Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Not your ordinary ol' migraine

For the second evening in a row I've suffered a bout with ocular migraines/cluster headaches. Each incident lasted about an a hour, which seems much longer (days and days longer) when you're in bed with a pillow over your head and wishing for any relief no matter how slight. The only silver lining to such occurrences is the almost euphoric high one experiences after the headache passes. Gotta love those endorphins.

If you've never had a cluster headache/ocular migraine, I strongly recommend you try having one. Certainly an experience you'll never forget as the pain is like nothing else you've probably ever experienced. A throbbing, unbearable pain in and around the eye. You break out in the cold sweats, you may get sick to your stomach. Light and noise become intolerable.

And the statisitical record suggests a rather alarming rate of suicides as a result of this class of headaches. This is creepy and unfortunate, but I can understand the rationale behind this phenomenon....sort of.

I began having this class of headache back in the beginning of 2001. Because of the sheer intensity and the focal point in and around the eye (and I kinda need these for lab/microscope work) I went to the eye doctor who ruled out such things as glaucoma. The eventual diagnosis was ocular migraines/cluster headaches, which was a relief of sorts. They occur infrequently (I had occurrences in 2001, the summer of 2003, and this week), but when they do, individual bouts may come on nightly or daily (or several times a day) for a few days to a week or two and you're totally immobilized until it passes. You have little warning when one is coming on either. And the really vexing part is that NO over-the-counter painkillers even begin to phase these headaches. My sister also suffers from these on occasion (so maybe there's a genetic predisposition here?), but was long ago wise enough to get prescription meds, just in case one comes on.

I should follow her lead.

1 comment:

Kim said...

...yes you should...also, I use an ice pack when my headaches get bad..it sometimes is the only thing that works...