What is Bell’s Palsy? Connected to Migraines?

Waking up one morning, I looked in the mirror, saw my face was droopy on one side, scaring the heck out of me.  I was in my 30’s, believing it was a stroke but relieved the diagnoses was Bell’s Palsy.  Most of the facial nerves returned to normal, however, I continue to show minor signs around my eyes and mouth area (30 years later).  It’s interesting to learn that people with migraines have a higher risk of having Bell’s Palsy.

Image: Picture of Allen Ginsberg who had Bell’s Palsy, photo by Michiel Hendryckx (Wikimedia Commons)

Bell’s palsy is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face.

The facial nerve that controls muscles on one side of the face is damaged causing that side of your face to droop, which may affect your sense of taste and how you produce tears and saliva.

This condition comes without warning. Waking up with Bell’s Palsy first thing in the morning, a person discovers that one side of their face doesn’t move, and if an eyelid is affected, blinking may be difficult.

FACTS:

1.  Bell’s Palsy typically starts suddenly, but it’s not to be confused with the condition of cerebral palsy.

2.  Links have been found between migraine, facial and limb weakness which prompted a study showing that people with migraine may be at much higher risk of having Bell’s Palsy.

3.  Most people who suddenly undergo these sudden symptoms believe they are having a stroke. However, if the weakness or paralysis only affects the face it’s likely to be diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.

Continue reading “What is Bell’s Palsy? Connected to Migraines?”

Why am I getting headaches after exercising?

  :

Avoiding an after-exercise headache

You have a great work-out, then BOOM! – the dreaded after exercise headache hits. Sometimes it’s right away, sometimes a couple of hours after you’re done exercising.

What’s causing it?

There are a number of things that can cause after an exercise headache. If you already suffer from migraine, chances are that your exercise is triggering the migraine chain-reaction. It may be that the symptoms are a little different than what you’re used to – don’t let that throw you off. Chances are, it’s still migraine.

If that’s the case, you need to deal with the “big picture” – your overall migraine issue. Talk to your doctor about the various preventative medications that may be right for you. This is for you especially if you’re getting migraine symptoms a few times a month.

Your doctor also may be able to suggest a medication that you can take just before you exercise or just after, that will stop the headache before it becomes a major problem. More on that, and other tips, in this article on exercise induced headache.

Other possibilities

Continue reading “Why am I getting headaches after exercising?”

Have you ever heard of ‘Thunderclap’ Headaches?

Picture this….You’re relaxing in your favorite chair, or out with friends for coffee or perhaps enjoying a delightful soothing bath, when unexpectedly, BAM!!, you’re struck with this horrendous pain in your head; the worst headache pain you’ve ever felt.  It’s different from a migraine, and termed a “THUNDERCLAP” headache.

During the warmer weather, two years ago, for a couple of hellish months, I’d been lucky to dodge migraines for a few days here and there.  But, no time for celebration, as I was suddenly contending with these sudden ‘BAM!’ headaches as well.  The pain was directed in the middle of my forehead, top of my head and covering my entire face, not a typical migraine for me, which are bilateral.

Continue reading “Have you ever heard of ‘Thunderclap’ Headaches?”

Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds. Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.

My life was filled with such overpowering blackness; the black, muddy life of depression. The massive hands took hold of me and wouldn’t set me free.

Days upon days were spent just existing in my house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway. Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist became a major production; organizing what to wear, bus route times, what to discuss. As the months and years progressed, I became a depressive recluse. Outings with my husband for dinner or lunch were a rarity, as well as, a trip to the mall. Life was just too dark.

I lost contact with friends, triggering further feelings of abandonment and isolation; that coupled with not having any energy, just hating life itself, propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit”. I grew comfy in my house, and never a “sleepy” depressive, I forever arose fairly early, planted myself on the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.

Continue reading “Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?”

7 other pains worse than childbirth

As a chronic migraine sufferer who has never given birth, I’m incapable of comparing pain. On a scale of 1-10 (as doctors insist on using), my excruciating pain sometimes exceeds 10+, but, I can envision childbirth close or equal. Let’s face it, any horrible pain is a horrible pain.

7 Horrible Types of Pain (not in particular order)

(people at random said)

1.   Toothache

2.   Migraines

3.   Trigeminal Neuralgia

4.   Gout

5.   Serious Burns

6.  Pudendal Neuralgia

Continue reading “7 other pains worse than childbirth”

Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With Invisible Illnesses

“Living in Stigma” connects with everyone coping with chronic pain, mental illness, and all invisible illnesses.

My blog Living in Stigma was launched in 2007 and originally dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness.  I felt as if I was living in stigma with my own major depression.

Many forms of mental illness comprise of DepressionBipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and much more.

I struggle with both mental illness and chronic migraines, and with news articles, social media, research and valued readers sharing comments and opinions on my blog, it’s a reality that invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, headaches, recurring back and leg pain, and so many more are also a vast portion of invisible illness stigma.  Continue reading “Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With Invisible Illnesses”

Chronic Pain: 16 Things We Want You To Know

It’s not just in our head. The pain is there and always would be even if there is no apparent reason for it. Our pain is real and will not just go away after we take some pills for a week or two. It would always be there and we have learned to live with it. Here are 16 more things we wish you knew about us!

1. We Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill

You think you can imagine our pain? Now multiply that amount by 10. No matter how sympathetic you are, studies have proved that people tend to underestimate other people’s pain. Chronic pain by default is hard to imagine unless you have experienced it in your life. It’s invisible, but it is always there. We urge health care not out of hypochondria or the need for attention, but because of our severe physical state.

2. We Need to Balance Actions Carefully

We use the Spoon Theory.  We have a limited amount of spoons each day we could use for different actions. Getting up, getting dressed, taking a shower, driving, walking, picking up the phone — each action requires us to use one of our precious spoons. On good days, we finish with a few spoons left so we can do something fun. On bad days, we borrow spoons from the next day and need extra recovery afterward. So if we suddenly cancel our plans with you or tell we can’t do it now — it’s just because we ran out of spoons today. Try to understand this.

3. We Struggle to Find a Good Doctor

Sadly, a lot of health care pros lack knowledge in pain management because it is rarely part of their training. We often visit numerous specialists before receiving a proper diagnosis and wait months to years to see a real pain specialist for treatment. Doctors often fall victim to the cognitive error of underestimating another’s pain and a small number of doctors are willing to take the legal risks involved in prescribing powerful pain pills.

Same goes with the nurses. Finding a good one who can really understand and help us relieve the pain is hard! Luckily, there are some online schools like Sacred Heart University that are training future nurse leaders to overcome these issues in the future and provide better care for patients.

While you may think it’s crazy, we’re willing to travel further to find a good nurse with this kind of training and rave about it when we find one.

4. We Are Not Lazy

Continue reading “Chronic Pain: 16 Things We Want You To Know”

Childhood Trauma Tied to Migraine Risk as Adult

Study found witnessing parental domestic violence produced most powerful association

(HealthDay News) — Experiencing a traumatic event during childhood may raise the risk for migraines as an adult, new Canadian research suggests.

“We found the more types of violence the individual had been exposed to during their childhood, the greater the odds of migraine,” study author Sarah Brennenstuhl, from the University of Toronto, said in a university news release.

“For those who reported all three types of adversities — [witnessing] parental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse — the odds of migraine were a little over three times higher for men and just under three times higher for women,” Brennenstuhl said.

The findings were reported online recently in the journal Headache. To reach their conclusions, researchers looked at data from a mental health survey involving nearly 23,000 men and women over the age of 18.

“The most surprising finding was the link between exposure to parental domestic violence and migraines,” study co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor and chair at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said in the news release.

Girls who had witnessed parental domestic violence grew up to be women with a 64 percent greater risk for migraines, compared with those with no such history. For men, the bump in risk amounted to 52 percent, the investigators found.

And the team noted this association held up even after taking into account a wide range of influential factors, such as age, race, a history of depression or anxiety, and any history of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse.

However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link between childhood trauma and migraine risk.

From HealthDay.com:
http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/domestic-violence-news-207/childhood-trauma-may-up-risk-for-adult-migraines-700726.html

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for more on migraines.

SOURCE: University of Toronto, news release, June 24, 2015

I’m cranky and I have a migraine…

Existing with chronic migraines in February, March and April are normally unkind to me, lasting 24/7 at times.  No cures for migraines, but I am used to the pounding pain which is mostly caused by changes in the barometric pressure.

I was up during the night watching TV, my migraine unbearable, and up pops an infomercial for the “cure-all” for migraines and back problems.  My exhilaration quickly sunk when what appeared was……wires with small black pads, fastened to one’s forehead, then connecting to a “powerful” machine.  The woman “patient” was amazed at how her migraine just “disappeared” in no time.

Hmmmm, wouldn’t that be magnificent! NOT! I’m somehow skeptical.  I believe they were giving away 2 for the price of 1 for a limited time only.  Gotta go, phone right now, 4 payments of just $49.99 + S&H.

So, bottom line….I will be posting a bit slower for the next few days.

Migraine Relief? ‘Daith piercing’ is becoming popular for migraine and headache relief.

I’ve included two articles on the subject of ‘Daith Piercing’, a positive and negative. Personally, I have never heard of this procedure before now, however, upon reading these articles, I’ve decided this wouldn’t be for me.

fourstateshomepage – by Kheslleen Dimanche ~ According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are an extraordinarily common disease that affects 38 million people in the United States. After several people posted their social media accounts that daith piercing has brought them relief, others are jumping for the fix.

“I’ve had a constant migraine for two and half to three years, and I heard it helps,” said Jenny Wagner, received daith piercing.

Wagner says since struggling with migraines, she and her mother felt piercing the daith was worth a try.

“Spending over a thousand dollars a month on doctors and then spending $40 on a piercing is way better,” said Wagner. She says prior to getting the piercing, she tried almost everything to get relief and nothing seemed to work.

“Some medication didn’t do anything, some made me like end up in the ER,” Wagner explained.

Continue reading “Migraine Relief? ‘Daith piercing’ is becoming popular for migraine and headache relief.”

What is Biofeedback Therapy? for Migraine and Chronic Pain etc.

I was never aware of this type of therapy so thought an interesting topic to include for information. It especially received my attention when it mentioned chronic pain such as migraine/headache treatment. 

Biofeedback therapy involves training patients to control physiological processes such as muscle tension, blood pressure, or heart rate.

These processes usually occur involuntarily, however, patients who receive help from a biofeedback therapist can learn how to completely manipulate them at will.

Biofeedback is typically used to treat chronic pain, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, tension headache, and migraine headache.

The three most common types of biofeedback therapy are:

  • Thermal biofeedback – which measures skin temperature
  • Electromyography – measures muscle tension
  • Neurofeedback – measures brain wave activity

Biofeedback is particularly effective at treating conditions brought on by severe stress. When a person is stressed, their internal processes such as blood pressure can become irregular. Biofeedback therapy teaches these patients certain relaxation and mental exercises which can alleviate their symptoms.

Therapists can measure a patient’s performance by attaching electrodes to their skin and displaying the processes on a monitor. Eventually patients learn how to control these processes without the need to be monitored.

During a biofeedback session, electrodes will be attached to the patient’s skin, which sends information to a monitoring box. The biofeedback therapist reads the measurements and through trial and error singles out mental activities that help regulate the patient’s bodily processes.

Sessions are typically less than an hour long – most people will begin to see positive results after 8 sessions. However, some patients may need a as many as 50 sessions.

The remainder of this post @

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265802.php

 

Migraine Triggers

My triggers are:

The biggie always seems to be weather, also skipped meals and alcohol (can’t have any, and haven’t in years and years).  Chocolate isn’t on the list, that’s has been a trigger, and I’m unsure if this is connected but, if I wake up suddenly from a horrible dream it’s accompanied by a severe migraine.

Could PTSD + Anger perhaps = Migraines?

I have said this many times!:

I’ve been scarce these last few months, coping with horrible migraines and wishing for any kind of treatment aside from popping pain meds.

I investigated and discovered that childhood trauma (PTSD) + anxiety or anger may perhaps kick off a trigger for migraines.  Although I’ve been dealing with PTSD associated with Childhood Sexual Abuse, I never really considered the emotional abuse and hatred I had for my Narcissistic mother.  The lack of empathy, validation and endless criticism was so destructive.

Continue reading “Could PTSD + Anger perhaps = Migraines?”

News Item: Blogger with torturous migraines has brain fog and taking a break from social media to clear head

Well, I’m confessing, I have some type of “brain fog”, that I’m sure is related to these migraine headaches.  Summer has been crappy.  Writing thoughts are not flowing, and my fingers on the keys aren’t cooperating either, so I’m giving my head a time-out for awhile and taking a break from social media.  I’ll be checking in, so feel free to leave comments.

I’ve lived with these migraines for over 40+ years, assessed by countless neurosurgeons and oodles of tests, end result: “You have bilateral migraines” and that’s that. Translation: Live with it.  I take preventative meds and a med if I snag one coming on.  Currently, zilch is helping.

Thanks to new followers/viewers for checking out this blog, and others that have taken the time to comment on my posts. Be back soon.

Deb

Women with Bipolar Disorder, sleep quality affects mood

Poor sleep is associated with negative mood in women with bipolar disorder, according to researchers.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The condition is marked by extreme mood episodes characterized as manic (highs), depressive (lows) or mixed.

Sleep problems are common in people with bipolar disorder, and poor sleep quality and bipolar disorder appear to exacerbate each other. Previous research shows that poor sleep quality is a symptom of depressive and manic episodes, and that lack of sleep can trigger mania.

Continue reading “Women with Bipolar Disorder, sleep quality affects mood”

‘THUNDERCLAP’ Headaches – Probably the worst headache of your life

You’re relaxing in your favorite chair, or out with friends for coffee or perhaps enjoying a delightful soothing bath, when unexpectedly, BAM, you are struck with this horrendous pain in your head; the worst headache pain you’ve ever felt.  It’s different from a migraine, and termed a “THUNDERCLAP” headache.

Continue reading “‘THUNDERCLAP’ Headaches – Probably the worst headache of your life”

“My Head REALLY Hurts” ~ this is what I mean……

This was posted on Twitter.com (just today) by Chronic Migraine Aware @CMAware. Interesting for those who suffer with migraines, such as myself and now aware of how many blood vessels in and around the face area, which mine often go, and even wearing glasses is too painful.

https://www.facebook.com/ChronicMigraineAwareness

Sorry to bother you

This for me is hiding my depression and not showing how badly my head is throbbing due to horrible chronic migraines.   Perhaps this is why people question why I remain on disability, as I appear to “look well”.  I believe people have grown tired of my “headache” woes, as they seem to change the subject fast.

PTSD common in migraine sufferers

Sometimes my migraines feel like this

I posted this article a few years ago, but thought I would re-post due to the fact that I am a major migraine sufferer (this month has been utter hell, as I have had a migraine or “lighter” headache every single day of January).  I’ve never thought that it was tied to my PTSD, as most of mine appear to be caused by the barometric changes, however it could be a possibility.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) — Adults who suffer migraine headaches are more apt to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population, a new study suggests. And having PTSD and migraine may lead to greater headache-related disability.

Continue reading “PTSD common in migraine sufferers”

Does More Stress = More Headaches??

A new study provides evidence for what many people who experience headaches have long suspected — having more stress in your life leads to more headaches.  The study released today will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology‘s 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

For the study, 5,159 people age 21 to 71 in the general population were surveyed about their stress levels and headaches four times a year for two years.  Participants stated how many headaches they had per month and rated their stress level on a scale of zero to 100.

A total of 31 percent of the participants had tension-type headache, 14 percent had migraine, 11 percent had migraine combined with tension-type headache and for 17 percent the headache type was not classified.  Those with tension-type headache rated their stress at an average of 52 out of 100.

Continue reading “Does More Stress = More Headaches??”