Monday, May 9, 2011

GelStat Migraine

My busy semester is OVER! I'm so thankful that while taking 16 credit hours, working 10 hours a week and having chronic headaches and occasional migraines, I managed to earn a 3.8 GPA and I only missed ONE class due to a migraine! I really feel that this is God's plan for me and He's giving me the strength to do it.

Thank you, readers and friends, for being patient with my lack of blog posts. This summer I'll be working more but I only have one class, so I hope to be more active here. And my husband finally fixed my browser issues so I can now leave comments on your blogs again. :)

During the semester, my headaches have remained the same, but I haven't given up the fight. Here's what I'm trying:
  • Butterbur: I tried this about 3 months and gave up because I noticed no improvements, and it was upsetting my stomach.
  • TMJ mouth guard: I'm still seeing a TMJ specialist every few months, and we gradually decreased the time I'm required to wear my mouth guard. Now I only need to have it in at night (8-10 hrs). I don't think it's impacted my headaches but I do have a lot less jaw pain.
  • Therapy: I'm still seeing a therapist about once every three weeks for stress, anxiety and pain management.
  • GelStat Migraine: A friend of mine suggested it and I noticed they have a free trial (I just had to pay $3.99 shipping), so I figured I'd give it a whirl. The first dose I tried helped, but the second didn't, probably because I didn't catch the headache soon enough. Have any of you had success with GelStat?
    Empty dose with my hand for size comparison. It actually tasted decent.

  • Ice pack: My trusty ice pack has seen better days, so I got a new one. This one is from The Container Store. When I saw it online I assumed it would fit on my entire head, but when I went to buy it I realized it was more like the size of my hand. Does anyone know where you can get a head-size ice bag? 
Cute Retro Ice Bag
  • Progesterone: My gyno upped my dose of progesterone (bioidentical hormone) and switched from the pill to cream, which I requested because I thought it might work better. It looks intimidating, but I don't inject it anywhere; instead, I put the specified dose on a tissue and rub it on my inner thighs (one of the many safe spots). The higher dose makes me really tired, but I only use it day 15 to the end of each cycle. It's still early to tell if it's helping.
Progesterone cream
  • Drugs: The only drugs I take are Aleve for really bad headaches and Butalbital (Fioricet) for migraines. I'm trying to take as few meds as possible and prevent headaches through a healthy diet and exercise. I've always had this ambition, but now that I've gone through most of the standard migraine meds, I feel a renewed desire to get more serious about exercising. I hope it lasts!


Jessica said...

I got my ice packs on for my head!

I haven't tried Gel-Stat, but maybe I'll give the free sample a try.

I'm always up for trying something new!

I had to stop taking my magnesium and riboflavin because they were making me sick too. Then again...most of my pills mess up my stomach.

So great you got through the semester...we all knew you could do it!!!!

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

WooHoo on the semester and the grades!!! Quite a variety of remedies. I know someone who swears by an OTC called migranlieve I think....You never know unless you try!

Parin Stormlaughter said...

Good deal! Thrilling gpa my dear! :D

I use ice packs that are made for refreezing. I've never been able to get comfortable with an ice bag. Seems like there's always a cube poking me.

I've decided to revisit some OTC migraine treatments too. With the prev med regimen I'm on, surely I'll get some help from things that aren't much help by themselves.

This is an example -- I just tried Salonpas strips for nerve pain in my forehead. Success! I doubt Salonpas would be of much use were I not already taking a cocktail of prev meds but it's helping now.

Gonna look into Gel-Stat now. Who knows? Might be something there for me. :)

Jamie said...

Congrats on a successful semester. :-)

I'm trying more natural remedies, too (though I'm still on a few meds).

I don't have TMJ, but I grind my teeth and clamp my jaw down at night. So, I use a nightguard, when I sleep (I started this before my chronic migraines). Like you, I don't think it's impacted my headaches, but it does help with jaw pain (even a nap without it leaves my jaw hurting).

I've never heard on GelStat Migraine, but I might look into it.

I've never been able to use ice packs to help my migraines. The cold actually hurts my head, making the pain worse. If you search Google or Amazon for ice bag, you should be able to find some (I was able to find some up to 11 inches).

I hope you find relief through healthy diet and exercise.


Sue said...

Congrats on such a great semester! That's amazing!

I use gel packs. There are always two in the freezer, so I can switch them out if one thaws.

I had Botox injections one week ago today. So far, one headache, and not even a bad one. So far, so good.

Heather said...

Jessica - you're the one who inspired me to try the ice bag. :) I saw some on Amazon but they looked flimsy. I guess I could order one and return it if I don't like it. Thanks for the vote of confidence (regarding me going back to school)!

Winny - Absolutely! And better to pay OTC prices than prescription drug prices!

Parin - hadn't heard of Salonpas, but I just requested a free sample! I'm glad they (and the prev's) help!

Jamie - thanks! It's a bummer that cold doesn't help you. Does heat work instead? I'm sure you've tried that already though.

Sue - GREAT news! Did your insurance cover the Botox or at least help?

Krista said...

How did you like the Gel-Stat. I tried it a few times. Boy did it taste completely awful. And it didn't help. Hope it works for you!

I have one of these
It's fan-flipping-tastic. It cost about $50--the nurse at my migraine specialists ordered them from Europe and sells them at the office. Love it. I looked online and there are similar items that wrap around your head.

Hope some of your ideas help! Grats on school. I am so impressed you did so well!!

Kate said...

I don't like meds either but my neurologist prescribed zomig for my migraines. He said it's what the NFL football players take for theirs. You get really tired from the dose and you have to take it at the onset of a migraine, not when it's in full swing, but the results are immediate. You have to get it through a doctor. It's worth a try, I've been suffering for 30 years and Finally got relief...good luck.

BirchTree said...

Nice job on the schoolwork! I started prog. supplementation too this month from DPO 3 - DPO 12 after my fert doc realized I was quite low last month at DPO 7, but have only had one very minor headache all the days I was taking it -- pretty good!

Heather said...

Krista - I'm really weird about meds that you can taste, but I thought the Gel Stat was pretty decent. Since one worked and one didn't, I'm thinking I may order a bigger box of it and give it another try. Thanks for the MigraCap link!

Kate - unfortunately Zomig didn't work for me, but I'm happy to hear it's helping you!

BirchTree - awesome to hear! You'll have to keep me posted on your progress. I don't know if I'm imagining this but it seems like my headaches have more of a regular cycle now that I'm on Progesterone (which is about the same cycle days as you). The pain is just about migraine-level during my period and then I have a day or two without headaches and then the rest of the cycle I have regular headaches. I'm hoping the longer I'm on Progesterone the fewer headaches I'll have; or at least reduced pain. I hope your headaches continue to go away!

Jessica said...

I forget the brand of the bag I got...but it's great...and not flimsy!

I'll see if I can find out what kind it is.

Love the new look of the blog! Oh...and your hair! =)

April said...

I've recently seen a famous specialist on migraines and the world has changed from migraines nearly every day - destroying my life - to 1 in a month (and I always thought people who said this kind of stuff were bogus, but it is actually true; I've used only 1 triptan this entire month!). The doctor did a hospital treatment with me and then had me make a lot of changes (which I'll list below). I do use the GelState Migraine (which is why your blog popped up) combined with some butterbur, but I'm still in the experimenting phase.
The doctor put me on butterbur 150mg (which you said upset your stomach - although I've noticed that the Enzymatic Therapy Petadolex/butterbur gave me bloating but that the Weber & Weber Petadolex/butterbur does not), Riboflavin 400mg and Magnesium 400mg daily. I had a hard time finding a Magnesium that did not upset my stomach, but ended up with Doctor's Best magnesium which works wonders. He also forbid caffeine, any other type of "head drug" (you know, SSRI's and the like) and HORMONES. Going off birth control and eliminating caffeine was very frustrating (I'm an academic; we live off caffeine!), but I think it made a big difference. I've seen many neurologists and none of them were able to convince me there was a link between hormones and MY migraines, but I think I should have been more open to the possibility. Just thought I'd share this in case any of it helps.

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing, April!