Journal of Migraine Sufferers


Good to find your page and to be able to share my migraine/headache experiences with fellow sufferers. I've been looking at some of the other contributions and so far haven't come across any one who mentions constipation. My headaches (which nearly always start around my right eyebrow) are nearly always preceded and accompanied by constipation. In fact, my whole body seems to seize up, I get terribly tired, irritable and have pains in my neck and shoulders and sometimes down my arms as well. I feel slightly nauseous. They usually follow a predictable pattern:

Day 1 It starts on about the fourth day of my period, I always know I'm going to get one because I feel suddenly unusually tired. I may be constipated. It tends to lift somewhat in the evening, only to return during the night, or next morning.

Day 2 Mornings are always particularly bad. I often feel ravenously hungry at breakfast. Sometimes it lifts during the afternoon or evening, sometimes they don't.

Day 3 I wake in the morning with the headache. I may have been kept awake in the night. I have breakfast and slowly, by 11 am or so it lifts completely, especially if I've had a good bowel movement and bed rest.

The past month has been worse with three headaches, one lot a week. Could this be stress, sitting in front of the computer for 5 hours a day?

I have a healthy diet, fruit, vegetables, don't drink, or smoke. I do drink, tea though. Medication: the only thing I find makes any difference is Nurofen (Ibuprofen) but if I take it over the entire three day period I often feel worse. And once the headache gets going, nothing stops it.

I don't want to take medication if I can help it. I'm sure there must be some sort of natural cure, probably related to diet.

These headaches are ruining my life. Any advice would be much appreciated



I am 42 and have three children 23,17, and 2. I have had migraines since I was 10. As a child my mother would make me lie down with a cold rag on my head and tell me "You'll be okay. It's just a migraine." I thought I was going to die. The headaches came on a regular basis, aura,pain, distorted vision/blindness, numbness on one side, my speech was mumbles or jibberish(I couldn't speak)and I heard others the same way.(mumbles or jibberish) In my late teens doctors thought I was having strokes. I went to many specialists, had e.e.g.s(brain scans-needles in your scalp)all the medication you can name. The severity was so intense and the synmptoms so like a stroke I was put into the hospital. But it was a migraine.

My mother and aunts all said they had migraines but I never saw them laying in bed moaning and sweating. They said it would get better with age.

As my life went on I became more aware of what caused my headaches. I stopped taking BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. If you read the insert of your birth control pills you will see women with headaches should not take birth control pills. The pills will increase the amount of headaches and increase the severity. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

I also stopped PANICING when I had an onset. This will only make it worse and last longer. It's just a matter of control and the will to reduce the pain. I stop what I'm doing or go home from where I am and lay down.

I don't waste my time going to doctors or taking prescribed medication. Believe it or not, I happened onto EXCEDRIN EXTRA STRENGTH one day at the mall when a migraine decided to ruin my day out with the kids. I took 3 tablets,sat down and closed my eyes for about 10 minutes and within a half hour that headache stopped! If I take Excedrin early enough it may stop the headache, or it may reduce the pain and reduce the length of time. I also take 1 tablet daily around the time I think I may get a headache, this usually keeps it away.

It usually comes around my menstrual cycle, but is not limited to that. If I'm hungry,tiered,warm/hot,over-exerted,around bright or flourescent lights,stress/excitement/panic,go from dark enviornments to light enviornments,too much chocolate,too much coffee,too much reading, well I guess I could go on and on.

I have accepted the fact that my life is limited due to my migraines so I have adjusted my life and removed what I know will cause them. In turn my migraines HAVE GREATLY REDUCED. Compared to what they were, now they are nothing. I have a much happier life. The migraines are no longer in control.

I also work for a pharmacy and see and talk to migraine sufferers daily. It frustrates me and angers me that these people rely so heavily on medication. No one understands the migraine better than I. I just wish migraine sufferers could see that the medicine is really just a temporary solution. The real solution is to be migraine free. That takes time, will power, and control. I know many will disagree and say the migraine can not be controlled. But I am living proof.

Hello Rhonda--

I was talking with someone at work today about migraines and decided to see what the web had to offer. I am 24 and have had migraines since I was 4 or 5. Of course when I was younger, I never knew they were migraine headaches so I never knew about the treatments available. I've found that several things cause mine--always a combination and never by themselves: skipping a meal, stress, sugar intake, lack of sleep, certain smells and strobe light effects. When I do get one I get sick to my stomach, see "silver snakes", have intense pain on the right side of my head only, go crazy from feeling the veins throbbing in my head, can't have anyone touch me or talk to me. What seemed to help most in the past were quickly alternating ice cold and hot sensations on my forehead--this only relieved pain for about 30 seconds at a time, pressure at the top of my head and on the bone behind my ear, sleep with complete silence and darkness.

I used to get them once every three or four months. They are always preceded with minor headaches a couple days leading up to the incapacitating one. I always knew when one was coming.

I have not had one in about two years and contribute it to the fact that I no longer take in any refined sugar. Carbohydrates are alright, but candy, cakes, pies, alcohol are all out of my diet. I have heard that there is a correlation between hypoglycemia and migraine headaches, but have yet to see any medical proof. There was only one book I have ever found at my local library on migraine headaches and it attributed a large percentage of migraines to sugar intake. It seemed to work for me.

I have suffered from periodic migraines since the age of 10. Since the age of 40 (I am now 48) they have increased in number and intensity. I now have daily migraines which vary in intensity. I suffered a breakdown at work about 2 years ago and was diagnosed with Major Clinical Depression, Severe Burnout and Chronic Migraine. I have been on Long Term Disability since and am getting to the point when I don't know if or when I will be able to return to work.

I have been to the New England Center for Headache which provided relief for 4-5 months. Since then I have built a tolerance to the medications and am now in the process of trying to find alternatives. In addition to Prozac, Clonazepam and Indomethacin taken daily, I take Midrin and Toradol and self-inject DHE 45 when needed, which at a minimum is once a week and usually is 3-4 times per week. Most of the time I just try to manage the pain.

I recently read an article from Reuters regarding tannin and migraine. The article referred to a 'tannin free diet'. I have searched the Net and have not been able to find this diet. I have already omitted coffee, tea etc. from my diet and have not had any alcohol for many years. However, this article indicated that there are tannins in apple juice, which I was not aware of. Do you know anything about this or how I can obtain additional information on this? Hope to hear from you.

---Gail Ruginis

Hi Ronda and you who suffer from cluster headache!

I tried to find information about cluster headache or Horton's headache as it's also called and I found a lot of interesting sites on the internet. I am a swedish guy, 35 years old and I have suffered from cluster headache for the last eleven years. It took me 2 years to find out what it was, i talked to ten different doctors, I got my brain examined since I thought it was a brain tumour or something seroius, I examined my teeth, my nose and my eyes and they didn't know what it was. They talked about headache caused by stress and tension so I got acupuncture and I tried a lot of different ways to get rid of the headache. Until I met my neurologist who told me what it was. I was happy to know that my headache had a name, that I wasn't alone with this, although it's not a very common type of headache.

I have also tried oxygene but the problem is that it takes a few minutes to get the equipment in order and during that time the headache normally gets as its worse so it's useless. Then I got IMIGRAN, a kind of drug that people who suffer from migrane usualle gets. It's a very expensive drug. I inject it into my leg and normally the pain gets away within ten minutes.

I have at least one period a year which lasts about 2-3 months every time. During that period I have 4-5 headache attacks every 24 hours. Often during the nights. It's extremely painful and every attack lasts about an hour. People who see me during these attacks often worries because sometimes I don't know what to do to get rid of the pain and it ends with tears. But after every attack I get a lot of energy and that is helpful. Till the next attack...

The biggest problem I think, is that it's not very easy to inform your friends and colleges that you suffer from this. Everyone knows what headache is, but they can't imagine the pain in a cluster headache attack. A normal reaction is 'Why don't you take an aspirin?' and that's not what you want to hear. Another problem is that I don't know anyone else with this type of headache so it's difficult to share the problem or to give and take advice. Sometimes I also think that I know more about cluster headache than my doctors.

If you have any advice for me, don't hesitate to mail me on address:

Best regards

---Urban in Stockholm, Sweden

Hello Ronda,

What a great find your web page is! I knew other people had headaches, but not to the degree indicated by some of the email you receive. I have had severe tension headaches for at least 10 years. I have not been helped much by the medical community, although I do applaud their efforts. Currently I take 150 mg of amitriptyline with depakote 4 times daily. When I do get a headache (which is all the time) I use Tylenol and fioricet which cuts the edge off the headache, but does not diminish it. So much for conventional treatment.

About a month ago, I was looking through a health magazine and noticed an ad for biomagnetic products. I sent for a magnetic bracelet (only $25) and tried it for a couple of weeks. It seemed to cut back from my headache's intensity (dare I hope?). Then I started doing some investigating on the internet and there are dozens of vendors selling magnetic products. Since then, I have started wearing a magnetic necklace. The results have been impressive so far. I have only used Tylenol a couple of times in 2 weeks, and haven't needed the fioricet. I will continue to test other biomagetic items such as insoles for shoes, magnetic headband, and possibly a magnetic pillow insert. However, I have not purchased these items yet.

I did a search on your Case History database, and since no one has mentioned biomagnetics so far, I thought I would bring it to your readers attention. Keep in mind the warning for biomagnetic products; there is no guarantee that they will work on all individuals, and keep in mind that I am just one person that is truly tired of all the headaches I have endured in the last 10 years. SO, use this information to satisfy your curiosity or to help in the fight against pain.


---Theodore B. Finger Jr.
Evans, GA


I am writing this to you in hopes of finding a physician whom is willing to treat my mothers pain. She is at the end of all conventional and unconventional treatments , The last physician she had started her on morphine and she was able to lead a semi normal life. He has now turned her over to a "pain specialist" whom is telling her she is going to be admitted against her will to a psych ward for detox because quote "You are suffering from addiction not pain" She hasnt had any pain killers for over 6 weeks .His focus is only on the drugs not the pain. She has been suffering for 5+ years and has lost her Job , her friends and is about to lose her home. She has seen nearly every specialist and has nothing to show for it but over $50'000 in unpaid medical bills , and a Doctor who feels her problems are all because of the drugs, and doesnt seem to realize these problems are why she was prescribed these drugs in the first place. She has taken probably every drug known for treatment. I dont know what else to do , She and my Grandmother( who has crippling arthritis and bone deterioration as well) live together and are at the end of all other options . They live in Reno Nv. I live in Sacramento Ca. I want to get her nearer to me and would like to have yet another opinion. In Nevada state law allows for a physician to commit someone against their will, even if a family member says no there would be nothing I could do about it. She just wants to live with some Dignity and be able to enjoy some of her life again. She spends most days vomiting or curled up on her bathroom floor writhing in pain. Please if you could direct me or help me in any way I would be greatly appreciative. Thank you very much.


Dear Rhonda

What a great site! I found it yesterday, as I was looking for information on the "new" migraine drug I have been hearing about - it seems to be the nasal Imitrex. I will have to try it, but I sure hope it is covered by my insurance, as the shots are not, nor is the Stadol. I have had migraines since high school - I am 49 now, that was mid-sixties, when migraine was considered a mythical disease of hysterical, neurotic housewives. I had no idea what my headaches were until about 6 years ago when my doctor enlightened me. I thought they were sinus headaches for years. Recently - within the last 5-6 years - as I have begun perimenopause, my headaches got closer and closer together until I went from 6-7 a year to almost daily headaches for about a two year period. I considered suicide seriously at that point. Between my Dr. and the internist he sent me to we tried all kind of meds to break the cycle, none of which seemed to work - the channel blockers, the heart meds, the elavil and others - until the internist asked me what I thought had changed in my life and I said only my age. He put me on birth control pills for a little estrogen boost, and it helped. I am now down to one or two headaches a week, which is still not good, but Stadol helps me to keep going some days when I HAVE to be at work. Imitrex shots worked for awhile, but I couldn't afford as many as I needed, and like everything else, after awhile you build a tolerance and it doesn't work so well. Cafergot (the ergot/caffiene pill) works, but it does make the nausea worse, so I got the prochlorperazine suppositories, and between the two managed to hang onto my job, but got into the rebound thing, and spent a four day nightmare at the walk-in getting demerol, Toridol, etc. Scarey experience - I was told that one more visit to the walk-in that week would put me into the hospital on a demerol drip. Yikes! So now I'm worried about using the Stadol too much and having that quit working; my arsenal is getting smaller and the headaches are lasting two and three days.

I plan to try most if not all of the things I have read in the journal that have worked for others. I know that I have a high pain tolerance, as I have broken bones, had surgeries, etc. and seemed to be less bothered by it than expected, but you do start feeling like a wimp or a chronic complainer sometimes. I did get an MRI, which helped my peace of mind as the headaches can sure feel like they MUST be a major artery blowing out in your head, and by that time you're ready for it to go ahead and blow!

One thing that might help someone out there, I have found that for some reason the over the counter pain releiver Vanquish will sometimes work on a migraine if you catch it fairly early. None of the other stuff - Excedrin, Tylenol works, even Vicodin doesn't work. I will stay tuned, and hope for more info. Thanks alot for providing this forum!

P.S. to those who hate the Imitrex bruise, just take the kit apart and don't use it. It's MUCH less painful. I think the kit is just for folks who are scared of needles and don't want to see it.

---Melanie in Dana Point, CA