That’s fascinating stuff. Reading your migraine ‘profile’ is like looking at mine, but more extreme. I realised after I read this that I’d been a bit disingenuous with the alcohol thing since I can’t drink red wine at all (I immediately feel like chucking it back up). I used to be able to drink white but now, older, nope. I have experienced exactly what your doc says about the age thing. I used to be able to stomach coffee and tea (I was a tea drinker right up till my 30s) and now my body just can’t handle it. The usual nausea, hyperactivity and panic attacks! I even have some similarities on the pressure thing. Even as a kid I couldn’t tolerate hills and the like that made my ears pop. It used to make me carsick (you’re probably seeing a pattern here with the nausea - I only realised when I got TN that I had been having ‘stomach migraines’ as a kid).
The weather thing affects me too, I suspect, but because I live in Scotland it’s not that impactful! I know when I lived in London and Manchester I used to suffer terribly In the heat, and hot summers were a nightmare. Not so much because of the heat itself, but because bright sun used to give me headaches/migraines if I was out in it for any length of time. I took up wearing sunglasses in my 30s because of it, even although I don’t like them. Oddly enough, I don’t use them as much nowadays, but that’s probably because Scottish sun is not such a threat!
I hate olives, don’t much like nuts and rarely eat them (except for almonds and pistachios, but I only eat them as toppings, not as a snack!) and chilli irritates my gut so much it isn’t worth it. The only one of them though that I’ve been aware of as being headache-inducing is the nuts. Maybe because I never touch the other two! I do like peanut butter ice cream and chocolate, but I suspect there’s not a lot of actual nuts in there! I never eat peanuts as a snack as they make me feel a bit poorly and - you guessed it - sick.
I’m not aware of ever having had a food-triggered migraine though. Food has certainly added to them, but never set one off. The one exception is the alcohol. The one I had c1990 was alcohol-induced - probably cider or beer, neither of which my gut can tolerate very well. I did have a very similar but lesser migraine in the early 2000s which was induced by stress/lack of sleep and it was exactly like a hangover. I remember that one because I was forced to go on a ‘ramble’ on an Orkney island, and despite the name ramble the A-type who was leading it took us across the land at a Navy Seal clip as if he was out to win a race. I swore that day to never again allow my fear of ‘letting someone down’ (we had promised to give someone a lift who wanted to do the walk) drive me into attempting to function while sick. I can remember even the overcast Orkney day felt as if it was strobing right into my brain and every time I had to move my eyeballs it was like the sockets were lined with sandpaper - my neck had stopped functioning at all!
I know where you’re coming form with the duration of your migraines too. Although mine never come from food, I realise talking to you that, yes, that’s partly because I avoid irritant foods, although I always think about them from my gut’s viewpoint, probably because nausea is my most feared and uncoped with symptom (I’m afraid of vomiting!). My 6 week migraine courtesy of Lamotrigine was my longest, but once one gets a grip it can last the best part of a week. Mines tend to be horrible lingering things. They can take a day or two to come to fruition, and sometimes I’m lucky they just pass as headaches and never hit their zenith, but sometimes they claw into my brain and just sit there getting worse, no matter what I throw at them. When they do that you have to just quit simple reading or playing Candy Crush, sometimes even watching films or TV is too much. I usually just sit on the sofa with aforementioned hot wheat bag on my neck and massaging cooling sticks into my temples and avoiding even going to pee because the slightest movement feels like a roll of particularly bad seasickness!
And, of course, you are 100% right about the sleep, but I feel so ashamed of my freakish sleeping patterns I don’t even want to discuss it. I don’t know if it’s depression or what, but ever since I split form my partner I’ve had the most hellish time with sleep, and of course, the drugs make it worse - as does poor winter light. I get insomnia coupled with not being able to get out of bed when I do sleep. Subsequently I miss daytime and live like an owl. At the moment an owl with a permanent headache, which is all my own fault, I know, I just seem unable to stop it. And we’ll leave it right there, because I just despair at it.
I will absolutely check out Sach’s book, thanks for the rec’. It’s been fascinating talking to someone with full-blown migraine and seeing so many parallels. It’s a falling of mine that I accept too much of this stuff as ‘normal’ and don’t ever try to get help with it. I have to say in my defence though that having migraines is about as endearing as being depressed. As you doubtless know yourself, people think you mean you have a headache and a couple of painkillers will shift it (I wish), and being depressed means you’re a bit down. Even doctors think like this so I’ve found it’s better to just shut up and deal with it myself. Not always useful though!