Better Health and Wellness: Battling headaches and migraines with unconventional tools

Better Health & Wellness

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – If you’ve never suffered a migraine, count yourself lucky.

“A migraine for me personally is the nausea. It affects my whole body. It’s having brain fog not being able to form sentences,” Jessica Nofire, Derby, explains the difference between a headache and a migraine.

Nofire has suffered migraines since she was 16. The pain has progressed over time.

“It just completely takes me out of being able to function,” she said.

She has tried to treat her symptoms with over-the-counter medicine, ice packs on her neck and forehead, essential oils, total darkness, stretching. She would visit her primary care physicians for injections and sometimes resort to the emergency room after hours.

A suggestion in a migraine Facebook group caught Nofire’s attention: the Allay Lamp.

Jessica Nofire says the Allay Lamp has helped her have fewer debilitating migraines. (KSN photo)

Harvard Medical School Professor Rami Burnstein developed the unique gadget after studying blind migraine patients. Dr. Burnstein discovered that even though the patients could not tell that a light was being shone on them, their headaches increased when they were put in light.

“What we’ve discovered is that this narrow band of green light actually calms and soothes your brain,” said Ajay Kori, the entrepreneur behind the lamp.

Nofire uses the lamp every day as a preventative measure, noting it is not a complete cure, but it does help her function.

4 stages of migraine headache: prodrome, aura, headache, postdrome
Courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic

“This helps me be able to, actually be able to sit there and read a book or even just sit there. I use it at night, every night,” she said.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a way Nofire can dodge a migraine. She reports having about five or six migraines a month since getting the lamp, compared to the 15+ she used to suffer monthly.

In Newton, Aerielle Carter has also suffered migraines since she was a teen. She tried holistic measures in the early years and watched her diet, caffeine and stress levels.

“We couldn’t find any real triggers,” Carter said.

Light sensitivity and loud noises while she’s experiencing a migraine can cause Carter to cringe. Relief came to her in the form of the blood pressure medication Propanolol.

“We tried one super-low dose, actually half of what the regular dose would be for a normal person in a prescription, and it helped,” Carter said.

Propanolol helps Carter avoid taking heavy pain medication. She also has tried ginger tea, certain kinds of beans, essential oils, and she tapers her caffeine intake throughout the day instead of one large cup of coffee in the morning and nothing the rest of the day.

Good record-keeping in the early stages of migraine tracking is Carter’s best advice to identifying triggers and taking that information to your doctor.

Nofire and Carter alike asked for compassion for those who suffer migraines instead of frustration at the frequency of the pain or accommodations they may need.

KSN asked those who suffer migraines about what works for them. Responses include peppermint oil, Equiscope therapy and putting your face in ice-cold water.

Do you suffer migraines? Join the conversation, what works for you?

Mayo Clinic: Migraines

Migraines and gastrointestinal problems: Is there a link?

Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them

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