Journal of Migraine Sufferers

I'm looking for some help. I am trying to get approval from the good old HMO to try biofeedback training. They have declined my first request. If anyone has had this problem and been successful in getting approval, could you let me know how you did it? I have tried every drug that has ever been prescribed for migraines with very little success. I really want to try alternative treatments for a change. I'm very frustrated with all the drug side effects and no results. Yet it seems that drugs are the only treatment I can get from my provider.

To provide a little history, I'm 43 years old, female, and have approximately 12-20 days of headaches/migraines a month. The uncontrollable migraines are the hormone migraines. The rest of the time, either DHE Nasal Spray or Imitrex tablets take care of the headaches. But over the last 3-4 years the hormone migraines have become uncontrollable - just muted with fiorinol or Stadol. One of the strange things that happen prior to a migraine is that my lower leg and arm muscles get knotted. Even massage won't stop it. After that, the headache comes on. That's my "aura". Does anyone else exhibit these symptoms? Has anything helped?

Thanks everyone. All of your comments are inspirations. Its good to know we're not alone in this!

Thank goodness for this web site! Those of us who suffer with migraines need to know we aren't suffering alone or going crazy.

I'm writing for my sister Toni. She is 44 y.o. and she has always had severe headaches. She was diagnosed with migraines following her hysterectomy about 7 years ago. At that time she suffered blindness that as it cleared, turned into a raging headache. Since that time she has been unsuccessfully treated with propanolol, midrin and a few other drugs I'm not aware of at this time.

Recently she has noticed a new visual hallucination that maybe someone out there is having too. When ever she goes from dark to bright light, it has a strange effect on her eyes. It's difficult to explain but it is like being on some kind of drug-induced trip (could be all too true). She says if she waves her hand in front of herself, there are multiple images of her hand doing the same move. It is more noticeable when she gets up at night and goes into the bathroom and at other times. She has had an MRI and has seen an opthalmologist without any cause found. The MRI was normal and her eyes are fine. Her primary physician said it is likely an effect of the migraines and that she could be having constant migraines without constant pain.

I work with Neurologists and asked one of them who specializes in migraines. He said he has never had someone describe that type of visual hallucination. I asked if it could be drug induced (meaning her prescribed migraine/estrogen/cholesterol meds) and he said he didn't know.

If anyone is familiar with this type of visual hallucination, e-mail me at I love my sister and I know this is driving her crazy. As I and another of my sisters suffer from migraines we would also like to find some answers for her and potentially for us. Thanks!

I have suffered from migraines for many years. They recently became more frequen. I have been using sumatriptin with varying success. One thing I have noticed which seems counter intuitive at first is that extreme excercise seems to help. Laying down in a dark room and trying to sleep is the worst thing for me. Getting on a treadmill alleviates the pain as long as I am excercising. The hardest part is starting. But since excercise effects serotonin levels, it actually makes sense.

---Marika Tur

I have suffered from migraine headaches for over 30 years. Duration would be 2 to 4 days with light sensitivity, extreme pain, nausea and vomiting. I would be virtually bedridden. However, two years ago I was introducted to a medication called Imitrex. I take it orally. There is also an injectable form; however, I have a minor heart condition and have not been monitored for the injectable. Taking Imitrex orally has cut my migraine time down from 4 days to 3 hours (maximum). There is no nausea or vomiting. This medication has changed my life.

---Diane Lee

Dear Rhonda,

Thank you so much for your support and information. I have been a migraine sufferer ever since I had my hysterectomy in 1990. I have tried every drug out there and the herbs too. I have found very little that will give relieve except for the trip to the emergency room for demerol and phenegran shot. We live in a small community and every one thinks I am just a hypochondriac. I found a doctor who came down from Canada and first gave me the Stadol NS. Unfortunately he left and I cannot find anyone else who will prescribe anything potent enough to work. I have a full time job and family and these headaches pretty well shut me down unless I can get some relief early on.

Does anyone know of a good doctor skilled in pain management that is not hesitant to treat these headaches with strong medications. (I am allergic to Imitrex and morphine) I live in West Texas near Midland but would be willing to travel to other parts of the state if necessary. Please Help!!!!!

You may e-mail me with any information available. You can use my AOL e-mail address: or my other e-mail which is JKSPARKS@JUNO.COM.

I would like to add a little information for your page. I personally have found that medicinal cannabis (marijuana) is the cheapest, safest, and best way to treat and prevent migraine headaches, which I get quite frequently.

Unlike those shots or pills, a very small amount of marijuana takes away the pain, along with preventing a migraine from even occuring, if taken right when you get that feeling that a migraine will happen.

These are my personal ideas, and you are freely welcome to post it on your page, for I feel that people need to know the truth about medicinal marijuana and migraine headaches, that they go hand-in-hand for some people.

Thank you, ---Jacob A. Loewen

I posted last month. Just got Imitrex, took it Wed. nite after an all-day headache. Was nervous about taking it because 1. creepy side effects, and 2. was afraid it wouldn't work (the disappointment). Took a 50 mg tablet. Well, after 45 min I began feeling it, and after an hour I felt pretty good. This was several hours after the onset. I was cautiously happy. Thurs. nite 3 am woke up with one, mind racing, etc. Finally got up and took a 25 mg tablet, and somehow fell asleep, I think faster than I normally would. So, the jury is still out (I don't have enough experience yet), but it looks pretty good.

I'm very concerned after reading other posts, that it may lose its effectiveness, or may stop working altogether. I also have been getting headaches more frequently, and it seems latley that I at least have "sparks" of pain almost daily, even though they don't develop into more. Funny, my serious migraines are 99% on the left side of my head, and the minor ones usually on the right. During bad ones, I can actually see the vessels pulsating in my temple. And of course the minor ones still mess up the day, as I'm then -waiting for them to turn into major ones.

Well, I will continue with the Imitrex, and write again when I have more data. Thanks to everyone who has emailed me, and thnks to Ronda.



Ronda, it was great to find your website. Here is my story.

Although I was only diagnosed with migranes in college (I am now 29), I had horrible chronic headaches as a child from when I was about 5 years old to 12. The headaches seemed to go away once I began to menstruate, only to begin again my first year of college. I remember the night I got that first migraine in college. I spend almost the entire evening pigging out and eating crackers with cheddar cheese (little did I know, no cheese is good cheese for me), as I went upstairs to my dorm room I began to have blurry vision, and of course, not knowing any better, thought I was going blind. About a half hour later my headache began, this 30 minutes of blurry vision is still my warning. Anyway, I called my mother, who called my eye doctor ( a wonderful and sweet guy), who called me, asked me some questions, and diagnosed me right then and there (it turns out he was a migraine sufferer too!). I won't go into all the horrid details of going to the student medical center the following day, having the doctors tell me that it could be something more serious (they thought I might have a brain tumor -- I found out later from my mother who had rushed up to NYC from Wash. D.C.), and then being rushed over to the nearest hospital.

Since that time, I have been lucky I suppose. My migraines have been very periodic, over the past 10 - 11 years, perhaps migraines only 2 to 3 times a year. I was treated with Ergostat, Fiorinal with Codeine, Esgic, and Cafergot by doctors in DC and NY. I have decided that really none of these things does the trick, I tried Imitrex (injection) too which worked fast, but I felt like my chest and neck were going to explode from tightness. I have only been using the Fiorinal lately (I became very afraid of the permanent side effects of Ergostat a long time ago), although I always feel loopy for weeks after the taking the stuff. During the past year have my migraines become more frequent (once a month, seemingly during ovulation time), and triggered sometimes by stress (or my parents), but mostly after the stress is over when my body says okay I held up for that tension, now see what you get for it! I also suffer from rebound headaches and tenderness all over my head. and from rebound headaches and serious tenderness. Since my migraines have become more frequent, I am going to see a new neurologist at UC Med in SF (which is where I now live). I am not putting all my eggs in this basket, maybe I will try Imitrex again.

Anyway, I hope my story helps others to cope as much as all of the other case histories have helped me.