My first migraine happened when I was 10 years old. I am now 58. I can relate to some of the young people writing in about their struggles. When I was 20ish I had a headache every day and a migraine every 4 or 5 days. I would have a day with the aura and dizziness, the migraine, then a day to recover from throwing up and writhing in agony. My quality of life was very poor. The worst part was the terrible disrespect shown to me by the physicians that I came in contact with. They suggested that I was 'just trying to get attention, wanted people to feel sorry for me so I could manipulate others, was personally trying to make the physician "look bad' because I was not responding to the treatments that they were offering. I was called "little girl" by physicians and saw the receptionists rolling their eyes when I came into a clinic for treatment. My pain and agony was very very real Unfortunately, this attitude by health care providers has not changed much.
I am now a health care professional myself. This is what has worked for me and a large number of my patients:
-Take at least 75 mg. of elavil (amitriptylene) every day. Yes, it is an antidepressant but most of my colleagues agree that it is a baseline choice in migraine prevention. You can take the dose at night, if you are bothered by sedative side effects. No, Zoloft, valporic acid etc rarely work and do not do the job. Try to steer clear of Ativan, it can be a real trap.
-do not smoke....anything. Smoking can significantly increase the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
-do not use over the counter pain medication in large quantities on a daily basis. I have seen many patients using large volumes of 222's or T-1's and they end up with a high level, tension headache that is chronic. Try to cut down on these meds or if possible, swtich to a NSAID, provided you do not take too much and cause stomach problems.
-make sure you drink 2 cups of coffee every day. One in the morning and one late afternoon. Do not drink large volumes of coffee, the helpful effect then backfires.
-add Inderal (propranolol) to your prevention strategy if you are not getting significant relief-20 to 40 mg per day.
-get a prescription for Zomig, Imitrex or any similar drug. TRY them at least, iF they work for you, they will change your life.