Did you know that severe migraine attacks are classified by the WHO “as amongst the most disabling illnesses comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis”! I can truly believe it having started to suffer migraine as my main gluten symptom almost three years ago now.
Over eight million people in the UK, including children, suffer from migraine and, on average, 190,000 thousand experience an attack on any given day. Over 50% of people with migraine remain undiagnosed and under-treated.
My heart goes out to them as I know how particularly nasty it is. My migraine is like clockwork after a gluten incident. Two hours on the dot after the ingestion, I start to feel like my neck and back is going tight. I notice myself massaging the back of my neck and feeling really tired, but desperate for sugar. I now realise this is probably coming on from about half an hour after ingestion, but the two hour mark is where I start to feel the pain. And there’s nothing like a migraine pain, is there, for those who have it? Debilitating is the only word.
Although, thankfully (she says with everything crossed and whispering), it IS getting better. The migraine used to score about 8-10 on the pain scale (10 being the worst, but I now think of it as 8 as I hadn’t experienced the jaw bone pain then with the gum infections!!). The average one now is about 2-4, with an occasional 6. They used to last 4 days and now last 2 days – again, almost on the dot of 48 hours, it just goes and then I need to sleep. A lot. If it wasn’t so bloomin’ painful, it would be fascinating!
I know the scores and length of time have changed because I keep a daily diary and score myself very quickly every night before bed and then add them up at the end of each month. I was doing really well, with the scores coming down dramatically and then consistently lowering UNTIL the recent gum flare up, which I still haven’t sussed the cause of yet. Almost under control again, but it’s so frustrating as I want to see those scores coming down. One thing I have noticed, I suppose, is that where I was scoring ONLY reactions a few months ago, I now include general stuff like colds, tiredness etc and the scores are still lowering, so that must be a good sign, musn’t it?
We should shout to all those 190,00 migraine sufferers mentioned above ‘GLUTEN. GLUTEN, GLUTEN’ and encourage them to go gluten free, shouldn’t we? Migraine is a neurological symptom, very commonly caused by some form of gluten sensitivity and barrier breakdown leading to neurological damage and auto-immune processes like migraine. I like to think my blood brain barrier is getting gradually stronger which is why the pain and time suffering is coming down. Let’s hope.
To understand more about why gluten causes migraine, read up about the auto-immune and barrier breakdown process here. And here too is a migraine tip for you. I generally find boosting magnesium levels with the Magnesium spray helps too as it relaxes the muscles and migraine is known to be caused in part by magnesium deficiency. What causes magnesium deficiency in gluten sensitives? Malabsorption. Solution: remove the gluten – properly, so all grains – and boost your magnesium whilst you heal. And keep at it; it takes time, trust me.