This is topic Frequent migraines in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
In the past week and a half, I have had three migraines, or what I assume are migraines. I've actually had more problems with the auras themselves than with the headache. I went to the student health center and the physician didn't seem too concerned, although she did refer me to a neurologist. Is this many migraines normal, though? It started somewhat abruptly--it's been a few years since I had one, and I never have more than one like this.

Also, any suggestions on making them stop?
Posted by Danzig (Member # 4704) on :
Are you on any medication, especially new medication? Edit: Or recently stopped taking anything?

[ February 12, 2005, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: Danzig ]
Posted by sndrake (Member # 4941) on :
I don't think there's anything "typical" with migraines. I'll go through periods of increased frequency and severity for no apparent reason.

The neurologist is the right way to go. There are lots of options in terms of medication. There's stuff for onset, but if you're getting them frequently, the neurologist might want to try you on something daily to reduce the frequency. I'm on 1 25mg tab of topamax per day and it seems to work well. But there are lots of other options.

Hopefully, your neurologist will explain some of them to you.
Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
Danzig, I'm on birth control pills and antidepressants. However, I've been on them for a two years and four years, respectively.
Posted by ctm (Member # 6525) on :
I'll get an increase sometimes if I'm real stressed, or if my eating habits aren't too good, or both. Fluorescent lights can realy be a trigger too.

But if the auras are something out of the ordinary, seeing a neurologist is a good idea.

edit: Shigosei, both those can be triggers, and it's not unusual for them to not botehr at first but then become triggers-- I had that problem with birth control, my sister did with antidepressants.

[ February 12, 2005, 08:19 PM: Message edited by: ctm ]
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
Any time there's a change in symptoms, frequency, or duration, it's time to see a doc, and pronto.

I used to get migraines every day, and they'd last all day, and they were hell. Turns out it was because the meds I was on - cafergot - caused a rebounding migraine in me. I had the odd bad reaction to that drug, including hallucinations, and nasty ones. *shudders*

Migraines can be caused by food allergies and stress and a whole bunch of other things. Common food triggers include wine (other types of alcohol too? I'm not sure, I don't drink, so I didn't bother to retain this in my memory.), chocolate, cheese & other dairy products, red meat, and a bunch of others I don't remember off the top of my head. You can do a search on the internet for them.

Good luck!
Posted by Danzig (Member # 4704) on :
Well, your brain is not quite finished developing, so either of those might have something to do with it. Certainly worth mentioning to your doctor. What type of antidepressants? Edit: any change in dosage recently?

[ February 12, 2005, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: Danzig ]
Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
Trazodone. I think it's in the atypical category. No, no change in dose.

[ February 12, 2005, 08:31 PM: Message edited by: Shigosei ]
Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
Also, is it okay for me to do strenous physical activity? The first migraine occurred while I was exercising, so I'm sort of reluctant to work out. I'm also wondering whether I should avoid martial arts practice until the problem is resolved.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
I've found that as long as I'm not actively in the middle of a migrane (I don't get "typical" migranes, and sometimes not even the headache, but that's another story), regular exercise can help. However, that might be different for different people. If you exercise and get another one, I'd lay off.
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I've had something like this this month and I am not on any medication.
Normally I get them once a month but they are getting worse and include nausea.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
For me, the biggest triggers are noisy, crowded rooms (like parties) and cigarette smoke.

Oh, and jackhammers and leaf blowers.

[ February 12, 2005, 10:05 PM: Message edited by: ketchupqueen ]
Posted by Tstorm (Member # 1871) on :
Hmm, the biggest cause for me is flashing lights. I think, though, that my trigger is fast flashing, not just any flashing. A badly adjusted computer monitor, when the refresh rate makes it flicker, can set it off, but a flashing light on a police car won't.

I ward off the migraine gods with caffeine. I've never had a migraine after having caffeine. A can of pepsi is plenty. I'm certain this isn't addiction to caffeine, too, because I've verified that I don't have withdrawal headaches or anything from not having caffeine regularly. My coincidental enjoyment of my migraine medicine is just an added benefit. [Smile]
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
Monitors all have a refresh rate that can set me off. Yes, I'm not insane, but I can see the flicker even when refresh is set to 80-100 Hz and it gives me migraines. I now use a laptop exclusively because of my sensitivity. It seemed the simplist solution. [Big Grin]

Caffeine, in conjunction with ibuprofen or other painkillers, seems to work reasonably well for me, provided I take it when the first warning signs appear. I have taken just about every migraine drug available, and they all lose effectiveness with me after 6-9 months of taking them. Thank heavens, I get them only rarely now. Interestingly enough, my migraines improved when my sleep disorders became resolved, which also evened out my estrogen, progesterone, and other hormone levels.
Posted by mackillian (Member # 586) on :
I get abdominal migraines and take a low daily dose of an SSRI to keep them from happening.
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
Funny...Caffeine is a trigger for a lot of people.

[ February 13, 2005, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: Kwea ]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Caffiene helps mine, too.
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
[Dont Know] I'm odd. But it would seem that a lot of people here are odd. In which case, maybe that makes me normal. [Dont Know]
Posted by Alucard... (Member # 4924) on :
Migranes are difficult to deal with because they are propelled by one of the few instances in which a negative feedback loop occurs, which can be nearly impossible to halt or reverse in many cases with the OTC meds at your disposal.

Experts think that migranes are triggered by one of the many examples above, then affects the balance of neurotransmitters (serotonin is the primary one being listed currently). This imbalance of neurotransmitters can lead to a change in the vasculature of the brain, resulting in vasodilation. These changes are usually accompanied by side effects like the auras mentioned, as well as the beginning of a very pronounced headache. This is where the negative feedback loop begins to become difficult. The pain responses in the body are mediated by prostaglandins, and one of the actions of protaglandins is also to cause further vasodilation.

This is why caffeine has been in many of the earliest cures for migranes and headaches in general due to its vasoconstrictive effects. However, in the last 10 years or so, the evidence that serotonin levels were likely the source of many migranes, drugs that help increase serotonin levels have become popular in treatment and prevention.

SSRIs like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, by acting as Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors, meaning that instead of allowing serotonin to be reabsorbed into the ends of neurons and resulting in a "deficiency" of serotonin at the receptor site, they allow more and more serotonin to remain where it is biologically active.

Many patients take SSRIs and Topamax as mentioned above to prevent migranes.

The trazodone you mentioned is most similar to the structure of tricyclic antidepressants, and works on the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. So it hopefully is not the source of your migranes.

In very GENERAL terms, I have seen three very broad categories of migranes, that are brought on by any of the triggers listed above:

1. Allergy-related migranes. These may manifest themselves when the sinuses are undergoing an attack by pollen, allergens, or scents like cologne or perfume that are offensive. If you are sensitive to smells and get resultant migranes, enough said, you know what I mean. (I had one of these today...)

2. Stress-related migranes. Many times for frequent migrane sufferers, a traditional simple headache can transform into a more severe migrane due to the negative-feedback loop listed above. Where an anti-imflammatory or a drug like Excedrin might help the usual headache sufferer, migrane-sufferers may not have caught the headache in time, and these traditional analgesics do not work effectively to completely relieve the migrane, and many times make the sufferer nauseous.

3. Hormone-related migranes. This refers to women who might notice an increase in the frequency of migranes during or before menses.

Sadly, my wife suffers from all 3 types, and is the basis for my rather rough generalization of migranes. She went to a neurologist who had her track her migranes on a calander, and reduced them from about 18 per month, to about 3 per month.

Sure there are several other types of migranes due to head injury etc...and I further recommend seeking the help of a neurologist to determine the best course of therapy.

But to support was was also said concerning triggers: Record and log what caused your headache or migrane on a calendar, and try to determine what might have caused it. Once you have a plan as far as treatment, do not hesitate to treat a migrane as soon as the onset happens. Otherwise, it might be too late for oral medication to be absorbed (30mins-1 hour) and be effective.

Good luck and hope this helps!

[ February 13, 2005, 04:17 AM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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