It’s something of a relief that I’ve broken my run of painkiller free days today, and in rather spectacular fashion. I woke up this morning with a headache that didn’t ease up when I got out of bed, as they often do, and it turned into a migraine.
This is the problem I’ve faced with headaches for years, and it’s the reason I’ve always been so quick to turn to painkillers to deal with them. If I leave a headache too long, it often turns into a migraine, and I obviously left this one too long in my attempts to tackle it without resorting to drugs.
My first thought was that it was a ‘normal’ headache, like the ones I’ve been waking up to on a fairly frequent basis for years. I went through my normal morning routine of iron tablets, asthma inhalers, antihistamines and Jarrow’s, ignoring the headache and hoping it would go away. It didn’t, so I took 2 folic acid tablets as soon as the Jarrow’s had finished dissolving, and they seemed to make a difference for a while. Then it came back worse than before, so I took another 2 folic acid tablets, and they helped for a while. I had breakfast, and that helped briefly, but the headache kept coming back.
By 12:30, it clearly wasn’t going anywhere, and it had taken on all the characteristics of a developing migraine, so I gave in and took caffeine/paracetamol/aspirin (more aspirin that I’d normally take in that combination) and lay down on my left side – for over 20 years, left side has always been best for getting rid of migraines – to doze for half an hour while the tablets did their thing.
An hour and a half later, I woke up and fed the unhappy dogs and cats!
The migraine had faded from pulsating, vomit-inducing … well, if you’re a migraine sufferer, you’ll get the idea … to a more manageable level of discomfort, so I got on with my day. It started to come back at around 7pm, so I repeated the caffeine, paracetamol and large dose of aspirin. I’ll probably spend a couple of hours lying awake and wondering when the effects of the caffeine will wear off, but at least I don’t have a headache. (I’m actually getting that queasy, wobbly stomach and legs feeling that usually signifies the end of a migraine, so I’m hoping it’s run its course.)
The interesting thing about this – and, yes, I’m probably the only person in the world who can find having a migraine interesting – is that this has happened after I took an extra Jarrow’s last night. I’ve already discovered that B12 needs folic acid to support it, if I don’t want to get headaches, but what hadn’t occurred to me is that it may be specifically methylB12 that can cause problems if my B12 and folic acid aren’t in balance. I’ve mentioned previously that too much methylfolate seems to cause headaches, and this may be a variation of the same thing.
The methylation cycle is complex and needs to be kept in balance because both over- and under-methylation can cause problems. With hindsight, I should perhaps have taken methylfolate to support such a large amount of methylB12 rather than folic acid. I’ll have to do some more research into the methylation cycle, and write a separate post about how the different types of B12 and folate/folic acid feed into the cycle at different points, because it’s something I’m still learning about myself, but the little bit of reading I’ve done today suggests that:
- My homocysteine level may be high – this is bad.
- I may have one of the (common) mutations of the MTHFR gene – this can be complicated.
Both of these are suggested by my tendency to migraines, but I definitely need to do a lot more research before I start making assumptions.
As usual, when I have a migraine, I’ve been feeling cold today, but Weather Underground says the temperature was pretty much the same as it has been recently, so I’m not going to argue with that.
It’s been mostly cloudy today, although the sun did come out for a while this afternoon.
Supplements – if I can actually remember what I took (migraines mess with my memory) – were:
- One Jarrow’s 5,000mcg methylB12 before breakfast
- 4 Swanson 500mcg B12 capsules spread across the day
- 4 Valupak 400mcg folic acid tablets before breakfast
- 2 Quest One-a-Day multivitamins with lunch
- 2 Incite 5,000IU D3 with lunch
- One Jarrow MK7 90mcg K2 with lunch
- 4 Health Aid 30mg iron bisglycinate, 2 first thing in the morning and 2 last thing before bed with some orange juice to help absorption
It would have been pretty stupid to work out with a migraine, so I’ve now missed my workout 4 days in a row … and my ankle is still swollen. It hasn’t hurt at all today, but with the amount of painkillers I’ve had in my system, that’s hardly surprising. I doubt I’ll have time to work out tomorrow because I need to go into town in the morning, and most of my afternoon energy will probably be used up putting away the dog and cat food, which was delivered today and is currently in the way in the middle of the conservatory. (I lifted and carried a 31.5kg box today! It half-killed me, but it beat unpacking it in the drive and carrying it in a bit at a time.)
This week has been eventful so far, in terms of health related stuff, so I’m nervously wondering what tomorrow has in store.