Journal of Migraine Sufferers

I've had migraines since I was a teen but they have increased in severity and frequency the past few years. Sometimes I get them 3-4 times per week! They really have a way of effecting so much in our lives! About two years ago I went to my physician and told him about it and he prescribed fiorinol and later elavil. The elavil seemed to work at first but after awhile they had almost no effect on the headaches but I had a lot of side effects so I stopped taking it. The dr. sent me to a neurologist and like you I didn't have a good experience. I don't think that there are many neurologists that specialize in migraines. The most effective drug to stop the headache for me is Imitrex. I take it in pill form and nasal spray. I don't like taking it but it is quite effective. I tried acupuncture, meditation, bio feedback, psychologists, and I even took a few months off of work to see if stress was a major factor. It wasn't and now I'm back to work. I think meditation and bio-feedback is helpful because the relaxation opens up the circulatory system which is beneficial. While I was off of work I did a lot of research on migraines and found a web site that has been quite helpful. It is This site is maintained by the American Medical Association. Through this site I discovered a doctor in my area (I live in St. Louis) that runs a migraine clinic. I had my first visit in December and found myself talking to a doctor that was very empathetic and knowledgeable. He spent about 2 hours discussing the latest theories about migraines, types of treatments, and about all the drugs available and soon to be available. His clinic participates in clinical drug trials and he invited me to participate. I agreed and am taking this medication called Dotarazine. I've been on it about 3 weeks now and I can't say for sure if it works yet but I've only had two migraines in this time! And they haven't been as severe. I happen to have one right now - the 1st in 13 days. The study will last for 5 months. This drug is designed specifically to prevent migraines - not an anti-depressent, anti-seizure, or blood pressure med. And there are absolutely no side effects. Of course I could be taing a placebo? This doctor told me that there is no cure for migraines. They have to be managed. Taking a preventive drug is only one aspect of treatment. He suggested a book that I found useful, Taking Control of Your Headaches by Paul Duckro, Ph.D. I purchased it from for about $12. The most important thing, almost forgot..... Keep a positive attitude and try not to let the headaches get you down.

---Rick <>
St. Louis, MO USA -

Severe migraines since 10/97, as many as 20 in one month. Imitrex may have caused loss of circulation to hand requiring vein graft from leg to arm. If you have experienced serious side effects please let us know. Still recovering from surgery, trying to deal with migraines again after nearly losing right hand. Happy to hear from you and your experiences. Tried beta blockers, anitdepressants, Imitrex, help?!.........

---Fred Walker <>

I'm fourty now & I've been a "migraineur" ( that's cool, we actually have a title) since I wrapped my Pinto around a telephone pole in "81. I hit my head & was out for about 20 minutes. Every doctor I've ever been to I've told that to & not one of them thinks it's important. It's hard to track my migraines because it is just a constant pain until the full blown version attacks. If I turn my head to fast, it seems as though my brain is hitting the side of my skull. Most people think I'm out there I'm sure. My sister suffers also. I take Imitrex ( a life saver) but sometimes I have to take 2 shots. Its affects are probably wearing off, everything that works only works for a while then I have to get something else. One thing that's kind of comforting is seeing that finally migraines are being recognized & I don't have to beg for medication. I was in the Navy & they wouldn't acknowledge them at all!

---Katherine Courtney <>
Bremerton, WA USA -

I have suffered with migraines for twenty years. I was sent for an MRI and CT scan which showed nothing. They then treated me with high blood pressure medication to no avail, so they sent me to a psychologist saying the headaches are "all in my head." This did nothing but infuriate me (raising my blood pressure), because I knew that I was having real migraines! To make a long story short, I tracked them on a calendar and noticed that I only got my migraines just before ovulation and just before my period. I took the calendar into my doctor, and he agreed that my migraines seemed to be hormone related. With that in mind he put me on Depoprovera to stop my periods, so that my hormones would stay at a more even level. I haven't had a migraine since! I have "pressure" headaches, and can tell when it's time to ovulate and time for my period, but it doesn't go into a full blown migraine any more. However, I do have to make sure that I don't eat dinner after 6:00 p.m. or eat ice cream (dairy products) after 4:00 p.m. If I do, I wake up during the night with a migraine. For women with migraines especially, I really recommend tracking your headaches, and see if you can find a pattern like I did

---Norma Buxton <>
Tremonton, UT USA -

Having experienced a complete breakdown in my body over the past two years, I wish to find out if there are others who have experienced anything similar. Having begun to have headaches about two years ago, I underwent an MRI which showed I might have migraines. At that same time, I began to feel weak and unable to tolerate the weather in Miami. I was tested and found to be allergies to all of the inhalants native to this southern city as well as to all but five foods. I started to receive weekly shots for the allergies, was initially given Midrin which I could not tolerate, then finally settled upon Anaproxen. At the same time, I experienced a failure of my bladder and have undergone two bladder suspension operations which have both proven unsuccessful. While healing from the second of the bladder procedures, I began to notice that I was hurting everywhere. I discovered I had stress fractures in both feet. That later began ruptured achilles of both heels, knees that came out of the knee cap trackings and general aches and pains. After 6 months of casts, walkers, and minicasts, the neurologist had me tested for sleeping disorders and found me to have apnea and to require a mask in order to open my throat. Bottom line, the bladder and everything seems to relate to the migraine condition. The neurologist and orthopedic sent me to a rheumatologist who has settled upon fibromyalgia as the diagnosis that has caused much of my physical distress. They have yet to discover how this relates to my daily migraine headaches for which I now take Neurontin and Prozac as well. It is the matter of which came first, the muscle disorder or the neurological condition. I have been optimistic and as active as I have been able to be, but I can only sympathize with others who have lived with any form of pain, be it headache, body pains, etc. Please email me if you have experienced anything this all encompassing. I am still getting used to my quieter lifestyle, although my spirit remains undaunted. Debra

---Debra Matthews <>
Miami, FL USA -

Has anyone ever taken these combinations? I'm taking Neurontin and Zoloft daily plus Ultram for pain. Tried recently Parlodel with bad results for menstrual migraine which lasts 4-7 days monthly. I'm truly amazed at the number of sufferers.

---angelao <hoosierOs>
Kansas City, MO USA -

i am 30 yrs. old. I suffer from migraine headache atleast twice a week. the pain only radiates in the right top side of my head. I do not have nausea/vomiting. I do experience numbness and tingling on the left side of my body. my foot, toes, tongue, arm, fingers(all on the left side) i have been to several neurologists and they cannot find anything wrong with me. they just look at me like i am crazy and they ask me "are you sure this is happening?" any help for me would be well appreciated!

---angie lafollette <www.angie>
louisville, ky USA -

I am a 28 year old female and started having Migraines at age 4. I had horrible pain, sensitivity to light and got sick to my stomach. Finally, my mother took me to a DR. and found out what I was having. I went through several tests, scans etc. They thought maybe at first I had a tumor or siezures. I was perscribed Dilantin at age 5 and took it for a year with no relief. Then, after seeing a new Dr. was perscribed a new pill to take as soon as onset occurred. To this day my mother can't remember what it was called! Anyway, they finally disapeared in 1st grade. Then, after becoming pregnant with my first child at age 21, they reappeared. I have had them since then. I have been on all kinds of medications, even when I was pregnant. The Dr. put me on Midrin then saying it was about the safest thing to take during pregnancy. It worked great through the next 2 children then they got worse. I was put on Tylenol 3, and that was like eating candy. No relief. Then I was put on some arthritis med., but still no relief. Imitrex shots were next. I hate needles, but at this point a gun sounded good!! Some relief but then the back of my neck felt like someone poured acid on it! I felt like I could'nt breath and my chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it. He then switched it to Imitrex tablets, same thing happened. He then ordered more cat-scans and more tests, found out my brain was fine(still), he was about to give up. He asked if I had them around the time of my cycle. I said YES, but I also had them on average 4 times a month or more. Some would last 3 days. So he then put me on Elavil (antidepressant) 1 tab before bed, every day. That was in Aug. and it really worked, at least for 2 months. I have had at least 8 since Oct. Big ones! All the symptoms. I have taken the med. every night as directed. It seems like whenever my body gets "used" to the meds. the headaches come back. Does anyone have any suggestions or comments? I have 3 kids so lying down in a dark, quiet place is almost impossible. Sometimes my husband can hold down the fort, but I can't tell my headaches when it would be a "good" time to appear!! He has to work and can't always be there at the right time! Sorry for the "book", but I thought maybe some of the background may be helpful. Any suggestions or comments, please e-mail. Thanks and I wish you all a headache- free month! (lifetime would be even better!) Penny

---Penny <>

I have just remembered that I had a very bad case of chickenpox during the year that my headaches began. I was wondering if this could have been a factor? Has anyone out there had the same experience?

---Jennifer <>
San Francisco, CA USA -

I have daily headaches that were diagnosed as Migraine Variant. I have tried several prescribed drugs, preventatives and abortives, with no success. I've just resolved to live with the headaches. Most of the time I will have just a headache and no nausea, but sometimes nausea just takes over (and I didn't even realize that I had a headache). When I get the nausea and hot flashes it prevents me from doing anything. The only relief is to lie down and sleep. Does anyone have similar symptoms and know of any relief? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

---Michele Traum <>
Auburn Hills, MI USA -

I am 13 years old and I have had many migranes before. The first time I had a migrane I was only 12yrs. old. I don't know what has made my migranes appear but, my father thinks it is because of stress.

---Samantha Evans <>
douglas, ga USA -

I started having migraines after the birth of my first son. The cause was due to a spinal. I have never recovered from them. I had been taken Midrin and Imitrex injections but did not like the way the Imietrex made me feel. I finally started seeing a Neurologist the past couple of months. He prescribed Trazodone and DHE. I am a bit leary about taking the DHE. Has anyone out there ever taken it? I'd like to know its effectiveness. I have this constant pain. It seems like it never goes away. I get terrible anxiety attacks because of them. I swear that I am dying. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could treat these attacks?

---Lynne Broman <>
Burbank, CA USA -

I have been suffering from cluster headaches since fall 1988. I have had afew years of break butt the cluster seasonstated bak in november. I have tried numbers of diffeent treatments but what seems to be working presently is verapamil and Sansert as prophylactic treatment. Fiorinal codeine still is effective but is not fast enough. Cannot use Imitrex or DHE.

---Alain Blais <>

My anme is Jon Graham and I have been a migraineur for approximately a year now. I am 16 years of age, a non-smoker, non-drug user, and I do not consume alcohol or caffiene for that matter but I still manage to get the excruciating unilateral (left)pain at least 2 times per week, usually 3. The average duration of my 'typical' attacks is approximately 34 hours, the headaches range from 5 hours to 72 hours. My teachers don't take my condition seriously and I have lost a lot of friends because I was unable to keep dates and because I have become somewhat of a recluse. I can't live my life the way I want to live it, I just do what I can with the pain stopping me very often. I have missed about a month of school so far, and consequently, I have work from late November to make up. I get depressed and discouraged and I am begining to grow apathetic to the problems I face because I see no hope. The doctors tried many medications...Midrin, DHE, Compazine, Naprosyn, apitryptaline, codein, percodan, demerol, Imitrex, tylenol#3...just to name a few. Some teachers are very non-understanding in terms of allowing me more time to complete some assignments, and my strong Catholic beliefs and my desire not to hurt my loved ones are the only thing stopping me from suicide. I am optomistic that my suffering has a purpose... Sorry to be so long-winded but I've had all this on my mind and thought I could illustrate the way migraine controls our lives in some cases. JOn

---Jon <>
Dracut, MA USA -

I am 29 years old and have been suffering with migraines since I was 12. I have tried every drug from cafergot to midrin to imitrex-injections, oral and nasal spray. I have been on several beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants and seizure medications in an effort to prevent the attacks. Nothing has worked. The only real relief I get is midrin and sleep for at lease two hours. My attacks start with a visual aura that lasts approximately 30 minutes. Immediately after the aura, the headache starts-it is bilateral and sometimes radiates into my eye. Then the nausea starts. Recently, I have been getting them approximately six times per month. I actually fear losing my job because of the times I've had to either leave early or call in sick. Nobody really understands, not even migraineurs because I get so many of them. My neurologist has practically given up on me, saying that depakote is my last option. The last time I visited my doctor, I told him that if I didn't have children, I would commit suicide-not because I am depressed but because I wake up every morning wondering if I will be able to get all of my chores accomplished, spend quality time with the kids or even go shopping because of the constant fear of the next migraine. The only migraines I can predict with some degree of accuracy are the two that I get the week before my menstrual period.

---Jody <>

I am one of the unlucky ones who seems to have several migraines every week. The first one I ever had was when I was pregnant with my second child. I had eaten a hot fudge cake and woke up the next day with a very bad headache (Oct. 1981). From then until around 1984 I only had a few a year. Then in 1984 we went thru some serious problems and I started having headaches quite often. Since that time I have been on every kind of medicine that they have ever come out with for headaches. At the present time I on only on pain medication for headaches (Midrin, Fiornal w/codine, and Stadol Nasal Spray). When the headache gets so bad that I cannot keep anything down (about once every week or so now) I have to go to the doctor and get a shot of phenegran and stadol. Every medicine I have been on worked for a few months, and then it would stop working. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the headache. Any one have any suggestions for medicines to try?


---Karen Vertrees <>