Only those who have experienced the debilitating pain of migraine can fully appreciate the impact it can have on your life.
For Angela Vulliamy, a busy mum-of-three, it seeped into every part of her existence – and even caused her to miss her last Christmas with her late mother.
But now a simple procedure by her dentist has banished the agony of migraines forever.
It all began with a conversation with Clare Chavasse while on a routine dental appointment at Titchfield Dental Health.
Migraines had an impact on every part of my life. It was very upsetting for my children to see me like that.Angela Vulliamy
It changed 49-year-old Angela’s life, and has also had a knock-on effect for husband Michael, 58, and her three children.
She says: ‘The migraines started in my early 20s and they were totally debilitating.
‘I had had a serious car accident and broke my back.
‘I spent eight weeks in hospital and had to wear a neck brace for six months.
‘It meant I basically lost two years of my life getting back to normal.
‘Although I had the ability to walk I’d lost all muscle strength. It took a long time to get back to normal.
‘The migraines started after that and I assumed that’s what they were linked to it.
‘At the time I thought it was the price I had to pay for breaking my back.’
For 20 years Angela, who owns a children’s day nursery, suffered the agony of head pain.
She says: ‘I would get them two or three times a month.
‘When they came it usually took two or three days to kick in fully.
‘They started off with a normal headache and eventually I could not see.
‘Well, I could see but every bit of light was too bright, it was actually painful to look at light.
‘In that situation all I could do was lay down in a dark room.
‘It built up into an immense, intense pain.
‘Eventually I would feel so sick I would vomit.
‘And somehow after that I would fall into a deep sleep and it would then start to go away.’
Angela likens the pain of migraine to labour.
She says: ‘I had two children with natural childbirths, with no painkillers.
‘When you’re in labour you have a contraction, and then you have a break to take a breath.
‘With migraines the pain builds up and up and up and there is no break.
‘There is two to three hours of extreme, intense pain.
‘What makes it worse is that you get anxious, knowing that it can happen at any time.
‘Once they started I couldn’t do anything.’
She adds: ‘The migraines had an impact on every part of my life.
‘It was very upsetting for my children to see me like that.
‘But they grew used to it and were really good about it, they knew how to deal with it.
‘I literally couldn’t do anything until it was over.
‘Luckily I have a very supportive family.
‘Because you know when a migraine is coming you need to lay down and you can’t drive.
‘So, although it’s debilitating, no one can actually see there’s anything wrong with you.
‘By the really bad point you are lying alone in a dark room.
‘I don’t think anyone who has not had one can understand just how painful it is.’
Over 20 years Angela tried everything she could to cure her migraines – chiropody, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and even started to wear glasses.
One day she spoke to her dentist Ms Chavasse about grinding her teeth and was asked whether she ever suffered headaches – which of course she had, terribly.
Ms Chavasse then asked if she would like to try jaw realignment.
Angela says: ‘I said, “I will try anything”.’
The dentist took a mould of Angela’s teeth and improved her bite with a plastic shield.
She wore it 24 hours a day for six months and still wears a guard at night to prevent her grinding her teeth in bed.
All her teeth now meet neatly.
Angela, of Park Gate, says: ‘It was all related to my jaw and teeth.
‘I clench my teeth and grind them when I’m stressed out.
‘That meant situations were exacerbated at the time I needed it the least.
‘My mother passed away a few years ago and unfortunately the last Christmas I would have had with her I had a migraine.
‘She came to stay and I ended up missing the whole of Christmas.
‘I was devastated.
‘Now I don’t have to fear or worry that I’m going to get a migraine.
‘A lot of stress was relieved when I had the treatment.
‘I haven’t had a migraine now for a long time. It’s made a huge difference to mine and my family’s lives.
‘I just wish I’d know about it years ago. I would encourage other people to have it.
‘Everyone at Titchfield Dental Health was incredibly professional.’
To see a video of Angela go to portsmouth.co.uk.