gemini40October 6, 2012

I have only recently had the misfortune of experiencing a migraine headache. The first one was before my surgery in May.: Now last night the 2nd one and it is still going on but seems to be subsiding a bit.

How do you handle these headaches, what do you take?

Any suggestion would be most appreciated...


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You need to see your doctor. He/she needs to make sure it is a migraine and not something else. Then you can discuss your treatment options with him/her.

I've had them for years. There are as many treatments as there are people with migraines!! I use Maxalt when I get one..it was prescribed by my neurologist. Treatment depends on your own particular situation.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 5:46PM
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God bless you Gemini. With any luck these two episodes are an anomaly and life will return to normal. I agree with ghoghunter though, see your physician and exclude other possibilities. REPEAT: Go see your doctor. Now, this week.

Unfortunately my experience with chronic headaches and the medical field isn't very promising. To put it in plain English, when it comes to your brain and headaches they don't know Sh*t! The CT scan was probably the only beneficial service I received. No tumor, no bleeding etc.. Valuable stuff to know when you feel like your head is about to explode!

My personal opinion is that, depending on the type, this condition can be managed/treated by changes in lifestyle and diet. Some people seem to respond to medication but the two or three brews I was given did nothing.

My best defense is avoiding triggers. Certain fluorescent lighting (or the fixtures they are in?) will quickly cause an episode. Honestly, I avoid certain stores. Another thing, oddly enough, that is an immediate trigger is a strobe effect. You know when you are driving, usually in winter when the leaves are off of the trees, and hit a patch of road where the sun is located behind a stand of woods? The strobe effect of the sun's light shining intermittently through the trees is an almost instant trigger.

I wear sunglasses a lot now, it's not about looking cool.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 6:58AM
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Everyone is right - go see your doctor before self-medicating. I have a friend who didn't see her doctor and it didn't end well.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Yes, you need a diagnosis and probably prescription medication.

Let's hope this is a passing thing. I had migraines for about two years in my 30's -- real, nauseating, lie in the dark and hope to die migraines. One day, I just didn't have them anymore, just as I had not had them before.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:09PM
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My dd and I both get migraines.

Our triggers are different. Stobe lights, chemical smells, cigarette smoke, as well as a few other things can be counted on to bring on on in me. One of DD's big triggers is fresh garlic (either smelling or eating). Foods generally don't do it to me--although I do get a sort of migraine-like (but not as severe or long-lasting) reaction to MSG or artificial sweeteners.

Our symptoms are different. I most often get traditional migraines--the wicked, one-sided headache (usually on my right side, rarely on the left), with nausea and just a general 'under the weather' feeling. Rarely, I'll get an optical migraine--odd disruptions in my vision with just a vague headache. DD has gotten abdominal migraines since she was about 10--NO headache, but hours and hours of stomach pain and uncontrollable vomiting. It took us a couple of years until we finally found the specialist who was able to diagnose the problem--she'd been treated, very unsuccessfully, for abdominal issues. Finally, we found a children's gastroenterologist from CHOP who, within 10 minutes told us he felt the problem was migraines, he did tests to make sure nothing else was going on, he prescribed a migraine med--and finally, DD had relief from her problem.

Migraines can be linked to your hormonal stage in life--hers were brought on by approaching puberty. They slowed down quite a bit as she reached the end of her teens. She rarely gets one these days, and they aren't as severe--although now, I think she gets the headache, too. I've had them all my life--they were worse in my teens, bad enough during my child-bearing years, and have slowed considerably since menopause--now I maybe only get a half-dozen or so a year.

Before you get too involved in treating your headaches, the advice above is good--see your family dr. or a neurologist and make sure this IS what you're dealing with.

However, for relief? I've only ever used over-the-counter stuff. After all, it's only pain, not life-threatening, and I've refused my dr's offer to write me a prescription. A few aspirin or motrin and a glass of Pepsi work well enough to take the edge off the pain, and make the day doable. Exedrin migraine works pretty well (and is the same thing as Exedrin Extra Strength, btw)--it includes caffeine, so be careful about adding extra if you take one of those high-octaine prepararations, or you can end up flying high for a few hours. If I'm home when a migraine hits, one of the best things (along with an OTC pain reliever) is to take the hottest shower you can stand, making sure to get your head/neck in the hot water as much as possible, then hole up in bed, in a very dark, silent room, keeping your head warm, but putting your feet out so they get cold. The idea there is to speed the blood's exit from your brain (heat) since it's the pressure causing the headache, and then slow down it's return (cold on your feet). Sounds odd, but it's surprisingly efficient in getting rid of the headache as quickly as possible. Other people say they find cold on their heads a comfort--I've tried that and while it does feel good in the moment, it definitely extends the length of time I have the headache. DD uses the hot shower method, she's taken a couple of different prescription meds over the years--which both worked, but the one that worked really well for her was pulled years ago, because it could cause circulation problems that caused several people to lose fingers/toes. The potential dangers of some of the prescription meds are another reason I've resisted taking them.

As you can see, just from my dd and I, there are a lot of variables. What works for one may not for another. If you are diagnosed with migraines, you're going to have to use a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. I will say this--almost across the board, people I know who have migraines MUST have: darkness, silence, and lie as still as possible while in the throes of one--anything else makes them much worse.

You have my sympathy--migraines are one of those things no one wants to have, and they're very life-disrupting. BUT they're something you get through, and it helps to keep in mind, 'it's just pain and it's temporary, I can manage'.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:23PM
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I used to get severe migraines also. Mine were a combination of sinus headache and menstrual headache. When they hit together, ugh, there were times when I truly though I was going to rupture something in my head.

Hot shower - yes. I also have a wrap you put in the microwave then put on my neck and head, it is heavenly.

No light, no sound - Agree. I couldn't even stand to breathe too deeply.

I've take tylenol w/codeine and it has always helped.

Now that menopause is here and the allergist is controlling the severe allergies somewhat, I don't get them like I used to. And I am truly thankful for that.

I think I know what Holliday means. If I'm driving down a tree lined road, and it's constant sun then shadow from trees, ugh, gives me vertigo and a headache. The sun in general hurts my eyes, I also wear the darkest sunglasses I can find, year round.

Hmmmm, if I could change out my head I'd be in pretty good shape.

I hope you feel better and find the relief and answers you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heat Wrap I Use

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I've had horrible headaches for almost 30 years. Mine are diagnosed as Cluster Migraines. When it starts I will have these headaches for at least a week and sometimes longer. I've been to several neurologists and they all call it Cluster Migraines yet none of them have been able to make them stop. They've tried me on about everything but I still have them. They've run all kinds of tests and nothing shows up. I've lived with them so long and have just about given up ever getting rid of them.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:16PM
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I have always said, if you can move, tolerate light instead of total darkness, and go on a computer you don't have a migraine. You might have a horrid headache, but it's not a migraine. ( sorry)

Cluster migraines run in my family, all of my sons have them. My youngest has home oxygen, it is the only thing that will stop a cluster.
His last one was so bad they thought he had a aneurysm, they put him through the cat scan. Nope another cluster..
They did tell me clusters are more common in men.
I am lucky, I just get the regular migraines that with my Imitrex go away. When that fails, I go to the hospital for the shots..

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Wow Mammie and Kathy, those sound horrible. I think I might honestly shoot myself if I had a migraine for a week.

Also very true Kathy, if you can tolerate light, be on the computer, walk around, it's not a migraine. A true migraine puts you down, period.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Mammie, Whidbey, it's some form of cluster headache that I've been labeled with! Again I will say that I've come to the conclusion that doctors don't have a firm grasp of what causes this or how to treat it. To those who have no experience with this let me say that you wish you could point to a fractured leg or blood gushing from a gash in your body because there isn't any outward signs. The pain and may I say embarrassment are yours alone. Yeah, I said embarrassing. I can recognize the danger zones now but there was a time at the beginning where I hit the floor (sitting) right in the middle of the grocery store isle before I knew what was coming. The vertigo, the pain, the overwhelming pressure and feeling that you are gone! Right then, right there. Yeah, embarrassing.

katlan, you are statistically spot on. The first thing my physician does on my visits (scheduled yearly physical, nothing special) is talk about these cluster headaches. More specifically, what my mental state is. He was very forthright when it became clear what I was dealing with. Suicide is the #1 cause of death and at this point he's more on top of that than anything else. I'm not the suicide type personality at all and after a few years my doctor (I think) is comfortable about that.

I would be hiding something if I didn't write these final few sentences. I didn't always speak so openly about my headaches. As a man I felt that it showed a weakness or a physical failure of some sort. Now when I see others voicing similar challenges I speak up. It's so much more than pain. It can be frightening, demoralizing and even with a wonderful and supportive spouse at times you can feel very alone. You aren't alone and you aren't a fake, a freak or anything of the kind. Play the cards you were dealt and always remember that whatever episode you are in? Well, that one will end too. :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:24PM
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Migraines all my life. Familial. Imitrex is a lifesaver. Maxalt is even better, but doesn't come in generic.

Headaches were worse before menopause. I take generic Topomax 100 mg per day as preventative and have for several years. Sis and I jokingly call it Stupamax. She has migraines too. This has been my miracle drug, but it is not for everybody.

Migraines are a pain in the a**.

OP--are you sure your headaches are migraines?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I get Migraines,rarely, like two or three a year. I see "lights" like a halo or photo flash. I don't like taking pain killers so I just lie down in a dark room (no TV) until it passes. If they become frequent, see a Neurologist.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:46AM
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I noticed my link didn't work. It only took you to Kohls website, not the exact item I meant. Hope this one works....

Here is a link that might be useful: Microwaveable wrap

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Must be nice to have a medication that gets rid of your migrane. I've tried just about everything on the market. Docs can't find anything wrong; I just get these days long headaches.

They are not always debilitating; I can function but have to shade my eyes from the light and speak slowly to avoid slurring my speech. I don't get ANY warning and they can last from one day to three weeks.

Fortunately, they are fewer as I age. I've had to have large shots of Demerol for them twice. Otherwise I just deal with it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Sally Brownlee

I too have migraines...maybe twice a month. Yes, Imitrex allows me to function after about 45 minutes.

However, since June I have been very closely watching my food. I have been concentrating on no processed foods. I am making almost everything I eat from raw ingredients (sometimes even pasta) Almost no sugar, no soda, and bread has been Ezekial bread. And no pork, very minimal beef (no store bought ground meat of any kind). Some chicken and turkey, but free range/organic and only if I break it down.
I would say 5 out of 7 days are vegetarian.
I have replaced all oils with coconut oil.
I buy almost nothing "ready-to-eat".
I am happy to report I have not only lost 21 pounds, but have not had a migraine in 2 months!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:10PM
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had what i believe were migraines although the dr's never said so...they'd last about 10 hours...and got so nothing but waiting them out..hot showers with pulsing water were my life saver...

the day i had my complete hyst, was the last day i had one!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:34PM
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About once or twice a year I will get visual symptoms that indicate a migraine is coming on. I have found that if I drink enough, strong enough coffee quickly enough, that I can stop the onset of the migraine before it actually becomes one. Fortunately because of this discovery, I have not had an actual migraine in over a decade.

For me "enough, strong enough coffee" has meant something like a 20 oz latte with 2 or 3 additional shots of espresso, which will leave me wired all day and sometimes awake all night, but it is still better than being laid up for an entire day in throbbing pain.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:56AM
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