Worldwide, more than 20 million people had a migraine today. That's a lot of people with pain, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise. For National Headache Awareness Week we talked to a Sioux Falls women who can't remember not having headaches.
34 year old Louisa Biteler has always had migraines. She remembers her first one when she was 4 and just like the Lego towers she's building with her kids Brielle and Jamin and husband Phil, when one comes on she is down for the count. Today, she says, is a good day.
Louisa says, "There are some days I can still function and work because I've had for so much of my life. If I couldn't function with them I wouldn't be able to do much of anything."
For Louisa a combination of things have helped her deal with her migraines. Her medication plus she gets acupuncture, goes to a chiropractor and she gets massages. And yes, sometimes kids can make it worse.
Louisa says, "They've gotten to know when mommy is sick so they will bring me an ice pack."
A number of things trigger Louisa's migraines. According to neurologists that's pretty common. A change in the weather patterns, too much sugar or chocolate and irregular sleeping patterns. A road trip for vacation can be a nightmare for her.
Louisa says, "I'm learning to prepare for those types of things, drink more water, try to sleep more, bring my standard pillow. I try to make things as normal as possible when we are in other parts of the country."
Dr. Carol Miles with Neurology Associates on the Avera McKennan campus says, "Migraine brains like pattern or schedule. The more you can do on schedule the better." She adds that regular exercise 3 to 4 times a week is one of the best ways for migraine sufferers to stave off an attack.
Keeping a schedule is going to be tough since the Bitelers are expecting, but like everything else, Louisa will go with the flow, knowing the joys of motherhood outweigh the negatives of migraines.