Location: Near San Francisco, California
Years with Migraines: 45+
How long have you had migraines?
I remember my first bad headache in my early 20s, but I was not diagnosed with migraines
until I was 45. In the 70’s, if you didn’t have classic migraine symptoms, doctors didn’t think “migraine!” I didn’t have auras nor other key symptoms. They felt sinus related. I did consult with a few doctors in the early years—General Practitioners, Ear Nose and Throat doctors, and one Internist. The Internist prescribed a nasal spray, the ENT x-rayed my sinuses. Nothing of note was found. I assumed that the headaches were more or less normal, run of the mill. When I was 45, I had a particularly vicious one and went to the emergency room, where someone finally sent me to a neurologist. At the time, it had never crossed my mind to seek counsel from a neurologist.
When do you usually get migraines?
I’ve found only one trigger over years that’s absolute—the change in weather. Most of my migraines happen in the middle of night or early morning. The act of sleeping almost feels like a trigger at times. In addition, I live in an area where the fog often moves in at night which greatly affects my migraines.
What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
I tried natural remedies like acupuncture and biofeedback. I’ve also tried a wide range of medications, including beta blockers, anti-depressants, triptans, and more; I still use triptans as a rescue medication. I did not try neurotoxin injections as I was averse to the idea, and it was never offered. After 15-20 years of being experimented on with preventative medications that didn’t work, I refused them and have been relying only on rescue medications. In 2014, I discovered the Cefaly which I now use in addition to rescue meds.
What does your migraine feel like?
There’s a large range in how my migraines manifest. Mild ones are specific to the sinus area and behind my eyes. The really bad ones will settle over one eye or the other, and feel like a sharp ice pick through my head just above the eye. In previous years, these would last days or even weeks. Fortunately, my migraines don’t last as long as they used to. I will often have a stuffy nose as well—a huge symptom with me—and though I have tinnitus all the time, it SCREAMS during a migraine.
How did you hear about Cefaly?
On the Internet, in early 2014, I stumbled across reference to a device that had just been FDA approved for migraines. It really piqued my interest, and I knew I wanted to try it. Recently, I saw the announcement in the Cefaly email newsletter that a new Cefaly was available in the U.S.—the Cefaly II. I contacted my doctor the same day and ordered it right away. I use mine predominantly at night. In addition to soothing the pain, it’s a fabulous sleep aid. However, sleeping with the first generation Cefaly was problematic. It lost its connected with a tilt of the head and I often woke with sore ears from the head band. I notice that the Cefaly II does not have a chime at the end of the 20-minute cycle which often jarred and/or woke me with the older Cefaly. When I saw that the Cefaly II did not have the arms over the ears and used a magnetic connection instead, I thought that’s perfect!
What’s your Cefaly experience like?
I fall asleep with it. That’s probably the main advantage for me—my migraines are sometimes mild, sometimes serious—but I can put the device on and its incredibly soothing for the pain, provides relief until medications take effect, and puts me to sleep when I use it at night. Occasionally I will need to break it out mid-day if I have a bad migraine. It numbs the pain while I have it on. The new Cefaly II now allows me to put my glasses on and off without losing the connection and do mild chores if I’m feeling up to some activity. It doesn’t’ abort a migraine for me but I do think it makes the duration shorter. Previously, when I had a bad icepick headache it often lasted 24-48 hours, the Cefaly, often gets it down to 12 hours or less. I find that my migraines tend to fade away faster and more effectively if I use the Cefaly regularly. It’s a very useful tool for me.
What made you want to share your story?
I think that the Cefaly is a significantly useful tool for a migraineur to have in his or her arsenal … and it is drug-free! It helps. It’s extremely soothing to me during a bad headache. Perhaps my experience will encourage others to try it and hopefully find relief as well.
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.