If migraine treatment was a game…

Sometimes I wish my health was more like that of the patient-of-the-week in an episode of House. I mean, sure, I’d be bleeding out of my eyes, my intestines would turn purple for no apparent reason, and my left knee would inexplicably explode, but after 40 minutes the doctor would dramatically proclaim that I have a super rare form of notlupisitis and give me a pill for it and all would be well by the 45 minute mark.

Treating migraine feels less like a treasure hunt — finding the “real cause” along with the complementary single treatment that works every time — and more like a game of pickup sticks.

But maybe also the sticks are on fire.

But maybe also the sticks are on fire.

There are so many potential causes, so many triggers, that effective treatment means coming at it from multiple angles. Like a game of pickup sticks, you start with the simple stuff: drinking more water, avoiding known triggers, and regulating sleep. Then you go for the tricky stuff: finding the right preventative medication and trying alternative therapies.

It’s tricky because there are more treatments than I can conceive of trying, and the methodology of finding the right one seems awfully similar to the “throw spaghetti at the wall” technique, if the spaghetti involved hours of time with a legion of specialists and months spent trying drugs with debilitating side effects. Also, I have quite a few different kinds of triggers and simultaneously try several treatments, so it’s difficult to track what’s causing progress or what’s just making it worse.

I just hold on to the hope that if I keep carefully picking up the sticks, one by one, my life might start to improve.

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