Exciting news for migraine sufferers. I have a letter already in your March 1997 file, but I had to share my experience!
On Saturday, I developed a migraine (aura and all). I had so much to do that day that I was quite discouraged and envisioned myself spending the day lying down and suffering as I usually do. I have taken Imitrex, etc. but find these migraine specialty drugs only trigger more attacks.
Well, on Saturday I decided to try an over-the-counter headache, muscle ache, fever reducer, etc., etc., pill called "Aleve". A half hour later, my migraine was there but very manageable to the point where I was able to function and go about my business. I could not believe it.
Please pass this on to your readers, I'm sure they would appreciate it!!
---Dolores Lleida DBL@mail.BatelNET.bs
The thing is, I didn't use to get attacks frequently, that I didn't much bother to educate myself about this. I treated it as an occasional inconvenience that I had to live with and as long as I had Avamigran with me all the time, I felt reassured. But then Avamigran was reformulated and I don't know why but the new formula didn't work for me anymore. This came at a time when the headaches came more frequently. It's intense heat that triggers my attacks and that is really a problem where I live. You see, I live in the Philippines, where the summers are really hot and humid. On my last visit to a neurologist, the doctor told me that I should consider migrating to a cooler place, which of course is not a welcome alternative. He also told me that the drug I used to take sometimes actually triggers the headache itself. Now, I'm really baffled! He mentioned Imitrex and said that it appears to be the best solution to migraine headaches. BUT the bad news is -- IT'S NOT YET AVAILABLE IN THE PHILIPPINES!!! Tough luck for me! He then suggested that I try taking mefenamic acid first and to be sure to take it as soon as I feel the very first symptoms of an attack.
I followed that advice, of course. I guess it's working for me in the meantime, only, it takes longer for the headache to disappear than it used to when Avamigran was still working for me. Also, I need an icepack, a head/neck/shoulder massage and complete rest. What I really fear is that, one day, I might find mefenamic acid ineffective already.
P.S. Thanks to you, and to all your journal contributors, I somehow feel reassured that there'll be someone to turn to who will really understand what a fellow-migraineur feels. BTW, my e-mail address is email@example.com
Due to having an HMO, my primary-care physician wants to try to treat me herself, (like many others before her), instead of sending me to a specialist, who deals in only headaches. I am tired of taking prescriptions that don't really give me any lasting relief, and I am tired of doctors telling me "Oh, you just have Migraines, here, take this and they will go away within an hour." If only it was that easy.
I feel so bad for my husband who now asks me daily, "Do you have a headache?" and then tries so hard to stay quiet when I do, so as not to aggravate it. I am at wits end about now, I have had a Migraine all weekend, with only a few hours of relief, and desperately want some feedback from people who have been where I am, and can give me some hope, advice or anything useful.
Well, the pain persisted for another week, when I saw a doctor in the urgent care clinic of another hospital. They first put me on Esgic, which did absolutely nothing for me. I returned the next day whereupon the doctor switched me to Ultram. Again, that did nothing to ease the pain. By the time the next night rolled around, I was in so much pain I honestly thought I was going to die. My mom drove me back up to the urgent care clinic, where the doctor said I didn't really have a "typical" migraine, but that "typical" is what you only read in some medical book. So she gave me a shot of Immitrex, which took the pain away in less than fifteen minutes. It was wonderful! Unfortunately, the effects wore off in about 24 hours, and my headache returned, although not so severe. However, three days later, I was in the clinic again to receive another shot of Immitrex. This doctor was very sympathetic, and told me over and over again how sorry he was that I had to go through this. He prescribed me some Immitrex pills which I could take at home (at $14 a pill!). My headache persisted though, and my family physician did some blood work and a CAT scan. Everything came back normal. He then prescribed me some Midrin, which sometimes worked, but sometimes didn't. The only thing I can do to feel a little better is to stand in a hot shower, or lie down with 3 ice paks on my head. The only time I'm certain not to be in pain is when I'm sleeping. When I saw my dr. last week , he prescribed some amitriptyline, and told me that it would take a few weeks to start feeling the benefits, but in the meantime I could still take Aleeve for my head if the pain got bad.
This past weekend I was in a wedding and I just had this feeling that I was going to get a bad one, and sure enough, on rehearsal night it started, and continued all day on Saturday too, throughout the wedding and reception. I layed down for awhile between the reception and the dance, and finally one of my friends dragged me out on the dance floor, and what a relief! I danced non-stop for four hours, because that was the only thing I could do to keep the pain away. Pain-free for four hours! I was exhilirated!! And keep in mind, I didn't have any alcohol the entire wedding either! I was confused though, because the following day I went for a brisk walk with my mother and the pain got worse as we walked. Sometimes physical activity can make it better, and sometimes it can make the pain worse. Weird. Finally on Monday I made an appointment to see a neurologist, and they got me in on Tuesday. The neuro looked at my head CAT scan films, and said my brain looked normal. I asked him why he had to look at them, when the notes were in my file and he explained that sometimes they can see things that other dr.s and radiologists don't see. I was relieved to hear him say that in his opinion, it was fine. He then performed a lot of neuro tests and then sat me down to talk with me like I was a real human being! He told me that because my mother has migraines, and because my head pain got extremely worse around the time of my menstrual cycle, he could almost certainly diagnose me with migraines. He told me that sometimes some lucky people, just have chronic ones, day after day, and that I was supposed to continue with my amitriptyline for another two weeks, and if it wasn't helping by then, he would increase my dosage up to 50 mg, and we'd start doing some biofeedback techniques. He then had his nurse hook me up to an IV for an hour and give me DHE eglan. I didn't care for that much at all, although it did lessen my headache. I got very nauseaous, and for the rest of the day I had chest pain (which is a normal side effect of the DHE). But I have to say, I went all afternoon with just a slight headache!! The nurse told me that I can also continue to use my Immitrex pills while I'm on the amitriptyline. I didn't know that, see what other doctors forget to tell you? She also said that the next time I got a really bad one, to call her in neurology and I could get in to get my immitrex shot there, and then she'd show me how to do my own injections at home, and the dr. would write me a prescription.
I would never have thought that headache pain could alter my life so much, or that it could cause so much pain! I get sharp, almost lightning bolt like pain that usually strikes the top of my head, and goes straight down the middle, or down the right side of my head. I also get pressure pain in my temples and behind my ears. I've also started taking Feverfew herbal liquid extract every day, to see if that will help. I am also considering going to a headache clinic, to see if they can help me. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who suffers from this "head pain" on a daily basis also! You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope your day is pain-free!!!
I am on depakote right now, and they are upping my dose. I am already sleepy and lethargic (with two kids this is almost worse than the headaches!). Even worse, the depokote has not even slowed them down. I have tried Stadol (I feel like a rock, and pretty much act like one too), demerol (ditto, but with the added bonus of being able to sit under fluorescent lights in an ER for 3 hours and being looked at like a druggie waiting for a fix - can't find a better way to spend a Saturday).
My problem is this. I have taken so many drugs, both abortive and preventive, and none (SO FAR) have worked (Imitrix has very little effect). At this point I would rather wait for the migraine and take a pain pill. At least I am in control of the relief I need for my pain. With all the others (depokote included) I have no idea what they are doing to my body. If there are any beneficial effects, I don't know of them.
Additionally, any women out there who have been told they have migraine and cluster (I thought cluster headaches mostly happened in men??) and what meds/therapies have been useful?
I live in the Los Angeles area and would welcome any suggestions on where to go, who to see. I need to find either a cure (I am ALWAYS hopeful) or find a way to manage the pain with medication with a doctor who is willing, compassionate and knowledgeable.
P.S. I don't think being relatively headache-free is a good enough reason to more children... Though I do see it as an option...
My suggestion? Find a DR or pain clinic that will prescribe the opiate you need and take it without abusing it if possible. If your head hurts everyday, take it everyday. But explain to whomever that yes, in fact, your head hurts everyday/week/month and you need one/two/three pills or sprays a day to GET THROUGH LIFE!!!
Addiction is a real possibility, but it hurts a helluva lot less. Cure the pain, then work on the addiction.
Just some thoughts.