Understanding and Treating Your Migraine by Paula Greenspan

Ironically, I started reading Understanding & Treating Your Migraine when I had a bit of a dull ache behind my right eye. I put it down to strenuously decorating my bathroom, looking up at the ceiling at a funny angle without my specs, and the two double vodka and diet cokes I had the night before.

Had I of already read this book, I would of been well aware that this was the beginning of a three day throb in my head that felt like an axe was chopping its way through my brain at twenty second intervals.

As some of you may or may not know, I’m at that age where I’m getting more and more aches, pains, strains, cracks and generally struggling to get up from kneeling down without bracing myself to do it.

My headaches over the last 3 or 4 years have been getting worse. I’ve tried to solve the problem, thinking perhaps it was down to my slightly unhealthy lifestyle, so I ditched the caffeine, red wine and chocolate for a while.

I’m pleased to say it made very little difference, apart from my waistline improved somewhat. I missed those three delights and was just a miserable, slightly slimmer version of me, so they are all back on the menu. As are the size 12-14’s.

Thinking it could be my eyesight, I spent a fortune at Boots opticians, ok, granted, I’ve always wanted Ray-Bans and decided to splash out, all in the name of stopping my aching head, but alas, the headaches still came. But at least I looked a bit cooler now, even if I was still in agony every few months.

The author, Paula Greenspan is a migraine sufferer herself. Along with input from many other poor souls who suffer buckets from these debilitating symptoms, I actually feel like I can start to improve the way in which I cope with them. After all, there is no cure, it’s just a case of educating myself and understanding those tell tale signs. This is all down to the reassurance, simple advice and knowing I’m not alone in my struggle after reading this book.

It also includes a whole host of experts giving sound advice on the subject, some things obvious, some not so much. It also has pointers about how to keep a Migraine diary and actually learn from it. There’s also a brilliant chapter covering Migraine and hormones and some very useful links to further help.

I’ve taken so much from this book, because, like many of us do, I’ve googled signs and symptoms and there’s so much out there, it’s hard to distinguish the sensible to the darn right ridiculous. (One person vowed that placing a blue clothes peg on her third eye was the ultimate cure. Failing that, anything a mid-dark blue colour would do. And no, I didn’t try it, I just took more ibuprofen and went back to bed!)

A surprisingly high proportion of people suffer from migraines and loose days due to not being able to function because of the intense pain and discomfort caused. Dizziness, feelings of detachment, cottonwool head and one of my regular favourites, the underfoot dropping jolt sensation.

I’m trying to make this as entertaining and funny as I can, but for those of us who get this horrible ailment I’d highly recommend getting this book! I cannot believe how much better it has made me feel.

Sometimes I thought I was having a stroke, the pain in my head was so severe, but after reading this, I’m far more positive about how I’m going to get through my next episode. I think that is due to the reassurance and knowing that other people experience similar symptoms, and I’m not loosing my head after all.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the author for writing this book, to Pen & Sword Publishers for sending me a copy to review, and also to the fellow sufferers who shared their experiences. I feel a whole lot better and not so alone now.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every single person that has benefited from the British NHS should read this book.

It is powerful. POWERFUL.

The people that work as front line medical staff deserve every bit of respect in the world. So next time you’re having a knee replacement done or giving birth to your baby in the maternity ward, just spare a thought to these overworked, underpaid, taken for granted Angels.

It’s little wonder they appear a tad detached from the job and patients sometimes. I’d be too if I was working a 90 hour week. Ask them how they are, and BE A NICE PATIENT. They don’t deserve the shit they get.

On the flip side, This is Going to Hurt is hilarious. Adam Kay has a way with words that made me feel like I erupted my 25 year old caesarean scar multiple times I laughed so damn hard.

This is a book I will never forget.

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