Fellow Migraineurs: How did you kick the quick fix?
January 29, 2013 2:05 PM Subscribe
Help me figure out specific techniques, distractions, etc. to employ while I stop taking pain medication for migraines.
posted by hapax_legomenon to health & fitness (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've had lifelong migraines but they've been a daily occurrence for the past two years. This weekend I finished "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain" (thanks to someone's recommendation here on Ask). Step 1 in the book is to avoid the "quick fix", i.e., painkillers, since they can lead to rebound headaches. The problem here is that I have been entirely reliant on a low but daily dose of a doctor-prescribed painkiller to keep functioning in life at all - and I really have no idea how I can keep doing work (I freelance write/edit/project manage for a living) while feeling like there's a spike through my head all day long for who knows how many weeks. The author's estimates for cessation/withdrawal duration range from a few days to a couple of months. Headaches can also increase in frequency/intensity during this time - not just remain at the status quo. However, this book's approach makes a ton of sense to me so I'm committed to making it happen - but I need help.
I am looking for specific advice/anecdotes/techniques/strategies to help me stay sane and functional through this process. My fear is that I will have a big project/deadline and the only way I'll feel like I can actually do the work is by medicating myself to stop the pain. If you've ever been in this situation what have you done? How did you cope? How did you continue to think while your primary thinking organ was in unrelenting pain?
(Please know that I am under the care of a physician and a neurologist and they are both aware and supportive of my attempts at making this work. Neither have any issues with me stopping the medication cold turkey - the dosage I take, while effective, is not high enough to warrant any sort of step down or detox. I also get Botox shots in my shoulders, neck and head every three months to help reduce the headache frequency and once I make it through Steps 1 and 2 - trigger food identification - of this process, I and my doctors will assess if any other preventative medications may help. At this time I'm also not looking for help in identifying triggers or reducing migraine frequency - this question is specifically about how to keep functioning while in pain.)
Thanks for any advice/suggestions.