Follow Sharron on Twitter

Sharron's book is now available at Amazon www.amazon.com, Barnes and Noble www.barnesandnoble.com, and wherever books are sold. The book can be purchased in print form or ebook format.

Conari Press, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC  is the publisher of Sharron's book, Migraine: Identify Your Triggers, Break your Dependence on Medication, Take Back Your Life -  An Integrative Self-Care Plan for Wellness," released June, 2013. Follow Sharron on Twitter @murraysharron, and her page Sharron Murray, MS, RN on Facebook, for tips to help you battle your migraines and achieve wellness.

 

Thursday
Jun012017

My Migraine Management: Science + Art = "DESSERT"

 

In this  MHAM 1: Blogging and Social Media Challenge, I share how, in my migraine management, a combination of science and art equals "DESSERT". For purposes of this discussion, I define science as the research and theoretical principles that give scientific efficacy to the ingredients in my "DESSERT". While art, through caring for myself as a whole person, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, adds the flavor.

SCIENCE

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known" - Carl Saga

For many years I believed migraine was a severe headache caused by my inability to cope with stress. To find relief from the agonizing head pain, I consumed volumes of ineffective over the counter and prescription medications. My break through came when my journey with migraine progressed from episodic to chronic, along with medication overuse headache. Through research, I discovered migraine was a disease and today, believed to be a disabling neurological (neurobiological) disease, with genetic and environmental influences. Now, as I wait for a cure to be discovered, I keep up to date with studies that reveal the most effective pharmacological and nonpharmacological (including complementary or integrative) treatments and therapies for prevention and relief of my migraine attacks. As well, I enrich my body of knowledge by learning about other diseases and disorders that may be comorbid with migraine and complicate the course of my disease. 

ART

"Like a work of art, each encounter with a patient is unique." (M.G. Hackney, personal communication, April, 2015).

Like the colors in a watercolor are unique to a work of art, my personal characteristics; risk factors; comorbidities; triggers; symptoms; responses to treatment and therapies; socioeconomic status; and, family burdens that influence the course of my disease are unique to me. And, while I am fortunate to have doctors who know the person inside my migraine and are caring, compassionate, and nonjudgmental in their approaches, I have learned to be caring, compassionate, and nonjudgmental with myself as I make substantial changes in my lifestyle habits such as what I eat and drink, eating and drinking habits, exercise, sleep hygiene, and how I manage my stress levels.  

"DESSERT is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance" - chef Edward Lee 

You know that feeling you get when you wake up without a migraine? Yeah, you want to dance! That's what I call DESSERT! Thankfully, I have found with a combination of art and science thrown into a mix of the following ingredients and sweetened with a blend of persistence, patience, and consistency, I can enjoy DESSERT almost every day:   

D = Diagnosis and Diary 

After years of being misdiagnosed, I received my first official diagnosis of migraine from the neurologist at a migraine clinic. As I found out, effective treatment for migraine needs an accurate diagnosis. Shortly after, I learned that one of the most effective ways to help my doctor make an accurate diagnosis, assist with identification and management of my individual triggers, and improve my treatment outcomes was for me to keep a dairy.  To begin with I used a monthly calendar but now I use an electronic diary for a more scientific approach. 

*E = Eating and Drinking Habits 

Keeping in mind, skipped meals (hypoglycemia) and dehydration can trigger an attack, I eat a healthy meal 3 times a day (breakfast before 9 am, lunch before 1 pm and dinner before 7 pm) and drink 8-10 glasses of water (more if I need because of exercise or heat).  

*S = Stress Management 

Because emotional stress can keep me awake at night and/or interrupt my sleep and because I tend to run at full speed, which makes me vulnerable to "let-down" stress, I monitor my stress levels frequently throughout the day, practice mindfulness, and implement stress reduction strategies like meditation and biofeedback as part of my daily routine. As well, I have acupuncture on a regular basis.  

*S = Sleep 

Knowing good quality sleep is protective for migraine, I try to maintain a schedule of 8 hours a night, with a regular bedtime and awake time.  

*E = Exercise

Because exercise can help prevent my migraine attacks and reduce my risk for comorbidities, I attend a gym 3 times a week.

R = Routine 

Knowing my migraine brain does not like change, sticking to my daily routine is essential for living well with this disease.

T = Tender Loving Care 

Perhaps, the most important thing I've learned in this journey with migraine, is to love myself. When I have setbacks, rather than beat myself up, I concentrate on the good days  and what it is like to be migraine-free... You know, "DESSERT.... and move forward again...

 *My guide, "15 steps to create an environment conducive to wellness".   

Warm wishes for great success with your migraine management plan.

Sharron is the author of, ""Migraine: Identify Your Triggers, Break Your Dependence on Medication, Take Back Your Life- An integrative self-Care Plan for Wellness". San Francisco: Conari Press, 2013.

Follow Sharron on twitter @murraysharron, her FB page, Sharron Murray, Ms, RN, and her website, www.sharronmurray.com 

This article is not a substitute for medical advce. If you have specific concerns about your health or nutrition, please contact a qualified professional.

Copyright June, 2017. Sharron E.Murray 

 

 

 

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