Posted 1/29/2008 7:54 PM (GMT -7)
It does not surprise me that your neuro doesn't know why. First of all, migraines are very complicated creatures and sometimes there is no one, quick or easy answer. Secondly, my neuro came right out and said he doesn't know why, he doesn't care why, it's impossible to figure out why and I shouldn't worry about why! Keep reading and you will find out how much I disagree with that statement but it is often the case with most doctors. They fact is they aren't really trained to find out "why". They are trained to ascertain the problem, make a diagnosis, and perscribe a drug to cover up the symptom of the problem.
Personally, I have optical migraines and a more severe kind of migraine a neurologist labeled "acephalgic" or "without pain" (but personally I think they are more hemiplegic (i think that's the right term) and have a history of classic migraines also. With the classic there are c shaped aura's that come just before very intense pain, severe nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. With the optical migraines I get a flash of light that pierces my vision- kind of like a shooting star. My response is usually- oh, that was interesting and life goes on with out any pain or consequence. Sometimes I can get them several times a day, week, month or sometimes I can go without them for a few months. The acephalgic migraines (assuming the diagnosis is accurate) may or may not have a precursor of some kind including little zips of numbness in my nose, on my scalp, or a certain little spot below my chest and near my rib cage but most commonly begins with a severe rush of dizziness followed by partial or total paralysis. I am "awake" in my mind and aware of what's going on but completely unable to respond to any stimulus. Then gradually I will regain everything lost. In the meantime, there is slurred speech, ataxia, and some other strange symptoms I don't understand. Sometimes I get EVERYTHING and sometimes my symptoms exclude most of the above- I just never know. It has been incredibly debilitating since when it started I was having several a week and sometimes several a day. Orgasm, unfortunately, is also a trigger. Ever pass out lying down? Very weird... I did some research and found a link between electrolytes and osmotic pressure and the hormone ADH which is connected to vasopressin which is connected to the pituitary which releases hormones during and after orgasm. So, I started taking a supplement called "Trace-lyte" made by Natures Path Supplements. It seemed to help some episodes I had in my early 20's the neuro thinks were probably the same acephalgic migraine thing. Anyway, episodes have decreased to 2 or 3 a month possibly around my cycle so possibly just hormone related now. I have more work to do to figure out how to eliminate them entirely but... I should also mention that my neuro said diet wouldn't help me. I decided to cut out MSG and nitrates anyway. This means no bologna, hot dogs, ham, sausage, deli or lunch meat and reading labels carefully for MSG which is used as a flavor enhancer. (It really just makes you fat and addicted to food anyway so- once I realized how bad it was for everything else, I didn't want to eat it anymore anyway.) I had already been staying away from aspartame for a long time- that stuff could make anyone have trouble with just about any symptom you can think of so... I stick with good old fashioned sugar, honey, or blue agave nectar (tastes great in warm milk as a bedtime treat) and table salt or sea salt. Speaking of dairy, I did cut out dairy for a while but that didn't seem to be the trigger for me. Truthfully, maybe none of it is. I don't know if my improvement is because of my lifestyle change or purely coincidence but time will surely tell. While I'm waiting to figure that out, it can't hurt to get rid of the additives and stuff that's not good for you, right?
On chiropractic as a help... I absolutely believe in chiropractic. Find a good practitioner- I usually search for a Palmer or Parker graduate. Get adjusted regularly and you may find that it eliminates your migraines. Unfortunately for me, although I find it helpful, it hasn't gotten rid of them. So... if it doesn't work for you, keep getting adjusted as long as it feels good but look at other things because not all migraines are caused by muscle tension or spinal subluxations. In fact, if anyone comes to you and makes blanket statements like "all migraines come from ______" you can be sure they don't know what they're talking about or are misinformed.
BTW my neuro wanted me to take Topamax. I've heard that it can work really well but I've heard a lot of people complain about the exhaustion and depression they get from it. Apparently it's bad enough that a lot of people quit taking Topamax because of it but I wouldn't know because I parted ways with my neuro after telling him I didn't want to take it. (He didn't know what else to do for me if I didn't want to take drugs.)
My personal belief is that the migraines weren't there before and now they are; so, something changed and I need to figure out the root cause and approach it from that stand point. Drugs may work at the outset but eventually the side effects will catch up with you through disease in a different part of the body- like your liver or kidney or some other sickness or symptom. I have experienced this personally and seen it happen over and over. Even doctors will admit that often one person will have to take 2 drugs to combat the side effects of the first drug and on and on the cycle goes. I believe in my body's ability to heal itself given the right circumstances. Now, I'm trying to find out what those circumstances are that may be out of balance. It's amazing what you can heal with nutrition. That philosophy isn't readily accepted in the medical community, I realize but- since when is truth defined by what is merely acceptable? The truth is that the FDA says that only a drug is qualified to cure any disease. Does that mean that I have to take drugs to cure my sniffles? heal a paper cut? recover from the flu? You and I both know that if you wash your hands and leave a paper cut alone your body will heal that cut without you even having to think about it. And the same amazing power in your body that can heal the paper cut also can help you recover from the flu, fight the sniffles, and even restore the lost balance from strange migraines.
So, all I'm saying is, don't sell your gut feeling short if your not comfortable with what your doctor has to tell you about treatment. Get yourself educated about how medications work and what the side effects are. Make an informed decision and then, if your choice isn't working out well, don't be afraid to stop and try something else.
May your journey for Truth and Healing be blessed.