New Year, New Chances for Migraine Treatment Strategies is the topic of this month's Migraine and Headache Blog Carnival hosted by the Headache Disorder Blog Network (Go to Blog Network). This is a difficult topic for me to address as I have been dealing with Migraines for 45 years and with Chronic Migraines for at least five of those years. In this time, I have tried well over 90 medications and tried physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractic care, nerve blocks, biofeedback, massage, hypnosis, and many other things.
I have to laugh inside when someone without Chronic Migraines asks me if I've tried "x" new treatment. I can laugh rather than scream because I know most of them are well-intentioned in their questions; however, I have made the search for successful Migraine treatment into both an art and a science. If there is an article out there about Migraines, I'd be surprised if I haven't seen it. If there is a treatment that has any plausibility behind it, I doubt I haven't tried it (unless it's medically contraindicated or unavailable).
So, the question is what chance do I really have for new treatment strategies in 2013? I think, for me, this has more to do with mindset than with the actual treatment. I cannot give up hope that my doctor and/or I will find something that will help better manage my Migraines. My focus has to be on progress rather than on a cure. Unfortunately, too many people without Migraines think that there is some "cause" for my Migraines that can be identified and treated so that I can be cured. It's just not that easy. Migraines are a complex neurological disease. It's hard, if not impossible, to identify what caused my Migraines or made them become chronic. Additionally, there is no cure for Migraines at this time. The goal for treatment is to manage Migraines and to reduce the number and severity of them- not cure them.
So, what needs to change in 2013? Aside from the development of new drugs and treatments, as well as research into the etiology of Migraines, I need to be willing to persevere in doing those things which I have found to help my Migraines. Those things include getting proper rest, eating right, engaging in some physical activity, utilizing biofeedback and mindfulness, tracking my Migraines with a Migraine diary, and open communication with my doctor. I also need to focus on consistency in doing each of these things. Like many New Year's resolutions, it is easy to say that you are going to do these things but to get stopped by circumstances - including not feeling well.
My mindset has to stay focused on positivity, hope and education. If I lack perseverance in any of these areas, I doubt I will be successful in gaining any new insights regarding treatment for my Migraines. Positivity, hope and education are positive and proactive ways to address my Migraine treatment. They are each choices. While some may view positivity and hope as feelings, I believe that they are choices about how I choose to view things. I have to consciously choose to be positive and to focus on hope. I have to choose to educate myself and to interact with my doctor as a partner in my treatment and not as a recipient of care.
So, will there be new strategies in this New Year? Absolutely, but even more so, I think my focus of this year will be on refining what I know works and employing it on a more consistent basis.
Oh, and if anyone has a solution for barking dogs, I believe that will also help my Migraines a lot! :)