Epilepsy Talk

Say good-bye to the miserable world of migraines… | May 11, 2022

Your head is throbbing, pulsing, pounding, light is blinding, you want to puke, you can’t think straight. Sound familiar?

Welcome to the miserable world of migraines.

Let’s face it, having migraines is a wretched experience.

Add severe pain, distorted visual images, sensitivity to light, sound, or odors, and maybe even the feeling of numbness in parts of your body. The list is endless.

You may be “lucky” and have migraines once a year. Or like many others, you may suffer one every day for several weeks at a time.

In fact, migraines and epilepsy are sort of kissing cousins. Like seizures, migraines can be triggered by stress, fatigue, flashing lights, loss of sleep, menstruation, and alcohol.

Red wine, caffeine withdrawal, stress, and skipped meals are also among the common culprits. But like epilepsy, avoiding these triggers are easier said than done.

In general, migraines do not cause seizures. Migraines and seizures are two different neurological problems that have overlapping symptoms.

However, people who have migraines are twice as likely to have seizures.

Migraines may have an effect on the appearance of seizures. Researchers haven’t ruled out that these conditions appear together by chance.

Additionally it is no coincidence that there are epilepsy drugs that are actually effective in the treatment of migraines.

Research shows that Depacon (Valproate) and Topamax (Topiramate) are effective in treating migraines and epilepsy. And each has FDA approval for treating them together. 

Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) also works for both, creating a therapeutic “two-fer.”

There are also several other anti-epileptic drugs that have also been shown to lessen migraine headaches – such as Neurontin (Gabapentin), Keppra ( Levetiracetam) and Zonegran (Zonisamide).

However, the dose of AEDs in the treatment of migraines is usually lower than that used for epilepsy.

Let’s say you go the “safe” route and just have caffeine or take Excedrin. If you do more than two days per week on a chronic basis, you may end up with analgesic over usage or “rebound” headaches.

The latter are caused by the brain becoming “sensitized” by the caffeine, aspirin or acetaminophen so that you develop daily or near daily headaches as a result of taking these.

Also, for older adults, pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil and generic), naproxen (Alieve and generic), or aspirin, can have side-effects that include dizziness, cognitive issues, and increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

It’s like adding fuel to the fire.

So now what do you do?

Studies by Paul R. Martin, D. Phil., a psychologist and adjunct professor at Monash University in Australia, and others have suggested that simply adhering to a healthy lifestyle — which would naturally include avoiding triggers such as stress, toxic odors, hunger, dehydration, lack of sleep, etc. — may actually be more effective.

Your doctor can also help connect you with other treatment options if basic interventions are not helping.

For some people with frequent headaches, there is growing evidence that acupuncture may help prevent them, though more studies are needed.

Research has also suggested that biofeedback — which typically uses electrical sensors on your body to make you aware of and help you control physiological processes — may reduce chronic pain in some cases, including from headaches.

Then there are some more unorthodox ways to curb the pain. They may sound a little weird to you, but hey, if they work…

Sniff peppermint or lavender to offset strong smells that may trigger your seizures.

Strong smells may trigger a migraine in some people. Is there a way to block the stench of car exhaust or someone’s bad cologne?

Keep a vial of peppermint and lavender oils handy. Dab them on your skin and enjoy natural aromatherapy. Peppermint may ease pain for some people. Lavender might soothe anxious feelings.

Research shows that people who did yoga regularly for 3 months had fewer headaches. Yoga may also help ease pain, depression, and anxiety, make migraines less intense, and allow some people to take fewer headache meds.

And there’s the simple spice ginger. Yup, ginger. Tests show that it can make your headaches less intense with fewer side-effects than prescription drugs!

We need more research to be sure, but one study of 100 people who have migraines with aura showed that ginger powder worked as well as sumatriptan, a common migraine drug, when used for one month.

I’m not claiming these “little miracles” will cure your migraines. Or even stop them in their tracks.

But they could go a long way in helping you to manage the miserable pain of migraines and take control over your life once again.

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  1. I don’t know much about headaches since i’ve never really had them, except when my brain tumor reached an incredibly big size. That’s when i was getting morning headaches that were severe. I told my NP at the time and he suggested i take headache pills or reduce dairy items. My point is

    If you all of a sudden start experiencing headaches on a regular basis, when you’ve never had them before then get a head CT at the minimum.

    I would also suggest getting blood checked and vit check. Maybe u r avoiding foods that u need to bring the brain chemistry in order.

    My 2 cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — May 11, 2022 @ 10:10 AM

  2. Zolt, thanks for your “two cents”. Good advice.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 11, 2022 @ 10:22 AM

  3. Stress, toxic odors, hunger, dehydration, lack of sleep, all of which I was trying to avoid where I once lived!
    My Epileptic Seizures were a hell of a lot less than they have been throughout the past decade!
    I worked out, danced et cetera and ate healthy maybe too much Sushi 😻 but healthy.
    I was never that stressed because my fur baby was with me, and I was in contact with my family and friends enough.
    Took martial arts as well. Had a Wave bag for practice and de-stressing myself, it worked.
    My fur baby was everything but he was torn apart from me a few years ago by an animal control.
    I rescued and adopted him before he was 8 months old. I’ve been punished for this by continuing break and enters and thefts and where I am now… By those who were not living/ paying rent in my apartment! Even now! My Epileptic Seizures have gotten worse because of the traumatic stress that they continue to force onto me!

    Oddly enough when I was in hospital last week my bringing my own water and then using cards for a coffee shop to buy hot chocolate, pop, bagels, and donuts gave me enough to purchase Snapple, Muffins, and medicine to stop me from getting anymore sick then I was from the severe heat of the room!
    No nurse would stop for me to be able to ask for Gravol or other medication so I went downstairs to the pharmacy to purchase them. I was even told originally that my 2nd Epileptic seizure was a “fainting spell!”(a fainting spell that knocks you out and tears your head open to make you have to get Staples in your head?! Really??)
    I got myself out of Dehydration on the floor that I was on!

    But I continue to get papers for “Mental Health-Addictions where can you get help” crap in my papers the hospital employees give me.
    They saw what I was drinking and eating. I had to sign out and in what more???

    I’m being penalized by strangers for them putting me in Status Epilepticus to What they call “Status Genisus”(it was a university project in Ontario?)
    it was to fully to implement “the stealing of my power and control by putting me in Severe state of Traumatized Epileptic seizures, by using ground wires and WireFraud to attack both me and my fur baby who was like me paralyzed to the ground and gasping for air!!!
    My eyes were on the door waiting for the EMTs to arrive and I heard was, “Just close your eyes and die!! Close your eyes. Close your eyes and DIE!”
    By someone outside of my former(?) apartment door that I heard that male voice but I doubt that I would remember the tones of the voice but I saw the shadows outside of my apartment that I once had

    Because of

    I’ve been hearing lies and hate mongering and Cyberbullying that no one really cares what it is in this city!!
    They do what they do because it is the better for them. Even stealing email addresses and MAILFRAUD!

    What about me and the other people who are tired of this?!
    “Police station closes at oops now!”
    Call the general number for everything & Anything!!


    Comment by Tabitha — May 11, 2022 @ 10:05 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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