Patient 1

Migraine Associated Vertigo – My story

When I was first told that my dizziness was being caused by migraine my initial reaction was. Seriously? How can I have a migraine when I don’t have any pain and why does this affect me every day? At first I didn’t really want to believe it. I had hoped for a simple diagnosis with a simple solution and I felt overwhelmed when this wasn’t the case. However I asked many questions at my appointments and knew that the best way forward was to educate myself about Migraine Associated Vertigo as much as I could.

I read the “Heal Your Headache” book and began to gain a better understanding of the wide range of symptoms that fall within the migraine spectrum and the role that triggers have to play. I started the migraine prevention diet along with preventative medication and now understood more about what was wrong with me. However even with this knowledge and perhaps because of it I felt quite trapped feeling like everything around me could be a trigger and that I would never feel in control of things.

I was finding that dizziness was not an easy thing to describe or quantify, so I devised a system whereby I could rate each day according to how frequent my symptoms were. I started plotting graphs that I could use myself and show to my consultant so that it would be easier to assess progress. I rated things like this:

  1. = symptoms for less than a quarter of the day
  2. = symptoms for between a quarter and a half of the day
  3. = symptoms for between half and three quarters of the day
  4. = symptoms for more than three quarters of the day.

Here is an example of one of my graphs when I was experiencing lots of problems:

I also tried to think about triggers and how they can all be working at the same time to cause problems. I drew a pie chart of this to try and work out if there were any overriding factors.

Possible Migraine Triggers

Other things which I have done to help have been Tai Chi and Pilates which help with posture and balance and relaxation and meditation which helps you to stay calm and not get too stressed. I recently did a mindfulness course which is a type of meditation. This has helped me to be more focused and positive. I have considered alternative therapies too, but every type of treatment has it pros and cons and you always have to consider this carefully.

The good news is that I am starting to see improvements all the time and with trying to gain an understanding of Migraine I feel more confident to do more and try new things. I hope that I am starting to regain some control again. I have found that the diet wasn’t as bad as it first seemed and I am now well used to what I can and can’t have. I have been able to eat out at restaurants by ordering carefully which is something I didn’t think I would be able to do.

I don’t feel that I am out of the woods yet, I am still learning and I still get periods where things can get worse again but overall I think things are getting better and I am heading in the right direction. Below is the follow on graph from the first one. I think the improvements have been down to a combination of many things (which I mentioned above) rather than one specific thing. I would encourage anyone suffering the same thing to try and gain as good an understanding as possible as to what helps and what triggers your problems and to try and stay as positive as you can (although this can be tough at times!). Good luck!