Migraines and Pregnancy — Month 7 Recap

I’m almost done with month seven of pregnancy! Seven! It seems like it’s simultaneously flown by and lasted forever. On Saturday I’ll be 32 weeks in, which puts me right at month number 8. My migraines are slightly reduced from last month. I have the same amount of headaches but I’m grateful they’re not turning into migraines. The weather in New York City hasn’t really helped. The past two days it’s been gloomy and raining and that’s expected to continue. The weather, barometric pressure, and lighting (among other things) are huge migraine triggers for me. If you’ve just stumbled onto this blog post, you can catch up on month 1month 2month 3month 4month 5, and month 6by clicking on each month.

I still ‘Cefalize’ every day (Note: If you are pregnant or trying to conceive please check with your doctor if you can use Cefaly. Everybody is different and it’s important that you follow your doctor’s specific recommendation for you). My final two torchiere-style lamps have arrived, which help me control the lighting in the apartment. The new blinds work like a charm to help me control the natural light in the apartment. For me, soda helps. I know for many people caffeine is a trigger but for me it’s more of a migraine suppressant. I wish I could drink even more soda but I have to watch my consumption because of the pregnancy. Overall though, it may be cloudy outside but the future is looking sunny!

Just in case this is the first blog post you’re reading in my pregnant with migraines diary, I want to once again disclose that I am the PR Manager for Cefaly in the United States. My experience is genuine and I want to make sure I comply with any blogging rules out there. You can read more about my story here.  

Also, are you a migraineur who is pregnant or trying to conceive? Want to share your story? Please email Maria at m.coder [at] cefaly.us.

Make sure to check back next month!

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Michelle: Nothing gives me greater relief

Cefaly device

First Name: Michelle
Age: 35
Location: Reading, PA
Years with Migraines:  22 years
Occupation: Speech Pathologist

How long have you had migraines? 
I have suffered from migraines for over 20 years. My first migraine came with my first period at age 13. I know there is a genetic factor as my mother has migraines as well.

When do you usually get migraines? 
Hormonal fluctuations are a major trigger. Lack of sleep, too much sleep, fluorescent lights, strong scents, eye strain, and alcohol are also triggers.

What have you tried pre-Cefaly? 
Several medications including triptans, topical tramadol, a tricyclic antidepressant, hormone therapy, a drug that’s a combination of acetaminophen, dichloralphenazone, and isometheptene; another over the counter medication that combines aspirin, caffeine and acetaminophen. I still take caffeine on its own and use ice compresses. I have never chosen to take drugs used for prevention such as beta-blockers and topiramate due to their common adverse side effects.

What does your migraine feel like? 
I get headaches as well as migraines and there are important distinctions between the two. Migraines consist of sharp, acute pain on either the right or left side  (as opposed to the dull, generalized ache of a headache). The pain is accompanied by nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and diarrhea from gastroparesis. I experienced visual disturbances only a handful of times. Also unlike a headache, the pain is debilitating. With a headache, I can function in daily life, albeit with pain and discomfort. With a migraine, I must be laying down in dark room.

How did you hear about Cefaly?  
I read an article online about the Cefaly when it was first introduced to the market and began to do further research.

What’s your Cefaly experience like? 
My Cefaly experience has been extremely positive. When I have a migraine, nothing gives me greater relief. If the migraine cannot be aborted with the Cefaly alone, it at least provides relief until the Triptan kicks in.It is such a vital part to my migraine treatment regimen that I convinced my mom to get one last year. She has told me several times that like me, she cannot imagine not having it.

What made you want to share your story?
The Cefaly has been so helpful to me, that I feel it’s important to share my positive experience. The pain of a migraine is so unbearable and debilitating that I wouldn’t even wish it on anybody. I’m happy to recommend this product to anyone in order to help with their struggle with migraines.

Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.

If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.

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PREGNANT WITH MIGRAINES: MONTH 6

Cefaly device

My sixth month of pregnancy came and went and I still can’t believe it! Someone once told me in parenting the days are long but the months zip by. I feel this way about pregnancy. I’m now entering my last trimester. I’m very close to my usual 3-to-5 migraines per month. If you’ve just stumbled onto this blog post, you can catch up on month 1month 2month 3month 4, and month 5by clicking on each month.

I continue to use my Cefaly device every day; well, almost every day. I missed a couple of days this month because I got caught up reading books about newborns in bed and dozed off before I had the chance to ‘Cefalize’ as someone else I interviewed for this blog once called it (Note: If you are pregnant or trying to conceive please check with your doctor if you can use Cefaly. Everybody is different and it’s important that you follow your doctor’s specific recommendation for you.)

If you’ve been following along this monthly pregnancy and migraines blog, then you know we were waiting to move into a new apartment. We’re here! A few weeks ago we had a specialist come and measure all our windows for some pricy dual blinds that will allow us to filter the light. This coming week the blinds get installed — light is a huge trigger for me. It doesn’t have to be sunlight, per se. Any light, depending on its brightness and its direction, is enough to activate a migraine if I don’t get out ahead of it. That gloomy outdoor lighting just before a snowstorm or on a cloudy day can just as easily cause a migraine. So, it’s a constant challenge. As part of my efforts to outsmart it, I’ve replaced nearly all lighting so that the ‘spotlight’ if you will goes up, not down. Plus, since all of our floor lamps are now torchiere-style, I’m able to dim the brightness to suit my daily (or moment-to-moment) needs. Today I just ordered two more torchiere-style floor lamps actually, which should complete the makeover.

Just in case this is the first blog post you’re reading in my pregnant with migraines diary, I want to once again disclose that I am the PR Manager for Cefaly in the United States. My experience is genuine and I want to make sure I comply with any blogging rules out there. You can read more about my story here.  

Also, are you a migraineur who is pregnant or trying to conceive? Want to share your story? Please email Maria at m.coder [at] cefaly.us.

Make sure to check back next month!

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Doreen: Cefaly is an ‘amazing invention’

Cefaly device

Name: Doreen
Age: 64
Location: Montrose, CO
Years with Migraines: 30
Occupation: Retired hairdresser

How long have you had migraines?
I’ve had migraines at least for 30 years. I always had them but I didn’t know what they were called and as I got older and went through menopause they got much worse.

When do you usually get migraines?
If I drink any wine, chocolate, or any caffeine I’ll get a migraine. It’s usually a few hours later in the evening on the day I’ve consumed one of those things that I realize I’m getting a migraine. What I do now if I had a caffeinated soda at dinner is I’ll use my portable Cefaly (the Cefaly II). I have both devices, the first one that came out that’s like a headband and the newer portable one. I don’t use Cefaly daily but if I feel a migraine coming on I’ll use it, sometimes twice. If we’re heading home from a restaurant and I’ve had a soda and someone else is driving, I’ll use the portable device, which I carry with me. It works amazing.

What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
I’ve tried every drug known to man. I still take eletriptan, rizatriptan, and other migraine drugs, as well as muscle relaxers as needed as migraine rescue medications. And I still do neurotoxin injections at my neurologist every 6-weeks or so. I think Cefaly is great. Before Cefaly I would be in the emergency room at least twice a month. I would be throwing up and need anti-nausea medications and suppositories as well, but since I got the Cefaly about 3-years ago, I’ve only gone to the ER once. I am not on any preventive medications.

What does your migraine feel like?
I get intense pressure above my eyes, like in my eyebrows, and as it gets worse it becomes halo around my head down to the back of my neck. My neck is always tight. I was hairdresser for 45 years so my career and age took its toll on my body. I usually will try to lie down when I have a migraine but if that’s not possible I try to take a pill and put on my portable Cefaly and keep going.

How did you hear about Cefaly?
I saw it on a TV newscast and one night when I woke up in the middle of he night with a migraine I tracked it down on the internet and read the testimonials and how to get it. My neurologist had mentioned it but didn’t think it would be available in the US for several years after the FDA approval but that night I couldn’t sleep I found a doctor in my state who was prescribing it. The very next morning I called the nurse for my neurologist and I told her the web address and all my doctor had to do was write a prescription for me. I had my doctor fax it in and I received it right away. I used it a lot in the beginning. After that, I switched neurologists. Now, between the Cefaly and the neurotoxin injections I really have my life back again. Plus I have all these tools in my basket of remedies to get over a migraine instead of being debilitated in bed with one.

What’s your Cefaly experience like?
It makes my entire skull – head, eyebrows – numb. It almost feels like when you’ve had novocaine at the the dentist in the way that you can touch your cheek with your hand but your skin is numb underneath; that’s how my head feels, the entire thing is numb. I know it’s there but I have no pain. It took me a while to get used to sensation. I could not do a full strength session at all when I first started using Cefaly but when my migraines were really bad I thought ‘I’ll just tough it out’ and now it doesn’t bother me at all. I can watch TV, read the newspaper, and have it on full strength. Sometimes if I feel one session isn’t enough I’ll do it twice in a row. I think it’s an amazing invention.

What made you want to share your story?
I want other people to know about the device it. It works for my migraines and maybe it will work for them too.

Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.

If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.

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Emily: Cefaly makes me more productive

Cefaly device

Name: Emily
Age: 30
Location: Tracy, California
Years with Migraines: 11
Occupation: Pharmacist

How long have you had migraines?
I realized I had migraines when I was around 19 years old because of the aura. I started to see bright lights that were followed by headache and I wasn’t sure what it was. The headache would last for hours and knock me out for most of the day. It was very debilitating. I think it started a little bit after I started birth control.

When do you usually get migraines?
It’s been a while since I’ve had a migraine because I’ve been using Cefaly. But I usually get them around my period, if I do. Sometimes it’s triggered with alcohol or caffeine. For me, especially because I get an aura with my migraines I think a lot of my triggers are linked with my vision. If I get eyestrain throughout day, like if I’m driving a lot or using the computer a lot, I’m more susceptible to migraines or headaches.

What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
Prior to Cefaly I tried most of the triptans but none of them worked to decrease the pain my migraines. My migraines are triptan resistant. I tried a very old drug that was a combination of a pain reliever and fever reducer, a sedative, and a vasoconstrictor. I’ve also tried propranolol and topiramate as long-term preventives but I don’t take either anymore. Currently I use a high dose of prescription ibuprofen as a rescue medication.

What does your migraine feel like?
It’s a little bit anxiety inducing because I get aura an about 20-30 minutes prior that’s followed by sharp pain. I can’t see well. My vision becomes very blurry and bright lights appear. Eventually the lights go away I’m struck with pain. Once the pain starts it feels like a metal band wraps around my head and someone is tightening it. This part of the migraine can last up to 8 or 12 hours. It’s quite debilitating. It’s usually worse the first 3-4 hours and can be accompanied with nausea and dizziness.

How did you hear about Cefaly?
As a pharmacist I’m up to date with a lot of medical knowledge. I was very excited to learn Cefaly was coming out. This is not a medication but I know I’ve tried most everything in every class available and I was out of options.

What’s your Cefaly experience like?
It’s been very positive! Cefaly is very easy to use. I started using Cefaly when it first came out and I’m now using the Cefaly II. It’s easy to remember to use. If I don’t use it for a few days I start to get a slight headache. I used to get migraines multiple times a week. I get them now maybe once every few months. It’s really good. That’s s huge difference from multiple times a week. I’m able to go out and plan things and not worry about whether or not I’ll make it to work. It makes me a much more productive member of society.

What made you want to share your story?
I think that the more people that know this option is available the better. When I first started Cefaly, and even now, I mention to a lot of my doctors and they’re not familiar with it. A lot of insurances aren’t covering it; it’s still very new. It’s something people might want to try and it s made such a vast difference in my life. I think that’s something people should know about, especially if they have migraines. I’ve gotten so many more days of my life back.

Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.

If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.

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John: Cefaly is a significant quality of life upgrade

Cefaly device
Name: John
Age: 56
Location: San Diego, CA
Years with Migraines: 20+
Occupation: Software Development Manager

How long have you had migraines?
I started getting ophthalmic migraines in 1980. The headaches with pain have been happening for about 20 years.

When do you usually get migraines?
It can happen anytime night or day. No trigger has been identified for me.

What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
-Over-the-counter pain meds
-Multiple prophylactic medications (topiramate, amitriptyline, Propranolol, etc.)
-Food log and diet changes (e.g. no gluten, no dairy, no coffee, tea or soda)
-Supplements
-Biofeedback
-Acupuncture
-Occipital nerve block
-Chiropractic
-Comprehensive allergy testing
-Ayurvedic medicine
-Coconut oil head-massage
-Full-body massage
-Yoga
-Hydration
-A variety of pillow and mattress types
-Ergonomic assessment at work station
-X-rays
-Cranial physical therapy
-Stopped chewing gum
-Charted sleep
-None of that worked and my Neurologist ordered neurotoxin injections. Before trying the injections I heard about Cefaly and passed on the injections. Almotriptan works for me but it’s a strong pill that I’d prefer not to take any more often than necessary.

What does your migraine feel like?
The pain starts at the base of my scull/back of my neck. It then moves to my right temple and behind my right eye. I don’t really have a hyper sensitivity to light or sound but do have constant pain that makes me irritable during headaches.

How did you hear about Cefaly?
In 2014 a friend sent this link to me: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/05/08/device-claims-to-prevent-brutal-migraines-without-drugs/

What’s your Cefaly experience like?
Prior to Cefaly I was getting migraines every 6 days on average. Immediately upon using the device the cadence went to a headache every 21 days on average. I’ve been using Cefaly since July 2014. This a significant quality of life upgrade. I look forward to the daily 20-minute “head massage.” My neurologist has now instructed me to try it when I feel a headache coming on even if I have already had my session that day. The double-down works sometimes but not every time.

The intensity of the headaches has not changed for me. I still need to take the only medication that works for me (Almotriptan) when I do get a headache but am happy that I’m taking the pill roughly once a month vs once a week.

What made you want to share your story?
This is one of only two “solutions” that has made a noticeable difference for me and this one is not a pill. I have heard first-hand that many of the things I’ve tried worked wonderfully for others. Our bodies are complex and you have to keep trying until you find what works.

Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.

If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.

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Lane: Cefaly has made a difference for me!

Cefaly device

First Name: Lane
Age: 43
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Years with Migraines: 32
Occupation: Stay at home mother/former makeup artist/retail manager

How long have you had migraines?
Since I was 11.

When do you usually get migraines?
Currently when I have my period or during ovulation. It used to be 95% of the time but with Cefaly and neurotoxin injections it is more during hormonal shifts. If I watch what and when I eat during my period and sleep enough (and always use my Cefaly II) then my head doesn’t bother me during my period. Nothing helps with ovulation yet. Hopefully mother nature takes care of that for me in a few years!

What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
Topiramate, metoprolol, tricyclic antidepressant, various triptans, etc.

What does your migraine feel like?
It’s agonizing, unilateral pulsating, and a pounding pain.

How did you hear about Cefaly?
My neurologist.

What’s your Cefaly experience like?
I really like it. it is very relaxing. I prefer the strongest setting (after I adjusted to the feeling. It can be strange at first). I do it right before bed. I’m not sure if it actually makes me sleepy or if it a sort of Pavlovian response as I always go to sleep soon afterwards. Most nights I watch TV shows or movies and do Cefaly! I feel like the non-hormonal days that I get a headache are the days I don’t use my Cefaly.

What made you want to share your story?
I know how debilitating migraines are, and the drugs that help us migraineurs get through the day can cause more migraines. Cefaly has made a difference for me!

Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.

If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.

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