"Secret skimping is out, like false bosoms." - Marjorie Hillis, Orchids on Your Budget, 1937.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


As a frequent recipient of migraines for the past, oh, 17 years of my life, you'd think I'd have effective solutions up my sleeve. My "solution", as it were, has always been the old 3 advil, cup of coffee or tea, then off to bed to writhe in pain and nausea while praying for sleep or death.

Recently, my headaches have been cluster in nature (from what I can tell), and what sucks about those is that I'll have them for daily for weeks sometimes. You know it's a wonderful day when you wake up with the same headache you went to sleep with. They're not as completely debilitating as migraines, but they make it very difficult to behave in a friendly manner (aka doing my job), be productive, or enjoy myself.

I haven't been able to find anything to even take the edge off of migraines or cluster headaches without involving unconsciousness. Until now. I was watching Dr. Oz one afternoon (... not that I do that frequently) (... not that there's anything wrong with that) and he brought up pepper spray as a way to take the edge off cluster headaches. WHAT. AND IT ACTUALLY WORKS. WHAT?!?!! I read the reason it works, and frankly, I don't give a rat's ass WHY it works (ok, yes I do, look up how ben-gay works), I just thank god that it does. Don't get me wrong, the headache is still there, but for a sweet 20 minutes or so (I haven't really timed it), it is dulled. I haven't tested it on a migraine, but it's definitely effective for cluster headaches. So that's that. I would post this in my HG section, but I sort of feel like that's cheating.


Clare - Never Niche said...

Do you have to pepper spray yourself?! I'm confused.

ekingout said...

Yeah, it's a capsaicin nasal spray (Headache Buster is one of the brands). I will usually just do 1 or 2 sprays in the nostril on the offending side. It hurts, but less than you'd think, and it's worth it.

ekingout said...

(Here's a wikipedia snippet: In 1997, a research team led by David Julius of UCSF showed that capsaicin selectively binds to a protein known as TRPV1 that resides on the membranes of pain and heat sensing neurons.[...] Prolonged activation of these neurons by capsaicin depletes presynaptic substance P, one of the body's neurotransmitters for pain and heat. Neurons that do not contain TRPV1 are unaffected.
The result appears to be that the chemical mimics a burning sensation, the nerves are overwhelmed by the influx, and are unable to report pain for an extended period of time. With chronic exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters, leading to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation. If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover.)

Anonymous said...

Good clothes open all doors.

Felice said...

Ok, so do you spray yourself? Or stick it up your nose? I never would have seen that one coming. So when criminals get sprayed, does their headache go away or does the pain get diverted to their wrist b/c of handcuff? I am sorry for being funny, but I just cannot believe pepper spray. I am going to have to tell my husband about that one.

ekingout said...

I know it sounds crazy, but it's not that bad. It's a pepper spray made specifically to spray up your nose, so it's not as powerful as pepper spray used for self-defense. Try it! :)