Part II: It Takes These Two Things to Defeat Migraines

Defeat Migraine Pain Secret Weapon

The Super Hero Guide To Vanquishing Migraine Pain, Pt. II

One of Super Woman’s greatest super powers is, well, her power. Wonder Woman is one strong lady—and we’re not just talking about her Amazonian strength.  Wonder Woman has mental fortitude, courage in the face of fear, and endurance.

In part 1 we said you can’t stop migraines from attacking, nor can you always control the pain that comes with you. The one thing you can do: keep them from destroying you. They’re powerful, but you are more powerful. Even the unconquerable, seemingly undefeatable intractable migraines can be beat.

Tapping your inner power starts with accepting help and support from other people.

All Great Super Heroes Have People

No matter a superhero’s natural (or mutant) abilities, one thing always makes them more powerful: their team.Wonder Woman comes from a tribe of women who raised her to be graceful, strong and resilient. Batman is a pretty solitary figure (he lives in a cave, after all) but he has Alfred to care for him. Superman was raised by loving parents and had the support of Lois Lane (though she may not have known it). 

There’s always an assistant, a sidekick, a butler, a league. No one operates alone.

I. Find and Hire a Research and Development Director (=Physician/Other Provider)

Batman and Ironman are as successful as they are because they put their money into the best people and minds. They’re busy fighting villains—they don’t have the time to do all the research themselves, and they would surely forget to eat if someone weren’t looking out for them. You need someone looking out for your health, too, especially if you suffer from intractable migraines.

Your person—your Alfred, Pepper, or Antiope—needs to be someone who understands your strengths, weaknesses, and foes. They must understand migraines as well as your unique physiology so that they prescribe a treatment plan that works for you. Because what works for one person may not work for you.

Wonder Woman doesn’t use a gun, a cape, or a Batmobile. If you gave her any of these, would she be as effective? Surely not. She was trained to fight using certain tools and techniques, and she excels with them.

In the same way, you can’t rely on a doctor who prescribes you any old pain medication. Resolving your migraines is a little about them, and a lot about you—how your body responds, what your body needs, how a unique combination of factors inside of you contribute to and counter migraines.

It’s going to take some time and some mistakes. Not everyone you go to will have good ideas or be able to help. Not all treatments will be effective.

You’re on your own hero’s journey to find a solution so that you can give your best self to the world. Migraines are tough but you’re tougher. Time is going to pass and you need an effective, lasting solution to your intractable migraines.

Here are some resources to help you on your way.

Migraine Specialists

Most major cities have one or more hospitals with headache clinics and/or neurology departments. Specialists can do testing and diagnosis, as well as (in some cases) surgery.

Learn about Acute, Preventive and Non-pharmacologic Treatments, Then Find a Provider from the American Migraine Foundation 

Find a Headache Medicine Specialist f rom Migraine Research Foundation

Functional Medicine

Basics of Functional Medicine 

The 5 Principles of Functional Medicine by MindBodyGreen

How End Migraines (with Functional Medicine) Article by Dr. Mark Hyman

Find a Practitioner

Acupuncture

Acupuncture Therapy from Migraine Relief Blog

Acupuncture: In Depth from National Institutes of Health

How Acupuncture Can Relieve Pain and Improve Sleep, Digestion and Emotional Well-being from University of California, San Diego

Acupuncture May Be Effective for Migraines from WebMD

Find a Physician Acupuncturist from the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture

Other

Non-pharmacologic Treatments from American Migraine Foundation

Osteopathic Treatment for Migraine Relief (articles) from Osteopathic Healing Hands

Find a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Find a Chiropractor

II. Join Forces and Multiply Your Power

You know migraines can be beat. You’re working with a specialist to find a treatment. You’re practicing realizing your inner strength. Now, you team up with other migraineurs to defeat migraines for everyone, and support each other through what is often a really difficult battle.

Just like the Avengers and Justice League, you, too, need people who understand exactly what you’re going through. They’ll help support you, keep you strong through the hardest times and give you advice. When you’re about to surrender to the belief that your intractable migraine really is intractable and will never be beat, they’ll carry you through.

Tons of great communities are out there. We recommend three in particular.

  1. We have a Migraine Relief forum right here on our page, as well as an active Facebook community. We also welcome your personal stories.
  2. #SpeakYourMigraine highlights the impact of migraines on individuals with the aim of turning “private pain into collective change”.
  3. Migraine Research Foundation shares stories from migraine sufferers, some of whom have found solutions to their pain.

 

Image Credit: Hermitosis

The Super Hero Guide to Vanquishing Migraine Pain, Pt. I: Featuring Harry Potter

Badass Wonder Woman Vanquish Migraine Pain


When you see the enemy on the horizon, you have two choices: run, or stand and face it. But when the enemy is a basilar migraine, there’s really only one thing to do: stand and face it like a woman.

Wonder Woman.

There’s a scene in the movie where Diana is in disguise. She’s wearing a big dark cloak, her hair is covered with a hood, and she’s not wearing her tiara. She’s walking with Steve through the middle of the some WWI trenches as he tells her they can’t get past this point. This battalion has been fighting for a year and haven’t gained an inch and there’s nothing they can do. And by the way, they aren’t here to save everyone anyway. (He’s very goal-oriented, that Steve.)

But Diana—Wonder Woman—is like, That is so weak sauce, Steve. Watch this. And she liberates that whole little town.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t? Because you feel like you’re the one who just got annihilated by Wonder Woman

Well, you have been tackled. Migraines are no joke. They’re a whole body horror and man, sometimes it feels like getting tackled to the ground would be a relief. And though it seemed like you couldn’t possibly endure, you did. You’ve done it again and again.

That alone doesn’t make you Wonder Woman. She threw herself into battle and we’re still trying to get our insurance to approve Botox for migraines, right?

But that you’ve endured so many brutal migraines, and that you’ve stared down so many basilar migraines with their dizziness and blurred vision, means you’ve got the chops to be. It won’t be long before you’re able to not only face migraines, but do face them with grace, strength, and power.

To do that, we have to start by reframing your experience.

Part I. Reframing Migraines: From Menace to Nuisance

Menace

You know better than anyone the painful, debilitating, excruciating experience of a migraine. They’re neurological, mysterious and no amount of reframing is going to make them a pleasant experience. Which is good, because that is not the point.

The point is: most of our feelings don’t originate in the brain. The brain is an interpreting center. It pulls information from our nerves, interprets them, then issues a response. It takes sound waves and turns them into music. It takes light and turns them into beautiful vistas.

We think that we smile because we’re happy. But sometimes, we’re happy because we smile. And sometimes we’re angry because our heart starts racing and our stomach clenches, so we prepare to fight. (Radiolab devoted a fascinating hour to this a few years ago.) We think that we can’t control our feelings or emotions, but in fact, the relationship  is a little complicated, and you probably have more control than you think.

So, what happens when we’re in pain?

Pain is experienced in two ways. First, there’s the physical pain of the experience. Your brain both issues and responds to that. Pain is your nervous system’s alarm bells telling you (your brain) that something needs fixing. Not everyone gets basilar migraines, but you can think of them as a sort of warning system, like a tornado siren. 

The second is much more complex and interesting. Pain is also psychological. You know this if you’ve ever seen a baby take a nasty bump and look to you before deciding whether to cry. You also know this if you’ve ever woken up feeling terrible and, instead of nursing yourself back to health with a day in bed, you go to work and feel fine by lunch.

The psychological/emotional pain makes the physical experience of pain much worse.

You can see it here, in one of YouTube’s first great viral sensations Charlie Bit My Finger. It’s clear that Charlie bit His finger and He was upset by it. Doesn’t he look ready to cry (at :30)?

And then he sees the TV. For a moment, he forgets the pain entirely.

He didn’t make up the pain. It wasn’t in his head. But the degree of pain he was in was impacted by his mental state. When it first happened, he was very upset. The shock of the bite probably contributed to his dismay. Then, suddenly, it didn’t seem to bother him at all (though surely it was still there). Finally, he smiled about it.

He smiled! And then gave his brother a good scolding.

Nuisance

Reframing migraines means asserting control over the psychological portion of that pain. It means that you’re going cast off your security blanket, put on your Wonder Woman Tiara, and get out there on that battlefield.

It means that you’re going to experience pain without identifying with it.

Because you’ve done it before and you can do it again. Only this time, you’ve got your tiara and bullet-deflecting shield on, and you’re coming from a place of power.

Your new mantra is: my migraine is just a pain.

Three Tips for Framing

1. Change your self-talk. When you respond to your feelings of pain with, Ow I’m in so much pain I can’t do this oh my God owowow, then you have just entered a terrible and vicious cycle that will prolong and exacerbate your migraine. The basilar migraine sounded the first alarm bells. The migraine sounded the second. You started feeling it and set off the third round. Now you’ve got 2-3 sets of pain bells going off in your body (!), and no fire department to rescue you. That’s a whole lot of pain happening.

But, instead of focusing on the pain and alarm bells, try reminding yourself, I’ve already done this.  Or, I’ve survived this a million times before and it sucks and I’ll be okay anyway.

I have a pain in my leg and blurred vision. But I am alive.

I am (still) breathing.

I can see.

I can feel my heart beat.

Last week we suggested focusing deeply on the pain itself. Now, try focusing on the things outside your pain. Change the way you talk about pain and you change the way you experience the pain.

2. Distract yourself. Like the boy in the video, get your mind off the pain.

-The natural rhythms in your body are very soothing. If you can, focus on your heart beat or your breathing. Or, lie in a bath and focus on the feel of the water.

-Get a white noise machine and turn it on. Listen for patterns in the static.

-Recite everything you have memorized. Most people have, tucked way back in their brains, rhymes, poems, and songs from childhood. The rhythm of the verses and the exercise of retrieving them can do wonders for keeping a bored brain occupied. (Pain is a go-to distraction for the brain, so keep it as busy as you can.)

3. (For the Harry Potter fans) Practice occlumency.

Remember when Harry has to do private lessons with Snape to close his mind off to Lord Voldemort?

He was never able to do it until he had something to focus on that was stronger than the pain.

His scar burned, but he was master of the pain; he felt it, yet was apart from it. He had learned control at last, learned to shut his mind to Voldemort, the very thing Dumbledore had wanted him to learn from Snape. Just as Voldemort had not been able to possess Harry while Harry was consumed with grief for Sirius, so his thoughts could not penetrate Harry now, while he mourned Dobby. Grief, it seemed, drove Voldemort out…though Dumbledore, of course, would have said that it was love.

–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We hope for you that it’s not grief because that seems even more painful and awful than a migraine. We don’t want that for you.

Love, however, seems the perfect antidote.

-Let your friends and loved ones support you. Ask them for help.

-Surround yourself with pictures, wear a friend’s shirt or use gramma’s blanket

-Make a (mental) list of your top 20 memories with each person you care about

-Name 5 generous things you can do for every person in your life, especially your jerky old boss.

-Think of all the times you’ve been carried in your life. Think of the people who held you. Send each one a thought of gratitude.

You can’t stop migraines from attacking, but you sure as hell can keep them from destroying you. Your super power is resilience and persistent though those migraines can be, you have beat them every. single. time.

Part II. Tapping Into Your Superpower

Now that you know your strength, it’s time to prepare for battle. Next week: Tapping into your super power.

—-

Do you experience basilar migraines? What is your self-talk when you feel a migraine coming on?

How to Manage Migraine Pain Without Doctors or Drugs

natural migraine relief without drugs or doctors

Many go through life migraine-free. But then, one night in middle age–bam! It’s like a screeching alarm clock through the brain. Whether you’re a lifelong migraineur or new to hypnic headaches, you can do something about your pain.

When we talk about managing migraine pain, we usually mean how to numb or eliminate pain. Many migraineurs already know, after decades of trial and error, that most pain management methods and drugs do not last, and rarely does medication eliminate migraines forever. So maybe the solution isn’t to try to stop the pain.

Maybe the best solution is to manage the pain. Rather than putting up a wall to keep it out (and failing because pain can jump), you treat it as an employee. You are the boss. You are separate and you are in charge.

Ignoring Your Pain (Is Not The Answer)

Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to effectively reduce migraine pain. But you’re probably thinking, I tried that and it didn’t work. Or, How the hell am I supposed to empty my mind when it’s on fire? Emptying your mind–you’re just not going to be very good at it.

Which is why we’re not talking about that!

The word meditate is from Latin. It means to measure or to contemplate.

Here’s how you beat a hypnic headache: Imagine you’re a boss and you have to decide whether or not to fire your pain. Obviously the answer is yes (!) but you know how HR is. You have to have cause, and you have to have documentation. So, when your pain comes, observe it like every single thing it does is a reason for its termination. Instead: focus on it. Contemplate it. Measure it. 

Visualize your pain. Where in your body are you feeling it? Is it everywhere? What about your right ankle–do you have pain there? What about the tip of your nose? So if it’s not everywhere, where is it exactly?

The key is to not think about you. For example, Oh my God. I’m going to die. My head is going to explode from the pain. Why is this happening? How do I make it stop? What if it never stops?  etc etc etc. That is definitely going to make it worse.

Describe it exactly. Where in your body it is (precisely), sensation, color, intensity. 

How to Terminate Your Headache Pain

For migraines and hypnic headaches, HR has a very specific form they need filled out.

  1. What is the sensation? Pulsing? Throbbing? Dull?
  2. If you had to draw a picture of your pain, what would the color be?
  3. What would the shape be?
  4. You have to make it out of clay. Do you use play-doh or fire it in a kiln?
  5.  Imagine touching it with your fingers. What does the surface feel like?
  6. How would you rate the temperature of your pain?
  7. If you could scoop the hypnic headache (or other migraine) out of your body, put in in a box and market it as an alarm clock, what would you call it? How would you market it? To whom? How much would you charge?
  8. If you had to describe it via gif, which would you choose? (You may do this once the pain subsides.)

Each time you feel yourself pulling out of the pain and into your emotional state (Ow this hurts! I’m in so much pain! I feel terrible! I can’t do this! How many hours has it been?), locate your pain in your body. Describe it. Get that sucker fired.

The Only Thing That Matters

We could link all kinds of research here but really it doesn’t matter what the studies say. Your experience is the only thing that matters. How effective was describing your pain?

Meditation is a practice, which means that it’s meant to be done over and over again, and to be improved upon over time. If you aren’t amazed by the results, try it again with non-migraine pain. Don’t focus on how you’re feeling. Focus on what the pain is like. You’re the boss. 

Don’t suffer through your migraines and hypnic headaches. Remember that the pain is real, but you are stronger and more powerful.  You aren’t going to quit until it’s gone.

What Can Gisele Bundchen Teach Us About Intractable Migraine Relief? A lot.


It’s known that Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen follow a very strict diet: 20% protein, 80% vegetables, and rarely a tomato in sight. What Tom and Giselle avoid may be contributing to your intractable migraine.

The Immune System’s Problem with Tomatoes

Tom and Giselle avoid tomatoes (a more scientific explanation can be found here) because tomatoes contribute to systemic inflammation, as do many other members of the nightshade family. Eating them can contribute (or cause) a range of painful symptoms from joint pain and swelling to asthma, headaches, sinusitis, brain fog, digestive issues, and more.

Inflammation is your body’s way of fighting off disease, dangerous bacteria and infections. It’s why you get a fever when you’re sick, and redness around your mosquito bites. it usually doesn’t last long—just enough for your body to vanquish the intruder.

With systemic inflammation, however, your immune system is engaged throughout your body even when there isn’t an invader. We’re not saying eating a tomato will give you a fever. We’re saying that in some people, tomatoes and other foods may be triggering an immune response in the body. Instead of just digesting the food, moving it through and out of the body, it perceives it as a dangerous foreign agent and puts your whole body on high alert. Over time, this can create more problems, not to mention that once your body associates a certain food or chemical within the food with danger, it may always respond to it as the enemy—making it difficult for you to eat and perhaps even manage migraine pain.

Eliminate Systemic Inflammation, Eliminate Migraine Pain?

It is thought that inflammation may be an underlying cause of migraines. More research needs to be done to determine the exact nature of the link, but you don’t have to wait for that. You can begin running your own migraine triggers experiment today.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a drug targeted specifically to your genetic makeup and specific health needs, and not suffer the negative side effects? There is no magic pill, but you may be amazed at how significantly diet impacts your energy, sleep, mental clarity, mood, and pain levels.

To optimize your diet to boost these key areas of your health, try an elimination diet. That means that for (at least) 30 days, you will entirely avoid eating the foods that are most likely to be problematic. Eliminating them gives your body a chance to let down its defenses (reduce inflammation) and begin to heal. When you try them again 30 days later, will your body still recognize them as threats? Which ones? To what extent?

Everyone will find that some foods are better tolerated than others, and that some foods make you feel immediately bad. Some people will find that eliminating certain things from their diet made them feel like a new person. How do you know what to eliminate?

Your Personalized, Targeted Medicine

First, before you even go looking for the right program to follow, tattoo this to your computer screen: an elimination diet is NOT for weight loss. Don’t sign up for a shake plan or cleanse. Those are designed to lose weight, not reveal pain triggers. Once you’re done with the cleanse or shakes, you’re right back where you started. When you remove inflammatory foods, you will lose weight and, most importantly, reduce (and even eliminate) chronic pain.

There are numerous elimination diets to choose from: Whole30, AIP, GAPS are well-established and have seen good results. They have lots of resources, and Whole30 especially has strong online support. The Wahls Protocol was developed by a doctor with MS specifically to target MS, so it may be of interest to those suffering neurological problems. This piece on the Migraine Diet also supports the findings of the non-migraine specific programs listed above (that cheese, nitrates, alcohol, etc. can trigger migraines).

For many people, it isn’t tomatoes or nightshades that are problematic. It’s gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes. Ultimately, there is no replacement for doing your own research to find what your triggers may be. 

It doesn’t matter how great a drug is if it doesn’t work for you. Or if it stops working. Or if, after years of trying, debilitating pain still keeps you from functioning as you want in your life. An intractable migraine is a hard thing to beat, and even harder to live with. Some people report success from eliminating trigger foods, and you may be one of them. Give yourself the best chance of success, of living the full and beautiful life you’ve wanted to lead. If medicine has failed you, it’s time to take your well-being into your own hands. Start here.

Have you tried an elimination diet? What did you eliminate? What were your triggers?

How to Beat Mommy Migraine Guilt

It’s time to go back to school which means more headaches for kids and parents. Dealing with headaches is hard. Dealing with migraines as a mom is even harder. You want to be there for your kid and when you’re knocked on your back with a migraine, the guilt nearly eats you alive. How do you bear these two unbearable conditions? Follow our prescription for mommy migraine guilt. It is simple, though likely difficult, and 100% necessary to your family’s happiness. 

I. Accept

You will miss things. It’s not your fault.

You will feel like an inadequate hunk of meat. You are not.

You do not have the time/energy/capacity to do all you would like. It’s okay.

Accepting both 1) that you will not live up to your own expectations and 2) that that’s okay is key. WIthout planning this from the beginning, you are setting yourself up for emotional and psychological stress, which may induce more (and more painful) migraines and bring more tension in your family. And if you wanted more stress and tension, you wouldn’t be reading this prescription for mommy migraine guilt. So go ahead and accept it now: you will fail. You are not a failure. Remind yourself of this often.

II. Commit

Parenting school-aged children brings a jungle of commitments. Bake sales and parent organizations and carpools and field trips. You want to say yes. You often, against your better judgment, sign up anyway and inevitably wind up not meeting your own expectations and feel lousy as a result. Or, you’ve learned by now not sign up for the volunteer opportunities, but you still beat yourself up for not being able to do it/be like other moms/live a “normal” life.

The trick to defeating migraine guilt is to reframe commitment. Instead of appointments, commit to quality time and keep track of it with tallies. Maybe the most challenging part of this is it has to be spontaneous. In the car or at dinner or betime, it’s just you and your kid. Don’t worry about what you’re not doing or who you’re not with. Take the interactions one at a time and give yourself a tally for each. Watch those tallies grow. Remember them when you have to say no to an afternoon at the playground.

III. Relax

The impulse to work after you’ve been down a few days is normal. Add on that a heaping dose of mommy migraine guilt and you’ve got a recipe for burnoutor, probably, another terrible migraine.

We’re not telling you to relax to be kind. We’re telling you to relax because it’s an effective strategy. You’ll be more productive, less stressed, more able to give to your family, and better able to sleep

You can try the usual recommendations: yoga, meditation, massage. But relaxation just means removing tension. You may feel that your shoulders (for example) are tense or tight, but it’s basically any kind of stress you feel. Some people release it through painting, others through music, through reading or cleaning or getting outside (when the sun isn’t too bright).  Do what it is that makes you feel a little lighter and brighter.

Repeat

Accepting, committing, and relaxing is your new life mantra and your cure for migraine guilt. These things aren’t too small, and they do count. You give people credit when you know they’re trying. They do the same for you. Think about any time that a friend or relative has been so burdened by their own guilt or pain that you two couldn’t even enjoy your time together. Think about how busy you get running the family that you forget to even enjoy it. Think about how good it feels when you connect with your loved ones.  It feels good for them, too.

Don’t say “Well this is what I should be able to do every night.” Or, “Other parents [anything].” You have the painful, debilitating condition, and migraine guilt on top of it. What works for you and your family, what is fun and high quality for you all, is the only metric that counts. You count it as often as possible.

Your Pain Demands To Be Felt

Man with head in one hand. the visible half of his face looks anguished

Do you know what the word refractory means? It’s from the latin word refractarius, meaning stubborn. It is typically used to describe things that are resistant–like the way an illness resists treatment, or a painful migraine resists resolution. It has to do with being difficult and unmanageable, making it an apt word for the migraine that won’t quit.

But the best use of the word may come from chemistry which explains a refractory material as one that maintains its strength even at high temperatures. Put another way, a refractory migraine can be thought of as more than simply resistant and difficult. No matter what treatment you throw at it or what medication you douse it with, it remains strong.

Debilitating Means to Make Weak, but Only the Strong Can Endure a Debilitating Migraine

We’re not going to pretend there is any virtue in suffering or value to sugarcoating it. Migraine is pain, and lots of it. And yet. Consider for a moment that you and the refractory migraine actually have something in common. No matter how excruciating the migraine is, how long it lasts, or how often it returns, no matter how exhausted you are physically and emotionally, you endure. It’s awful to withstand, and somehow you do it. Every time.

Often migraineurs themselves feel like they are difficult, resistant, stubborn. Nobody said that; they didn’t have to for you to feel its truth. There’s a terrible guilt one feels when down with a migraine. It’s a mix of hopelessness, helplessness, shame mixed with a bit of should and if only. Surely you must be doing something wrong. You should have done X or avoided Y. If only you could get up off this bed, or if only you could live your life like everyone else does. Why you?  It isn’t your fault. There’s a perception of weakness in American society—and many others as well—about those who show pain. Pain is not for displaying. It is to be hidden away in a dark room.

Anyone dealing with chronic pain knows what we’re talking about. You’ve felt that awful darkness, the heaviness, the personal humiliation at having to stop your life and to not only be rendered unable to care for anyone else, but to be entirely dependent on another person, and to miss out on fun, on family events, work, and a normal life.

It’s Not One You’d Ask For, but You Do Have a Superpower

With the refractory migraine, it is easy to see what you lack. Maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s energy, maybe it’s a sense of confidence in the day ahead. It’s hard to feel good when there may be pain waiting for you just around the corner. 

In focusing on the guilt and wishes and shoulds, you fail to see your own incredible power: You aren’t weak for having pain; you are strong for having endured it. You not only survive the crippling, humiliating, torturous pain, but you did it again and again. And every time, you look for a new solution, a new treatment, a new way to beat it. The reality of a life with migraines is unbearable, but here you are fighting, searching, always pressing forward.

Remember that. Next time you’re alone in the dark, paralyzed by the pain, thinking how you can’t bear it a moment longer—remember that you’ve done this before. Remember that this is a refractory migraine, not you. It feels all-consuming, but it can’t consume you. Because as the pain rises, so does your strength.

So do you.


Post title inspired by The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

3 Uncommon Ways to Pay for Migraine Injections (and Other Medications)

How to afford expensive migraine injections prescriptions

How to afford expensive migraine injections prescriptions

Has your doctor prescribed you medication, only to have your insurance decline coverage? Maybe insurance refused to cover the migraine injections because you “only” have 14 days of migraines per month. Or maybe you’re underinsured, or your copays for prescriptions are prohibitively expensive. Whatever your situation, you may still be able to afford migraine shots, and you may not even have to visit the ER.

Check out our post on what to do when you can’t pay for migraine medication for suggestions on affording migraine treatments when you’re underinsured or uninsured. 

1. Go Generic. If you’ve ever bought NyQuil, Tylenol, or Excedrin Migraine then you’ve bought name brand drugs. Go to any pharmacy and you’ll see the store’s brand right next to the name brand for a few dollars less. We tend to more readily trust name brand products, but don’t be nervous about choosing generic medicine. The FDA ensures they have the same active ingredients and strength as the name brand so they’re essentially the same drug. The difference is the cost of developing and marketing generic is far less, and the consumer reaps the benefit.

You can also find generic versions of migraine shots. Sometimes the generic versions are newer and so the doctor isn’t aware that it’s on the market (but can look it up), or like us, they have may have a preference for the brand name version. Your doctor cares about helping you, but it’s up to you to advocate for your budget. Most of your migraine medicine, including migraine injections, comes in generic versions. Don’t pay more if you don’t have to.

2. Get help paying for prescriptions. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (the PPA) is a free service that connects the uninsured and underinsured to programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. There’s a pretty straightforward application process to determine your eligibility and program availability and then you get a list of programs that you can contact directly for help. It’s worth noting that some will even qualify to get help with BOTOX injections for migraine relief

3. Use a prescription discount card or app. A prescription discount card works like a coupon. Your doctor calls in your prescription and you, instead of paying your copay (or the full cost of the drug), show the coupon at the pharmacy and pay a discounted rate for your medicine. The cards offer substantial savings–some as much as 90%–though discounts vary by card, pharmacy, location and medicine. And though they’re intended for the uninsured and underinsured, some medications are so discounted that paying out of pocket is cheaper than by copay. Do a quick google search and you’ll see that there are tons of these cards. 

Many prescription discount cards also exist as smartphone apps, which may a little easier to find and use than the cards. Find them via the App Store or Google Play, download the app, then search for your medication and compare prices. Choose a nearby pharmacy, or choose the pharmacy with the best price. You can even compare name brand and generic drug prices. Instead of taking the card to the pharmacy, show them the coupon on your phone. 

In researching this article, we conducted a quick and highly unscientific comparison of migraine injections that are available in non-injection form. We chose apps that ranked high in the app store search results and that didn’t require any sort of registration. We used zip code 77030 which is the Texas Medical Center located in central Houston. Prices and availability may vary, but we hope this is a helpful starting point: 

afford your migraine injections

Treating migraines can be extremely costly, especially when it comes to migraine injections. But with these tips you may be able to ease both your pain and your financial burden. 

The No-Nonsense Remedy for A Migraine Hangover

migraine hangover remedy

Migraine advice centers around prevention, treatment and pain management but doesn’t talk much about that strange and frustrating fourth phase: postdrome, also known as the migraine hangover. Not everyone gets it, just as not everyone gets an aura before their migraine, but those who do know how lousy the final stage feels. The pain has gone and left in its place dizziness, brain fog, sluggishness, and low energy. Continue reading “The No-Nonsense Remedy for A Migraine Hangover”