“How I Took Control of My Migraines”

Find out how these four patients tackle migraine triggers and fend off the pain of migraine.

Lindsay Bosslett
More Sharing +

These four patients feared they’d never find relief from their debilitating headaches. Today, they’re working closely with their healthcare providers and thriving. Here are their inspirational stories.

"I avoid strong smells!”
“I started getting migraines in my teens, and I would just have to lie in bed and not move for hours,” says Mary Obergfell. “I missed going out with friends, school events…so much while lying there in pain.”

Eventually, her primary care physician taught her how to track her migraines. “Once I began tracking I realized I was getting them around certain strong smells,” recalls the 41-year-old from Raleigh, NC. “The biggest offenders for me are flowers, cut grass and gasoline.”

Mary learned to keep her doors and windows shut if someone was cutting their lawn nearby, to avoid flowers, and to ask friends and family members to refill her car’s gas tank when they can. “I was also given medication that’s helped tremendously. I take it as soon as I feel a headache coming, and usually it stops it in its tracks.”

Make Mary’s strategies work for you by…

  • Choosing “scentless” flowers. Can’t abide the smell of flowers but miss having that pretty bouquet in your home? Try getting a bunch of sunflowers, dahlias or hibiscus, which don’t have strong scents. You can also pick up bouquets at supermarkets—the flowers sold there are often bioengineered to grow faster and larger, and have lost their natural scents as a result. 
  • Investing in an air purifier. These stand-alone gadgets, which go for as little as $40 (find them online or at home appliance stores), help clear the air inside your home of offending odors.
  • Finding full-service gas stations. If the smell of gasoline sets you off and you can’t ask anyone to fill your car up, search for a full-service station near you. Another option is to wear an air filter mask while filling up. Find them at hardware stores or on Amazon.com.

January 2014