleve Yellow can be found at a discounted price on some sites.  The cheapest I found was 5.59 which is 23p per tablet.