Please discuss elements that go into Migraine and Headache management in addition to medical knowledge.
Medical knowledge does go a long way for sure but when you have chronic migraines you have to dig a lot deeper into lifestyle and alternative treatments. That alone is trial and error and a lot of your own research, or word of mouth from others who have traveled the same road. So the elements I would say have gone into my migraine management have been:
Mood management: I developed depression with the migraines. At first, depression associated with a chronic pain condition and then it developed into Major Depressive Disorder that required medication. Obviously very important to manage a comorbid mental health issue. And for me what is equally important was seeing a psychologist who specialized in pain to help with pain coping strategies. Which leads me to…
Pain management: Managing pain through various coping strategies. And for me, it helped to go to the pain clinic and seeing a pain psychologist to refine my techniques. Pick up things like meditation to add to my strategies. Because the fact is, pretty much no matter what I do, there will be migraines and I have to accept this and have a life with it. This requires adaptation and coping.
Lifestyle Management: This is where we manage the triggers we can, where tinted specs for photophobia, keep ourselves hydrated and other things we have that we can control and manage. Including things like exercise (Although, one could put exercise under pain management as well since for me it was part of my protocol).
Perseverance: It has taken me quite some time to see any improvements on the medical side of things, but there is a lot of things to try. And other changes, likewise, take time and effort. So we need to just keep going.