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Monday, October 7, 2013

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A Migraine *Just For You*

Women, already twice as likely to suffer from chronic migraines as men, may also require different treatment for their bouts; Harvard scientist Nasim Maleki suggests we even consider men's and women's migraines "different diseases altogether." From Scientific American:

In women with chronic migraines, the posterior insula does not seem to thin with age, as it does for everyone else, including male migraineurs and people who do not have migraines. The region starts thick and stays thick.

We don't know yet whether the thickening of the insula is something the brain is doing to protect itself or something that worsens women's migraines, Maleki says. Yet the evidence is mounting that when it comes to migraines, men's and women's brains are structurally and functionally different. For treatment, that knowledge could make a huge impact: not only should researchers be better about testing potential migraine drugs on men and women separately, Maleki says, but they may be able to design new treatments based on these brain differences—giving both sexes a better chance at relief.

I've never had a migraine, and it's a really difficult thing to conceive of. How do yours look? What are your home remedies for the posterior insula? [Scientific American, Read the study here]

62 Comments / Post A Comment

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I know I'm getting a migraine when my vision cuts out in half my eye, replaced by darkness and sparkles like stars. At that point, I have a choice: either pump myself full of caffeine and painkillers, hoping to avoid the monster and its wrath, or put myself to sleep and hope I miss most of the storm brewing in my head. When a full migraine hits, and I'm awake for it, it feels like there is a too much brain for too little skull, like my head will burst from the pressure. It's only during migraines that I understand how some people with perhaps less of a hold on reality will actually drill into their heads in an effort to relieve the pressure. I take painkillers, hoping they'll stay down, but I usually throw up due to pain. Eventually, the pressure and waves of pain start unfurling down my neck, and into my shoulders, and my body tightens up, trying to shield itself, and makes me sweaty.

The next day, when the main earthquake of pain is gone, there are still aftershocks, like echoes of pain bouncing around in my head if I'm in the light too long. My body is sore, like I've done a massive weightlifting workout on my traps and shoulders and neck, and my head is like a giant, tender blister that refuses to pop.

TL;DR migraines are horrible and gross.

Eyre Apparent

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose That's just like mine, except that sometimes I get pins and needles down one side of my body and lose functionality. Most of the time, since I don't have insurance and can't afford a prescription that's $10/pill, I just have to work through it and despite it. Fortunately, they don't happen often. Unfortunately, when they do, they usually come daily for anywhere from a week to a month.

AMS
AMS

Ohhhhh. How do ours look? Me: Head in a horrible crippling vise, extreme light sensitivity, unbearable nausea, can't do a thing. If near a bed: crawl into bed, turn off lights, close curtains, take two super-strength Nurofen, ask the nearest person for a neck/head massage, make sure it's as quiet as possible, sleep for 3-4 hours. That seems to help. If at work: cross fingers you don't faint before you get home.

MashaNigel

Original article here, in case anyone wants a look.

Emma Carmichael

@MashaNigel Thanks, I'll add as well.

MashaNigel

@Emma Carmichael Thanks.

I don't think my migraines are as bad as most people's, honestly. I get the limb-tingles, and the lightshow (usually looks kind of like the way light plays through water - little veins shifting around in my vision), and of course I'm better off if there's a dark hole to crawl into for a few hours. They are, however, really embarrassing: my tell that it's not just a bad headache is that I'll start to cry. over something petty, like a fear I've parked somewhere I'll get a ticket, or a download that fails. I figure my brain is trying to release pressure or something, and crying does help with that, but ...yep. Humiliating.

sulpicius subuculus

usually at an unexpected moment, i discover i can't read; when i try to focus on a word, i can't see the letters directly in front of me, only those off to the side. it's not that i have a blind spot, more like i can't focus in the middle of my vision. sometimes my left arm goes numb and i get those tinglies like when your leg falls asleep. then just blinding, seizing head pain that i can't seem to compare to any other kind of headache; it's not like those ones where you have a spot of pain, or like those ones where it feels like your head is being squeezed; it's more like my head just turns into ache. light seems to make it worse, but darkness doesn't seem to make it better. nothing seems to touch it medication-wise. really all that can be done is to get into bed.

bocadelperro

I picture my migraines as a blossom of pain behind my right eye that extends its petals around my head and into the back of my skull. If I'm lucky enough to catch it early, four advil and a diet coke usually takes care of the pain, but I'm still exhausted, mentally impaired, prone to nausea and starving for the rest of the rest of the day. I also have to wear dark glasses inside, even if I'm in a darkened room. Fluorescent lights are a special sort of torture.

One time, when I was coming home from work with a migraine, I swore I saw a horse walking down the street, but it was just a woman wearing black with long black hair.

jeriblank

I get horrible migraines once a month that cause me to vomit repeatedly for days. I see a neurologist and I've been prescribed every medication under the sun without much relief. One thing I've realized in trying to find something that works is that most specialists don't really know what causes migraines, they just guess at what might help based on what they *think* is happening in your head. This study is interesting, but ultimately a bit frustrating. More research is a good thing, but I'd really like a study that will find out what I can do to my thick skull to keep it from ruining my life every month.

Pinot

@jeriblank
It sounds like they're occurring around your hormonal cycle. Talk to your gynecologist about progesterone only birth control pills, or POPS. The POPS doesn't have the synthetic estrogen that causes migraines in traditional BC pills. I had the same thing, where every month, I would get a migraine that would wreck me from anywhere from a day to 4 days. The POPS evens out my hormone fluctuations, and was a miracle. I now maaaybe get one migraine every 3 months.

karrrren

mine don't usually involve as much pain as others seem to have, but i almost invariably get some kind of light show. usually it's either yellow or white lights, always moving but in various ways. then i may or may not have a lot of pain, but i get super tired and often kind of stupid and slow for several days. every medication i ever tried gave me side effects that were as bad or worse than the headache itself.

my only remedy, home or otherwise, is sleep. i have to sleep as much as i can as soon as i can, and if i'm lucky i won't feel weird for a whole week.

Better to Eat You With

@karrrren I have only had them a few times, but mine are like this, as well.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@karrrren Migraine variants! One of the first ones I had was when I was 16 and in math class, and suddenly the bottom half of the white board was hot pink, and then it looked like I was looking out of eyes that had been swiped with a pink highlighter.

Killerpants

@karrrren I get the ocular migraines too, and have yet to get a headache with them (thankful for that part). I get lightening bolts and/or northern lights in my vision, light sensitivity, once I had vertigo, and generally am completely weakened physically and mentally. And it makes me hazy and dull for at least a day and sometimes two days after. Mine seem to be exercise-induced for the most part, and are fortunately not very frequent.

chrysopoeia

So, I get these headaches that usually only happen on one side of my head, and I would genuinely scoop out my fucking eyeball if i knew it would relieve the pressure. It is then followed by severe exhaustion. But I don't get any other migraine symptoms. What is wrong with my head???

MashaNigel

@chrysopoeia Sounds like cluster headaches, and I am so sorry. They're not migraines, but they apparently do hurt like hell. (And pain is exhausting.)

chrysopoeia

@MashaNigel Welp, after reading that wikipedia page I feel a whole lot better about being furious when told I was overreacting to a headache. This makes soooooooo much more sense now.

MashaNigel

@chrysopoeia Pulled that up, and wow. Yeah, tell anyone who gives you trouble that your "headache" is possibly the worst pain human beings experience. (Punching them and adding, "Yeah, worse than that" is optional, but recommended.)

Malum Prohibitum

I had my last migraine on my 18th birthday (I'm now 24). They were unbelievably bad, and I got my first one in elementary school. They started with a tired feeling in my brain, like the way your legs might feel after climbing five flights of stairs while carrying a heavy box. That feeling would grow until it felt like my brain was on fire. Light would be unbearable - even being in a regularly-lit room with my eyes closed felt like the light was going to make my brain explode. The slightest noise, like a sniff or a small cough, felt like a dagger to the eye. In high school, I was on all sorts of meds for the migraines, but I still had to lie down for at least half an hour until the meds kicked in.
In my family, migraines tend to come in phases. I consider myself pretty lucky that I've made it all the way through college and most of law school without one, but I know they'll come back eventually. :/

celeec4@twitter

For better or worse, my wibbly wobbly light show doesn't start until it is far too late and definitely a migraine. At which point, I'm kind of trapped where-ever I happen to be. The first horrible sinking notion it might be a migraine generally comes when the headache refuses to respond to my general solution of 3 tablets of ibuprofen + chug a mug of coffee.

Light is painful, and I also get really sensitive to sound? Basically, any sort of stimulus/input from my senses feels amped to 120%. Which means nausea is often a delightful thing that tags along, and really bad ones make me throw up.

The next day, there's what I like to call a "migraine hangover." Where your entire body and head all feel sore from spending a day in drugged out tension/crying from the pain/not eating/vaguely dehydrated.

Fortunately, frequency is something like, 3-4/year, +/-2. Not sure I could handle any more than that. The intensity has gotten worse since my early 20s, though. UGH.

...I only did the idiot thing once of driving myself home during the baby migraine stages. Still don't know how I didn't get into an accident.

autumng

@celeec4@twitter I call them migraine hangovers as well!

celeec4@twitter

@autumng Isn't it a fun and evocative way of describing just how terrible you feel the next day even though the pain is technically gone? (Well, on my terrible relative pain scale when it comes to migraines, anyways.)

Gingineer

Timely! I used to have horrible teenage girl migraines (blind spot, vomiting, numb fingers, etc etc) but then they went away.

And recently I developed what I *thought* were just sinus headaches, and then I thought they were allergy sinus headaches triggered by alcohol and weather changes, and THEN I realized on Saturday that they're actually migraines (the blind spot came back).

Fun fact: generic migraine medicine is $109 for 9 pills. Neat!

siniichulok

@Gingineer UGH, I hate that!! I need them in order to function, and I have extended health insurance until July (husband got laid off but retains his benefits until then), and even so they're like $5 per pill or something. Why they are so @)#($*ing expensive, I have no idea.

sbizzle

@Gingineer I thought mine were sinus headaches, too! Mine start with a feeling that a spike is being driven vertically through the right ride of my head and slowly moves through my right eye, nose/cheek, and into my teeth. A couple Excedrin right when it starts and keeping perfectly still seem to help. If that doesn't work, strategically touching parts of my head seems to relieve some pressure.

MissMushkila

I started getting migraines in elementary school, and I still do, but MUCH more rarely. I've figured out that for me, the most important thing I can do is keep to a regular sleeping/eating schedule. They tend to pounce when I am sleep deprived and starving. (I once read a research article that said this is pretty common with migraine sufferers, because the brain is more reactive to stress?...or something)

My migraines sometimes start as sudden vertigo - I feel like I'm drunk, only it will be in the middle of work and I'm sober. If I don't catch it, the pain gets really bad. On occasion, they hurt so bad I throw up, although more often than not I'm just miserable. Light hurts, and it is really hard to focus on anything else. I will sometimes find myself crying or silently bargaining with God (which is kind of embarrassing, because I definitely do not believe in a personal intervening God - but man, when you can think of nothing but pain, things get weird).

I did see a neurologist at one point, when I was suffering from rebound headaches from too frequently medicating my migraines with ibuprofen, and she rotated me through a bunch of the migraine treatments until I found one that works. I'm bad about keeping it on hand though, because insurance doesn't cover it and I always run out of packs or am without it when the migraine hits.

iceberg

something something gender binary? I am too lazy to read the linked article, but I wonder if the distinction between men's migraines and women's migraines is absolute and how it presents with trans* or folks who don't identify with one gender...

MashaNigel

@iceberg I think that's a fantastic question, especially considering (as mentioned a little in above threads) that hormone levels seem to play into women's migraines particularly. But they studied all of ... 44 people, including 11 migraine sufferers of each (presumably cis-)gender, and they just looked at ... er, the head-picture, not the endocrine-picture?
(I am not an endocrinologist. Or an anaesthesiologist, which is what the leader of the study was?)

de Pizan

I would get maybe one or two migraines a month most of my life until 3 years ago, when suddenly I starting have a combination of migraines/cluster headaches every single day for 8 months. Neurologists have given me everything under the sun, tried all sorts of diet restrictions/physical therapy/etc, including botox injections; and mostly with daily preventative meds, the migraines have hovered mostly around 3-4 a week. Although there was a few blissful months where it was down to 1-2 a week. Last week I had one that lasted 4 days straight (usually it will subside by the end of the day/with medication before starting up again). Lately I've been getting more of the cluster headaches, and it's all been in my face/around my eye sockets/jaw especially. It's a combination of feeling like someone's drilling into my face/face being on fire.

autumng

@de Pizan I posted this on the most recent migraine article, but thought you might be able to use it:

I know you have heard everything, but I'm in the same boat you are and thought I might throw an idea your way. A couple of months ago I had what I assumed was a major ear infection in both ears, but my ENT said my ears were perfect and that it's possible I have TMJ which could also cause my migraines.

I visited a TMJ doctor and he confirmed that my jaws weren't aligned and that the cartilage on my right side had moved outside the joint. Three weeks ago I started wearing an expensive TMJ mouth guard that I will wear 24 hours a day (except for when I'm eating and brushing my teeth) for six months.

I hope beyond hope that this will fix my problems. Last year I went through a four month period of a 24-hour migraine. I just could not kick it. It's the only time in my life I've ever considered suicide. I hope to never go through that again. Now I take the random migraines and go with it as I definitely prefer it to the alternative. However, cross fingers this ugly, bulky TMJ brace works. Maybe go get your jaw checked out?

Sorry for the rambling. My (daily) headache gets worse in the afternoon after staring at the computer screen all day. Makes it hard to focus.

de Pizan

@autumng I've considered the TMJ thing. I do have a sexy sexy nightguard because I tend to clench/grind my teeth at night. And I've always had a lot of jaw popping/pain. None of my dentists have thought it was an issue to do any major interventions; but it's probably something I should really pursue further. Unfortunately I'm uninsured till the ACA kicks in (thanks Obama).
I hope that works for you and you see improvement. Migraines suck so hardcore.

siniichulok

I started getting migraines when I was seven, and they went untreated until I graduated from college (my mother thought they were appropriate punishment for being a Bad Child in her eyes). I can usually tell that they're about to happen because I get sensitive to light and strangely depressed and irritated and uncomfortable. They happen on one side and often make me throw up from the pain (the worst ones made me black out). I also want to do terrible things to whatever eye is on the side of the migraine, because it hurts so badly. I used get what I thought were many short sinus infections that were probably migraines.
My triggers include ovulation/period, something like 50 different kinds of food, too much light, sunshine without sunglasses (yay Transitions lenses!), prolonged exposure to loud noises, too much exercise, not enough exercise, alcohol, dehydration, stress, not enough sleep, lack of air circulation, low barometric pressure, and humidity. I have a fantasy of being migraine-free someday, but who knows. I take Imitrex, though rarely I can make it go away with caffeine and OTC painkillers alone. (OTC painkillers don't really work very well on me since I dosed myself so much with them when I was growing up.) I got three terrible migraines in the first trimester and then nothing the rest of the time I was pregnant. It was awesome! So I guess the third home remedy is being pregnant....

celeec4@twitter

@siniichulok Oooh, Imitrex. Love/hate relationship. It pretty much knocks me flat on my back, so if I can keep it down and not toss my cookies, I can sleep through the worst of the migraine. Ugh, migraines.

AMS
AMS

@siniichulok Yes, this! Apart from 2 migraines in the 1st trimester, I can't believe how migraine-free pregnant me is right now. It's fantastic. I have no idea what the reason is behind this (I'd love a more scientific answer than "...it's probably hormones!"). If only it could remain this way after the entire 9 months are over...

DullHypothesis

@siniichulok A good friend's mother is migraine free since pregnancy, 30 years and counting.

Kimberly Pine, Drummer

All of mine are slightly different, but let's talk about the one I had on Sunday night for funsies:

I started feeling tired and light sensitive in the early evening, and about an hour later I developed a smudgy blind spot in the middle of my vision, like eye goo that wouldn't be blinked away. The vision issues are almost always the first sign, so I took as much soluble aspirin as I could get my hands on and took myself to bed. Unfortunately, I wasn't tired enough to sleep, so I lay there in the dark listening to podcasts for a bit before getting bored enough to drop off. I bought an eye mask for wearing during migraines a couple of months ago, thinking I was clever, but even though it is indeed dark enough, I'd forgotten that having anything on my head hurts like hell, so I pulled it back off. Luckily, I managed to sleep through the worst of it, and only had minor problems moving my head yesterday.

Fun fact: I've been told that much of the body's usual processes go into stand-by mode during a migraine, so the trick to staving one off is to get to the medication before the pain kicks in. Living by this rule has seemed to help a lot - if I take my bucket of aspirin too late, I'm down for days instead of hours.

Most of my migraines follow this pattern, except sometimes I get a rainbow halo at the top right of my vision which is actually very pretty, except it makes me anxious knowing that the pain will follow. Sometimes I throw up. Sometimes I fall asleep with my head at a weird angle because that's the only thing that seems to ease the pressure a bit. The pain usually settles behind one eye, over the top of my head and down to the nape of my neck. I frequently can't look down for days afterwards, because it feels like my brain has swelled and is trying to escape through my eyeballs when I do.

I got them constantly as a teenager, but not so much anymore. Triggers include hormonal changes, changes to my SSRI dosage or type, impending illness (which was Sunday's winner - I have a vile flu right now), and stress. I've never seen anyone about my migraines specifically, because my mother also gets them and her descriptions were vivid enough for me to recognise what was going on when I got my first at 14. I'm 31 now, and if I'm anything like my mum they'll carry on at least until menopause. Sigh.

myeviltwin

All of these comments make me so grateful that I don't get migraines. Hang in there Pinners!

supernintendochalmers

Oh my God, these sound horrible. I've never had a migraine either *knocks wood* and before reading these it was really hard for me to understand why someone would take a day off work because of a headache. Feel better, Pinners!

siniichulok

Has anybody had their migraines dismissed or otherwise misunderstood? I was just remembering how, in this one job that I hated when I was in my mid-twenties, I'd get a Monday migraine every week because I hated it so much, and the other people whom I worked with, most of whom were pretty nice (I just hated the job itself), were all at least 30 years older than I was. They'd see me looking, well, like I had a migraine, and be all, "ha ha, naughty naughty! Someone's been partying!" I'd say I had a migraine and they'd be like, "oh no, I remember from my glory days when I had a hangover! I know what that looks like!" A couple of times I had to go home from work because it was that bad (at least the director believed me), and people would look at me on the subway like I was drunk. Good times, yo.

tangomango

@siniichulok I once went on a date with dude, then got the first migraine of my life the day after. I was helpless in bed for 3-4 days, weak, nauseous, numb, simultaneously too hot and shivering. I could barely drag myself to the bathroom. I couldn't eat anything but apples because food had acquired a strange, sweet-metallic taste that sickened me.

He texted me a bunch of times and got very mad when I didn't respond. I told him I had a migraine attack and had been bedridden for days. The bastard thought I was lying just to avoid him, even after I went on a second date with him! Needless to say, I dumped his ass.

YoungCrone

@siniichulok I inherited my migraines from my mother. The way she tells it, she couldn't get any doctors to take her migraines seriously--I don't think the drugs I take today had even been developed yet, or at least no one prescribed them for her. Migraines were just one of those things that women imagined to get attention. So twice a month she would have to hole up and vomit for three days straight. For attention.

Aspiriationally Natalie

I've only started getting migraines within the past couple of years. The front part of my head starts aching, my vision gets fuzzy and it feels better when I close my eyes. Usually I just take some Tylenol and then take a nap for a few hours, that seems to make the pain go away.

My dad gets migraines on occasion (I know they're genetic), and when he's in the midst of one he just needs peace & quiet.

Quinn A@twitter

I've only ever had them when coming off birth control (Ortho Evra patches, specifically - I've never taken any other kind). I remember them as severe pain, nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. I just went to bed, threw the duvet over my head, and waited for death.

Stupidly, I went off that same birth control three times before I realized that I actually didn't enjoy dating or sleeping with men all that much.

Pim Robert@facebook

I used to go numb on one side and my lips would go all tingly. I would be able to envision words and sentences in my head but be unable to say the word or structure the sentence correctly, like the time I tried to tell my husband I had a nightmare about cockroaches but all I could say was 'creepy, crunchy forms.' There's also a strange blindness, like I'm looking down a cardboard toilet paper tube, like I only have access to a small aperture of vision. Sudden light will make me spontaneously throw up. If I get it in the night, even though my head is exploding, I sometimes won't know what is happening and will stagger to the bathroom out of instinct. Flicking on the light instigates immediate vomiting. The pain is indescribable. I like to use a pain scale of my own device, which is what would you be willing to do to end the pain? Cut off a finger? An arm? Never walk again? Lose your sight? These are all things that I would have been willing to trade to end the pain had it been unending. The only relief is the knowledge that it is temporary. And strangely, sometimes sex.

Megasus

I was very lucky, and when I started getting migraines suddenly in my early 20s, it turned out to be because I had a super, super bad underbite. It cost like 8 grand to fix it, but it was worth it.

Susanna

Usually it's just a persistent, one-sided headache. I go to bed and sleep it off, feel a bit groggy the next day.

The one insaneo mega one I had began with those weird crenellation shapes moving across my eyes, then comets raining down, then having tunnel vision, than a headache which left me writhing in pain and took two full weeks to totally clear up. I think I lost about half a stone. I was so out of it that I would fall asleep on people midsentence. I do not know how people cope when they have those on a regular basis.

The mega one was the first I was aware of and I ordered and read Oliver Sacks book on migraines – I think it was the best thing I did. There are a huge number of case studies in it which are fascinating, and although the science is out of date, it did teach me that (as I understand it) a migraine is the result of some kind of overload, whether it's stress, hormones or a food that's a problem. This meant that I didn't waste a bunch of time cutting x or y out of my diet. Mine was a combo of dehydration, the climax of a very hurtful relationship and having mismatched contact lenses...

iknowright

Everyone, go right now and Google "In Bed" by Joan Didion. You can download the text for free.

I read it for the first time as a freshman in undergrad, 5 years after my first migraine, and it made me feel so much better, so much more understood, to read about my pain in her beautiful writing.

Also -- I hate the people who don't believe my migraines are as bad as they are, but I am also not a fan of the people who are like, "Ugh I have the worst migraine!" And they're still like, acting totally normal and fine? Please don't exaggerate your headache, because it makes those of us who puke, cry, press their heads into walls, and fall apart look less legitimate.

RebeccaKW

@iknowright Exactly. If you have a migraine, even if it's not the worst ever, you aren't able to post on Facebook about it.

MashaNigel

@iknowright Erm, no? I think this thread is indication enough that everyone's migraines (and pain responses! And coping strategies! and and and!) are a little different, so could this actually not be a competition for legitimacy/right to claim we feel like crap just to try to persuade assholes who think they can judge our amount of/right to be in pain that they're wrong?

RebeccaKW

@MashaNigel That's totally true. Not a competition. But how I took her comment was that those with a real migraine, of whatever symptom/pain level, are not always believed by others because some people claim to have a migraine when they probably just have a headache. Not that they don't have pain, etc. It's easy to get frustrated when you ask your boss to leave work because you have a migraine and he says no, because That Person had a migraine and was able to stay at work and work on accounting spreadsheets, etc.

iknowright

@RebeccaKW Thank you, yes, this is exactly what I meant. Of course it isn't a competition -- but there are people who say things that are inaccurate, and misrepresent others in the process. I have a friend with crohn's disease who feels the same frustrations when someone says they have like, a terrible stomachache and then still eat tons of food or get drunk in front of him. If your stomach hurt that bad, you couldn't do that.

MashaNigel

@RebeccaKW I mean, I get that, but I also think the boss is the problem there. Period.
(Of course, the boss is always the problem.)

jooya

In college, I started to get these massive headaches that I described as "someone shoving a broom handle through the back of my head and stabbing me in the eyeballs." I was taking 3200mg of Excedrin tension headache about 4 times a day, trying to work through it all without vomiting or crying from the pain. The neurologists I saw all had different theories, ranging from stress headache to migraine to tumor... turned out that I had occipital neuralgia, where basically the occipital nerve in the back of my head would shoot pain throughout my scalp and eyes. I have had to get a few nerve blocks [read: lidocaine shot into my scalp] and I took anti-seizure meds for a few years, because those seemed to have an effect on occipital neuralgia patients as well. I am [mostly] all better now though!

The only funny part about all of that is when they called it a migraine and put me on Imitrex; the first time I took one of those pills, I was unable to chew anything for a few hours.

Tammy Pajamas

@jooya Interesting. That's what my (diagnosed as) migraines are like. Did the Imitrex help you (mine works pretty well, but I'd love to try anything that makes them go away forever!)?

jooya

@Tammy Pajamas - The Imitrex didn't help at all, sadly. I was on Neurontin [gabarpentin] for a while, which dulled the headaches but gave me extreme night terrors. Then, I took Topomax, which also dulled the headaches but took away my appetite and changed how some things tasted [Diet Coke, for example]. The things that helped the most were lidocaine nerve block treatments and actually, a heating pad on my neck/back of my head. I haven't had any severe ones in a while, but when I feel a headache coming on, I immediately drink some caffeine and pop some ibuprofen. I hope yours get better!

Tammy Pajamas

@jooya Thanks! Imitrex works pretty well for me (ibuprofen does nothing). I might try the heating pad bit. Thanks again!

TheLetterL

Late to the party, but does anyone else have different experiences based on the trigger? I colloquially call what I experience "migraines," although I haven't sought treatment; however, each one is slightly different. For example, if I'm going to have a hormonally-triggered "migraine" I get an aura about two days beforehand that involves minor vision changes, klutziness, and heightened sense of smell and hearing. Other triggers (weather change, caffeine withdrawal) cause different issues.

RebeccaKW

I generally get the one-sided headache, more often than not with pain in the neck, and almost always nausea. Lack of focus. I'm grateful to not get the tingles or the eye issues, but I am so much sympathy for those who do. I got them pretty often in college, with the stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet that usually accompanies a poor college student. I still get them, not as often thankfully, but they are worse now. Same symptoms, but they used to go away once I took a nap. Now, I can have it for 2 days. Excedrin migraine pills do help.

dham

I got them only when I worked in an office, and they stopped after I had them turn off the fluorescent lights overhead. I guess studies indicate this correlation is false? But I was satisfied with the solution.

They weren't nearly as bad as those here, but I would have to go home, put a blanket over my head to block out sound and light, and just sort of lie there in too much pain to sleep but unable to look at or listen to anything.

autumng

I posted this on the most recent migraine article, but felt it relevant here:

I know you have heard everything, but I'm in the same boat you are and thought I might throw an idea your way. A couple of months ago I had what I assumed was a major ear infection in both ears, but my ENT said my ears were perfect and that it's possible I have TMJ which could also cause my migraines.

I visited a TMJ doctor and he confirmed that my jaws weren't aligned and that the cartilage on my right side had moved outside the joint. Three weeks ago I started wearing an expensive TMJ mouth guard that I will wear 24 hours a day (except for when I'm eating and brushing my teeth) for six months.

I hope beyond hope that this will fix my problems. Last year I went through a four month period of a 24-hour migraine. I just could not kick it. It's the only time in my life I've ever considered suicide. I hope to never go through that again. Now I take the random migraines and go with it as I definitely prefer it to the alternative. However, cross fingers this ugly, bulky TMJ brace works. Maybe go get your jaw checked out?

Sorry for the rambling. My (daily) headache gets worse in the afternoon after staring at the computer screen all day. Makes it hard to focus.

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