By Pebbles Mendoza
Most bosses probably scoff when a subordinate files for sick leave because of a migraine headache, but the fact is that migraines are among the most common reasons for missing work. That’s not because sufferers are malingerers looking for a rest day. Rather, it’s because the pain is really so intense that you just need to hide in a dark room and whimper in pain.
I know, because I suffer from migraines.
I was diagnosed in 2010, and my migraines rate from bad to severe. There are attacks which wake me up vomitting, and other attacks that come when I am driving. The latter are the most dangerous because I suddenly feel searing pain in my head and need to find a place to park and rest. My “favorite” migraines, if I can call them that, are the ones that wake me up in pain, because at least then I can file for a sick day and rest. The bad ones are when I’m happily working at my desk, and suddenly my head feels like it’s about to explode, and I cannot curb it with pain medications.
You see, aside from my severe migraines, I am also allergic to most pain medications. I’ve gone through the whole prescription list at this point, and my pain medications are very strong, so much so that most people would feel dizzy if they took them. In fact, my pain medications are only effective in curbing the pain caused by my migraines because they make me fall asleep.
Most people have migraines with auras, which can serve to warn you that an attack is coming. I don’t. My migraines come as they please, and I do not have the luxury of being able to prepare and possibly head them off. So my approach to migraine treatment is reactive.
One time, I was at work when I suddenly felt an attack, and the only medication I had was the one that makes me fall asleep. I didn’t have one of my weaker medications that allow me to function in the office. So I went to the nurse’s station and explained my predicament. The nurse, understanding the pain, allowed me to take my medication and then sleep it off. She wanted to send me home but I was already in bad shape and couldn’t drive. While I was sleeping, the light was turned off and those who needed the nurse had to talk in whispers.
Hopefully, your migraines aren’t as bad as mine. But my experience inspired me to write this article, as you might benefit from it. Here are some migraine treatments that may help you whenever the pain flares up:
Rest in a cool, dark room
Try to find a cool, dark room where you can rest. If you are in the office, you may seek help from a nurse if one is available, or borrow someone’s car for 20 minutes so you can rest in quiet. If that’s not possible, wear a hoodie and then lay your head on your desk. Wear noise-cancelling headphones if you have them. If you really don’t have anything to work with, you can empty your bag and stick your head in it. You’ll be able to mimic the effect of darkness, but you’ll have to be creative about the cool part.
Put an ice pack on the part that hurts, and another ice pack on the back of your neck. If you are at home, take a cold shower. The cold somehow relieves migraine pain, and it does wonders for the inflamed nerves in your head.
Massage it away
Massage your scalp by gently pulling your hair at the roots and directly massaging your scalp. You can also massage your temples, forehead, or wherever you feel pain. There are videos of effective massaging techniques on YouTube.
Pain relievers can help in most cases. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the right medication for you, as each person’s reaction to drugs differs. You can ask your primary care physician for advice on what is best for you. You can also take caffeine right after drinking your medication as the caffeine can boost its effectiveness.
Sleep it off
If all else fails, sleep it off. Resting is sometimes the only way to get rid of the pain, and it helps your body recuperate. In my case, seven out of ten migraine attacks are resolved this way.
I hope you have a better time controlling your pain after reading this article. Remember, medical advice is best dispensed by professionals, so ask your doctor what they think.