My "hormonal" migraines are more severe and less treatable, but more predictable. They occur 2-6 times per month both before and after my period starts. They are accompanied by diarrhea, nausea (and occasional vomiting), auras, a feeling of tightness and burden over my whole body. Imitrex often works well to control the pain, but not always, and it doesn't affect any of the other symptoms. Unfortunately, I had a reaction to my last Imitrex injection (2 nickle-sized hot red spots at the site of the injection), so I fear my days of using Imitrex are at an end. These migraines last from 36 to 72 hours. These episodes are followed by 2-3 days of malaise, i.e., the washed out, exhausted feeling that usually follows a bad case of stomach flu. Chocolate and red wine are the only foods that I have found to date that seem to have an effect on these migraines.
I have found that ice packs seem to help if I can use them in the early stages of a migraine, and if I can spend several hours with my head buried in the ice packs--usually this entails going to bed for the night. I take two codeine tablets and climb into bed with my head wrapped in soft ice packs. Often I awake without any lingering pain. I've also found that making every effort to eat well regularly and to rest during an attack seems to enhance recovery. The biggest aid has been learning not to panic at the onset of a migraine. Now that my migraines are under control, I know I'll survive. My first attack lasted for a month. After that, whenever a headache struck, which was all too often, I reacted with intense fear, which I think actually made the attack worse. Now, I know that I can treat myself, and even if the treatment doesn't work well, the attack will end in a few days. I now rarely wish for a handy guillotine to end the torture. I also no longer force myself to fulfill obligations while in pain. I've learned that if "friends" can't understand, it's their problem, not mine. I have my own problems to deal with--namely, migraines. I'm fortunate, all of my family and most of my friends are very supportive and understanding.
Ronda, thanks for your page. Reading about others experiences is enlightening and encouraging. Does anyone know where I can find a list of suspect foods? I only know the most famous, e.g., cheese, chocolate, red wine, shell fish, etc.
That night was only the beginning of my migraines. I suffered for the next 2 years. As time went on, they became more frequent until it was an every day occurance. The pain and nausea was so bad, I couldn't eat, sleep, or function at all. I even lost 30 lbs. I went to my doctor over and over. He was very sympathetic but outside of pain medication; vicoden and darvocet, and running between his office and the emergency room for shots of demerol, he was at his wits-end on what else to do. I felt hopeless. I was on Inderal and Midrin for a while. Nothing seemed to work. I had CAT and PET scans, EEG's, blood tests, lumbar punctures, nothing showed any abnormalties.
One day, I was enlightened of a HeadPain Management Clinic at a hospital north of town. Here, they were staffed with a team of Neurologists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Dieticians, Dentists, Nurses and other health disciplines who were caring, dedicated and sympathetic to me and my head pain. This place made all the difference in the world for me. I was admitted to this hospital as an impatient where I was introduced to several different medications; DHE, Corgard, Pamelor as well as biofeedback, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. This program really worked for me! I even began to have headache free days and it was GREAT!
Now, 4 years later, I'm doing fantastic! I have many many pain-free days. I'm no longer on any preventative medications, nor do I suffer the severity that I once did. I still get a headache every once in a while, nothing to the extent that I did. The last year, I think I only suffered two migraines and was able to get them under control myself.
I am very understanding and sympathetic to people who suffer with migraines. How unfortunate it is that so few people truly appreciate what is means to suffer with a severe headache. I know the frustrations of trying to convince society, your co-workers, and your family that you are sick because headaches are so poorly understood.
Thank You for this page. I urge people who suffer not to give up hope on finding help. I've come across a good book by Dr. Joel Saper - "Help for Headaches." It also talks about these HeadPain Centers which are beginning to sprout around the country. It's worth looking into.
I've tried pretty much anything that has been suggested to me, Cat Scans, EEGs, Sinus x-rayed, Jaw examined, Eyes tested, Allergies tested, Beta-blockers, Feverfew, anti-depressants all of. The most I received was a couple unwanted pounds, hallucinations, an overdose of painkillers and a loss of faith in doctors. I'd give it and run.
I have what has been classified as a "Chronic Daily Headache." From the moment I wake up to the time I fall asleep I have this horrible pain. I have often told my friends to picture their worst hangover headache and that is what I have everyday of my life. Sometimes better sometimes worse, but always constant. I'd give it and run.
They seem to come in waves over a matter of weeks, progressing until I am reduced to a crying child in a dark room, then receding and gainig. I can handle them on a day to day basis but when I look to my future it overwhelms me. I have no desire to have children the thought of the crying, the constant questions, the smells it isn't possible. Until they go away I will never have a family. I'd give it and run.
My family and friends have been so wonderful and understanding. It must be hard on them, not only that my mood swings are unmeasureable but also to see me in such pain. Yet they rub my back and bring me hotwater bottles for my neck. My boyfriend is always just a phonecall away in the middle of the night to listen to my sobs and reassure me I'm going to make it just fine. I've grown up so much faster than my peers I am not a normal 19 year old. One doctor asked me how I get out of bed each day, I can only do it with the support of my family and friends. I'd give it and run.
I didn't write this for the sob story effect. I am stronger than that, and I will beat this. I've got a few things to try yet, a chiropracter and an MRI scan. What I did write this for was to reach out to the other sufferers, and ask for any help or suggestions. Last night was not one of my worst headaches but I was still that sobbing child in a dark room, I may be strong but I am not superwoman I'm tired of all the pain. If you have any help please don't be afraid to e-mail me Thank you.