My Summer Migraines

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • My Migraine attacks are a bit difficult to figure out because I have various other health conditions to contend with. Spring and summer tend to be especially troublesome for me. So when I get a few more Migraines during this time, I get a bit irritated. I'm not sure why this time of year makes my Migraines increase - whether it is due to the drastic changes in barometric pressure or my body's way of saying, "Hello, spring/summer," or whatever! I am not a fan because I've been having more Migraines over the last few weeks than I care to admit. Most people living Western New York relish any "positive" weather changes seeing as we only get about 54 days of sunshine a year. But any abrupt weather changes really aren't beneficial to my head.

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    When the barometric pressure is constantly changing during these months, it becomes difficult to manage my Migraine attacks. For example, today started out very nicely - sunny, high around 70 degrees with a pleasant breeze, but then changed into a cloudy, overcast, warmish day. Then it has returned to being beautifully sunny outside, but a bit warmer. Sure enough, my head is responding with increased throbbing and some extra nice ringing in my ears Undecided. So is there anything I can do to help minimize the impact that my Migraines have on my summer? I'm going to try.


    Knowing what triggers my Migraine attacks is imperative to my Migraine management plan. There are certain triggers I can control and avoid to hopefully prevent a Migraine attack. I've learned, by keeping a Migraine diary, not to skip meals, not to become dehydrated, or make any drastic changes in my sleeping patterns. About a year ago, new trigger was added to the list: raw, not so fresh onions. But changes in the barometric weather are beyond my control, and unavoidable, so living in Western New York poses a challenge. So what to do? I'm keeping yet another Migraine diary in hopes to track down some additional triggers I may be missing!


    I think (along with many Migraine specialists) it is essential that every Migraineur (whose Migraines are not well managed) keep a detailed Migraine diary, even if they've done one before. Our Migraine patterns can and typically do change over time. As we age or give birth, our bodies change, our hormones (for both men and women) are in flux, and in short our body is never static. I know mine certainly isn't. If you haven't kept a Migraine diary since your initial diagnosis, it is definitely time to do so again. "Nancy, they are time consuming and just a general pain to do."  Blah, blah, blah, I know, they are a drag, and no one wants to talk about how much we hate keeping them.

    • But here's the thing - it will help us and our doctors - and isn't that what we are always talking about, how can I get my doctor to listen to me?
    • Why don't I feel better?

    Am I doing everything I possibly can to be a partner in our health care? Since we want to be motivated to be well, motivated to work with our doctors, then let's take the steps to needed to accomplish this. Because we know keeping a Migraine diary is not as difficult as living with Migraine pain, don't we? If we can live each day with Migraine pain, certainly we can write some symptoms and facts down in a Migraine diary, don't you agree?   


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    So how do we do it and what do we write in a Migraine diary?

    • It's most important to record the date, time, any medications you took.
    • Any triggers may have contributed.
    • What was happening with the weather when your Migraine started.
    • Do you experience prodrome? If so, write those symptoms down. 
    • What is your pain level? 
    • What is the level of disability you are experiencing with each Migraine attack? 
    • Is your life at a standstill during this Migraine attack, or are you just moderately affecting by it? Are you only doing half the amount of work that is required of you at your job and at home? Are you able to function at all during this Migraine but it still in pain? 

    These questions are extremely important for your doctor. He will get an excellent picture of your Migraine pattern. To start you off, we have an easy Migraine diary you can download for free or you can make your own. Many times your doctor may have one for you to use. Don't feel you have to use current technology - you can go "old school" and plain old pen and paper! For those of you who like the high tech world, use your pc, laptop, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android or whatever the latest gadget is. Dr. Merle Diamond of the Diamond Headache Clinic told me in an interview recently she didn't care what form the diary was in, as long as it has all the vital information on it. I've started using a free app on my iPad (that I received as a gift) called Migraine Notebook by GlaxoSmithKline. It is easy to use, and I really like being able to add your own "notes" for symptoms, triggers, medications or whatever it is you'd like to add. There are an abundance of these apps, some free, others not, all you have to do is look with a quick Google search.


    So, what do you say about keeping a Migraine diary with me for three months? I triple-dog-dare you! What's it going to hurt?  


    Thanks for reading and feel well,


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    © HealthCentral Network, 2011.
    Last updated July 6, 2011.

Published On: July 06, 2011