Tag Archives: electrolyte balance

EMFS: [RE]Mapping a Migraine

lightning_bolts_needles_600Note:  Lengthy Article.

As I wrote yesterday, I have come to see that something about the position of the earth relative to the sun has been responsible for the migraines I began experiencing a few years after emergency brain surgery.

Though I’ve come to see that there is a “perfect storm” – pun intended – that needs to be present in order for the migraine to actualize.

From what I can determine, in addition to this celestial event, three factors come into play.

  • Season
  • Location
  • Nutrition

Season.  This is a misnomer because I came to realize it is the position of the earth relative to the sun rather than the season itself that is the initial trigger.

It got to the point that by the time I was in my twenties the migraine would happen only one or two weekends in a year – the last weekend in April – and/or the first weekend in May.

Location.  My only reference to this is the Northern Hemisphere.

The problem is consistent regardless of what state I have lived in – or visited – and regardless of what country I visited.  The two common factors were late spring/early summer and Northern Hemisphere.  That being said there were factors that seemed to either increase or decrease the chance I would develop a migraine

  • Humidity
  • Lightning frequency
  • Storms
  • Marine Layer

Humidity.  I was more likely to suffer severe migraines in locations experiencing high humidity in the April – July timeframe.

Lightning.  I was less likely to suffer migraines in two areas known for their lightning: Gulf Coast Florida and Tucson, AZ.

Storms.  I was more likely to suffer migraines in areas that experienced frequent thunderstorms in the April – July timeframe.

There is a pattern that ties the first and third together.  Heat and humidity that builds up until a thunderstorm that may or may not include tornadoes occurs after which temperature and humidity drop only to repeat the cycle again.

Marine Layer.  I am more likely to experience the pressure buildup that suggests a migraine is imminent in areas that develop marine layers in the late spring/early summer.

I do not always develop a migraine because of the other factor that plays a role in this circus, nutrition.

Nutrition.  Though nutrition in general plays a role in my health and well-being, potassium in particular impacts whether or not I develop a migraine.

It can stop one from developing even if the other conditions are present and I can relieve one if I take potassium supplements.

I first discovered the link between potassium and migraines while detoxifying heavy metals in 2014 – 2015. We were living in San Diego and it was during the presence of the other conditions I stumbled on potassium as an actual remedy for the migraines.

I took supplemental potassium instead of aspirin/Excedrin and experienced relief within a very short time.

I later read that in medical studies potassium did as well as Imitrex in relieving migraines.

I had previous experience with Imitrex from when I lived in Michigan.  It is vastly superior to narcotic medication in relieving the pain – with no nasty side effects.

In spite of this knowledge I have come to see that maintaining potassium balance can be tricky. I now understand this is, in part, because I’ve suffered chronic potassium deficiency for decades.

I now see that the reason the migraines began at all was because the medication I’d been on after the brain surgery – which is known to deplete potassium – set me up for the horrific migraines.

No one told us Dilantin depletes potassium.  I should have been on supplements to compensate.

I often wonder how my EEG tests may have been artificially skewed because of the potassium loss, potentially making it seem as if there was a problem when there wasn’t.

And prolonging the time I was told to take the pharmaceutical.

I can’t help but wonder – if I’d quit the medication and restored my potassium levels, would my  EEGs  have been normal?

I’ll never know.

Low potassium levels cause inverted t-waves on EKGs.

Beverages.  Two beverages have played a role in the migraine saga over the years

  • Diet soda
  • Red wine

Diet Soda.  It is now known that diet sodas can deplete the body of potassium.

It can also cause irregular heartbeats, likely because of that potassium loss.

There was a pretty incredible situation in Italy where doctors recorded the impact on heart functionality in a young woman who had been drinking diet sodas.  Once she quit her EKG returned to normal.

I used to drink diet sodas which no doubt continued the potassium deficiency legacy begun by the post-surgery medication.

I eventually quit and immediately noticed a significant improvement in how I felt.

Red Wine.  To this day I will crave red wine prior to an atmospheric change associated with migraine development.  This is a double-edged sword.  The initial response is relaxation of the muscles which relieves the pressure I experience as conditions develop that would lead to a migraine.  The secondary effect is the fact red wine depletes the body of potassium which, depending on whether or not I’m low, can lead to a horrendous migraine.

Though I’ve known for decades that I crave red wine before a thunderstorm, it was only within the last week or two I came to see the boomerang effect caused by potassium loss. In drinking it I was almost guaranteeing I would develop a migraine in spite of the initial pain/pressure relief.

They Suddenly Stopped – At One Point.  The last time I experienced a migraine severe enough to send me to the ER was the Friday before my first date with my husband.

This is significant.

First of all, it was the first Friday in May.

I’d been experiencing these horrendous migraines the last weekend in April and/or the first weekend in May for several years in a row.

And in general – only then.

I did get one more – a year later – pretty much to the day.  However, it was not nearly as severe.

No trip to the ER was necessary.

I have come up with a theory as to why they reduced in frequency and severity after meeting my husband.

Initially, people suggested it was stress relief – because I was in love – but I knew better.  The migraines had nothing to do with stress.

My lifestyle changed after I met my husband and we began dating.

  • I worked out fewer times a day though I still worked out each day.
  • I drank more red wine and began to drink craft brews as he introduced me to them through dinners and dates.

The reduction in workouts may have helped my electrolyte balance.

My potassium would not be as depleted.

The alcohol may have had some therapeutic effect that actually prevented the migraines. 

Hard to say but it does seem to tie-in to overall nutrition.

Super Sleuth.  In my book Riding the Waves: Diagnosing, Treating, and Living with EMF Sensitivity, I write about the need to do research when determining whether or not you even have EMF Sensitivity.  I suggest carrying a notebook around and keeping track of everything you can think of that may be affecting your health and well-being.

  • When did it start?
  • What changed?
  • What environmental factors may be at play?

As you can see from my own decades-long journey mapping and remapping the mystery of migraines, the detective work is absolutely necessary.

It also shows that it’s an unending journey because as new information becomes available, it’s critical to reinterpret the data and what it might mean.

Be well!

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