Sunday, August 23, 2009

Headache Rating System

In case you had not noticed, I get a LOT of headaches, and they come in all kinds. I was going to post about the headache I had yesterday (and other of yesterday's events), and I realized I need some sort of system to explain just how my headache was, comparatively. (OK, I don't actually intend to use this system but I thought it would be interesting enough)

1 - minor headache, not even enough to change my behavior or require sunglasses, can also be the "after aura" of a full blown migraine

2 - medium headache, one step up from a minor headache, it is bothering me, my shoulder has some tightness and may make me use sunglasses but it wouldn't be the end of the world if I did not have them and I might mention it to friends or DH, but its not dominating my attention. There are also non-migraine style headaches that might fall into this category.

3 - underling (of a migraine), my head hurts a lot, but its not enough for me to change plans, I need sunglasses, I keep rubbing my shoulder without realizing it, and a lot of my energy is spent thinking about the headache. It would be obvious to someone who knew me I had a headache.

4 - migraine, I wish I could just sit home and deal with the headache, but its not serious enough to warrant it. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I am pretty unhappy about doing it. I constantly rub my shoulder, cover my offending eye (whichever is on the same side as the migraine) and avoid light if possible. I have food aversions (seeing the wrong commercial on TV or someone bringing in the wrong kind of food makes my stomach turn over and/or my head pulse). The headache is the first thing on my mind.

5 - bad migraine, this headache is severe enough that I might cancel plans to stay home and nurse it, but I am still capable of some level of function if what I need to do is really important or cannot be rescheduled. It dominates nearly all of my attention. My shoulder is so stiff massaging it myself seems pointless. I fantasize about someone injecting the muscle with a relaxant or cutting off my arm. I wear sunglasses, maybe even at night or indoors, and I keep a hand over my offending eye if at all possible. I might also be caught holding a hot compress (often in the form of a coffee) up to my eye. It is clear to other people I am not well (though it might come off as tired). I get spells of being nauseous and cannot think about eating most things, I consider running to the bathroom at the low points of these spells. I may be dizzy or have blurred vision. If I am at home, I lie in bed or on the couch wishing it would stop, maybe watching TV (with my eyes open or closed depending on the moment).

6 - nightmare migraine, stop all activity, I am not getting out of bed with this one, I can't even have the TV on because even with my eyes closes/covered the moving light is too much. I also might start to be sound sensitive. I am constantly nauseous and might actually throw up. I toss and turn, unable to sleep, and wimper a lot without thinking about it. All I can think about is the headache, nothing else can distract me.

Yeah... so that is the reality of my headaches. Those ranking 5 or 6 are few and far between, but the other varieties are all too common.

Yesterday I a bad migraine. I went to my informational meeting for the Columbus Literacy Council anyways (partly because it was probably just a regular migraine before I left and partly because it would be a month before I could do this again), and spent the entire meeting miserable, making other people gawk as I wore sunglasses during the tour of the building and kept my hand over my right eye anytime we were sitting down. It got so bad at one point that I considered called DH and having him pick me up because I couldn't fathom driving home in the sunlight. Luckily by the time the meeting ended it had dissipated enough for me to get home. At home I used DH's neck as a hot compress (surprisingly effective), and waited it out on the couch in front of the television, considering the whole time hanging a blanket to block out more light. Around 2pm it started improving. By 3pm it had greatly improved so I could read and be on the computer, until by 4:30 it was nothing more than a level 1. I am very happy it was short lived.

1 comment:

Brooke said...

I feel for you, I have nasty headaches too. Do / have you seen a neurologist? Or done accupuncture, biofeedback, etc?