Knowing and understanding which type of migraine you have is an excellent way of accepting what is happening with your body. It also really helps reduce a lot of anxiety around the condition.
Your condition is chronic if you experience 15 or more monthly migraines. Your condition is episodic if you experience 14 or fewer migraine days per month. Not all migraine attacks are alike; how we treat them shouldn't be either. If you find yourself experiencing more severe or frequent migraine attacks or increased symptoms with each episode, it's important to reach out to a migraine specialist for treatment.
One of the rules of migraine is that they will change. Therefore, if you are experiencing a change in frequency, try to determine the significant changes to your internal and external environment. Nothing beats a migraine diary. You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?
If you're in the high episodic migraine or chronic migraine category, along with tracking your patterns, you may also want to make note of these 3 things:
- How many meds did insurance approve (med limits)?
- How many have I taken this week (avoiding rebound)?
- What important events do I need to get through (should I save an acute treatment for another day)?
I have a friend who gets Botox injections every 6 weeks, and toward the end of that 6 weeks, her migraines go from episodic (once or twice a week) to nearly every day. Then she gets Botox, and it drops off again. But a chronic period can also be triggered by an illness, physical activity that aggravates the neck muscles, or other random things. Those chronic periods tend to last 1-2 weeks or longer.
Migraine is a complex neurological disease -- and not just a headache. Yes, I typed that while gritting my teeth. Remember, it is possible to escape the terrifying nightmare of daily pain. I don't mean to imply that it's easy or possible for everyone, but I like sharing my stories and experiences because, during dark times, it would've brought me comfort to know that someone else had also been to hell and back.
To all my migraine warriors out there, you are not alone. These affirmations have helped me, and maybe they will help you too.
- My disease isn't my fault.
- I can avoid all my triggers and still get a migraine attack. It's not my fault.
- My pain is real, even if I don't have a diagnosis yet.
- I shouldn't have to feel guilty for having a condition I have no control over.
- I'm allowed to say "No."
- I'm allowed to rest.
- I don't need to justify or explain myself constantly.
- I don't have to prove how sick I am.
Until someone lives with a chronic condition, they don’t understand how life is never the same for those who do. Learn more about migraine episodes if you want to support a loved one living with migraine. If you better understand how debilitating migraine is, it might be easier for you to help your loved one.
Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.
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