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Medical Migraines, who gets them, and what do you do about them?

  1. Jul 13, 2009 #1
    I have a problem with complex migraines. Last year, I had some sort of migraine like episode that put me in the hospital for two days. Its been over a year since I had one until this last weekend. When I get them my right arm goes numb, then my tongue, then I become completely incoherent. Once my coherency comes back, I feel excruciating pain, I start breathing very heavily, and my heart rate goes through the ruff. This usually lasts for a period of 3-5 hours. I typically feel an aftermath of headache, soar muscles, and sometimes dizziness the next day.

    I've been trying to find out what triggers them. I used to think that sodium based nitrates (food preservatives) and artificial sugars (nerve toxins) used to be the root cause but I've been staying away from everything bad lately and nothing in my recent diet has changed. Does anyone else get migraines and know what triggers them? Maybe we can develop a pattern.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2009 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Jumpin' Jehosephat I'd have thought I was having a stroke! :bugeye:
     
  4. Jul 13, 2009 #3

    lisab

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    Wow, Topher, you get them really bad. So sorry to hear it!

    Yes, I get them too...at one time, I was getting them 3 or 4 times a month. I moved into a newly-built house about 7 years ago, and they virtually disappeared.

    I don't know what my trigger is, but the abrupt change in the pattern convinced me it's something in the environment. Mine are caused by allergies and/or mold, I think.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2009 #4
    Only simple headaches when I try to eat less. Sometimes I don't notice that I am eating less until I start getting headaches. I just start eating more and it disappears.
     
  6. Jul 13, 2009 #5
    Last week I read a book close to my face for about 6 hours... and it gave me a terrible headache. I got a headache last night because I stayed up till 2 am working. My housemate told me that caffeine helps by opening up the capillaries.
     
  7. Jul 13, 2009 #6

    lisab

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    Caffeine does help my headaches, but only if I take it in the early stages. Once I'm at the intense pain, vomiting, please-kill-me-now phase, nothing helps :frown:.
     
  8. Jul 13, 2009 #7

    Evo

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    Have they ruled out some form of epilepsy? Or other neurological problems?
     
  9. Jul 13, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

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    Wow, that's way more than the typical migraine. Have you seen a neurologist to be sure migraine is the right diagnosis on that? I agree with Dave that those symptoms make me think stroke or aneurysm more than migraine.

    Your symptoms make me feel like a wimp to complain about my migraines. Mine have two triggers...hormones and weather...neither of which is avoidable. :grumpy: With regard to weather, there's a study confirming that this is a common trigger for migraines, and other severe headaches (they didn't verify all the diagnoses, just used headaches severe enough to require hospitalization as the study criteria, while excluding things like strokes). For me, it'll start several hours before a prolonged spell of rainy weather, when the low pressure front moves in. Fortunately, it doesn't seem related to the rapidly passing late day thunderstorms that are common in summer. I'm not sure what's different between the two different types of storms other than speed they are moving, but it makes a difference in my symptoms.

    So, assuming you have an official diagnosis of migraine, and you can't identify any other trigger, you might want to track weather patterns and onset of symptoms. If you can't avoid it, if you can at least predict it, maybe you can start medicating beforehand to reduce the severity.

    All I can think to suggest, otherwise, is to keep a diary to try to identify patterns to figure out the trigger. Keep a list of the foods you eat each meal and if you're experiencing other things like stress at school or work, if you're around any fragrances (that is another possible trigger), etc. That should help you start to find the patterns of what things you're exposed to when you experience migraine symptoms.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2009 #9
    Yeah. Shortly after my last one I had a EEG, CT scan, MRI, and a battery of blood work. Everything came back negative and said I was in excellent health. My neurologist said that he doesn't know what could be causing them as migraines are still not well understood, I guess.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2009 #10
    I've seen a neurologist and his diagnosis was a "complex" migraine. Apparently they are some what common and in some cases can be similar to seizure. They are suppose to be like an ordinary migraine but x10 and can last for longer periods of time.

    Doctors will typically prescribe seizure medication to patients with complex migraines as its suppose to be the only medication that does anything. I've opted not to take these medications as they are extremely expensive, highly addictive, and aren't guaranteed to work.

    I really thought it was some types of food preservatives as it is documented they affect the nervous system but now I'm not so sure. I know its not the weather, certainly not PMS (don't have those parts), but I am a under a bit more stress lately. They have all been triggered in different locations so its probably not my immediate environment either. I'll have to dig through my trash later to see if I ate something that might have been bad.
     
  12. Jul 13, 2009 #11

    DaveC426913

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    A collection of negative diagnoses is not equivalent to a positive diagnosis. Migraine sounds more like a catch-all for docs who are scratching their heads. I am reminded of so many stories of people who suffer for years with some ailment or another, going from doctor to doctor until they stumble upon one who correctly diagnoses what so many others couldn't.
     
  13. Jul 14, 2009 #12
    I know, but its the best I got. I don't have the money to go from doctor to doctor asking them for their opinions and I'm not about to enroll in med school to get a medical degree.
     
  14. Jul 24, 2009 #13
    do you get the migraines on only one side of your head, or both?
    the typical migraine attack is usually on only one side, and you feel an excruciating pain and throbbing inside. i used to get very serious migraines, and you can relieve the pain by some chinese herbal medicine mixed and boiled (with prescription too)

    the medication i'm taking currently is caffox, and its stated here the contents are 1mg of ergotamine tartrate and 100mg of caffeine. i'm not sure if it would suit you though
     
  15. Jul 24, 2009 #14

    turbo

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    Sorry to hear that Topher. I get migraines, too, usually starting around the base of my skull on the right side, and then radiating up that side. I have two triggers (that I know of). One is fragrance chemicals, and that can bring on a migraine in very short order. The other is glutamates, and they are in almost every processed food you can think of, under a huge collection of aliases. Google on MSG for a while, and you'll get an idea of how pervasive the stuff is. Of course, the migraines are secondary if I am exposed to MSG - the anaphylactic shock will kill me if untreated.
     
  16. Jul 27, 2009 #15
    I get them on both sides of the frontal part of my head, just a little bit behind my sinuses. I think my neurologist mentioned prescribing coffax or something of that nature but said it might not help someone with my sort of condition.

    Wow. You have got to have a very expensive grocery bill since just about everything has glutamates in it. I try to stay away from the stuff as much as possible as well but with my schedule and income thats often rather difficult.
     
  17. Jul 27, 2009 #16

    turbo

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    It is expensive to avoid processed foods, but luckily, my wife and I both like to cook, so we get by. If you can avoid processed foods for a while (including sodas, juices, etc) you can find out if glutamates are a trigger for you, too. It's a common reaction in people who are sensitive to the stuff.
     
  18. Jul 29, 2009 #17
    i don't get migraine type symptoms as much anymore, but they have tended to come with ear and sinus inflammation. nothing nearly as bad as yours, though. i don't really know what to suggest, but maybe consider adding a little magnesium to your diet and do a methylmalonic acid and homocysteine test to get a handle on what your active cobalamin status is.
     
  19. Aug 2, 2009 #18
    Aspertame sweetener caused mine. It's in everything now. Read those labels.
     
  20. Aug 5, 2009 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Differnt strokes for different folks I guess. I drink a ridiculous amount of Aspartame-sweetened Diet Cola, yet I get no symptoms at all.
     
  21. Aug 5, 2009 #20

    Evo

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    I use aspartame, I use MSG, no migraines.
     
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