I think I’ve been getting migraines. I’ve spent a few years calling them sinus headaches, but my husband finally convinced me that sinus headaches come from sinus infections. And I haven’t had a sinus infection in a long time, but almost every time it rains I get a “sinus” headache.

And since I started tracking more seriously again, I’m seeing these headaches are not a once or twice a month kind of thing. More like once or twice a week, sometimes more. And that’s just not something that I want to have in my life right now. It’s extremely difficult to work while these are going on, especially considering most of my working day is spent staring at a computer screen, in an office space that does not have great options for blocking light.

So I’m trying to be scientific about it. I’m tracking not only when I get a headache, but what I do to treat it and whether that treatment works. The fact that over the counter pain medications do not work is part of what leads me to believe this is in fact a migraine and not something else. They do typically go away overnight – if I can fall asleep. Although, sometimes it seems like they go away overnight only to recur the next afternoon. Has it really gone away if it comes back right quick?

At any rate, I’m trying to look for what, other than precipitation, might be triggering these headaches. I’m trying to figure out a way to relax my neck and shoulder muscles. I’m trying a variety of different treatment options to see if I can find something that will knock these headaches out before they grow large enough to be a hindrance to work and life. I know one of the next steps should probably be making an appointment with a doctor, but I’m hesitant to do that. When I did a search for area migraine specialists, most of the results were chiropractors, and I don’t particularly like the idea of going to a chiropractor. They strike me as quack medicine, and I had a skeevy experience as a young teen.

The other option would be a neurologist, but I don’t feel like the headaches are THAT serious. And yet, I recorded 5 in the first half of July. That’s not a small number.

I know I’ve had at least one for-sure migraine headache in my life. When I was 13, I vividly remember being in gym class in 8th grade and seeing this afterimage at the edge of my vision, like I’d just looked at a bright light and then away from it. But the afterimage didn’t fade. It stayed and I found it quite curious. Then I began to feel ill. The headache was intense, and I received permission to go home sick. As soon as I got in the house, I ran up the stairs to the bathroom and vomited. That was a very stressful time in my life; I remember being all bent out of shape about completing a workbook for Confirmation.

I never had another migraine like that, and I compared all other headaches to that experience. None reached anything like that level of symptoms, so I assumed that I wasn’t having migraines. Just stress. Tension headaches maybe. But never so frequent that they interfered with my school or work. Not until fairly recently has their frequency increased to the level of bothersome. Maybe 18 months ago it started getting more frequent and irritating. But they’ve been around, just less frequent, for more than 5 years and less than 10.

They don’t have auras or cause me to vomit. No, they’re just headaches that won’t quit until after a good night’s sleep- mostly. They favor the left side with the throbbing agony, but also share the “love” on occasion by involving my entire face in the pain fest (which is why I thought it was sinuses). I do get light sensitivity from them. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I get auras, because I’m comparing to that original one, I do get some visual effects. Lingering afterimages, but not persistent ones.

I’ll get to a doctor after the backpacking season is over; for the most part, I don’t get these headaches when I’m backpacking. So maybe I have to just devote my life to being an itinerant backpacker and forget about the 9 to 5 life.

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