A question on what to do about severe headaches in a survival situation

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by BailyTheFox, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    Hey guys, so I've had chronic migraine headaches for years ever since I was in 6th grade. It is a constant thing that is easy to set off and sometimes near impossible to get rid of. The question is, when I get one of these and have no medicine during a survival situation to help dull the pain what am I to do? These things are a constant in my everyday life and medicine sometimes nearly a necessity just to struggle through a week or even a month. Unchecked one of these can evolve into a fit of me being curled up someplace as dark and quiet as I can find while I gasp and vomit up anything in my tummy. It'll feel like spiders are crawling on every inch of my skin and any light, slightly loud noise, or stronge smell can send me into a fit of dry heaves and blinding pain. The question on what to do if I feel one of these bad boys coming my way is a big one because it always happens and I have no clue on what I would do other then fight through as much as I can before there'd be nothing else but to take cover and cry.
    Hanzo likes this.
  2. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    Pretty much the same as any severe pain...deal or die.
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  3. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Migraines frequently have triggers. That's basically the reason you don't have just one that lasts until you die.

    Start keeping a record of everything you eat or drink. After a while you may begins to see patterns.
    Like a migraine the day after you go to a Chinese restaurant, or pig out on Slim-Jims.

    Stop ingesting MSG completely. Ditto for Aspartame. Consume "Diet" nothing.

    The fact that you've had them since you were six means you didn't have them before you were six.
    So they probably aren't "natural"--they're probably environmental.

    What changed at six? Probably your diet. That's probably when you started eating "school-food"--which is usually the cheapest crap money can by and loaded with things no human should ever eat.

    Whatever your trigger(s) are you can find them if you look hard enough. Then you can stop having migraines.

    You can do this.
  4. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    No, Pax. I think you missed the point.

    What if you said to me "UncleMorgan, I've cut an artery in my leg. What can I do about it?", and I said
    "Same as any other cut artery. Deal with it or die."

    Would that help you? How would you feel about that kind of advice, if you were sitting in the dirt watching your blood spurt?

    I think you owe someone an apology.
    Ganado likes this.
  5. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Did you get banged around some when you where five to six years old?? It didn't have to been sever enough to cause any apparent injuries..
    UncleMorgan likes this.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Wrong age, gentlemen. Sixth GRADE. That is young adult. Could be tied to puberty. My daughter gets migraines and it makes you feel helpless to have no way to help.
    I will ask her what she learned.
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  7. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @kellory could be right, it could be hormonal, (age thing) especially for women and @BailyTheFox here is a list of possible causes. @UncleMorgan had a great suggestion to track everything for a while and see if you can lessen them. One of the biggest triggers is dehydration

    • Allergies and allergic reactions
    • Bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells and certain odors or perfumes
    • Physical or emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression, excitement
    • Physical triggers such as tiredness, jet lag, exercise
    • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
    • Smoking or exposure to smoke
    • Skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
    • Dehydration
    • Alcohol
    • Hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, menopause
    • Tension headaches
    • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami)
    • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods
    • Medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy.
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  8. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Yes, sometimes migraines have really odd causes, and they can be related to growth.

    Some migraines are caused by a blood vessel that encircles a nerve and constricts it whenever the persons blood pressure goes up.

    Some times it's temperature related. Someone can get an ice cream brain freeze that causes the capillaries in the brain to spasm and constrict. Instant migraine.

    Lots of possible causes, one can only hope that the triggers are simple, findable, and controllable.

    Over-excitation of nerves in the brain is a major cause, and MSG causes that a lot. So it's a good place to start. MSG can cause neurons to fire constantly until the nerve cell dies. That's why it's classed as an excitotoxin.

    MSG is actually a flat-out poison. See
    Monosodium Glutamate: Bad for your brain, your figure, and your health | Nikas Culinaria
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
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  9. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I used to suffer from horrible headaches and the doctors couldn't figure out any reason for them. Then I was in a car accident and wound up at a chiropractor's office for a while. She asked me if I had always had headaches and I was like, yeah, how did you know? She showed me the x-ray of my spine and how my neck ties into my spine at a sort of odd angle, like I'm not sway backed, I'm sway necked. So in order to face forward, I'm actually tilting my head back and it pinches the nerves at the base of my skull. It's not enough to see just by looking at me, but in the x-ray it was pretty obvious. The cure? Tilt my head down for a few minutes whenever one comes on. I don't know if they qualified as migraines but I know they get to the point that light is painful

    Not saying that's your problem, but you never know what sets things off.
    Georgia_Boy, Tully Mars and Ganado like this.
  10. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    OK...I don't feel I owe anyone an apology, and don't wish to start an argument, but maybe I was too short and the real advice I was trying to give didn't get through. So I will give a try at expanding it.

    I really thought the question was about what to do in an emergency with severe pain. Unlike a severed artery, pain in and of itself is not going to kill in seconds or minutes...if it does there is no answer, and frequently in a "right now" situation, the only choice one really has is to power through. Treatments are all well and good, and there is some good advice here if one has time to pursue them...right now, while the time and resources are there. However, one must also accept that if one of these headaches (and I am not in any way trying to minimize their severity) coincides with a life threatening situation situation, your only options will be to "play through it" or die.

    Since you know the pain and have the opportunity to "work with it" where failure won't kill you, I really would advise at least trying to learn to just plain keep going. Many of us have had military training, some that focus on this very thing...keeping going when the pain, exhaustion, hunger and thirst are what most would call debilitating...and yet you cannot let it stop you.

    A long (for me) explanation that comes down to a simple phrase Deal or die.
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  11. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I got them for awhile about 20 years ago. They lasted only for about 3 months, on and off. I remember crawling to the bathroom on my hands and knees in a darkened hallway, tears running down my cheeks because it felt as though someone had firmly planted a hatchet in the top of my head, while feeling like I was going to hurl in large volume. The pain was incredible.

    Incapacitating is a good description. Migraines are very real and very nasty. For some reason which I have never been able to explain they stopped as suddenly as they had started. Some unfortunate individuals seem to be stuck with them. My wife is one, and when she's down, she has my full sympathy.

    The only thing we can do is to stockpile meds, acetaminophen, aspirin, Ibuprofen and prescription as much as possible. If the SHTF, we'll just have to hold out as long as we can and hope to eventually get to some medical services that can help once those things run dry.
    Ganado likes this.
  12. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I'll definitely start tracking what I eat and drink, I've been told in the past that it could be diet related.

    That article disturbed me on many levels, very many indeed. I've always been a label reader and recognize some of the names for MSG, I will most certainly look into avoiding anything with it present like the plague, Thanks very much.

    I'm pretty sure I've never gotten an X-ray done with attention paid to the base of my spine where it meets my head or of my head for that matter. I feel that my pain is centered there and is where it starts. I honestly feel as though there isn't just one or two triggers for me. Moving my head too fast or straining my neck, crying, and being in a crowded area with bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells are things that can instantly make me a light sensitive zombie. And those are what I know can instantly, and I DO mean instantly trigger a bad one. The amount of things that may contribute to me getting my average headache is innumerable considering I almost always have one.
    It honestly feels strange when I DONT have a bloody headache. The fun part is that according to my neurologist all of my headaches are indeed full on migraines. He said my definition of a migraine was incorrect, mine being that a migraine was only when it put you helpless on your ass unable to do anything. Evidently they are all migraines and the only reason I'm able to function at all much of the time is because I'm used to the pain, though that certainly does NOT mean that I don't feel the pain just as acutely as one who isn't used to it. I think I need another X-ray or scan of some sort done and that I need to track what I eat.

    ah yes the good old fashioned hatchet, he and I are well aquainted! My sympathies to your wife man, it seems to me that a huge part of these things are related to female puberty and hormones. A few tips for her are to lie down when possible with a cold bean bag over the eyes and around the back of the neck. Position ones head perfectly in a comfortable position because pinched nerves in the neck could very well be part of the problem, I know I need to take great care of this or it will not go away. Give her a hug for me too!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2015
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  13. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I have them, my mother had them and my grand mother had them. MSG will trigger one in me as will a lot of the nitrates, can't eat some bacon or cold cuts, can almost 100% of the time get one at a salad bar but not from prepared salads. The big problem with MSG is they hide the name ajino moto in the Japanese foods, modified protein in other foods etc. Keep track and just don't take a chance. Most of the "treatments" for migraines are worse than the headache. They don't do much other than "Oh my head aches and I don't give a damn" or slow your thinking and reactions to the point you can't function. My "cure" is just as soon as I feel one coming on I drink strong coffee and lay down in the dark. Usually that will slow them down and I can put up with it, if not sit back and enjoy the light show in your mind as your vision goes to hell.
    Ganado likes this.
  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Sounds almost like a panic attack to me. A little Goolge-Fu prompted this. It's not much, but it could be something to think over.
    Medscape: Medscape Access
  15. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Grow you some herb, a little cannabis does wonders.
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  16. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    @BailyTheFox --I get migraines and have for most of my life. Some folks are right when they tell you it's important to watch what you eat; having a sensible diet is important. Stay away from "diet" food and anything sugar-free. Believe it or not, a steady sleep pattern helps tremendously, too. Also, drink plenty of pure water --not the contaminated crap you find in most city faucets or from a mega corporate bottling company. I will share some tips I have found useful.

    Quick tips to help alleviate migraines without medicine:
    Take two billiard balls (or something similar) and stick them in a sock. Tie a knot in the sock so the two balls are tight together. Lay down and place it at the base of your skull (just beneath the cerebellum) so the weight of your head presses down on them. After about 5 minutes, you should feel the pain lessen and you can repeat as necessary.

    Take a washcloth and dip it in the hottest water you can tolerate until it is saturated. Wring it out and fold it, then place on your eyes and across your forehead. Repeat as needed.

    Massage your scalp with your fingers. Press down and slightly twist, repeating the process across your entire scalp. When I do it, I can feel a light crunching noise under my fingers, but this may vary from each person to another.

    Always hydrate (and I mean drink a quart of water per hour) you should force yourself to drink as soon as you begin to feel like you are getting a migraine.

    A cup of hot tea will work wonders, and the small amount of caffeine can help, too. There are a lot of benefits to drinking tea, and there are many varieties. I like to have an Irish black tea most times, but even an herbal tea will do wonders. If you are outdoors or in a survival situation, you can make a tea with pine needles and many other plant life.

    Although I do not take medication and cannot recommend anything potent, I do like to use BC powder or Goody's powder (aspirin + caffeine) because they are very fast and work well for me, even though I take two at a time. I have taken these powders several years past the expiration and they worked fine. I like to buy them in bulk (50 packs) and vacuum seal for long term use (3 to 5 years).

    Good luck! It's not easy dealing with chronic migraines. But, if you eat well and sleep regularly as well as get enough exercise, you really can eliminate most of your migraines unless you have a serious health condition --and even still, eating well, sleeping right and exercise can't hurt.
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  17. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Southern Vietnamese pinch their foreheads
    Vietnamese customs
    The site says or prick; however, I've never seen that done.

    Try a search for natural remedies for migraines; they may or may not work for you. That being said now is the time to find it, instead of when you really need it.
    Ganado likes this.
  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I just talked with my daughter. If she can't get her meds, the best thing to relieve the pain is caffeine. Her's is linked to her cycle.
    Ganado likes this.
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    STRESS, Once upon a time my wife (but not my wife then) had regular bouts with migraines. Doc would medicate her and 24 hours later she'd be good to go. Of course that was a day lost and all that entails.

    We married, settled in and no more migraines.

    She decided that that her life had always been stressful, a balance was made now and she never had another attack.
    That doesn't mean you have the same problem and all previous suggestions should be considered, just sayin that a little positive feed back on a daily basis might also show improvements.

    Migraines cannot be ignored and should not, for there may be any number of problems that require medical intervention.

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  20. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

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