Finding relief from migraines

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "Usually I would have to lay in bed, cover my eyes and just stay there until it went away."

As scary as it sounds, Elizabeth Williams isn`t talking about the boogey man or things that go bump in the night. She`s talking about a pain that millions can relate to.

"You have this throbbing sensation, across your forehead and there`s nothing you can do but wait until it`s over."

It sounds drastic but a massive migraine can leave you blind or even paralyzed until it passes. For Williams, the migraines started when she was a teenager. As an adult, they caused her to miss work.

"You really just can`t function-- it`s just that bad. My headaches would be so bad until I would have tunnel vision," she said.

For years she suffered in silence, getting by taking aspirin, and using a cold compresses to suppress the pain.
That was until her doctor suggested sinus surgery.

"I had the surgery in '89 and I haven`t had a migraine in years."

Relief finally for Williams after years of suffering.

Migraines can strike all ages. For 12-year-old John Phebus the pain put a pause on his soccer action who was forced to stay in bed all day for six to eight weeks at a time.  The prolonged migraine nightmares sent the family searching for relief.

"We tried several different neurologist, doctors blood tests, MRI`s, spinal flud tests," Jay Phebus, John's father, said.

Phebus missed days of school and found himself in Cincinnati`s children`s hospital`s migraine clinic.

"They gave us the most potent medication they can give a series of 10 treatments over three days. But it didn`t do anything for him."

At their wits end, the Phebus family turned to acupuncture.

"99.9% of the time, acupuncture is the last thing they try in Tennessee. They`ll do medicine, they`ll do botox and it still doesn`t help. It`s all a band-aid all a temporary fix but this a permanent fix," said Chandra Niwaz.

The Chinese method focuses on key points and believes you just have to poke the right place to get a response from the body.

"Just like your car needs a tune up, acupuncture is very it`s important for the maintenance of health," said Neurologist Amy Ly.

She added a migraine is actually a symptom of a deeper issue.

"If you take a pain medication it doesn`t mean the problem is solved. It just means you turned off the siren."

She said placing pins on a person`s body can help tailor a plan to get to the root of the real problem—and the real problem is unique to each person since every person`s migraine isn`t caused by the same thing.

"Stress is a trigger, food is a trigger, wine, injury, infection. When your system is not harmonized it`s more likely for that symptom to come out."

She said don`t fall for the fads out there either.

"I do not recommend piercing for treatment of pain or medical condition."

Migraine misery can also start in some unlikely places, like your mouth. Dr. Joseph Dove said jaw issues can leave you cringing.

"Sometimes people will have pain that radiates up the jaw from the temple up to the ear. The pain will travel and radiate."

Meaning that pesky pain could be related to a tooth, muscle, or joint problem that needs to be addressed with your dentist to stop those headaches. Both Williams and Phebus have found their cure and they said keeping an open mind could help you solve your own migraine mystery.