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.