I Conquer Migraines Using My Phone (I’ll Explain)
One woman reveals how Migraine Buddy and treatment from Nurx helped her gain control over migraines and live (so. much.) better.
Around her 30th birthday Elizabeth Calnen started experiencing migraines, and soon they upended her life. “Between the aura, the headache itself and the migraine hangover, a migraine could ruin a whole week of my life, and that happened often,” says Elizabeth, who works in the health insurance industry and lives in Massachusetts
Understanding her triggers and finding treatment that worked wasn’t easy, but with the help of Migraine Buddy and the telehealth company Nurx, Elizabeth is finally at a place where migraines aren’t ruling her life. Here’s what worked for her.
Tracking Migraines to Manage Triggers
“I started tracking my headaches informally back in 2016 when my migraines started getting bad—I needed some proof that they were happening as often as they were, but then I fell out of the habit,” she says.
In April 2021 Elizabeth turned to Nurx for treatment, by answering written questions about her symptoms and submitting a few short videos — all done at her convenience from her phone. She’d received migraine treatment from her primary care provider and a neurologist in the past, but she’d moved away from the neurologist. For her, Nurx was convenient and safe, especially since she was trying to avoid extra appointments during the pandemic.
Nurx medical providers encourage migraine patients to track their migraines so the patients can report on how their treatment is working when the Nurx providers check in on them at six weeks and six months. “I started tracking my migraines more religiously since I started with Nurx, and I use Migraine Buddy to do it,” says Elizabeth.
“I love that Migraine Buddy offers lots of options as to what could have triggered my migraines,” says Elizabeth. “One of the newer features that’s been especially helpful to me is that if you turn on your location settings it shows you the barometric pressure and what to anticipate over the next few days. Migraine Buddy has helped me understand how much of a trigger weather factors like barometric pressure, humidity and storms are for me, and by showing me what pressure changes to expect I can anticipate a migraine and warn my workplace in advance.”
Another trigger Elizabeth is learning to control with Migraine Buddy’s help: Stress. “When Migraine Buddy sends my monthly report I can look back and map my migraines to stressful events in my life. It’s really helped me understand how much of a trigger stress is, and I’m taking more steps to reduce it, like meditating and journaling. I tend to bottle things up, and getting my thoughts out in writing helps relieve stress.”
Finding Her Breakthrough Treatment Plan
Along with tracking her migraines and managing her triggers with Migraine Buddy, Elizabeth has finally found a treatment plan that works for her with help from the Nurx medical team.
“I’d been using triptans and had tried every triptan out there, but they weren’t working well enough—it was like putting a Band-Aid on a machete wound,” she says. Her Nurx medical provider instead prescribed Nurtec, a new type of migraine medication that blocks the activity of a brain chemical called CGRP to actually stop the source of the migraine rather than chasing its effects.
“The biggest lightbulb moment for me was a few weeks ago when I started to have a migraine at work and I stepped away to take a Nurtec and the headache was gone within the hour,” she says. “Even if I don’t take it immediately at the onset of the headache it will still work, which isn’t usually the case with other medications.”
Elizabeth’s Nurx medical provider also helped her find the right daily preventive. “In the past I had tried a preventive that didn’t work, but after some back-and-forth Nurx helped me find one that does. My Nurx provider is also the one who suggested I journal. She learned that I had just moved and started a new job and suggested some stress management techniques.”
Although she’s not totally migraine-free, the combination of Migraine Buddy and Nurx has dramatically improved Elizabeth’s quality of life. “When I first got diagnosed with migraines the aura was really bad and I would lose vision and I couldn’t even work, and a migraine could ruin an entire week,” she says. “Now Migraine Buddy helps me understand when I’m at risk of a migraine and my medication plan from Nurx dramatically reduces their frequency and severity. When I feel one coming on I know what to do. It’s been a lifesaver.”