Home > Social Media > Have Migraines? A Social Media Experiment

Have Migraines? A Social Media Experiment

  The point of this quick blogpost is to see how many responses I can get from people with Migraine and hopefully help each other out with a friendly discussion.  If you have not been to this blog before, let me tell you a sentence about me.

I am a 32 year old Cardiologist recently exploring the potential of social media in healthcare.  As someone with Migraines, and after having 3 episodes in a week last month, I decided to look  for other patients that can share their experiences with me and hopefully help each other out.  If I get enough info I will do a quick statistical analysis and  see if there is a pattern of a “better” particular regimen/treatment/prophylaxis and share it here in MEDBONSAI.

I am not expecting many people to contribute but who knows. Maybe  their are other ones like me, curious,  looking for an answer. So if you can RT the message it will be helpful to all of us.

So let me start (you can use this format if you want to share your experience)

My name is Christian, 32 year old male; Prophylaxis with Propanolol 10mg BID which worked great for me in the past. As rescue treatment I use Sumatriptan 50mg prn but does not always work and many times gives me moderate nausea.  I try Tylenol, Excedrin, aspirin, ibuprofen and they are useless for my headaches.  Since Sumatriptan gives me nausea I think I will try Rizatriptan next. Any recs? Leave your comments below.

Update:  I will try to answer anyone who has a question or a post, but remember I do this as a Patient giving recommendation from my experience to another patient. I do not plan to substitute your Doctor or PCPs judgement.  If you read someones post and think you can provide some insight or help, please do. This is the point of this blogpost. Help each other out!

Summary Points of 6/8/2011 can be found in Dropbox link:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28605177/Migraines%20a%20Social%20Experiment.docx

Thanks!

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Categories: Social Media
  1. Tanja
    June 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

    My name is Tanja, 25 year old female. I have at least one episode a week and 3 during my period. I take sumatriptan 50mg wich works great with no side effects. Dokter now thinks I have become dependent on sumatriptan and wants me on daily medication for prevention.

    • June 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Hello Tanja. As a doctor I know the usual regimens for migraine but as a patient have a lot of experience since I have been having them since childhood and my mother has disabilitating migraines also. You mention that your doctor wants you to me on daily medication or prophylaxis. There are several factors that from my experience affect mi migraines. Once again this is not based on research, medicine, I am talking as a PATIENT, E-Patient if you so please 😉
      Exercise plays a Roll, Hydration, DIET u cant imagine… Now Its great that Sumatriptan works great for you but I would tell you not to be scared of prophylaxis. For example propranolol is a pretty benign medication, and if your heart rate tolerates it as well as BP it is worth a shot. There are other meds for prophylaxis a very popular one is Topiramate, me personally I would go for B-Blocker first.

      Just wanted to respond to you right now. I am going back to bed becasue having a MIGRAINE as we speak and need to rest. (Still 5:30am here and work starts at 8am… I never call in sick for Migraines though) Since you were the first one to answer and so quickly, thought you deserved a prompt answer. I will be glad to continue talking about this with you if you are interested. Just leave your comments here and ReTwit if possible. THis will get more people involved. THANKS!

  2. Tanja
    June 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for your response! Appreciate that.

    I’m interested in what you think (as a doctor and patient) about psychological factors. For me stress is a large factor to trigger migraine. And, I’m not so good in reducing stress… I feel high resistance for being on daily medication and want to deal with the psychological factors first. Guess I’m just not ready and still haven’t accepted that maybe medication is a good option. My only goal thus far has been getting off medication entirely (this is not a strategy that works very well).

    Good luck with your migraine! Hope you’ll feel better soon.

    • June 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      I believe the recommendations I could give as a patient have a lot of value in this setting. So I will be mixing published information with personal experience. My mother has worse migraines than I do, running from 4-8 times per month and these is what we both have come to notice that play an important role
      1) As you mention, STRESS without a doubt predisposes us (my mother and I) to have migraines. One of the medical recommendations is to perform relaxation techniques. Sometimes they work, most of the time I have too much pain to be able to relax. Best thing to do avoid stress 😉
      – Dealing with Stress to avoid Migraine… Exercise

      2) From personal experience having an adequate exercise regimen helps immensely with not getting migraines. I was in a strict 90 day workout and amazingly enough did not suffer from Migraines during the whole 3 months. How do I remember? Because it is not possible to exercise with a MIGRAINE and I did not miss a single day. So in my opinion as doctor and patient, exercise plays a huge roll. If you think about it exercise helps with stress, releaes endorphins and helps you sleep better. Sleep?

      3) Yes SLEEP. Being in the medical field, and on call I have noticed that after a bad call and lack of sleep migraines come. Calls have both stress and lack of sleep but lack of sleep is enough in my opinion. Its been months since I get 3 migraines in 1 week. My daughter was recently born (1 month ago), I have not been sleeping well since she has an amazing pair of lungs. So yes Sleep is another factor

      4) Alcohol.. hmm well makes you sleep better? helps you relax you would think it would help. Well from my experience anything that is not Tequila has a 3x greater chance of giving me a headache… Tequila seldomly does. Ye ye ey Christian you are Mexican thats why. Actually know. There was a point were I gave up any alcohol tasting drinking because one beer, one whiskey would give me the migraine. Curiously one new yeas eve someone gve me a very good tequila and since then that is how I enjoy a couple of sips. And no, I was not drinking cheap alcohol

      5) Prophylaxis.. many out there.. I tried Propranolol, it took me some time to figure out the dose that worked for me by monitoring blood pressure and heart rate but i found it now. 10mg BID does the trick. I am not concerned about taking a b-blocker every day compared to other prophylactic medications. In fact I believe it could be beneficial,but I wont add on that unless you ask

      6) Diet also extremely important from my experience

      7) Last but not least HYDRATION

      So in Summary: Stress, Lack of Sleep, Alcohol, Diet, Hydration affect migraines. As I previously mentioned this is mxing a doctors perspect with a patients. So call it from a DOCTIENT perspective 😉
      So before trying a prophylactic regimen modifying the variables above could be a life changer for you. They have been for me, when I behave and follow them accordingly. Guess I was non COMPLIANT ehh 😉

      Cheers!

      • Tanja
        June 10, 2011 at 6:38 am

        I recognize most of your experiences (except for the tequilla;)). In the past 15 years with migraine I tried almost everything. For me, a regular sleep pattern helps, no alcohol, hydration and no stress. The first three are easy… I’l try some more relaxation excercises and may be, if that doesn’t work, I’ll try a b-blocker.

  3. Josephine
    June 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Hi there,

    Wondered if you could help – have been experiencing quite a severe headache (possible a migraine?) for nearly 2 weeks now. Went to a GP who said it could be to do with my sinuses but after a weekend of inhalation therapy I had a worse headache and no improvement. A second GP thought stress but all attempts at ‘de-stressing’ have failed – and I don’t feel stressed! She px me 30/500 Co-codamol (was previously trying 8/500 to get rid of pain but had no effect) but these have no effect either.
    Any ideas or further things I could try would be really useful!
    Regards,
    Josephine, 20yo, student.

    • June 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Hello Josephine. Once again this goes from experience not from research. So I am talking to you as another patient. I have tried things like codeine, norco (hydrocodone) in the past for headaches and guess what. They only made it worse for me. It gave me nausea, dizziness, increased headache. It may work for some people but it did not for me.

      Treatments vary from the type of headache one presents with. There is a tension headache, cluster headache, migraine headache, neuralgias to mention a few. The important factor I see here is that it started 2 weeks ago. The question is why?

      Sinusitis could be a reason (I have some rhinits medicamentosa from using oxymetolazine or Afrin) and i know it makes my headaches worse when I can not breath properly. But go back and see if you see something different happening in your life 2 weeks ago
      1) Diet Changes (Caffeinated drinks, Energy drinks, Poor hydration, DRINK LOTS of water)
      2) New Stressor? Allergies? Family fights? Boyfriend etc even possible Pregnancy

      You have your PCP and I am do not want to intrude in his judgement but, once again as a patient this are the factor i analyzed with my headaches
      1) How often they occur? When are they the worst? What makes them better or worse? Blurry Vision? Are they daily? Is the pain increasing? Keep a journal and visit your PCP and show that to him see what he thinks.

      As someone who has needed IV Toradol for the severe headaches ending up crying in the hospital (not exaggerating)… My experience from codeine is that it did not help, it only made it worse. If that was my only option I would not take. But that is me… I think in your case trying a different medication could be more beneficial than increasing the dosage.

      Hope this helps, you can add me in twitter @christianassad if you have other quick questions.

      IF other patients here want to contribute and help please do. Everyones opinion counts. The chance of another patient helping Josephine is just as likely

  4. MogulGirl
    June 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Hey doc,

    I suffer migraines for the last 15 years or so. Generally monthly (hormonal) and lasting 3 days. Literally 3 days – I sleep with them, wake with them, exercise sometimes with them, work, etc. Used to take sumatriptan, but dose got very high. Off all meds, occasionally excedrine migraine.

    They used to manifest as a sharp stabbing pain over my left eye, but they have evolved over the years into more muscular, starting in my shoulder blade and moving up the left side of the back of my neck, then disappearing into my skull at the top of my neck. The front left side of my head is a dull ache, but my whole body is in pain.

    It also affects my digestion – I burp a lot, I’m nauseous, and I will get the runs.

    I consume ginger in tea or raw as it seems to help with the digestion issues. Massage is a temporary help for the muscle pain.

    • June 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Hello Zoeh. the sharp stabbing pain is exactly what I feel when I get the migraines and feel your pain. The other type of pain that you describe which I have also experienced, is more likely, as you mention muscular and sounds like a tension headache.
      Tension of your neck, shoulder and back could be irritating certain nerves and causing pain caused by irradiation. In this case I would suggest consulting a Neurology specialist.
      In the meantime, as ridiculous as it may sound, from experience and talking to other people yoga seems to help in this cases. If you search the literature youll see how more and more Yoga is proving to be helpful in different medical specialties.
      I always thought Yoga was ridiculous but I did an exercise program which lasts 90 days and I can say with all honesty this is the best I have felt all my life. This does not mean you need a 90 day program to feel better. But just considering the option of Yoga in your situation could be helpful. But still recommend Neurology evaluation.

  5. Mónica
    June 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Hi there. First of all, let me congratulate you on the idea. Another good use for social nets!
    I have a strong family hx of migraines, my father used to have debilitating migraines with visual aura and so do two of my sibblings; unfortunately my teenage daughter has started recently with them too.
    I have a less common migraine type where I only get the visual disturbance with marked scintillating scotoma that redenders me completly useless for an hour but luckily i do not get the headache afterwards.
    At one point a few years ago they became as frequent as three times a day and they scared me to death. The treatment that worked for me at the time was Feverfew (as recommended by a fellow neurologist), it was fantastic.
    I am 45 and also a doctor.

    • June 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      Thank You Monica for sharing. I had never heard of Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Pers., Pyrethrum parthenium Sm.)
      and usually dont try herbal medicine. But I have a very open mind and might give it a shot. It is also on UPTODATE with dosage which reassures me. Talking about herbal medicine a recent friend of mine from Colombia who also has horrible migraines, more debilitating than mine recommended Peppermint oil. rubbed in certain points of head and neck. Honestly at first I thought it was ridicuolous but I tried it… Well it does help me. Just as a cold cloth helps, this does a similar job. I do not think the peppermint subsitutes treatment bus as adjunctive / additional therapy helps.

      So thank your for Feverfew. It is something I will explore and maybe talk about in a future Post. Thank your for teaching me something new

    • June 28, 2011 at 4:23 am

      Monica & Christian: This journal article re: Feverfew treatment for Migraines was published this month. Medscape has a write up about it, too.

      Cady, R. K., Goldstein, J., Nett, R., Mitchell, R., Beach, M. and Browning, R. (2011), A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Sublingual Feverfew and Ginger (LipiGesicTMM) in the Treatment of Migraine. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 51: no. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2011.01910.x

  6. June 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Hi! I’m Erin, a nearly 21 year old college student who’s only been formally diagnosed with migraines since December 2010. It does run in my family, and I started noticing severity of the headaches about a year ago while away at college.

    I find that as a student, the stress levels that I experience contribute to my migraines, but for you as a doctor, I’m sure that has something of an effect on your headaches as well. To complicate issues, I have hydrocephalus and a VP shunt, so I have to be very cautious as to the difference in sensation from a shunt malfunction-induced headache and a migraine. Typically, before a migraine, I get blurred vision, nauseous, and a few auras here and there.

    I’m so glad to have found your blog, and I look forward to blogging alongside you. My blog details my issues with chronic illness, so you’ll definitely find a more day-to-day account of life with migraines and so many other things there. It’s really good to meet you, and I’m glad to help. Let me know if there is anything else I can do. By the way, I take Sumatriptan (25mg due to weight) PRN.

  7. June 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Hi – I’m 38 yo, female. I usually have nausea with my migraines. My migraines were much worse in my 20’s and early 30’s (first diagnosed at about 22 yo). I take sumatriptan and phenergan by mouth. I really just have to vomit, take a HOT shower, lay down and sleep it off. I know that if my stomach is upset I have to vomit to feel better, so I don’t do anything to stop the vomiting. Hot showers are really helpful, which suggests to me that there is a touch of tension HA mixed in. Also, I have sinus problems that cause HA’s, too. I read that sumatriptan by patch delivery is under FDA review, and I’m likely to inquire about if it comes to market. I tried Topamax but it just made me “dumb” (“stupimax”). I’ve only had 1 migraine requiring me to go to the ER, and it was after having my photo taken for my driver’s license. I was actually crying it hurt so badly. I was given a narcotic and phenergan by injection and slept it off. Each year my PCP prescribes about 5 narcotic pills (non-refillable) just to have on hand for urgent rescue needs. Triggers: hormonal (just before my period), large barometric pressure changes and sometimes red wine. I usually accept that the migraine has some tension element and I need to take a break, so I’m likely to take a day off if possible.

    SCL

    • June 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

      Hey there. I am surprised that we share 3 things in common. First is HOT shower. People and many doctors I speak with believe a hot shower can worsen that headache. Yes it does worsen it for some but for me it is one of the most helpful things. There is no explanation to this but the whole migraine scenario comes from vasodilation and vasoconstriction. If you take a hot shower maybe other vessels in your body dilate therefore decreaseing pressure intracranially. Dont know but that is my theory. So yes I agree with you A LONG HOT SHOWER REALLY WORKS at least for me and I dont think its a tension headache, this works with my migraines.
      Second thing is the vomiting, agree with the get it over. The problem with the vomiting and you likely will agree is it raises your pressure and good luck on the headache at that point. Usually the worst point of it all. For me sometimes sneezing and coughing can induce it or make it worse. Bu once the nausea and vomiting is done fore. The headache tends to get better.
      and ER wise, the first time I ended in ER was 15 yrs ago and I got 30mg of Toradol IV, in 10 minutes headache is gone. In my experience Toradol either IV or IM works wonders for me, have used sublingual but nothing great or out of this world.
      I was going to try TOPOMAX but people calling it DOPOMAX made me stay away from it, and you are another one confirming this.

      Recs I could give your from patient experience. Get a small cloth soak it in water and put it in the freezer, after it gets frozen put it in your forehead, repeat this steps, or just soak it in water with ice. Another thing is the peppermint oil applied gently in selected portions of head and neck, hot shower and treatment of choice..

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. June 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Hi, I’m a 46 year old wife, mother, full time student with multiple health issues. Migraines have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. One of my first memories in life is of a migraine. I was under 5 becuase my older (step) brother moved in with his mom when I was 5. I was sitting in his lap, crying because my head hurt so bad. The pediatrician had told my mother that children cannot have headaches and I was clammoring for either attention or the baby chewable aspirin. So she told me then that I couldn’t be hurting. As a 13 yr old, living with my father, I was finally taken seriously because my step mother had had them since she could remember. She finally took me to a doctor who confirmed that I had migraines. From then on out, I didn’t pay much attention .. I had a diagnosis, I hid in the dark when I had one and waited for the pain to go away … my senior year I missed 2 weeks of school from one migraine.

    Fast forward to age 30 and I was in my neurologists office for another issue, he immediately recognized a migraine (he has them too) and suddenly I found myself in the world of treatment and prevention. I had no clue before then that it could be done.

    I’ve taken midrin, maxalt, topomax (for preventative) but have found the most effective the exedrine migraine relief.

    I’m no longer taking a preventative, much to my neurologists disapproval, but my stomach needs were overwhelming my headache needs and my stomach seriously needed to back off the number of chemicals pumped into it.

    I get migraines up to 2 times a week now (they were down on the topomax to less than 6 a year) and I will likely have to do something if they worsen since they are interfering, at times, with necessary school assignments and classes (I’ve sat in class with sunglasses on!)

    • June 10, 2011 at 3:36 am

      Hello there. My first experience with Migraines was when I was about 12 yrs old. It is even more rare being male and more so when I was that young. But I have been experiencing since them. in my situation Excedrine helps when it is very early in the migraine, but once it get mild-moderate it does not even tickle me.
      As a doctor I respect your Neurologists disapproval and assume he has a good reason why he does not want you taking it. As a patient I have had excelent results with propanolol 10mg BID but then again my migraines are often and sometimes upto 4-6 per month. When I take propranolol as prophylaxis I went 3 months without having an episode, this was also a month that I was in a very good diet and exercise regimen so there are multiple factors that could have affected. At the moment Im running, and just eating right, not following any specific diet and feel the difference with the propranolo, so you can see I am someone who would recommend such a measure.
      Topomax I never try it and dont think I would like to 😉 When other patients call it “Dopomax” or “Stupimax” because of how it makes them feel, it is not very encouraging.

      Download the word document from dropbox, you may find something useful

      Thank for your comment!

  9. June 10, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I didn’t have the dopomax results, but have had friends who have. My son took it for tourette’s and also hadn’t had the problem …but there was other annoying side effects.

    Porpanolol is not an option b/c I have myasthenia gravis. My neuro doesn’t approve of me NOT taking the topomax (or some sort of preventative). I honestly think his migraines must be worse than mine b/c he’ll do ANYTHING necessary to prevent them, and I’m, quite frankly, more concerned about my stomach and what too many meds is doing to it.
    (I also, much to his dismay, refuse shots … i’m needle phobic (so much so i had natural childbirth knowing I was having a 9 lb + baby .. no way on God’s green earth were they sticking that needle in my back!!)

    Torodol does wonders but my stomach can’t tolerate it and ..the other way requires shots lol

    My son has had migraines from very little, an ER doctor recognized it before he could talk. The neuro agreed … though he has, for the most part, outgrown them. He gets 3 to 4 a year now.

    I will download your document tomorrow, thanks for the resource!

    • June 10, 2011 at 4:07 am

      HAHA really let me put things into perspective. Tiny needle horrible headache???? YOU CAN stick me with a needle to infuse butter in a Turkey if it takes a bad Migraine. I have cried with my Migraines.

      Anywho, I misunderstood the comment. So its perfect you are on pophylaxis then 😉

      @erinbreelove sent me a very nice post
      http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-specific-foods

      Guess I will Twit this again tomorrow to get more people to share experiences. If you know anyone else tell them about the blog or my twitter @christianassad

      Thanks again

  10. June 10, 2011 at 4:14 am

    I can not believe I had not tried a HOT shower before…. it seemed that something like that would give me a worse headache and today I tried it and it did not stop the migraine but it made it bearable. Bearable for the Sumatriptan to kick in.

    Bless You! Hopefully this repeats when I have another episode. Thank you so much for doing this, whish more doctors would share experiences like this as a Doctient.

    • June 10, 2011 at 4:18 am

      Well July thats what this is for. Advice does not come from me alone but from everyone that is sharing their experience with us. So please spread the word. The more people we get the better. If this becomes bigger @erinbreedlove might start a Blog of pure Migraine!!! Add her to Twitter she is AWESOME

  11. June 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    50 year old chronic migraine sufferer. I have had two episodes of migraines in my life, first started when I was 14 and last until I was about 18. The current one started about 4 or 5 years ago but without the headache. I had intense tiredness, nausea and dizziness for about 2 years before the headaches started. For a year the were short lived but almost daily occurances. I have now been suffering the same continuous migraine for over two years.
    I have tried lots of different medications in that time, none have been a cure in ether the long or short term. Some have had massive side effects making it impossible to live a normal life. Pain killers are absolutely useless so I am now one anti-depressants. These help quite a bit but with varying amounts of side effects.
    Most side effects list for the medications are actually most of my symptoms so sometimes its difficult to say what is causing what.

    At this moment, it is 8:20am. My migraine has been getting worse sine I awoke and hour ago. I am about to walk the dogs and when I return I will feel very dizzy and nauseous. This will ease off over the remainder of the morning leaving just the headache. The headache will slowly intensify through the afternoon and evening until I take my meds (imipramine) at 9pm.

    (excuse the typing – what I type is not what I think I’m typing – another weird effect a migraine)

    • June 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Hey Ken. Hope your headache is better by now. What you describe does sound to a certain extent like a visual aura which precludes the migraine but what grabs my attention is the tiredness, nausea, and dizziness. Other than the nausea these are not symptoms that I have as a patient and none of the other people here have shared that experience so far. Maybe someone can enlighten us with more on this.
      – tiredness, and dizziness with headache would make me want to explore the headache a little more. When was the last time you saw your doctor? Any imaging studies done? I share your experience with painkillers being useless
      – How is your migraine> unilateral? throbbing? worsened by light, movement, smells,eating? Guess my rec would be to see a neurologist. Any vision changes??

      Hope you feel better, keep in touch we all are here to help each other

  12. June 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I’ve suffered from migraines since my early 20’s and am now 47. Stress is almost always a factor, though hormones (3 days before every period) and weather (chinooks, pressure changes) brings them on as well. When it got got to the point of 15-25 migraines a month, doc put me on Tompirimate 100 mg x 2x daily. 100 mg Sumatriptan tablets work when I can catch it at the right time. In the last 6 months I have also used the shot form (0.5 ml) if the pill doesn’t work. Some will literally incapacitate me with so much pain I think if I had a gun I would blow my head off just to make it stop. (No not suicidal.) I also have FMS, CFS, Osteo arthritis, am bipolar II (was treated for depression since my teens) and in the last few years have been dealing with terrible insomnia. I am now on disability and my migraines have improved since I do not sit at a computer all day. I’ve been to emergency a number of times to be sedated; one was so bad it blew out all the blood vessels in my eyes (ER doc said he’d never seen anything like it). Now it’s 3-8 per month. Much better.

    • June 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Hey Shona! “if I had a gun I would blow my head off just to make it stop. (No not suicidal.) ” Glad you mention that Not suicidal part but I know the feeling. For example, when i was in my 20s I had my first episode of severe Migraine that led me to Shot of Toradol IV 30mg in the ER. I was crying… When they asked me to describe the pain I replied “I feel like there is a monkey with a hammer inside my head hitting everything” SO yes, weird response. I think maybe having watched the diabolical monkey in a Simpsons episode contributed to that answer. Still I feel like it is a very good one 😉
      15-25 eps of migraine is just toooooo much for anyone to handle and this has created a vicious cycle. What do I mean…
      Headache can lead to insomnia and depression
      Insomnia can lead to headache and depression
      Depression can lead to insomnia and headaches
      See the vicious cycle?

      As previous comments, recommend Neurology. and in the meantime what I try to do when i find myself stuck with long lasting migraine is break the cycle.

      Exercise is great and I will tell you why. Exercise gives rise to endorphins so you feel better. Exercise releases stress. Endorphins plus less stress lead to more managable headaches. More exercise you are able to sleep better. You sleep better less insomnia better sleep less headaches? What else is out there that can make you feel better? As ridiculous as it may sound looking good makes you feel good. Exercise and diet improve not only the internal you but the “outside you” making them feel good about yourself

      Thats my take and rec as a Doctient 😉 Hope you feel better. Smile and Joke around they always help!

  13. June 10, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Christian,

    F, 52, with fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, hypoglycemia, a rheumatoid-type arthritis, and several other minor co-morbid issues.

    I’ve noticed that several of the things you mentioned will also trigger a migraine for me. One of them is a sort of “rebound” effect. If I’m scheduled extra hours at work, or we’re extremely busy during “food stamp week,” and I get stressed out, the first day I’m off and can actually rest, I’ll wake up with a migraine. (Especially if I haven’t been sleeping enough and try to get in a couple extra hours.)

    Dehydration is also an issue, and if I allow myself to get dehydrated, I’m much more likely to get a migraine.

    I haven’t noticed any food triggers, but certain things will make my migraines worse if I try to eat them once I’ve got one. Aged cheeses, chocolate, peppermint and cigarette smoke will all make the pain worse, as will anything that contains aspartame.

    Something you didn’t mention, probably because as a male you wouldn’t HAVE this problem, is hormonal triggers. My migraines dropped from several a month to several a year when I went through menopause. The specific issue for me seemed to be progesterone levels, since every time I tried to take birth control pills I would get a migraine about 3 days after beginning them, and it would continue until I stopped and they cleared from my system.

    I’ve tried many of the migraine medications, but had very minimal results with them, and don’t take any of them any more. The only medication I use, if I can get it, is Phenergan to control the nausea and vomiting that accompany the really bad ones. (The “if I can get it” is due to the fact that I don’t have insurance, and can’t afford doctors or prescription medications.)

    I use multiple alternative methods of control and treatment, which work reasonably well for me. As someone mentioned in an earlier comment; feverfew, taken on a regular basis; can help reduce the number of migraines I have. When I actually get one, I’ll drink ginger tea to help minimize nausea and help with the pain, and take skullcap capsules for pain reduction. I also use a sleep mask and earplugs for comfort, an icepack on the back of my neck and a hot pack on my feet to help change the blood flow, and apply a drop of lavender oil to each temple to help with the pain. In most cases, the ginger, skullcap and lavender oil will reduce the pain enough for me to function, and on really good days, when I catch it early enough, they’ll get rid of it. (I am NOT a doctor, and this is not a recommendation for anyone to try this for themselves. If you WOULD like to try one or more of these herbs, be sure to check for possible interactions with any prescription medications you take. Natural does NOT mean completely safe; and foods, herbs, essential oils and medications can and do interact with each other.)

  14. ess
    June 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I just discovered that I had migraines earlier this year. It was a sudden onset that matched many of the elements of a hemmorage. I had to go to the ER. Nothing was wrong but my doctor suspects that it is basular migraine. I have had several visual aura and get a really bad headache once a month at least.

    I am 30 year old female and currently I am just being treated with a blood pressure med Linsopril. Lowering my bloodpressure has seemed to help. The onset of the migraines coincides with high bloodpressure onset as well. We just got it down with the new meds. That is the only treatment so far.

  15. June 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Hello ESS (you can share your name 😉 ) Maybe typo for Jess? Anywho. Hypertension or high blood pressure can predispose to headaches and lowering your blood pressure can help. Look at at the previous reply I did about exercise and diet. It also applies here

    Exercise, and diet will decrease your blood pressure and make you feel better. In addition it also depends on how high your pressure is. For you being new to migraines the most important thing is to treat it promptly. As soon as you suspect you may be having a migraine try to relax, hot shower, cold drape in your forehead. The sooner your treat the easier it is to do so.

    In your case lowering blood pressure has seemed to help so I guess you are already in the right track. So watch your salt intake, avoid energy drinks, caffeine helps in some cases but in others worsens your call, i would think in your case it would make it worse because caffeine can lead to higher blood pressure and maybe some degree of vasoconstriction in intracranial vessels.

    Look at the dropbox document you may have see some interesting comments from other users that could help you 😉

  16. Olivia
    June 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    What do migraineurs want? A good article review.
    http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/Extraforbando/migspec.pdf

  17. Morningstar317
    June 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I am a 34 year-old man andI was diagnosed with migranes whilst still a child (9 years old). I know it was a very young age, but as my mother suffers the commonality of the symtoms helped it t be identified.

    Like the a lot of the other contributors; stress and insomina (I’ve only needed 5 hours sleep for as long as I can remember, but often sleep less) are things which increase the likelihood. I must also admit that exercise helps reduce the chances and during the times when I’ve been very active, they seem to fade away. Although i have struggled to maintain the levels that kept me migrane free, I was playing rugby once a week and training four times a week. But the outcome was a lot of longer term physical damage. Now I cycle to and from work, it helps but doesn’t stop them.

    I’ve noted that diet is the key item I need to watch and balance. One of my favourite foods is cheese, but it is one of the worst items for me (chocolate is the worst). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noted a pattern, the more processed the cheese, the worse effect it has on me. A good example, is that, I can eat Stilton (a extermely strong English blue cheese) and suffer no bad effects, only to have cheese slices trigger an migrane. A similar pattern has emerged with chocolate, harder to spot, my wife likes a particular brand of organic chocolate which has a far more reduced effect than chocolate normally available. I hope that this helps others. I should also mention that the dietary triggers vary from person to person, my mother can’t drink orange juice.

    With regards to medication as a lot of other posters have mentioned; I am quite happy with co-codomal, I know that a lot of people has difficulties with it, but it works for me.

    • June 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Hey there, we are almost the same age me being 32. Males are less likely to suffer from migraines than women, guess we are the lucky ones ehh?
      Interesting things you mentioned
      1) It is not just Exercise that helps but more importantly the type of exercise. From my experience a purely cardio or purely anaerobic exercise loses its effect. It is the mixture of weight lifting with aerobic exercise that has had the best effect on me. When I did P90X I was relatively headache free
      2) Food varies and you need to find what works for you. Alcohol is a very well known predisposing factor, for me a good Tequila never gives me headache. But anything else, be it an 18yr single malt whiskey will.
      3) Co-Codomal works for you thats great, the most important factor is for you to find something that does the trick.

      My recommendation for you is try the Insanity workout or P90X. It is great mixture and will get you in awesome shape

      Cheers!

  18. June 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    The depression came first at age 13. It has been diagnosed as a chemical imbalance in the brain. The cycle you describe does not necessarily apply to me. The migraines didn’t start until ten years later. During this time, I got plenty of exercise and ate well. The FMS/ME started in my early 30’s but got really bad after the difficult birth of my second child.

    “Living With Chronic Illness: I’m Not Dead Yet” ( http://www.strangestangel.com/shona/?page_id=16 ) is my blog on my health. It gives an accurate timeline on how everything came to be. The migraines got quite fierce when I had to go back to work after my husband left. He was an alcoholic and the last 5 years were not happy ones. Stress triggers FMS to get worse. Stress is also a trigger for migraines, as is TMJ. Working full time at stressful jobs while ill, while raising a child with multiple disabilities is also high stress. “Why Won’t Anyone Listen? A Child’s Struggle To Be Understood”
    ( http://www.strangestangel.com/shona/?page_id=16 ) Among other issues he has is Tourettes Syndrome and part of that illness is insomnia. When you’re a single parent of a special needs child when your child doesn’t sleep, either do you.

    And finally, this would be a very good blog page to read. It really helps the healthy understand chronic illness: “Riding the Roller Coaster: A Guide for the Healthy”. Sometimes, my knees are so swollen I can’t even get up the stairs, let alone go for a walk. Some days the exhaustion is so overwhelming, having a shower is so tiring, I need to have a nap afterwards. So some days I can do things, and somedays I can’t.
    I’m not sure if you’ve heard the expression “spoonie” or not. A spoonie is someone living with a chronic, tiring, and most likely painful illness. People who suffer every day from this kind of endless fatigue and lack of energy with or without other symptoms call themselves spoonies.

    The Spoon Theory comes from a website called “But You Don’t Look Sick”. Over the years the Spoon Theory has become a network of people who have a chronic, debilitating illness of some kind, including lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (now called ME for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). Many of us have never met, but we are growing close friendships through Twitter, and personal blogs.

    Lupus sufferer Christine Miserandino was in a diner with her friend, trying to explain what it was like to have a chronic illness. She gathered spoons from the diner’s tables.

    She told her friend that the difference between sickness and health is consciously making choices about how much it is possible to do in any given hour. She used the spoons so her friend could hold something that Christine could then take away, to show the way illness robs you of your energy and underlines the loss of the life you once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, said Christine, then she would know what it feels like to have something else (in this case lupus) being in control.

    She then took her friend through a regular day, but each activity had the cost of one spoon. Getting up and making breakfast took one spoon, because she wasn’t able to grab a coffee and run; she had to make a proper breakfast to protect her stomach from all the medications she took each morning. Taking a shower was exhausting, so that was another spoon. Getting dressed also took one spoon; what she was capable of putting on by herself? When she came home at the end of the day, she had one spoon left. Dinner or laundry?

    The good side to being a spoonie is you don’t waste your precious energy. You live your life always looking after your priorities. Sometimes things don’t get done, but you must keep your focus on the activities that serve you best.

    I have an excellent sense of humor. My blog and my Tumblr are called “The Reluctant Optimist”. My twitter name is @ToOld4ThisCrap. I share a many funny pictures, funny, motivational, inspirational quotes and I’m always there for anyone that wants to talk. I laugh out loud because it’s a great way to experience joy. I am party of a wonderful ‘spoonie’ family, have made the best friends of my life on Twitter, because having chronic illnesses has kept me housebound, so I get to go on Twitter and hang out with my friends without having to leave the house. My friends also uplift me.

    Having lived with depression all my life, and later with other health issues, has made me a compassionate, caring, understanding woman. I listen, I help when I can. Helping others is the best, most wonderful way to lift yourself up while lifting someone else up.

  19. Ryan
    August 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Christian,

    I do not suffer from migraines, but I have been researching opportunities for social networking within healthcare and would love to speak with you. Please contact me so we can talk.

    Best,
    Ryan

    • September 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      Hello Ryan, I must have missed this post in my e-mail. My Twitter account is @christianassad in case you want to send me a quick message or talk about SM in healthcare. Thanks!

  20. January 26, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Great article! I loved the insight and advice given. Also, your article writing style is very fun to read. If you have time kindly take a look at my new blog and let me know what you think: http://bit.ly/zSnZND (about dieting and the DASH diet program).

  21. Geraldine
    October 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    My mother suffered migraines in her 30s, on the day of my 40th birthday on my next cycle I suffered migraines and have done since then. I get nausea but if I vomit before the maxalt starts to work, I am out of the game all day being sick as soon as I even rinse my mouth with water. Over the past year, the migraines have become more frequent although i am reluctant to take the beta blockers as I tried these and they really slow me down. Today my very active 13th year old son has been diagnosed with migraines and now has been given 10mg propranolol and migraleve. I am very worried about this, as I feel he is very young. I am also wondering about the links between migraines and alzehimizers both my uncle and paternal grandmother were diagnosed and had previously suffered migraines. My uncle was diagnosed at 43.

    • November 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Hello Geraldine. I understand your concern about the beta-blockers both for you and your son. I have been experiencing migraines since a young age and have tried multiple options. From my personal experience even a very small dose of propranolol even 5mg two times a day has decreased the migraines significantly. Such a small dose is unlikely to make you feel tired or affect in your daily life. Another option I have done is taking the propranolol at night time. This in addition to relaxing me, does not affect the way i feel during the day so it works great.

      Regarding a link with migraines and alzheimers, my advice would be DONT WORRY! this will only make your migraines worse and no benefit will come out of it. Be positive in everything you do since, therefore decreasing your stress levels.

      What I am about to say is not for medical advice but for me what works great is Toradol, which is an NSAID also. For me codeine does not work one bit since it gives me nausea… Nausea then makes me vomit and worsens the whole thing but that is just me. Some people benefit from it. I guess there is no wrong or right choice, just see what works for you.
      – When I was a kid, using a cold towel soaked on ice and my mother would press it hard against my forehead. This helped me a lot. It is something you might want to try in a future if you son experiences it again.

      Any questions you know where to find me 😉

  22. Jeanmarie
    March 4, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Migraines? Oh yes!! Since the birth of my first child, 26 years ago. Causes? Barometric pressure changes, stress, and right now, I think …’Breathing”.

    I am having one even as we speak. Meds taken, just about everything under the sun. Propranolol 200 mg daily, Imitrex pills and shots, Tyelonol 3 and Phenegran, Maxalt, Fioricelt, Relpex, Treximent, OTC Excedrin, OTC Aleve, OTC Goody’s Orange flavored packets, Zomig,Imitrex Needle you stab yourself with, Imitrex nasal, Darvocet, Loretab, Vicodin, Flexiril, you name it as the doctors in Montgomery, Alabama, threw everything at me….I’m at my ropes’ end. I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, PTSD, and other ailments.

    I was taking shots from the Pain Control Clinic Doctor in Montgomery for 3 years but took myself off ALL the pain meds he had me on cold turkey and placed myself in rehab to get straightened out…..130 Darvocet a month and 60 Loretab a month…..too much! I am aware the struggle I face daily with pain medications…..and now, am striving to find a healthy alternative to help with the pain to at least alleviate it somewhat so I can still feel like a free person and a responsible person at the same time. I want and desire the ability to still love and respect myself at night when I go to sleep.

    I believe everyone who suffers from Migraines and Chronic Migraines desires this too…and we are tired of being labeled as drug users and lazy people who are not looking to better themselves and live happily the best we can with the cards that life has dealt us in life. I know my father and older sister have migraines, so I do know it is a family history of these blasted demons from hell and beyond that drive me to insanity at times…..and no, I am not proud of all the medications that I have taken as my primary care doctors and specialists doctors have prescribed me in an effort to at least control them. I do not believe there is an answer for me out there and there never will be and this I have learned to accept and muster thru each day the best I can. However, the day I make it to Heaven, my Creator and I are going to have a sit-down and discuss this migraine thing.

    I average between 15-24 migraine headaches a month. Relief from migraines….I truly do not believe exist. Even having one that is not here for more than 4 days at a time, I would try the treatment in a heartbeat!!! Without question!

    And this is a true story….while working at a place of employment in Montgomery one late evening, the boss would not let me leave to go to the emergency room for migraine episode occurring on the job shift, YES, I took my TENS unit AND placed the electrodes on either side of my temple. It wasn’t there for even a millisecond….but I did it in an attempt to stop the pain. Did it work…NOPE! My name, according to my brother, he calls me “DitzzzzyWoman”….He told me that I gave myself a homemade lobotomy. Was I desperate to stop the pain? Yes! Was it stupid? Yes! Did I learn from it? Yes! Will I do it again? NOPE!

    I moved to Arizona in 2012 in an attempt to get away from all the humidity and stress from siblings and parents….between asthma, migraines and COPD (not from smoking)…occupational hazard when you work with chalk dust and you breathe it into your lungs…you get Chronic Silicosis…..but it is still COPD. Dr. Williams was surprised to learn that I had it….I even got an episode of Chronic Bronchitis under her care for those few remaining months in Alabama.

    The heat and dryness help a lot here in Arizona but it does not remove the migraines when weather fronts move into the area. I experienced this in its severe form last week when the pressure system that went thru California over the weekend of 2/28/2014. Buckeye, Arizona got rain….about an inch of it…but my migraines preceded the actual weather system 5 days in advance. Knowing that I have had migraines since I was 26, I should be paid a weatherman’s salary instead of the little bit I get on disability. My head is always accurate LONG before it shows up on the weatherman’s session in front of the tv camera. The worst migraines are when there is a hurricane moving into the area. Those send me to the hospital, as did several in Alabama and Florida. I hear that every now and then a hurricane will slip up from the Gulf of Mexico and to say that I am dreading it is an understatement.

    Most people look forward to rain when it comes. I dread it and I live with fear when cloudy skies are abound….because it means, pain, and a lot of it.
    I am irritable, grouchy, nauseated, bitchy’, and a very intolerable person to be around.

    Lately coffee has been a source of relief but it gets expensive. Its only a temporary relief, as in 15 minutes, but I guess 15 minutes where I do not want to beat my head into the wall is a gift. I used ginger all the time here at the house until my brother complained at how expensive it was, so I had to stop taking that. He got me started on vaping e-cigs and e-liquid and that does help….but now he is raising concerns that I am vaping to much!!

    I have even looked up medical majuaranna but Chronic Migraines is not on the list. Chronic Pain is…but not migraines…PLUS, I have to be able to take care of my husband when my son and brother go to college in a couple of years away from us. Husband has stage 3 chronic kidney disease, has had 9 strokes in the last 6 weeks, high blood pressure, diabeties and many other comorbidities.

    So, I have to be on my game for whatever comes down the line.

    I will be 53 in June and see no hope for me out there? Oh, I drink 100 ounces of water daily, tea and coffee is extra, I sleep bnetween 7-8 hours a night, I’m starting to exercise again, by walking down the street, I do have agorophobia and anxiety attacks at times….and the only medication that I have currently using is Xenophen (emergency inhaler for asthma attacks).

    So, I am on no medication and have not been for the last month. The previous month I was taking Vicodin for a tooth that was extracted and then 5 days later, the dry socket that went with said tooth removal.

    SO, my name is DitzzzzyWoman….because I will admit all these migraines over the years, I believe have addled my brain a good bit.

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