Allergic to everything...Now Migraines?

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Shelley J
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 9/16/2005 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everybody in the Migraine forum!
 
I'm Shelley from the allergy forum...I am pretty much allergic to most foods, including artificial color, flavor, gluten, and all the other items you mention to stay away from in the books you've been talking about.  I also am chemical sensitive and fume sensitive! 
 
I'm not sure if what I'm having now are migraines, but I get awfully sick when they start.  During the week, when I'm working, and yes, I realize it's the environment...I come into work feeling fine and by mid-morning to afternoon I become very nauseous, light-headed, dizzy, light-sensitive and get a terrible headache.  Usually the glads in my throat will start to swell (or at least feel swollen)...then it moves up to my head.  I notice alot of you say that your headaches are only on one side of the head...mine feel like they are right behind my eye balls and in my nose.  Basically what I think you would consider a sinus headache, except I cannot get it to go away and it gets worse as the day goes on...until I go to bed. 
 
All of my doctor's think I'm crazy enough...now I don't want to add that I think I'm getting migraines.  I'm also on many other meds including anti-histamines, anti-deppressants, anti-anxiety...and don't want to add a migraine medicine to it.  Especially when I read the posts that say these meds cause depression...believe me, I don't need any help with being depressed.
 
So, I'm wondering if any of you could point me in a direction as to what kind of headaches I'm having and maybe some supplements that might help.  (I try to take ibuprophen that is color free dye free....doesn't even touch it!)  I'm thinking of trying Aleve, but I'm sure it has dyes in it.  My vitamin levels have all been tested and come out fine.  (I'm also cronically tired, sleeping at least 10-12 hours a night)  I've been tested for everything under the sun...immune system is functioning properly, don't have lymphoma, thyroid...nothing wrong they say.  So, I know that all of my levels are right, so I don't think vitamin B or anything like that will work.
 
Sorry, I'm rambling....clueless on the headache situation, can anybody help?
 
Thanks so much,
Shelley
 
 

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 9/17/2005 9:07 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello Shelley,

Welcome to the Migraine Forum. I'm not a doctor so I can't tell you if you have a migraine or not. But a headache is a headache - it's painful, can be debilitating and can affect your senses.

I found the information at the bottom of this message on WebMD. If you do some research you'll be able to find more about your symptoms and headaches. All of the medications you identify are also known to cause headaches and then of course blocked sinuses can do the same thing.
 
I am sensitive to my environment at work and find that if I take all my breaks (i.e. 2 - 15 minutes and lunch break) and leave the building often going for a walk outside I don't get the headaches at work. I also had my eyes checked and found that one had seriously detoriated. I hadn't noticed because the other one was compensating but that was causing headaches.
 
Good luck. Let us know how your search goes.
 

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According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. about 20% of children and adolescents also have significant headaches.

What Types of Headaches Are There?

There are several types of headaches - 150 diagnostic headache categories have been established!

Below is a list of the most common types of headaches.

Tension headaches: Also called chronic daily headaches or chronic non-progressive headaches, tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. These muscle contraction headaches cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time.

Migraines: The exact causes of migraines are unknown, although they are related to blood vessel contractions and other changes in the brain as well as inherited abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually occur 1 to 4 times per month. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as light sensitivity; noise or odors; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and stomach upset or abdominal pain. When a child is having a migraine they often look pale, feel dizzy, have blurred vision, fever, stomach upset, in addition to having the above listed symptoms.

A small percentage of pediatric migraines include recurrent (cyclic) gastrointestinal symptoms, in which vomiting is most common. Cyclic vomiting means that the symptoms occur on a regular basis -- about once a month. These types of migraines are sometimes called abdominal migraines.

Mixed headache syndrome: Also called transformed migraines, this is a combination of migraine and tension headaches. Both adults and children experience this type of headache.

Cluster headaches: The least common, although the most severe, type of primary headache, the pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing quality that is throbbing or constant. The pain is so severe that most cluster headache sufferers cannot sit still and will often pace during an attack. The pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides. The term "cluster headache" refers to headaches that have a characteristic grouping of attacks. Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last 2 weeks to 3 months. The headaches may disappear completely (go into "remission") for months or years, only to recur.

Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.

Acute headaches: Seen in children, these are headaches that occur suddenly and for the first time and have symptoms that subside after a relatively short period of time. Acute headaches most commonly result in a visit to the pediatrician's office and/or the emergency room. If there are no neurological signs or symptoms, the most common cause for acute headaches in children and adolescents is a respiratory or sinus infection.

Hormone headaches: Headaches in women are often associated with changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Chemically induced hormone changes, such as with birth control pills, also trigger headaches in some women.

Chronic progressive headaches: Also called traction or inflammatory headaches, chronic progressive headaches get worse and happen more often over time. These are the least common type of headache, accounting for less than 5% of all headaches in adults and less than 2% of all headaches in kids. Chronic progressive headaches may be the result of an illness or disorder of the brain or skull.

Are Headaches Hereditary?

Yes, headaches, especially migraines, have a tendency to run in families. Most children and adolescents (90%) who have migraines have other family members with migraines. When both parents have a history of migraines, there is a 70% chance that the child will also develop migraines. If only one parent has a history of migraines, the risk drops to 25%-50%.

What Causes Headaches?

Headache pain results from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. It's not clear, however, why these signals are activated in the first place.

There is a migraine "pain center" or generator in the mid-brain area. A migraine begins when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to the blood vessels, causing constriction, followed by the dilation of these vessels and the release of prostaglandins, serotonin, and other inflammatory substances that cause the pulsation to be painful. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical essential for certain body processes.

Headaches that occur suddenly (acute-onset) are usually due to an illness, infection, cold or fever. Other conditions that can cause an acute headache include sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), pharyngitis (inflammation or infection of the throat) or otitis (ear infection or inflammation).

In some cases, the headaches may be the result of a blow to the head (trauma) or rarely a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Common causes of tension headaches or chronic nonprogressive headaches include emotional stress related to family and friends, work or school; alcohol use; skipping meals; changes in sleep patterns; excessive medication use; tension and depression. Other causes of tension headaches include eyestrain and neck or back strain due to poor posture.

Headaches can also be triggered by specific environmental factors that are shared in a family's household, such as exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke strong odors from household chemicals or perfumes, exposure to certain allergens or eating certain foods. Stress, pollution, noise, lighting and weather changes are other environmental factors that can trigger headaches for some people.

Too much physical activity can also trigger a migraine in both adults and children.

Be sure to consult a doctor to find out what is causing your headaches.

Do Children Outgrow Headaches?

Headaches may improve as children gets older. The headaches may disappear and then return later in life. By junior high school, many boys who have migraines outgrow them, but in girls, migraine frequency increases because of hormone changes. Migraines in adolescent girls are three times more likely to occur than in boys.

How Are Headaches Evaluated and Diagnosed?

The good news for headache sufferers is that once a correct headache diagnosis is made, an effective treatment plan can be started.

If you have headache symptoms, the first step is to go to your family doctor. He or she will perform a complete physical examination and a headache evaluation. During the headache evaluation, your headache history and description of the headaches will be evaluated. You will be asked to describe your headache symptoms and characteristics as completely as possible.

A headache evaluation may include a CT scan or MRI if a structural disorder of the central nervous system is suspected. Both of these tests produce cross-sectional images of the brain that can reveal abnormal areas or problems. Skull X-rays are not helpful. An EEG (electroencephalogram) is also unnecessary unless you have experienced a loss of consciousness with a headache.

If your headache symptoms become worse or become more frequent despite treatment, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist. Your family doctor should be able to provide the names of headache specialists. If you need more information, contact one of the organizations in the resource list for a list of member doctors in your state.

How Are Headaches Treated?

Your doctor may recommend different types of treatment to try or he or she may recommend further testing, or refer you to a headache specialist. You should establish a reasonable time frame with your family doctor to evaluate your headache symptoms.

The proper treatment will depend on several factors, including the type and frequency of the headache and its cause. Not all headaches require medical attention. Treatment may include education, counseling, stress management, biofeedback and medications. The treatment prescribed for you will be tailored to meet your specific needs.

What Happens After I Start Treatment?

When your doctor starts a treatment program, keep track of the results and how the treatment program is working. Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your progress and make changes in the treatment program as needed.

Next: Symptoms >


Nicky
________________________________________________________________________________
 
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.   Buddha


Shelley J
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 9/19/2005 8:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Nikki!  I'm still trying to figure out what kind of headaches they are.  And yes, I do need to make sure I take breaks and lunch at work and actually get out of the building.  On days when I'm up and out of my office more, they seem to be less intense.  Actually today I brought in an air purifier with a Hepa filter...so hopefully if it has anything to do with mold, this will help. 
 
They usually start shortly after the swelling in my neck happens.  I really do think that they have to do with my allergies. 
 
I'm also trying the melatonin (i read that somewhere) at night to see if that will help.
 
Shelley

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 9/19/2005 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Shelley,

I use Melatonin to sleep and it works great. I take 3 - 3 mg tablets each night. I checked it with my doctor and he supports it, says it's not addictive. I find I don't sleep well because of all of the medications I take but have improved significantly since starting Melatonin.

 


Nicky
________________________________________________________________________________
 
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.   Buddha


tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 9/22/2005 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   

First: Migraines can be set off  or "triggered" by different things and if you are prone to ALLERGIES then you may be having what I prefer to call food sensitives (allergies) that are triggering you migraines...

Also, I am automatically getting red flags when reading your post when you are saying that you are taking ibuprofen...this may be causing rebound headaches. Are you familiar with that??? There are some medications that cause this type of headache...which is easiest for me to describe as your body going through withdrawl...you have a headache, so you take a pill-in this case an ibuprofen...(could be a triptan-imitrex, could be a pain pill like a narcotic- could be lots of things...) so you feel a little better for the time being, when it wears off again you start to go through this type of withdrawl and feel the pain again but worse and need the med again...that would be the rebound cycle! and it is terribly hard to break!

I know your concern for adding to your list of medication but I think it would only be in your best interest to speak to your doctor...there are medication that can do more than one thing at a time...I took medication that worked for depression and migraines at the same time, there are ones that work for migraines and allergies, migraines and high blood pressure...I think that letting this pass you by and just trying to home medicate will only make things worse in the long run!

**Sinus headaches are only migraines, mis-diagnosed according to Migraine Awareness Association...just a little tidbit there...

 

Well...let me know if there are any other questions we can answer!

Sara


Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
 
Thanks for Visiting HealingWell.com


Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 9/22/2005 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Sara,

Just a note further to your comment on food allergies and sensitivities. I read that with migraines food is "triggering" a migraine but is not an allergy because it is not creating histamines. Does this follow your understanding?

Hi Shelley,
 
Do you have a good relationship with your family doctor? Could you have these discussions with him or her? He would be able to help you determine if it's allergies or migraines and then send ou to the appropriate specialist.
Nicky
________________________________________________________________________________
 
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.   Buddha


tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 9/24/2005 11:12 AM (GMT -6)   

Right...it is more of a food SENSITIVITY not an allergy...its not that you're allergic..where you're going to swell...and you're throat is closing up. But something within your body chemistry is not reacting well and it is putting you beyond your threshold, which is going to trigger your migraine and set off the pain of the actual migraine.

Does that make sense???

For example...I love things with tomato sauce...like Spaghetti/Lasagna etc...but when I am beyond my threshold (there is a storm moving in, I am stressed out, it is menstrual week, I had chocolate for lunch and am getting ready to eat Lasagna for dinner...and I have a big portion...it is going to put me beyond my threshold of what my limit is...and I am going to trigger a migraine)


Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
 
Thanks for Visiting HealingWell.com


Shelley J
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 9/26/2005 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone!
 
Yes, the migraines are brought on by my "sensativities"...I have not had one since I brought in the Hepa filter!!! 
 
It's crazy!!!  I talke dto some people about black mold, and mold in general...bought a home (office) mold testing kit and it didn't show that there was mold in my office.  I don't know how well they work, but I was told a Hepa filter would help...and boy did it ever! 
 
Thanks so much,
 
Shelley
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