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[Updated July 2018]
Roller coasters, 3D movies, concerts … Sometimes, what we intend to be fun only offers a short-lived thrill. Sometimes, activities that are supposed to be fun can actually trigger a migraine.
Aside from the Migraine 101 basics on managing this condition, I always remind people: “don’t forget to have fun.” Fun is such a great insulator from the pain of Migraine. Make deposits in the shared fun bank with spouses, kids, and friends to remind them that YOU really are a fun person – it’s just the migraine that’s no fun at all.
What happens when the fun you intend to enjoy on one of your good days turns out to be a migraine-triggering experience? Here are just eight of the many occasions I can recall. Feel free to add your own good-day-gone-bad tales.
8 Fun Experiences That Can Trigger a Migraine
1) Amusement Park Ride
Maybe it was the G-Force, maybe it was the 40 minutes of waiting in line in hot, humid weather without a bottle of water, maybe it was the “good stress” that comes from an exhilarating thrill ride. (And it was awesome!) Superman The Ride just turned out to be a ticket to pain for me.
2) 3D Movie
Flashing lights and THX sound for a blockbuster movie would be quite enough overstimulation to my Migraine brain. The Mad Max 3D was immensely entertaining for my sons, but proved disastrous for me.
3) Snowmobiling Trip
Yes, the cold air on my face was like a virtual ice pack, but the high altitude, loud noise, and exhaust fumes from the vehicle in front of me added up to one trigger too many.
4) Rock Concert
Floor seats to see Coldplay — a big production with thundering sound, flashing lights, and a general intensity that I just couldn’t handle. Made it through the concert and loved every minute of it. Just paid the price later.
5) Swim Meet
Maybe it was the chlorine, the heat, and humidity, the shrill whistle to start every heat or the bright sun. Didn’t matter – I finished last that night.
6) Mixed Doubles Tennis Match
Saturday morning matches in the heat of summer are too much to bear. Can’t hydrate enough or shield my eyes from the sun. The exertion in the sweltering humidity sustained me through the match – until it didn’t.
7) First Day of Vacation
It’s the letdown effect … stressed for days to get outta town, less sleep, dehydration from flying, and when I finally relax, it comes. Also known as The Saturday Syndrome.
8) Family Reunion Cruise
I’ll blame this one on the stress that family gatherings often bring, plus heat, humidity and days of eating MSG-laden food. I missed three of the four days of that Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
Most importantly, don’t cut yourself off from fun experiences because you fear a migraine attack. Fear is no fun, and no way to live. Fear feeds anxiety, which in and of itself can trigger a migraine for some people. Just try to enjoy the experience, know your limits, and remove yourself if it turns the corner from fun to pain.
Migraine affects each of us differently, so don’t let my bad 3D movie experience keep you from going out for a good laugh or theatrical escape. You deserve it!
Comments? What kind of fun day ultimately became a painful one for you?