Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind

Demystifying Migraines

April 20, 2022 Calm, Cool and Connected Season 1 Episode 172
Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind
Demystifying Migraines
Show Notes Transcript

According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is defined as “a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.”

Migraines don’t just impact someone’s physical health, they take a mental health toll as well. Joining Dr. Fedrick for this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected is Beth Morton. She is going to talk about all the ins and outs of migraines.

Key Takeaways from Liz's chat with Beth:

• Hear about Beth’s background, and why she decided to get involved in the migraine community
• Learn what Beth says a migraine is, and some of the lesser known symptoms
• Find out how migraines have impacted Beth’s mental health
• Discover the connection between migraines and anxiety
• Learn tips Beth has for others who suffer from migraines

Visit Beth’s blog and her MigraineChat landing page:
Follow Beth on Instagram: @counterfactual.brain
Follow Beth on Twitter: @beth_morton

For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website:
Connect with Dr. Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick

Watch the video interview on our Facebook Page

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Dr. Liz: [00:00:00] Now more than ever. We have an opportunity to be a positive force in the world to help heal the divide, to treat each other and ourselves with respect. Well, there's so many tools out there from meditation to physical training, proper nutrition therapy, and so many others. We all need a little help navigating all the options.

Join us as we share in-depth information, insights and thought provoking discussions that will help answer your questions about how to stay calm, cool, and connected. During these times. Welcome to calm, cooling, connected your guidebook to peace of mind.

Hello, and welcome to calm colon connected. I'm your host, Dr.

Elizabeth Bedrick. According to the Mayo, a migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain, pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head, and it's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound and migraines. Not only impact people physically, but actually take quite a toll on their mental health as well.

Joining us today is Beth [00:01:00] Morton, a freelance researcher, a patient advocate, and the host of migraine chat community that this year to talk with us about her own personal experiences with migraines as well as the impact on mental health. 

Beth Morton: Hi, Beth. Welcome. Thank you for having 

Dr. Liz: me. Thank you so much for joining us.

So before we jump in, tell us a little bit about yourself. So as a freelance researcher, and I'm a patient advocate. But tell us about what does that mean and what do you do on your day? 

Beth Morton: Yeah. So you know, before I would say migraine became a disabling chronic condition in my life. I was doing research in the K-12 education community.

And then you know, like you said, you named off a bunch of the ways migraine can impact one's life. And for me it became a disabling condition. And so I, I now. I have transitioned some of my research skills to working with in the migraine community.

Kind of put together the [00:02:00] two, the two things. I work with a couple of nonprofits. I do on my good days, I do some research with. I'll do some, some advocacy on the side and have some side projects where I I try to cultivate some communities on social media media for people like myself who are living with migraine and trying to navigate what that means in their life.

Either they have a diagnosis or they're seeking out a diagnosis. So that's where the sort of migraine check community. 

Dr. Liz: Okay, sure. Which I'm sure is very debilitating and really gets in the way it impedes upon your daily functioning in a lot of ways. Can you describe for our audience? Like what, what is a migraine?

So for somebody who hasn't experienced, I mean, we all know it from this general sense. Right. But for people who don't experience migraines, how would you. Give a description around that. 

Beth Morton: Yeah. So you know, I think what do you described in the intro is it's interesting. [00:03:00] Because there is this I guess I'll start with what, what migraine isn't and it, it, it can be packaged with the word headache, but it isn't just a headache.

So Headache is one of the common symptoms, but migraine is really a full system, neurological conditions. So and even though it's a neurological condition, it can affect the entire body. So it can be. It can be headache and it can be one-sided, it doesn't have to be one sided and you don't have to have headache and you can have nausea and light sensitivity, and it can affect your other senses.

But it can affect sort of, you know, you may notice me having trouble word-finding throughout this interview. So it can affect brain fog and memory and word finding and concentration. It can affect your GI system. It can affect if it can, it can come with fatigue and you know, a whole sort of a whole host of things.

And so that's why people just sort of don't understand it's truly [00:04:00] disabling. You get a headache and you can kind of keep going a migraine is truly, like you said, disabling, it really stops you in your tracks. 

Dr. Liz: And how have you seen. That impacts your mental health. So when with something that is, you know, truly impacting your day to day, tell us how that has influenced mental health symptoms 

Beth Morton: as well.

Right. So I'm, I am not a mental health professional, but I will say I've done. I did a little bit of background research and prep for the, for talking with you. And and, and I knew this, but I didn't know the statistics. People with migraine are, it's very common to have depression and anxiety as comorbidities.

The statistics are quite high. I mean, it's, it's around 50% for both plus or minus. And it depends on what research you look at. So I, you know, the numbers are out there and I won't misquote them cause it depends sort of on, on the research. Right. But personally, what that means for me [00:05:00] is, you know, anxiety, I get a migraine attack and I get anxious.

I worry about what did I do? And I know internally that a migraine is not my fault. The attack is not my fault, but it's still, there's still that little bit of. Oreo, how am I going to treat it? What am I going to do? Is it going to go away? You know, all those sorts of anxious thoughts and that just snowballs.

It's a, it's a it's bi-directional, it's a cycle. And then the depression for me is as more like when I have a flare, the depression tends to set in. So if I'm, if my symptoms tend to get to a period of worsening, depression can set in if I'm in a better period, my depression might not be so bad.

And so I don't think that's uncommon for someone. I tend to be on the further end. So migraine is also a spectrum disease. I should have also mentioned that, you know, so people have very few attacks. I tend to be. The end of the spectrum where I'm having attacks almost every day. So for someone like me you know, the research or [00:06:00] research also shows that mental health is more, is even more effective.

For someone who has chronic migraine, we can be more effective. So that's another consideration. 

Dr. Liz: Absolutely. And that the anxiety piece, of course, when you are so aware of how it impacts your daily functioning and how it prevents you from doing a lot of things that you want to do. And so of course, that anxiety is going to be tied to that as you know, if you sense that coming on to the anxiety that the panic is going to increase, which I'm sure, just exactly.

The symptoms of the migraine and all of the physical ailments of that. So do you see a correlation between that, of when you start to sense that, and maybe your mood states are impacted and then. That was kind of being correlated. 

Beth Morton: I do. I think it's important for, for people with migraine to also, and their doctors to recognize that they are still two different things and they should be sort of treated as two different things.

And you know, it is, it is that sort of. Mantra we have, you know, it is it's, it's [00:07:00] not just in your head. Migraine is a real thing and anxiety is a real thing, but they, they are, they can go hand in hand. So and that is a lot of where the the mindfulness practices, you know, recognizing, you know, what's going on in your body and trying to Yeah, just sort of calm yourself and have some of those, those practices to not all of the treatments for migraine are are pharmacological, I guess.

You know, my mental kid is vast. I have a lot of, I have, I have many treatments that I call on. When I get for migraine preventatively. 

Dr. Liz: What are a couple of tips that you might give to our listeners who maybe struggle with migraines? So you mentioned mindfulness things along those lines of maybe coping skills or ways that they can more effectively manage the impact of the symptoms.

Beth Morton: I mean, number one is if you have access to a headache specialist, they are the best trained to, to really look at the full package of treatments with you. So the, [00:08:00] the the sort of medical medication side, as well as the lifestyle treatment side that really is sort of a treatment. PI and, and figuring out the whole package.

They're the headache, headache specialists often have connections to to mental health specialists and, and in, in, in the headache community, the migraine community, there are, there's a lot of discussion of the lifestyle modifications that, you know, you can make to your sleep schedule. And stress management and diet and exercise and all of those things can really help in conjunction with, with medication and they just sort of they're additive.

And I, I think they, they all play a part and, and some can be more effective for some people than, than others. Absolutely. 

Dr. Liz: Well, thank you so much for the information, where can our viewers find you? And even when you talk about the migraine chat community where can they find that and get linked up 

Beth Morton: with the.

Yeah, so you can find me on Twitter. That's primarily where migraine [00:09:00] chat lives. It's a, it's a monthly chat and a community where people kind of come together and ask questions. My handle is at Beth underscore. Borton I'm on Instagram. I have a blog, but that's usually the best way to connect with me and and connect with others.

It's a, it's small, but it's a, it's a growing community of people with migraine who Kinda come together and support each other. Great. Well, thank 

Dr. Liz: you so much for the information, Beth. We really appreciate it. 

Beth Morton: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for that. And thank 

Dr. Liz: you all for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, connected.

Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well. Thank you again for joining us on this episode of calm, cooling, connected. .