It is Pain Awareness Month and since living with chronic migraines my days have never been the same. Before I get into anything let me shed some light on some statistics did you know that fifty million people in the United States have chronic pain and twenty million of those people have pain so severe it affects their ability to perform certain activities. Fifty million people? WOW, those are some scary statistics and to be totally honest its kind of sad that so many people are living in pain! People often look at migraines as just a bad headache but migraines can bring on a wide array of other symptoms such as dizziness, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea and for me jaw pain. Migraines are so much more than just head pain so today I am going to take you through a day in the life of chronic migraines.
Waking up- My morning routine is simple but it gets the job done and that’s all you need in the morning. When I wake up I have my coffee and usually, make toast because it’s one of the quickest and easiest things I can make. If I don’t get food in my body within thirty minutes of waking it can trigger migraines so I like to make something quick and easy no gourmet meals for me! On a good day, I will not be reaching for the Excedrin and peppermint oil within an hour of waking but on a bad day, it will be two Excedrin, two cups of coffee and binging Netflix all day! Bad pain days are so intense it severely limits my ability to function I have no choice but to rest!
Lunchtime- My body is done by lunchtime and it may sound weird to you but I am exhausted by noon! Just like I don’t like to do anything too fancy at breakfast I don’t like to do anything fancy at lunch either. I usually just make a sandwich of some kind and call it done! I have a lot of muscle pain so making or eating meals can be quite painful and eating or preparing meals can be quite painful so I like to make things as easy as possible!
Naptime- Since I am always so exhausted by the afternoon I always try to get an afternoon nap in so I can get through the rest of my day. Sometimes I am able to get that nap in others I just end up tossing and turning for a couple of hours and turns out to be a total bust! I’ve tried using things like lavender to help promote sleep when I am really struggling but it doesn’t really make a difference. If I can fall asleep great but if I can’t then I just get up and doing something else because you can’t stay up forever your body will eventually crash.
To work out or to not workout?- Should I workout or should I not? That is the million-dollar question that all chronic pain sufferers have to ask themselves before participating in physical activity. Before chronic pain, I consistently worked out six days a week and never missed a day but now I miss days all the time and do the bare minimum when it comes to physical activity. Physical activity is important but it tends to worsen pain if not done properly. Chronic pain is unpredictable so I how I decide my workout intensity and if I am even going to work out solely depends on my pain levels.
Coffee time- Coffee is not the ultimate cure for migraines like everyone thinks it is! Yes, caffeine provides pain relief for some people but for others, caffeinated beverages may actually have the reverse effect and make their pain worse and suggesting a migraineur up their caffeine intake may not be the best advice. For me personally, caffeine does help manage my pain if I monitor how much I am drinking. To manage my pain I usually will drink a cup of coffee in the morning when my pain is the highest and then another one sometime in the afternoon when my pain starts to rise. This does not get my pain to a zero but it helps keep it manageable so I can function and be productive!
Dinner– Dinner is probably the easiest meal of the day because I am grateful that my mom prepares food for the whole family! It makes it much easier for me so I don’t have to think about any food preparations and can focus on pain management for the rest of the evening.
Bed time- When it’s time to go to bed falling asleep is no easy task! Trazodone the medication that my doctor put me on to help me fall asleep and treat my migraines helps with that. On a good day I am able to fall asleep within the hour but on a bad day not so much. Bad days can take several hours for me to fall asleep and even after I fall asleep often times I wake up several times during the night in pain. I have tried many other migraine medications and none of which have done anything for me and this is the first one that is making little progress. I still have a lot of bad days so there is still progress to be made but there are some good days which I didn’t have before. For the longest time, they were just all bad!
People often think that when you are unemployed and live at home because of pain you are living the life! No that’s not true people living with pain have so many frustrations that they have to live with every day that abled don’t have to take into consideration. If only you could see some of the things we deal with every day it may hit you that we are not living the life. You don’t get to take a vacation from pain it’s a full-time job without benefits! Next time you think an unemployed chronic pain sufferer is living the life I want you to think about all the pain they have to live with and ask yourself are they really living the life? You may not think so if you saw everything we had to deal with when you aren’t around us especially if we are having a bad day. The lives of a chronic pain sufferer consist of constantly managing their pain levels and last time I checked that is not living the life. Chronic pain sufferers, what does a day look like for you? I’d love to hear your stories and I hope I was able to shed some light on what life is like with chronic migraines.