You cannot even see the wind or air movement so how in the world can it hurt. Put air on devices and it creates just the right buzz to drive a chick to her knees in pain. Headaches are a nasty business and the oddest things can send a person plummeting into despair from the pain. Triggers like wind, even the slightest breeze can be more than one can bare during a bad headache. Let’s quiet our world a little more while we hurt.
Many people, especially with chronic illness get very bad headaches. Recently I had one of the top three worse headaches of my entire life. I learned something from it. Quiet is not quiet enough for those raging headaches that leave you nauseous on the bathroom floor. There is no amount of pain pills that relieve those suckers. It is painful. It blurs your vision. It makes you so dizzy you cannot walk. You cannot eat or drink anything. Any light sends you through the roof. The slightest noise becomes a megaphone. I have had headaches my whole life and have learned how to deal with them and I certainly have learned how to take better care of myself so I don’t get them in the first place. Once in a while, they still sneak up on me and knock me down.
I hurt so bad that I did not even like the thought of movement but knew I had to try different things to get out of this. I tried everything. I tried to very carefully move my neck to see if I could get some relief. I tried moving my back to see if stretching my spine would help the problem. These horrible headaches create so much tension in the shoulders that I tried to move my shoulders in a circular motion, then pull them forward and push them backward. Sometimes just standing up and taking a few steps can move enough of the problem to help. All of those tricks have gotten me out of some headaches. This time it did not budge.
Essential oils sometimes have worked for me so I gave that a go. I put lavender essential oil on my temples and rubbed that in for a while trying to release any pressure on my head. I put some peppermint essential oil on the base of my head in back at the neck. Sometimes that cool tingle gets the blood flowing. Neither worked a bit. I use a diffuser every night and that always calms me and puts me right to sleep so I tried that. For the first time ever, it made me so nauseous that I had to go sit on the bathroom floor. Nothing was working.
When I could make it to the kitchen, I took some pills, natural stuff for headaches. I do not take NSAID’s (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – things like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, etc). because I know the harm they can do that contributes to these headaches and other health issues. To be honest I have never had an NSAID help with those really bad headaches so I don’t see the point in trashing my body with them. In the heat of the pain that is a little harder to say and do. I had to remove them from my home to keep from caving into them during intense pain. There is a case to be made if an NSAID is taken very rarely and it actually works. The pain causes so much stress on your body that a very rare NSAID for intense pain relief might be worth it. Everyone has to choose for themselves. Later in another blog, we will dive deeper into NSAIDs.
While I was in the kitchen I grabbed a soft blue-ice pack out of the freezer. The soft blue-ice is like a frozen gel so it has some give to it, great for necks. I wrapped it in a towel and put in on the back of my neck and went back to bed. Usually, this is where everything changes and I get some relief. Not this time.
Noise! As I was laying there in so much pain I could have cared less what happened, I realized that something was bothering me, noise. I mustered up the effort it took to hunt down anything I could find that had noise.
Shocking what a person can hear when they are in crazy pain. First I had to turn off everything that had light or sound. I figured that was easy. Turn off the computer and the phone and move them to a different room. I even unplugged the Internet connection to the entire house. EMF’s (electric and magnetic fields – invisible areas of energy) cannot be heard unless you are a hypersensitive person in pain. It creates what feels/sounds like an electrical lightning storm or a pinball machine gone wild. During an awful headache that insanity needs to be as far away as possible.
Back to bed and I was sure I could never move another muscle again. This had already been going on for hours. I could not do anything else to help myself. Until I still heard noise. I had a HEPA filter going to clean my house air and a dehumidifier running to take the humidity out of it. They have never bothered me before but I could hear them now. Had to get up again and get those off. This time I ran into a couple of walls trying to keep my balance. Back in bed and perfectly still I heard my diffuser that I forgot to turn off. I did not even know that a diffuser made any noise but it was irritating this headache so I turned it off too. Turning off all of the noise finally provided some relief. I could feel it immediately. I could hear the quiet and I knew hope was around the corner. I rested my head on the soft ice pack until I could feel it starting to back off. My poor body was so tense, I slept for 10 hours.
The impact that such subtle noises had on me was shocking. I have heard others with severe headaches talk about it. Even a ceiling fan has noise. Water dripping, a dishwasher running, a dryer finishing the cycle, a fly buzzing at a window, a timer on a crock pot, a pet breathing, they all make noise. There is not much we can do about outside noises but we do have a lot of control over what happens in our homes. Those with children, I know, it is very difficult to get them to be quiet. You can only do what you can do, but do it! Find any way to relieve any headache pain that you can to make your life more comfortable while you walk through chronic illness and pain.
What tricks have you come up with to relieve headaches?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.