behavioral health pain management Veterans Benefits

New Help for Migraines

March 20, 2017

I have had migraine headaches for thirty some years.

I seem to have all the types; ocular migraines, tension headaches, classic migraines, cluster headaches….the list goes on…

I’ve also had all the symptoms, the worst have been vomiting and facial paralysis/numbness for short periods of time. My most common headaches are the kind over my eyes, that wake me up early in the morning and are so painful, I can’t sit down, and all I do is pace. The worst thing about them is that I can’t bend, which means dressing little children is tough.

I’ve tried A LOT of migraine medications both prescription and OTC; Neurontin, Imitrex, Fiorinal, Excedrin, Motrin, Imitrex nasal, almotriptan, sumatriptan, Maxalt, Toradol and home remedies; full sugar coke, coffee, heat, ice, tiger balm, hot baths…

Maxalt has been my sweet spot with medications, but the VA only gives me 15 per refill. On a bad stretch, I can burn through them pretty quickly. They also only work for some headaches. Depending on the type, I have to combine the Maxalt with Sinex nasal spray, tiger balm rub and heat & ice. This combination leaves me feeling pretty groggy, almost like a postictal state (except I don’t have seizures).

I resigned myself this regime. In passing, I had a conversation with a friend about my migraines. She mentioned that her husband had had good experiences with a supplement, Rhodiola, and turmeric tea. (In my head, I pooh-poohed this) . She went on to explain that her husband who has a very high-stress job swears by this supplement. It to drastically reduced his need for migraine medication.

I ran into him one night at Cub Scouts and asked him about it. He praised this supplement up and down, left and right. It wasn’t until he listed off the list of medications he has taken in the past, that I took him seriously, as it mimicked my own. So I thought, “it’s not very expensive, why not?” I ordered mine on Amazon. I’m so glad I did.

The supplement is called Rhodiola Rosea.

Amazon has a bunch of different brand names of it; you can choose which one interests you the most.It seems it is not brand specific although my choice criteria were user review.

I’ve been taking it for about six weeks. I’ve had two headaches in that time that I’ve only used Motrin to treat and Sinex. We are talking a difference from 10-12 headaches per month to 2 in six weeks! It’s amazing. I take one 500 mg capsule per day, but some people take two, especially during allergy season.

Apparently, Rhodiola has other uses as well; you can read the Dr. Weil review. According to the Amazon reviews, people use it to treat mood disorders including depression and it allegedly improves cognitive functioning. I don’t know about those applications, but I can tell you it certainly helped my headaches. Thank you, Dimitri!
Have you tried Rhodiola? Let me know your thoughts.

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4 Comments on "New Help for Migraines"

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I don’t have a headache problem, fortunately, and I can’t think.of anyone else off hand. I made a note of it in my cell phone though so I can reference it if migraines come up in conversation somewhere. I am glad it works for you and I pray it is a long term solution.

My migraines got more severe over the past few months and I started taking Butterbur and Feverfew as supplement two weeks ago, as well as daily yoga practice. I had a 8 days headache free period after starting butterbur, but this week they are back again. But I need to take it for longer period to tell if it helps in a long term. Have you tried those? If it won’t help definitely trying Rhodiola Rosea. Thank you for advice, I’m always interested in trying natural preventative solutions rather than increasing my dosage of sumatriptan and OTC painkillers. Wish you… Read more »
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