Tools I Use
Every now and then it can help to swap notes and compare to see what others are doing currently to keep their condition under control.
Unmoderated, I'm confident chronic migraines would promptly return in my situation. I am by no means cured but I employ a few tools combined with lifestyle and behavioral changes which make a big difference.
This list is only of some of the tools I use. Medications, behaviors or lifestyle changes are mentioned elsewhere on the blog.
Here are the tools in no particular order:
Precision tinted lenses
I work at a computer and desk. In fact I have 2 screens like the finance geeks in movies, except my screens are full of research papers and articles.
The black text on white background is horrible if you have light sensitivity like I do. So I wear tinted lenses designed for migraine patients by Axon Optics. I tried Irlen first and found Axon Optics to be far more scientific, cost effective and transparent in their operations.
I've been impressed by their team's ongoing research, publications and development.
As the day shifts from morning to afternoon to night so does the relative brightness of your screen to the ambient light around you. Enter Flux, a free desktop application that automatically adjusts your screen according to the time of day.
Accordingly, at night time, you will no longer have the violently bright light shining inappropriately from the computer screen. Interestingly, most iPads and iPhones have ambient light detection built-in. Strange to me that many desktop monitors don't have this feature.
I was a relatively early adopter of the Cefaly device and have used it regularly for first 1.5 years and on and off for around another 1.5 years . I find it helpful to build resilience and use it regularly again for a period after I experience a recent attack or when I'm feeling vulnerable.
I have reviewed the device in detail in a previous blog post here.
I'm a little embarrassed to say that during a stressful period about a year ago I began clenching my teeth at night and despite all my efforts I have not been able to quit this unconscious habit.
Therefore I use what looks like a small mouthguard at night to stop me from ruining my teeth and also waking up with a tension headache or even a migraine from the constant clenching and tension throughout the night.
Best place to get these is from the dentist as they are personally fitted.
I use an incredibly simple, modest breathing app which times my breath in and out and is also the meditation timer.
It's a simple free tool called My Calm Beat. I've used it for years and it's serves it's purpose for me well.
There are lots of different options out there to try. This is just one I found early and have stuck with because it works for me.
Another good one which eventually charges for use is called Headspace which does a much better job of education and engagement. A very popular tool.
I still believe on the eve of 2017 that keeping a diary is one of the most important things you can do for your migraine condition... and I don't mean the 365 one page diaries where you mark the days when you get an attack. I mean using a daily diary where you track your triggers alongside your migraine condition.
I'm still using the MigrainePal Diary... it's not a native mobile app, it runs from the web or anything that runs the internet (including phones and tablets) but it's $4 per month.
There are 2 native mobile apps that should be considered. Curelator and Migraine Buddy. These are head and shoulders above the rest of the mobile apps out there (and I've looked recently). Both have free and paid options.
This is another super important tool in my migraine kit which I use on a daily basis.
Right now, I'm taking a number of supplements where I notice a marked benefit. They also the type that when I miss a dose, I notice it.
I've researched vitamins and minerals that are known to help people with migraine as well as those which encourage optimal brain function. Afterall, migraine is brain dysfunction.
Nothing special about my ice pack, I simply have a soft gel ice pack that I can wrap around my head in times of need.
Wheat (Heat) pack
As mentioned earlier I'm sitting at desk most of the day and I don't have great posture. My neck and shoulders often get stiff as a result. Therefore a gentle warm wheat pack is often a nice way to relax the muscles at the end of the day, particularly in winter.
Spikey Massage Ball
Sometimes the wheat pack just isn't enough to get out the knots in the muscles and joints in my neck, shoulders and upper back from my poor posture. That's when this tough spikey ball hits the spot.
These are available on amazon here.
Still want more? For 90 more tools you can visit the crowd-sourced list from the Migraine World Summit >>