Friday, 2 November 2012

Migraine Hangovers & Facebook Status Updates from hell….


Facebook statuses often make me want to weep. Not only because they can be inanely boring, (I really don’t care what your Hamster ate for breakfast) and everyone in the WHOLE WORLD seems to be having a much more exciting life than me. Seriously, why is everyone posting pictures of their wedding/honeymoon/exotic holiday at the moment??? But the main Facebook status offender, for me, is the following:

(For legal reasons these are made-up examples closely based on real life examples)

“Got hammered last night, hangover from hell. Head exploding.”

“Last night was mental! Think I’m dying right now. Where did I leave my bra?”

“CAN NOT MOVE. Just vomed under my desk. AGAIN. Going to tell the boss I’ve got the flu. Never doing flaming sambuca shots again.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good night out as much as anyone. I too literarily think I’m dying when I have a bad hangover and swear I will never touch any alcohol that is blue and comes in a test tube again. But people, for those of us with les migraines (that’s French for migraine) we get hangovers too, of a different sort. The kicker is we don’t get the fun night that usually precedes a killer hangover. The hangover I’m talking about is not self-inflicted.


No-one really talks about migraine hangovers; the technical term is Postdrome phase. Yes, that’s right, a migraine is actually split up into 4 phases, fun! So once the ‘headache’ painful bit has passed, comes what I like to call the hangover. Not everyone experiences all phases and I’ll write about them in more fascinating detail another time. Recently, for me, the postdrome has been almost as bad as the migraine itself and can last for a day or two. I’ve debated with my Neurologist whether this hangover is due to the migraine itself or the Triptans I take. This phenomenon is actually an on-going debate within the migraine community, and the least studied of all the phases. I really wish they’d make a pill just for this bit.

Basically, a migraine hangover is pretty much like your alcohol induced mega hangover. I feel like my whole body is bruised, specifically my neck feels incredibly tender, if you just touch it lightly - that hurts. My throat aches and I feel like I have cracked ribs and bruised lungs (if such a thing exists). And let’s not forget my poor tummy. Ow. In short I feel like I’ve been beaten up, like I’ve been mugged the day before.  And then someone has kindly filled the world with knee deep water that I have to laboriously wade through to get anywhere. So, the best and only thing I can really do is lie in bed and wait for it to fade. Obviously I’m pretty knackered too, having been through anywhere between 4-72 hours of migraine fun. I usually pretend I’m floating on pink fluffy clouds as that would be less painful than my bed, which suddenly appears to be made of nails. So although the migraine has gone, one is not exactly in a great state. This is also a dangerous time, as if you attempt to do anything, such as force yourself to go out to a previously agreed meeting, there is a very real possibility that you’ll just invite Mr Migraine back for round two.




Weirdly, I crave the same foods as when I have a normal hangover – i.e junk food/greasy fries, full fat coke. But sensible is to try and drink as much water as possible to flush out the system and eat fruit/fresh veg. Though Mum (otherwise known as Saint Jill) is always telling me to ‘listen to my body’, so…. I also just lather myself in hot water bottles but also try not to get too stiff, again as that could just re-trigger another migraine. As I said, it’s a perilous time. 




The problem I have now is that a normal, next day alcohol hangover headache will automatically turn into a migraine. So, it’s a question of deciding if the occasion is worth risking a migraine for and laying aside a few days for recovery, after all life is for living. For example, a good friend of mine got married last December. I asked another friend to drive me to the wedding in my Mum’s car. I was actually coming out of a migraine hangover state but I rallied, even danced till the end of the night! I had a lot of fun but at 4am was giving myself Sumatriptan Injections.  But I had a great evening and am glad I was there for my friend. Look, here's a picture of us later in the evening, yes, I did decide to dress as a Christmas bauble...



Plus, I’m a very useful friend to have around when you have a normal hangover. Being a virtual walking pharmacy I can dole out all sorts of potions and pills like Mary Poppins herself.

Of course, the sensible option for a migaineur is to go home early or sip water all night. Alcohol itself can be a migraine trigger, but that’s a whole other blog post.




In conclusion, it’s not that I have absolutely no sympathy for my non-migraine buddies who are nursing their hangover heads, it’s just that I had 10 hangovers of my own last month and only one was self-inflicted. If anything I miss not having the wild, hysterically funny tale of how I got this horrendous hangover. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to post some pictures of my extremely cute kitten on Facebook accompanied by some terribly witty remarks….

Do you get migraine hangovers? What are your top tips for this phase?

Other insights/further information:




 Coming up:
Nerve Blocks of All Sorts
Topamax Part II
I'm not part of a Cult - I just live at home!




22 comments:

  1. Luckily I haven't suffered an attack in months but when I did get them, yes the next day I suffered the equivelant of a hangover and actually called it that as well. I think for me this was due to the nausea and vomiting I suffered as a side effect from the migraine and was tehrefore dyhydrated which is a common side effect of the 'self inflicted' hangover.

    I think your right, drinking water is good after a migraine but I think Saint Jill is also right in that you also have to listen to your body.



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    1. Hey Ms De Vil! Sain Jill is usually right about most things..... sucks you vomit etc. I'm really lucky in that I don't have that. Have you tried Donperidone tablets for nausea etc? Fingers crossed its many months until your next attack!! xx

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    2. I have chronic migraines and i think yesturday i had my first migraine hangover i experience very sensitive stomach and nausea and almost vomitted but didn't. I get chronic migraines and the triggers are every where sometimes i just wanna crawl under a rock and stay there. but i can't have to take care of myself and my mom and animals and the house.

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  2. I've been getting migraines for around 6 years now (one of the many joys of turning 18) and they've really ramped up the last year from a neck problem - until I read your blog, I thought I was the only one who got migraine 'hangovers'! I've been calling the day after a migraine a hangover ever since my first ever migraine and have never come across another migraine sufferer who calls it the same. I woke up the day after my first ever migeraine expecting to be pain free, but was unpleasently met with soemthing that was verging on the same scale! I was absolutely exhausted and felt as if I had just gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson and needed a whole day just lying in bed sleeping and recovering. My friends have told me that I'm ridiculous naming the day after a migraine a hangover - but there really is no other way to describe it, and now I know it's a recognised thing! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Brittany, appears we have a lot in common with dodgy necks too! Tell your friends they're stupid! I thought I was the only one who called it a migraine hangover too but recently having made some more migraine buddies discovered that quite a few of us call it this - so you're not alone at all. Welcome to the club. I find it quite reassuring to know it's also a medically recognised phase. So next time your friends say something you can now maybe even send them a link and tell them you're actually going through the Postdrome phase of a migraine attack. xx

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  3. Totally understand what u are talking about. Pain at some level I can actually function through. But once pain gets to "nightmare" level or in the hangover I feel like I can barely think and am completely unmotivated. I also hate the feeling you have in that stage that at ANY MOMENT your headache could rebound!

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    1. Hi Anonymous - I think that's the scary bit isn't it - although we're relieved that the 'migraine' itself is gone - we've no idea if it's going to come back again if we're not careful! Hope you're well today

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  4. So pleased to have found this blog. I had my first migraine attack may 30th my dad's birthday. I lost the ability to speak and could also not walk. I went to a and e where they said it was not a stroke but a migraine. I've since tried a variety of tablets which don't seem to help. On average I get 3 to 4 migraines a week. I am pleased you mentioned the post drome phase. During this bit the left half of my brain feels like its been on a marathon. I had a bad migraine tonight and lost my speech for about half an hour. I am now in the post drome phase my brain aches and I feel completely drained.

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    1. Hello, hello - do you mean this past May 30th? Wow, that's very recent! Are these hemiplegic migraines, or Basilar migraines? You poor thing, sounds horrific. As you say A&E I'm guessing you live in the UK? I'm really hoping you've got a great migraine specialist looking after you - if you don't let me know and I can give you some information and links to some great places and Doctors. And yes, not really surprising the postdrome phase is so awful after what you've been through - people who don't get migraines dont appreciate how draining pain can be, or any of the neurological storms/disfunctions that accompany them. Hope you're feeling better today x

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    2. Hi Victoria,

      Yes it was this May 30 I only remember the date as it is my Dad's birthday. I lost mt speech as he was driving me to a and e. They originally tried to tell me I had lost my speech as a result of a psychological trauma that I had hid so deep even I did not know it had happened. Neithr I nor my family are aware of any psychological trauma. Then they said I had a stroke but after a ct scan they said it was a migraine.
      They've never actually said what type of migraines they are. My G.P originally siad I was having panic attacks. Which I know they are not when I get migraines I am not panicing. I asked to be referred to a neurologist. He simply said I am a classic migraineur (I think that is how it is spelt). I am currently on 50mg of amitryptaline. I have also tried beta blockers, piftozen and sumatriptan, none actually work. I also asked my GP to refer me to a headache clinic in York but he said I have to try the medication first. I feel as thought since I have been diagnosed it's a case of you have migraines, that's it. Most of the treatments I have found myself. I have completely cut out alcohol and I have reflexology too.
      I read about topamax and asked my G.P if I could try that but he said I have to try 50mg of amitriptyline first.
      It has been so nice to find your blog as I was worried I was going mad. My Dad has migraines and so does my sister (as the neurologist said there is a genetic link) but neither of them loose their speech of have them as severly as I do. Mine can last anything form a couple of hours to 2/3 days.

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    3. Hi, I can not believe they tried to make you think they were panic attacks or psychological!! That just makes my blood boil!! So you're not going back to see the neurologist again then? Was he a migraine specialist? I've basically discovered, and know others have too - that it's worth persisting to find a specialist (and migraine specialists are not always neurologist) that you like and can work with as the right one can make such a big difference. If you don't feel you're getting anywhere with your GP soon I'd really pester for that referral to the headache clinic in York - is that where your based? I also, firmly, believe it's good to get second opinions. If you can travel down to london easily you don't need a GP referral to go to the fabulous National Migraine Centre - I bet they could even see you next week - you could see their new medical director - and you pay by donation. But there are some brilliant specialists in the north who I think, if you're struggling and its impacting your life, it's worth trying to see.
      It sounds like you're doing all the right things - find out as much as you can yourself - I don't know if you've got any of the books in my tried & tested page, you might like the one by Alison Frith? And I assume you've discovered the fabulous Migraine Trust, they're a great resource of info. And you never know, maybe amitrip might work for you???! It's often the first place people start, couldn't stand it myself! And there are lots of other options and triptans for you to try so don't despair! xx

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    4. Thanks for the useful advice. I am not under the neurologist anymore he basically said as I was typical of most people with migraines there was no point in seeing me again. I did not realise i could push to see a specialist. I live in Leeds and the nearest migraine clinics were York and wakefield. I had to tell my gp about them he did not even know they existed. I knew about the Migraine Trust but not about the centre in London. I am seeing my gp next Mon I ll see what he says but if I still feel like I need more support I will consider contacting London. I can't thank you enough for replying to me apart from my dad no one else seems to understand. Plus for a while I was starting to think I had some strange psychological problem its nice to know other people have similar problems. Thanks for your advice too x x

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    5. Hi! Hope Monday goes well - it is hard not having people who understand - randomly I've found Twitter to be quite nice for that! There's actually a really great Migraine Specialist/neuro at Hull who is also a migraine trust trustee, and another trustee works near newcastle at Stoke-on-Trent if that's nearer London? Both nice guys and really worth seeking out - if your GP wont refer you there are always other sneaky ways if you get desperate! Also, did you see that new NICE guidelines for migraine managment came out in Septmeber re migraine management? I'll blog about it again? http://publications.nice.org.uk/headaches-cg150/key-priorities-for-implementation

      Also here is the Migraine Trusts map of Migraine Clinics by region
      http://www.migrainetrust.org/migraine-clinics
      x

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  5. I have chronic daily headache, and while I spend 2-3 days a week in the 'headache' phase of the migraine, I probably spend as much if not more time in the hangover phase. In some ways it's worse than the 'headache' phase because the intense pain is over but you're still walking around with a brain full of custard and a body full of aches. With getting migraines so frequently, the postdrome soon becomes the prodrome again. If I had real hangovers this frequently, I'd be an alcoholic!

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    1. Hi Sarah - love it!!! I actually gave a talk where I cheekily compared being a chronic migraineur to being an acloholic - mainly to get the attention of the people in the room....maybe I should write it up as a post one day. Yes, that danger is never quite knowing if that postdrome is going to become the prodrome, or is a prodrome......oh the fun we have. Hope todays' headache isn't too dreadful x

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  6. Read this post last night in bed whilst having a migraine hangover. I get particularly emotional and weepy when I get mine. They are such a bitch! Had a proper case yesterday of people not understanding about migraines. Like when people say "oh yeah I get them too" but they just mean they get frequent headaches. Not the same thing people! Ruddy love this post lady - excellent as ever. xx

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    1. Hey lovely Fran Fran. This is actually the one thing I left out of the post but thought I'd rabbited on enough! For me this is the only time I'll ever get a bit down too - probably because I'm able to do things like look on facebook and see people's pictures of their honeymoons/weddings etc etc.... sorry you met some stupid people yesterday. Hope that beautiful head of yours is behaving itself today! xx

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  7. I love this post! I find it so reassuring that even though our migraines are so different in so many ways, we experience the same dreadful hangover phase! Makes me feel less crazy when I crave salty crisps and fizzy drinks. I was scoffing such treats the other day on the tube during a migraine 'hangover' and I was imagining that most people were thinking I had a proper hangover. I wanted to have a sign saying I was hungover but not through my own fault.
    And Fran, I also get really emotional. Again, nice to know I'm not the only one!
    xxx

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    1. Migraine solidarity club! Now you just need to go back to the labs and invent a clever pill for us for this bit.... xx

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  8. i get the migraine hangover whether ive used triptans or not. the hardest part is when my little 9 yr old has to suffer as a result, missing out on a normal loving cuddly mommy!!

    maybe it will put him off getting drunk when hes older!! that would be one good thing to come out of this suffering!!!!!!

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    1. Hey, poor you and your poor boy! I tried a different triptan as had thought it might have been the nasal spray that was making the hangover worse but ddin't make any difference but me either. But as you say - maybe one good thing will be that your son is sensible in the future!! Hope you're well today x

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