Migraine Therapy Dog?

I’ve struggled with a migraine for the past four days. I didn’t even know they could last that four days — or longer. It’s also my second migraine in a month. In normal times, they are rare events. And they’re worse. Until this year, if I got one, it just kind of floated through the front of my vision and left me tired for a few hours. This year? They’ve found a whole new level. I learned one thing about them, though, and that is that some dogs are able to detect migraines in people. There are even migraine therapy dogs.

And why did I wonder this? I got up yesterday morning (day 3) thinking, “Well, it has to be over now.”

Bear was whimpering, softly. She never whimpers. I mean, seriously. A dog who’s willing to take on bears and cougars is NOT going to whimper without reason. I opened my door, and she was right there, waiting. Normally when I get up, Bear is outside and runs in when she knows I’m awake. The next thing I knew she was hugging me (Bear sits on her haunches and wraps her front legs around people). “What?” Five minutes later, as I started making coffee, the visual effects of a migraine had returned. Bear has spent most of these three days outside guarding, but her behavior otherwise has been different, too. If I sit on the sofa she is right there as long as I sit there.

So far today she’s acting normal, so maybe it’s finally gone. As for me, I’m just tired, but so far, so good. I just wonder if the fact that, on the surface, I think I’m holding it together well but inside, maybe, I’m not. I think this whole year has been misplaced.


53 thoughts on “Migraine Therapy Dog?

  1. Migraines are no fun. I have had quite a few, in fact I had one in November. All I can say is, I’m in my bed for most of the day and maybe the next. My cat’s name is Milo 🐈 and he knows something is going on, and keeps his eyes on me.
    Dogs and cats are very sensitive to our aches and pains. Give Bear πŸ• a hug for me.
    Martha take care of yourself, take it easy when you get a migraine, relax, rest.

    • Thank you. I will definitely give Bear a hug. She’s worked hard for me these past few days. Scratch Milo between the ears and tell him “Good kitty.”

  2. Ugh! Migraines are the worst! I have found, as I have gotten older, they are less frequent – but when the arrive, they arrive with a vengeance. I get the visual and olfactory auras – and usually I am in a super good mood right before they hit – and afterwards, I rarely get excruciating pain, just a dull ache that lasts for days. Have you correlated the onset of migraines with weather fronts coming in? I know, when I lived in Colorado, if an Albuquerque Low was on it’s way, the migraines would show up as a precursor – any low pressure weather front is sure to bring them on. It’s great your dog can sense them – dogs are amazing creatures. Get better!!

    • Wow. Yeah, the day before it hit, I had a GREAT DAY. Then, wham. The weather thing could be a factor — I’m going to have to pay attention. All we’ve had are bright blue skies, but that doesn’t mean other stuff isn’t happening. When I was in my 20’s migraines were just entertaining. I had aphasia, which was funny, and visually it seemed my arms were operating apart from my body. And that was IT. But now?

      • I am always interested in what type of visual auras people have. My Mum always experienced shifting castles in purple and yellows. I get chains of triangles in opalescent colors of cream, green and purples. It starts out as one triangle and more keep coming until the chain gets so long, it has to curl around on itself.What type of visual auras do you have – if you don’t mind me asking?

        • My visual aura is exactly like yours with the addition of some hot pink. My mom said she had black lightning which isn’t exactly what I see, but maybe that’s how she saw it.

  3. Sometimes underlying stress does come out in physical ways. And as much as we think we are handling things well, sometimes our bodies tell us something different. And sometimes it is just our bodies reacting to the weather changes! Dogs know when things are not right. Smart old Bear! Hope today is a better day!

  4. I only liked this because of Bear. I’m really sorry for the migraines. I’ve never had one….and hope never to have one. Gosh, Martha, Bear is some kind of dog.

  5. this is the most beautiful thing i have read in a while β€” somewhat sad too. i hope your migraine cycle vanishes as soon as you wake up tomorrow. I didn’t know about migraine therapy dogs though. i am glad you shared. take care, Martha. Sending you my love, power, and energy πŸ’™πŸ’œ

  6. Good girl, Bear.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with migraines on top of everything else in this chaotic world. I hope you’re past this most recent bout now.

    Thought: pay attention to Bear paying attention to you. She could be worried about something going on with you other than your migraines. Not trying to scare you! But yeah, dogs are incredibly intuitive and have amazing senses of smell for all sorts of physiological things that we mere humans are oblivious to.

  7. Sumatriptan is my drug of choice when confronteds by a migraine. Most effective if I take it the instant I notice it coming on. Imitrex also works but is less effective.

    Some people can make do with just caffeine and Tylenol. More power to them. I don’t even notice ordinary pain killers and caffeine when I’m on a migraine. Enough opiates to make a dent in the pain also leaves me delerious which I find very disturbing.

    I’m more likely to take a powerful anti-nausea agent (Dramamine, Ondansetron) because migraines always leave me puking. These have the additional benefit of knocking me out. If I can sleep for a long time, they sre usually better when I wake up.

    My prescription is isolation, a dark room, no sound, the right medications and about 12 hours of sleep.

    • My daughter’s choice for intractable migraine is injected Toradol. This requires a trip to Urgent Care and they only use it for a migraine that has lasted 3 days, but they report instant relief.

      • So far my migraines haven’t been painful. I hope it stays that way. They just make me somewhat blind, very, very tired, and easily confused, sometimes nauseated but rarely. All things considered I feel tentatively fortunate.

  8. Yeah, our insides tell the whole story. We may act fine, but…um…we’re not. Especially this year. I’m fascinated by this post of Bear’s intuitive connection about the migraine, but from what you’ve written about your relationship I’m not at all surprised. I hope that by now you are feeling better. ❀️

    • Thank you. I’m feeling much better and Bear is acting more normal. ❀ I realized there is a part of me that's saying, "Fuck this shit." It's angry and frustrated. It doesn't even want to deal with Christmas (which it doesn't like that much anyway πŸ˜‰ ). It's just OVER it.

  9. I have escaped the migraines so far – but in Indiana we are the capital for sinus headaches (not to be confused with migraines) since the sinus headache is totally weather related… Dogs that bond with a person are immensely in tune with their moods and even facial expressions (on the micro level even). Bear loves you and knows how you are feeling – even before you do! I’m distressed that you had a 4 day migraine but relieved that it has passed. Dogs really are man’s (and woman’s) best friend…

    • Sinus headaches are no fun, either. I have a condition — AERD or Samter’s Triad — so I have dealt with sinus headaches, too. Not often or terrible, but at least they’re straight up headaches, though they can be excruciating. Anyway, I learned a lot through this one and hope I’m better aware and prepared if another one rolls around.

  10. We had a cat who detected migraines in my youngest son- I’d find her outside his door in the morning and know he would wake with a migraine. On those days, he always did and she would spend her days curled up beside him. (And yes, migraines can last three or four days in his case). She has since passed and thankfully he rarely gets migraines as an adult. He’s a cat person for life as a result of her, even in this house of dog people. Be gentle with yourself- it’s such an uneasy time.

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