Ok after reading some of your postings, I feel almost guilty for complaining about my classic migraines which seem quite straight forward and mild in comparison. They are however still painful and as everyone here, I would like to share what I know and find out if anyone has ideas for preventing future occurrences.
I am 45 y/o and have been suffering from migraines as long as I remember. When I was really young, I had severe leg pains. As I out-grew these, I was ushered into the world of the migraine. I didn’t know they were migraines until I was 20 and my girlfriend (later my wife) diagnosed them for me. I had just thought that I was going to croak at a young age and had accepted my fate!
The typical migraine episode of my youth started with the dreaded aura, followed by numbness and tingling of my hand, tongue, and other extremities on one side of my body. I can’t remember which side though I think it varied with each episode. After all this fun, I entered the pain phase which felt like something was pushing my eyeballs out of my head, accompanied by nausea and vomiting (which caused more pressure and pain – locking me into a strange cycle which was almost impossible to break out of…ewww!). Eventually after 7 and sometimes 12 hours, this icky phase passed and left me totally relaxed yet with a whopping headache for an additional 24 – 36 hours, I attributed this feeling of relaxation somewhat graded on a curve as the first part was so horrible that I actually felt good even though the residual headache probably would have felled a small pachyderm.
Once I found out I wasn’t going to die I went to a doctor and he re-confirmed my wife’s diagnosis and prescribed some ergot type medication for when they occur. These worked great…when I took them at the right time. They would arrest the migraine before I felt any pain and I would feel almost let down because I couldn’t complain J.
On my 30th birthday, I suffered my worst one ever. It lasted for 36 hours, 20 of them being in the awful stage. My trusty medication failed me, but I think it was because it was 6 years past the expiration date. I went to another doctor after this and he re-verified that I suffered from classic migraines and prescribed some really small tablets for me to dissolve under my tongue at the onset of an episode. I never got to test these as I didn’t have another one until I reached 41 and by then even I threw out the aged medication.
The migraines of late are milder than the ones of my youth. I get the aura, and immediately take a mix of 50mg of Imitrex and 2 Excedrin Migraine and wash it down with half a liter of Evian. The aura disappears and the pain begins, but it is very mild and there is only a touch of nausea. That lasts about 2 hours and I am left with a slight residual headache that hangs around for an additional 12 – 24 hours. All in all it isn’t that bad; certainly nothing like my earlier ones.
During the years I have been tracking my triggers and trying to come up with a definite cause but I’m only half convinced with most ideas. I first blamed almonds, then it was too much sleep, then it was too little sleep. Chocolate was next in line for blame, and finally extreme stress either physical of emotional. The only common thread in all of these has been stress, and extreme physical is the most common. Almost every migraine has been preceded by a stressful period. I used to get them when I was into running in my early years. Then extreme sessions on my exercise bike caused a few of them in my late 20’s. I have recently taken up soccer and have now suffered through 4 of them since starting last August. When I do something, I go all the way and with a strenuous activity such as running or soccer it is a migraine just waiting to happen.
I really like playing soccer and I have never felt healthier…except the migraines. In my 30’s, I didn’t do any extreme exercise and subsequently suffered no migraines. I’m guessing that I can continue soccer, but I probably should just amp it down a bit…this may be hard as I like to trash talk the other players which places extra stress on me to perform. Yes I am an idiot.
Does anyone here suffer migraines after extreme physical or emotional exertion? I am trying to fine-tune my behavior. I think the extra stress that is put on me by playing soccer twice a week doesn’t really bode well with my 6 hours of sleep a night. Perhaps I need to get a bit more. I don’t take any medications, and never will unless I absolutely have to, so are there any supplements that may help keep my brain chemicals balanced?
Thanks and sorry for the long post.
I am new to this forum as well and I want to let you know that I get the same thing! Unlike you, I only just started getting migraines with aura. I can't imagine having to deal with this for a lifetime. I know what you mean though about getting them with exertion, almost every one that I have had was following one form of exertion or another, first time it ever happened it was right after I had lifted something very heavy, the next time it was right after I had gotten sick and was coughing my head off etc...
The scary part about it being related to exertion is that you automatically think the worst, I know I did, so thankfully I had an MRI to rule out the serious stuff. I am slowly learning how to live with this but I still think in my mind it is some sort of phase that I'm going through as I also have found that the only common trigger seems to be extreme stress. Although the strange thing is I don't seem to get one on the days that I am the most stressed, it seems that they wait untill I start to feel better and then I will get one, like I said its strange.
I am also like you in that I dont take medications unless I absolutly have to, but to get this under control I tried amerge and I found that it really didnt do anything as my vision still did its thing for as long as it wanted and even though it held off the blinding headache for a few hours I still got the pain later anyway. My neurologist then gave me topamax and I took it for a little while but it was starting to have some bad side effects so I have stopped taking it and so far, so good. I'm sorry I don't know any supplements to suggest but I have been taking more vit c lately and drinking a lot of water maybe thats helping??? Good luck with everything
As a sufferer for many years I can certainly sympathise with your plight. Migraines are a terrible debilitating condition which not everyone takes seriously, unless of course they suffer.
Over the years I have gradually weaned myself of medication as they didn't really help and the side effects were adding to the pain.
Luckily I read a magazine article about a migraine migracap and having bought and had it for a while it has been a life saver. You just keep it in the fridge and put it on your head when you feel an attack coming on. The coolness and darkness soothes the pain away and I don't have the nausea feeling. No need for medication. Plus saves a fortune in buying the medication anyway.
I have recommended it to others and know that they too have had great benefits from using it.