I started experiencing migraines around 2007. My chronic vertigo progressed into chronic migraines a year after the birth of my first child. I went through a battery of tests: MRIs, balance tests, X-Rays… all came out either clear or negative or normal. These results are usually great to hear, but it just added to my mystery and it was VERY frustrating and scary. My neurologist was puzzled and I was left with a disability. I changed my diet, was put on topamax and barbiturates, but I still suffered. All things changed once I started running consistently.
My guess is that running makes my blood flow well. I no longer have to take daily medication, and if my head starts to hurt and if I can stand it, I’ll head outside for quick 3 miler. This usually squashes the beginning of any minor migraines. I’m no longer experiencing almost daily pain. Of course, the scheduled “monthly” one or the occasional “thunderstorm” gets through still. I’m still better off. Sometimes I’ll even take to the road if I have a minor migraine on the left side of my head. The left side ones are easier for me to tolerate for some reason, but it’s not easy. Fortunately for me, my pain isn’t based on visuals; it’s the sounds that get me. I can deal with the pounding in my head for two or three miles, just as long as I don’t have my headphones on. The sun still pains me so I wear sunglasses. Before you know it, my migraine subsides!
I’ve noticed that since I’ve been running consistently, I can enjoy foods that once triggered my migraines. Chocolate is a big one. I can have my daily glass of red wine without worrying about migraines. I still can’t have cheese. Running hasn’t cured my intolerance for lactose. I don’t know what it is, but I can almost eat normally without worrying since I started running. I think it’s a huge step.
I do not run when I get the big migraines that happen on the right side of my head. These are very intense and I shut the world out. I can’t even function or sleep. The pain is so great. I cry and beg God for mercy. Sometimes I can’t stop moving my legs because of the pain. Pain medication doesn’t help too much either. I’m so exhausted after these suckers, and only after these huge ones can I sleep.
Running has changed my life. I am no longer chronically disabled by vertigo or migraines. My blood flows better, no constrictions. I can eat chocolate and drink my red wine without fear the pain to come. I don’t have to take daily medication. I still have about 3-4 migraines a month, but that’s way better than 3-5 a week. I’ll take whatever gifts running has given me over the pain anytime. Remember, I’m not a doctor. I’m just a regular person and these are the results I’ve seen.