Guest: Lisa Jacobson
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Lisa Jacobson is a chronic migraine sufferer who has had over 9000 migraines over the last 28 years. She founded The Daily Migraine and is the inventor of the Migraine Hat.
Segment overview: Lisa Jacobson, founder of The Daily Migraine website and inventor of The Migraine Hat, discusses The Migraine Hat, and tips for those who live with chronic migraine.
Health Professional Radio – The Daily Migraine
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us here today on Health Professional Radio. We’re featuring Ms. Lisa Jacobson, she’s the founder of The Daily Migraine and also inventor of the ‘migraine hat.’ And she is joining us today to talk about her journey with migraine, suffering from migraine for many years and also here to show with us some tips for those of us who are suffering from migraine. Welcome to Health Professional Radio, Lisa Jacobson.
Lisa Jacobson: Thank you Neal.
N: Now you’re the founder of the ‘The Daily Migraine’, it sounds like a newspaper of sorts. Talk about ‘The Daily Migraine.’
L: Right. That’s why I gave it that Neal, that’s great you picked that up. Yes, I have had migraines for 28 years. I’ve had over 9,000 migraines and when it was at my worst which was a couple of years ago, I realized I didn’t know anybody who got migraines every day, or who had chronic migraines and I really felt very alone. So I decided I was going to go and put a stick in the ground and create something online to find other people who do have it. What I did was I started The Daily Migraine and 2 years later, we have 300,000 people who are following which is really exciting.
N: Impressive, yes absolutely. Now you’ve got 300,000 followers, does that begin to represent the number of people that are suffering from as you say chronic migraine headaches?
L: Exactly, there are 37 million people in this country and a billion people worldwide with migraine.
N: What exactly is a migraine headache and how does it differ from I guess for a lack for a better term, your every day run of the mill headache, say your tension headache?
L: Right. Migraine is a very serious neurological disease and most people, their kind of headache of one kind or another in their life and so that’s what they assume that it is. But there’s really nothing that’s the same about it. Migraine is very debilitating and so to make the diagnosis there are certain things that the doctors look at. For instance, if your headache … one sided, or just nausea with your headache. A lot of times, people actually don’t just have head pain, they have neurological functions that are really, for instance I’ll give you an example and this is something I discovered just by asking people on The Daily Migraine and they’ve done studies of it since. Which is the people start smelling things that don’t exist, specifically pneumonia, cat urine, and cigarette smoke which is so bizarre, isn’t it? That they’re very specific things. They taste blood, they hear whispering, and there are so many things people, there are over 300 types of headache disorders. It’s a very serious thing.
N: In addition to this pain, this debilitating pain, you’re also having sensory hallucinations. Now I guess because you mentioned some specific aromas and what not. This is information that you’re getting based on feedback from you reaching out with ‘The Daily Migraine,’ and of course your website as well. Is that correct?
L: Yes, and so what happens is every day I post about 8 times and I ask a question called ‘The Daily Cope Question; and thousands of people answer it. And so we have the greatest number of people with migraine anywhere in the world in one place. Even doctors come to me, and doctors come to ‘The Daily Migraine’ and they ask me if I can ask some hypothetical questions because we are a greater number of people than any doctor could have on his or her office. And since there’s so little a funding for it because people think it’s a headache, having anecdotal discussions is really, really helpful. And I ask people what is the greatest help to you about “The Daily Migraine’? I recommend it for people so that they don’t feel alone anymore. They can go to the website and it’s almost like a repository, a library for migraine or they can go to Instagram or Facebook where there are thousands and thousands of people, it’s like an online support group.
N: You suffered thousands of headaches that are classified as migraine headaches. Do you ever suffer any other type of headache that is not attributed to this disease?
L: No. It’s all migraine related and it’s really something because when you have it, you really can’t function. Most of us who have migraine, we relate it like to a 1-10 level. And if you’re at 9 or 10 you’re at the emergency room. Most people and I’ve asked questions many times, if you’re above 7-9, you really can’t function, it’s way too painful but if you are below 6, I would say you have a bad headache sort of a mild migraine. And most people with migraine would actually be able to function that way, and so the goal is to take whether it’s medication or alternative treatment to try to knock it down. A couple of takes lower, because there’s no cure right now. So what you try to do is spent a lot of your time figuring out how to just knock it down.
N: Have you ever had a period of time where there was no pain, and if that time does exist, what do you call that?
L: These questions are really good, especially, I don’t think you get migraine, do you? Because they’re really good questions. No, I really had very little time when I have a migraine. That’s what really important to keep a diary, because if you do have days where you don’t have it, you can figure out why overtime. What I didn’t tell you that this really exciting is that after I start of The Daily Migraine and … I haven’t started it. I went into remission and so for the last couple of years, I’ve actually been in remission with a very rare headache migraine here and there that breakthrough and the way I was able to do it, is that I usually try three things at once. Medication and alternative treatment and some other category. And I do that for 3 months very religiously and if it does not work, I go back to my doctor, we try new three things. But a couple of years ago, when I started this, I was so bad, I tried ten things at once and somehow they eventually went away. I don’t know which things it was, it’s not a very satisfying answer but I really believe now that people think one treatment will sort of fix you, but I think it’s stackable treatment. If you move toward health, and you have a better diet, and you reduce your stress, and you try all sorts of things, maybe medications that work. Some people do acupuncture, chiropractic, I mean there hundreds of potential treatments. You can bring them down, it’s hard, you have to be very patient. It takes a lot of time sometimes.
N: What about warning signs? You’re just walking down the street then all of a sudden ‘bam’ you hit at 10 or a couple of days go by and certain things happen. What are some of the warning signs that you’ve learn to look for when you’re about to have an episode?
L: We call them triggers. The longer you have these, the more you start to recognize what your triggers are. There are multiple triggers, for me the triggers are heat, light and glare. The summer for me is really, really rough so I always have that sunglasses on, all year round. I have to have a hat on, I really have to stay in the air conditioner. Some people it’s barometric pressure and it’s horrible. What are you supposed to do about that when the weather changes? It’s tricky. For some women it’s hormonal. There are even certain foods, there’s red wine and aged cheese and then there are odd foods like lemons, avocados. It takes a long time to figure out what your triggers are but if you can figure them out and if you can avoid them, that’s a very good situation.
N: You say that there’s no cure and I guess no medications, preventative measures such as you’ve been discussing here with us. You’ve invented something called ‘The Migraine Hat’. The name suggests that maybe with this is a solution to migraine sufferers or at least some relief. Talk about the ‘The Migraine Hat’ as the inventor.
L: Sure. The Daily Migraine is a labor of love. I self-funded it and it’s something I do because I love it just to help other people. But I realized my next step is to really come up with the way to raise money for migraine. I was trying to think of something like the ice bucket challenge which is hard to do, to repeat that. But I realized that people don’t want just keep money, they don’t really see that it’s going to benefit them. So I decided to invent something that will help people with migraine and then the money that they pay to buy it, I will take my share and give it to migraine awareness. So that basically it was sort of a double benefit. I noticed that many people migraine do that ice really, really help when you have a migraine. You have ice packs and you have lemonade drip and then our cold and the worst thing of all is you stuck in a room, in a dark room lying there having your life pass you by. I started to put the ice pack into a hat, so it looks like a black winter hat, just a plain hat and you can wear it anywhere or certainly wear it inside. And the ice just pops in it, it’s an ice pocket of individually ice cubes and it comes with 2 ice packs and it’s only 29.95. It is one size fits all, it’s really cozy, you can make it tight. Some people like compression, you can make it loose if it is a child, if it’s a large person and basically what you do is, you get a migraine you just put it on, it takes 2 seconds. And what happens, the reason why people are just raving about it which I’m so pleased is that, let’s say your migraine is a 9 and you can’t sleep and all you want to do is get to sleep and get rid of it, it will knock it down because it dulls it, it will knock it down to a 7 so you could sleep. But if you’re a 7, it will knock it down to let’s say like a 5 and then you actually as I said before or just have a bad headache and people with migraine will take that any day. That means you can be mobile, you’re not just in a room, yes your head hurts (crosstalk), but it’s not killing you.
N: And your life is passing you by as you say.
L: Right, because what happens is we have to cancel plans, we have to say no to our kids, a lot of people will have to leave their jobs. They’re basically resigned into living this dark cave, your life is gone, that’s how bad it is, it’s really not a headache at all. And so with the migraine hat, you can just put it on and we have two ice packs and so they’re swapped out. Once one gets warm, you put the other and put it back in the freezer. There’s also an optional cooler so you can take it with you to the beach to work, on vacation. It is getting rave, rave reviews and I’m thrilled because whatever money I’m make from the salary, I just give it to migraine awareness. It is really benefit also the company does a triple guarantee – if somebody doesn’t like it, they’ll pay to return it. There’s really no risk at all involved and people take chances in their life. And just right before we got on air here, someone wrote me and said how thrilled she was and she was wearing it right now and she’s actually at work and she thought that she was going to have to cancel and go home.
N: But didn’t have to do that?
N: Great. Now where can our listeners go online and get more information about ‘The Migraine Hat’ and ‘The Daily Migraine’?
L: Sure. We have it at migrianehat.com or on Amazon, you just type in migraine hat and you’ll see right there. ‘The Daily Migraine’ has a dailymigraine.com. People can also follow it to be part of the community, they can follow it on Facebook or Instagram.
N: Thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio with Lisa Jacobson, founder of the ‘The Daily Migraine’ and the inventor of the migraine hat. It’s been a pleasure to be here with us today Lisa.
L: Thank you so much Neal.
N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm, you can listen in on SoundCloud and you subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.