Journal of Migraine Sufferers

Good Morning,

My father has suffered from a head pain for about five years. It has NOT been labeled as a Migraine headache however I thought someone might be able to refer us onto a group or have some suggestions. The pain generally starts around the molar area of the face and goes up to the eye area, all on the left hand side of the face. When he lays down, the pain stops! He has seen a number of doctors, and received therapies of all types but nothing seems to help. It would be appreciated if anyone has any ideas. Regards.

I'm a 45 year old woman who suffered from severe daily migraines. After many tests and cat scans, my doctor determined nothing major was wrong and put me on an anit-depressant called amitriptyline, a form of elavil. Imitrex shots and oral pills did nothing for me. The amitriptyline took about a month to work, but finally gave me relief. However, I gained about two pounds a week, had terrible constipation and terrible fatigue where I slept all day. Basically, I felt terrible but my migraines were gone. I decided I couldn't live like that and the doctor agreed. I stopped taking the medicine and immediately the next day, the migraines were back worse than ever. He then prescribed another medicine which is a high blood pressure medicine. After leaving his office, I began to think that there has to be a better way. I read a vitamin book put out by the Prevention magazine and to my surprise their remedy worked! It calls for an increase in magnesium. Not everyone who suffers from migraines has a magnesium deficiency, only about 60%. I suggest getting that book at the library. It recommends taking 3,000 mgs in three divided doses and also recommends magnesium gluconate not magnesium oxide, because the later can cause diarrhea. I only take about 2,000mgs of a combination of the mag. gluconate and oxide (that's all GNC sold) in two divided doses. If I feel a migraine coming on I will take the other 1,000 mgs (which will give me diarrhea) and 98% of the time it takes it away. Prevention also has a home remedy book about herbs and natural healing. That recommends feverfew , a herb I have tried also and have had good results. I just read and article in the Sunday paper about feverfew for migraines and it recommends taking one capsule daily. You can find it at GNC also. I'll take it instead of the extra magnesium some times and it has worked..I'll take three capsules at once which was recommended to me by the woman who worked at GNC. This was the way she used it. I still have little migraines here and there, but they are NO WAY as painful and crippling as before. I can certainly live with an occasional slight migraine.Good luck to you and your Mom. One last thing, be sure to also take a good multi-vitamin and extra calcium. I have read that magnesium needs that to be absorbed properly. In fact I take a handful of different vitamins now that I read that book and never felt better. Also, I have eliminated certain foods and drinks, which I did before I started taking the magnesium. It didn't help when I eliminated them, but I figure I don't need them anyway so I never added them back to my diet.

Well, here goes....

I'm not really sure when I had my first migraine. I *do* know that I had several in my early thirties which were misdiagnosed by various ER docs as the flu, sinus infection, etc. I would have incredible pain, vomiting, intolerance to light or sound... well, you know. A shot of demerol and phenergan (sp?) and I'd sleep for awhile and then be okey, dokey- for months.

Gradually, the migraines got worse. More frequent and more severe. Then, when I turned forty (of course! ;-}) things really got worse. For some reason I developed a really terrible pain in the back of my neck along with a knot the size of a plum.X-rays, a CAT scan and finally an MRI showed "arthritic deteriotation of the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae." I also developed REALLY bad occipital neuralgia (that means a terrifying pain in the back of my head, going up through my scalp to my forehead). I would swear that it felt like someone had hit me with a two by four!

Also, sometimes when the pain in my neck would drag on (and on and on- ad infinitum, ad nauseum {excuse the pun!}) then it would "trigger" a migraine. By now, at least, the migraines had been diagnosed as such. This created a really nasty interrelated mess. I've learned to identify and avoid my personal "triggers" (spicy food, my mother...) but pain (and the tension is causes) is also a triogger. So is the weather, and how much can I control either one?

Oral narcotics couldn't stop it at all. I was finally given Stadol nasal spray. Which worked.

That's like saying a hydrogen bomb "worked." It accomplished its intended goal but...

Let me digress:

It seems to me that the ideal pain reliver would have total effectiveness (complete end to pain) with zero intoxication. And no addictive potential, no habituation (need for greater dose to get relief) and/or any other side effects.

It seems to me that the "high power" narcotics just make you so high that although they allow the pain to persist, you just don't care, because you're too loaded to complain. But then, as you relax, the pain does subside. And in my case, stays away for awhile.

Is Stadol addictive? Well, look at it this way: Pavlov was right.

What I mean is: if something hurts like H-E-double-hockey-sticks and there is a substance that makes it go away (right now!) what do you think is going to happen? I'm "addicted" in the sense that I DON"T WANNA HURT ANYMORE and I'm going to do *anything* to make the pain stop.

The problem is the moralistic, judgmental CRAP that is attached to the word "addiction." I refuse to accept that I am morally or spiritually "weak" or "evil" because of my dependence on this stuff.Idon't do it for "fun." Heck, no! The stuff ruins my sex life [now *that's* my addiction!], tastes like dead rats soaked in battery acid and makes it impossible to do other things that I enjoy.

But it is a simple, unavoidable fact that if you take a drug like that very often, habituation and craving WILL set in. Like it or lump it, as the kids would say. Then all of the various "enforcement" agencies jump in and call it a "crime."


My migraines were one of the reasons why I quit my former career in criminal investigation. I *know* what "crime" is, and this ain't it. If there were a really effective pain killer out there (remember my definition?) I would take it in a heartbeat!!

I wish that there was a "pain-o-meter" that would analze my suffering and emperically dispense the "correct" dose of the right drug. Then I wouldn't have to deal with this junk about "drug seeking." Am I "drug seeking?" You're durn tootin'! If the guys from the DEA and/or the state pharmacy board could experince what I feel when I'm hurting...well, you'd see some REAL "drug seeking!"

Well, I've babbled long enough (if anyone is still reading.) No, I'm not loaded. I'm going through one of the legally mandated "drying out" periods between refills because I love my doc and don't want him to get busted. As a result it is now 2:56 AM and sleep is a forlorn hope.


I don't know if this will be helpful or not....

In response to Sue's question about imitrex nasal spray:

My [terrific] doc is from Canada and he was just home for a few weeks and brought me back a trial bottle of imitrex nasal spray. He said that it is only available in that form in Canada and not the U.S. [yet]. If it works for me, he will send me across the border (we only live 90 miles away) for a full prescription. I don't get any serious relief from the pill form. It seems to me that Imitrex (in any form) seems to be most effective *by far* in women's cyclical/hormonal migraine- Drat!


---Earl M. Britt

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I know this will not help everybody, but it might help just one person.

I wrote last month regarding my pain, and said then I was pondering hormone therapy,since I am premenopausal and my migraines have been even more frequent and more painful since I entered this phase. I've always known that my headaches were hormone related, but now I am sure! For two weeks, now, I have been on hormone replacement therapy, while continuing to use topical progesterone along with it. I have not had a headache in that two weeks. I took the plunge and decided to test this to most dramatic degree, by having a cup of coffee every morning. Still no headache. Ordinarily, I would have been in excruciating pain by nightfall of the first day.

Please understand that all the medications that have some effect for lots of other people, like all the caffeine based drugs, cafergot, midrin...never worked for me...even made my headaches worse. I knew there was something backwards about my headaches. My blood vessels weren't swelling, they were constricting! I've done alot of reading on the effects of hormones and had reached the conclusion that I have probably had a mild to severe hormone imbalance all of my life.Not producing enough progesterone. Menses began at 9 years of age. See...not enough progesterone to balance it off. I carried one baby full term w/out incident, but lost one and nearly lost another due to lack of progesterone production...couldn't produce enough to maintain a pregnancy! So, when when I was in the estrogen producing part of my cycle, estrogen flooded my bloodstream and there was never enough progesterone to balance it out and keep if from dominating. I developed a sensitivity to it by the time I was 18 or 19...that's when the headaches began. It's so horrible when a legitimate chemical produced by your own body causes you crippling pain. There seemed to be food "triggers" involved, but they only really triggered a headache in the presence of the dominating estrogen. At certain times of the month, they didn't! That doesn't behave like a true trigger., now. I'm taking a non-cyclical, continuous regimen of estrogen and progesterone...I take a pill everyday, and I can't remember feeling this stable and "un -headachy" in years.

After my last entry in the journal, some nice lady warned me that sometimes hormone related migraines can get worse if one goes on hormone replacement therapy. I thank her for her concern, but I was so hopeful that this was my problem all along, that I was determined to give it a try.

So, one wonders why it took so long to reach this solution. Why don't doctors attempt to balance the hormones of people like me once they understand the hormonal relationship? Is it maybe because there is a definite risk of uterine and breast cancer with these hormones? At this stage of my life, they figure the odds differently, since the addition of HRT is considered valuable to protecting the heart, and after 50, you are at greater risk of heart attack. Who knows why.....

I will keep this group posted re: my progress. I hope this speaks to someone else's pain. If anyone e-mails me and wants to know the exact name of the pills I am taking, I will let you know in an e-mail.



Reply-To: <> I have an 18 year old son who suffers from exercize induced migraines. This started 18 months ago. He has always been into physical activies, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, basketball, mountain bike riding, backpacking and mtn climbing. He can do no physical activiy now without developing a severe migraine--nausea, severe headache pain and dizziness. He has had all sorts of tests and tried propranolol, imtrix, paxil, depakote, and beta blockers with no relief. He now has a mild headache daily. He is extremely frustrated and has given up. I did make another apt with a neurologist in a few weeks. He thinks he doesn't have migraines and wants to do another blood test and MRI. Do you know of chat lines or where I can find more specific info for exercized induced migraines? Thank you.

I have suffered from migraine headaches over 20 years. I have tried several different medications, none that really took my headaches away completely. Because the headaches became so intense, I continued to take "over the counter medication". I found excederin worked the best for me. However, I started having severe rebound headaches.

Last summer, I became ill for a couple weeks and I figured it was time I got off all the pills. I suffered immensely a few days and survived by icebags and hot showers. I am happy to say now that typically I can get by with an excedrin (caffene free) here and there for the stress headaches that occur. Also, because my migraines tend to coincide with my period, my gynocologist said I could try to dissolve a low dose estrogren pill (estrace) under my tongue when I have a migraine. He indicated that usually the migraine occurs because of falling estrogen and this would help replace it. He said it was working for some of his patients. I have tried it and it doesn't always work, but it generally does. (it will generally work for that middle of the cycle headache too.) If it doesn't take it away altogether, it at least will make it manageable. I also will use either wigraine or imitrex for relief.