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Old 01-12-2009, 11:38 PM   #1
saracidaltendencies
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Migraines?
Just wondering if anyone here suffers from migraines and, if so, what are your migraines like?

For a while now, I've been getting this throbbing achy pain on the right side of my head...Sometimes my right ear also hurts, a deep throbbing, sometimes stabbing pain.

In the past few months I've also had symptoms of a sinus infection and, just this past week have had horrible pressure in my sinuses but absolutely no stuffy nose.

I've been to my Dr. twice about this now and he's seen no sinus or ear infection and keeps telling me it's allergies and giving me allergy medicine, but it doesn't help.

I've been doing a lot of research online and have read that migraines can often be misdiagnosed as sinus headaches or sinusitis. However, the pain I've been feeling doesn't quite fit that of a migraine either. The headaches haven't been bad enough to keep me from doing anything either. Also, I've felt no nausea.

I've taken sinus medicine and that hasn't helped, I've taken Ibuprofen and that hasn't helped either. So far, the only thing that has helped get rid of the sinus pressure feeling and headache is taking hydrocodone.

Can migraines be mild enough to not interfere with your daily routine yet painful enough to be really, really bothersome?

I know I should go back to the Dr. but we can't afford it right now since hubby just went last week, my son went today, and, my daughter goes next month. That's already $60 on co-pays we have to put out.

Also, whenever I do get the chance to go to the Dr. I'd like to be able to offer up some info for him to consider since he just keeps telling me it's allergies.

Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:18 AM   #2
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It sounds like to me you are having migraines. Not everyone experiences nausea or auras. You can actually have a migraine without any pain at all. It is a common myth that all migraines knock you out. Migraines also can occur elsewhere besides the head.

I have two types of migraines. One that allows me to function (though not at my best) and one that I'm out. One that is focused on the right front of my head is easier for me to handle and the one focused on the right back of my skull is really painful.

I've been having migraines since I was 12-13. I have been several different migraine regimes.

The most important thing is to figure out what your trigger is. For me, perfumes, wine, ice cream, certain fruits, peircing sounds such as a air horn. If a food is your trigger, just removing them from your diet will reduce your frequency. Also low blood sugar can be a trigger so eat something if you feel it coming on.

Also figure out if caffeine helps or hurts you. for some caffeine is a trigger, for others it actually helps relieves the migraine pain (closing the open blood vessels which is causing the migraine pain)

I used biofeedback which is kind of hard to explain but basically they teach you relaxation techniques to close the blood vessels with out medication. (it worked great for me for a very long time)

There are various medications that are out. One that is a daily does to reduce the amount of migraines you have or one that is only taken once you have a migraine.

I am on a daily does of topamax, just recently my migraines increased and we could not figure out my trigger. After a three week migraine I broke down and went back on medication. The topamax has been great.

Until you can see the doctor I would try a breathing technique similar to the ones in yoga, putting your hands under almost hot water (it moves the blood out of your head to your hands) and trying Excedrin instead of ibuprofen.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:32 AM   #3
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Me and migraines go way back. For me, there is a scale of bad to put me out of my misery, but most true migraines in me, left untreated, will get quickly to the put me out of my misery stage.

I have 4 types of migraines: allergy induced, hormonal induced, sleep deprivation induced and just for the heck of it induced. I have discovered over the years that the only thing that works (for me) is aspirin. Quickly as possible, no waiting - no telling myself this probably 'isn't' a migraine, and it will go away... and let's see how it is in 20 minutes because I hate to take an aspirin...

Over the years I have learned what it feels like when it is "just a headache" and when it is the early warnings of a migraine. I don't have some of the typical migraine symptoms, but often the night before I will feel a tingling sensation down my jaw line if I am paying attention.

Mine start between 4 and 6 am. If I am laying in bed, and feel that pounding sensation you describe, and if it is on one side, or in the center of my forehead, for me that is a migraine. By definition, if I am feeling it while I am still laying down, not only is it a migraine coming on, but it will be so much worse when I get up, stand up, move around and the blood starts circulating. During the times of my life when I had more of them, I would keep water and two aspirin laying next to my bed. If I woke up during those hours and felt the head throbbing, I took the aspirin. Period. No discussion, no talking myself out of it, since it takes 20 minutes to take effect. And, no turning on the lights or reaching into the fridge for a drink. A caffeine drink will speed that up (for me), so if hubby is awake he can bring me coffee or a diet coke. And then I pray I don't throw up the medicine. My best chance of not throwing up is to NOT MOVE. Just lay there, breathe, relax and wait for the aspirin to work. It does thin the blood, most aspirins also have caffeine in them, and if taken early on, they will nix my migraines. I will still feel a little soupy for awhile, but I won't be laying on the bathroom floor praying for death.

For me, the difference in a sinus headache and a migraine is just something I had to learn in myself over the years. For me, the migraine is more like my heart pounding in my head. Another test I can do is that if I have a sinus problem (even without a stuffy nose), and turn my head upside down, it will feel like I just got water up my nose... a burning sensation. So if I really don't know for sure, I take the two aspirin. My migraine will respond to the two aspirin; my sinus headache will mildly respond. If after 2 aspirin and 20 minutes there is no change, then it is time for me to take a decongestant. Another difference for me, is that a migraine is not something that I can ignore or leave untreated and go to work. It will get progressively worse, and rather quick, especially with moving around and getting ready for work, and I'll be back prone very quickly. A sinus headache I can still function, although not happily, but it does not progress to nausea. My basic only two symptoms of migraine are the headache itself and the nausea. I do have a slight sensitivity to light, but I don't see 'lights' or get sensitivity to sounds. I feel better with a cool pack on my forehead while waiting for the aspirin to work; my sister on the other hand needs a hot wash cloth on the back of her neck. It is unfortunate that we had to learn what worked for us with experimentation, but I think to a certain extent that migraines, and how they affect us, are somewhat unique to each person. My mom has migraines with all the symptoms except the headache...

I used to take codeine for my migraines until I learned what it was for me that it felt like when one was coming on. Still, I have times when I talk myself out of it, and convince myself it is 'nothing' and it will go away, and I regret it every time. Once in a great while I will have to take a 3rd aspirin, but usually 2 will do it. But for some, aspirin does not work, and the good thing is that there are many other medication options to keep trying until one does work.

I feel for you - I've been there, done that, and sometimes I miss the warning and one sneaks up on me. Whether it is sinus or a migraine - it still hurts and it still not fun!
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:53 AM   #4
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Thank you so much! I'm really starting to think what I'm feeling is a migraine.

I know of 2 definite migraines I've had in my life, one when I was a little kid and was at Six Flags with my aunt and uncle. I had a horrible headache and I did get sick. Another was when I was a teenager and it was New Year's Eve. I seriously wanted to go out and strangle the people shooting off fireworks...lol...even just lying on the pillow hurt my head.

From what more I've read tonight, online, and the responses so far here, my symptoms do sound closer to migraine than anything else I've read.

I've apparently been incredibly misinformed about migraines, thinking nausea was a definite thing.

I'm going to have to get to the store tomorrow or something, my head has been hurting so much and all our Ibuprofen are gone and we have only 1 aspirin left. I think I have one more hydrocodone which I'll take just before bed, the last one has worn off and all the pain is back :(

I've also had an incredibly stiff, sore neck...Everything is on the right side only though. Well, except when I was feeling the sinus like pressure, that was all under my eyes, in my forehead, my top teeth hurt, and the throbbing on the right side of my head and right ear.

Next time I see my Dr. I'll tell him I think my problem is migraines, not allergies, no matter how much he wishes to insist it's allergies.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:31 AM   #5
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When I was a kid I would get a blind spot that would take over my vision.

They went away from about puberty to late 30's. They started with a computer game (Lemmings) and then started coming more and more often. I get them about once or twice a week now and sometimes clusters many days in a row.

Now I get all different kinds.
I get small blind spots that work into circles and trail off to one side or the other, off to the right and they're not that bad, off to the left and it's going to be a bad headache. These are my usual.
I get large instant blind spots, those are generally bad headaches.
I get little pink lighting bolts (I've been to an eye doctor to check that out, twice) and that means one is coming in a few days.
And I get my old blind spots (they differ from the small blind spots but it's hard to explain how other than they eventually take over half my vision instead of eventually trailing off).

My triggers are flashing lights, sparkles, bright lights, certain colors (primary red, and I love red yarn :( ), focusing too hard on certain things (crocheting black yarn), most optical illusions, getting too much sleep, not getting enough sleep and not eating.
I've tried to identify food triggers but no luck. I do need to drink a cup of coffee after waking up, even if it's from a nap.

I used to lay down in a completely dark room for 3 days because of them. But lately I've found if I take 2 Advil about 20 minutes into the blindness the headache isn't that bad (sometimes it needs 2 more later). If I lay down it makes the migraine linger longer so my best bet is to make the headache not be bad enough to lay down with.

I used to always barf but I've only had them that bad a few times since their return.
I generally get stupid where simple things make no sense or it takes me a while to think. Knitting or crochet while having a migraine usually means missed stitches.

Yes migraines can come in all forms. Some can be visual with no pain at all. You also don't need any visuals.
Not having sinus meds touch it and only heavy duty pain meds work does sound like a migraine.
You also have to find the right otc med that works for you. Advil Migraine does nothing for me. Excedrin, Tylenol and anything else like that does nothing. Advil caplets are OK but not great. Advil gelcaps or liquid caps work.
The only way I can tell a sinus headache from a migraine headache (sometimes I get the aura part in my sleep, I even have it in my dreams sometimes, since I didn't take a pill I wake up with the headache and it sticks around) is if the Advil works or not. If the Advil doesn't work I figure it's sinus and take a psuedophed.

Something that worked for me for about 6 months was mega-dosing vitamin B-2. I don't remember how much but you should be able to search it and find out, that's how I found out about it. I need to try that again now that I haven't take it for a long time, even if it only works for 6 months it's better than nothing.
Fish Oil is another mega-dose vitamin cure, if you can keep it down. Don't take them if the migraine is already there because they are terrible coming back up and one inkling of nausea with them in your stomach is enough to open the flood gates.

I don't know if it helped or was just something he could keep down but my dad always had Lipton Onion soup. I can't find Lipton but I do have some instant onion soup, I just keep forgetting (it's the stupid thing). I do recall something about onions and migraines.

I have them so often I don't want to take any addictive drugs or ones that can damage your heart like Imitrex (plus Imitrex is expensive and taking them at the first sign would be a waste if it's one without much of a headache). I've thought about Topamax, I just haven't ever been back to a doctor.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:42 AM   #6
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I also get migraines. I get blind spots like Mike, but sometimes its just a kind of "fuzzy vision" in one eye (usually my left) - that's what I call it at least. Hard to explain. I used to get really debilitating headaches that felt like someone was trying to dig out my eye or the back of my head, but I have learned, like Mike, to go for the preemptive strike. Ibuprofen, like Advil and Motrin, is a vasoconstrictor and will tend to help with migraines. However, if I don't take the meds at the very first sign of a headache they won't work AT ALL!!!! Caffeine is also a vasoconstrictor, but too much can also cause bad headaches.

This is something interesting I just found out right now:

Cannabis

Cannabis was a standard treatment for migraines from 1874 to 1942.[80] It has been reported to help people through an attack by relieving the nausea and dulling the head pain, as well as possibly preventing the headache completely when used as soon as possible after the onset of pre-migraine symptoms, such as aura.[80]

I got that from Wikepedia in case anyone wanted to check their citations
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:10 AM   #7
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I also get fuzzy vision and sometimes there's just something wrong with my vision. But they always lead up to some form of blindness.
Since it doesn't work if I take the Advil too early all I can do is wait and see.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:55 AM   #8
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Cannabis works for migraines, I know this from personal experience. It won't work for everyone, but for some it will.

Haven't had a migraine strength headache for six years, for which I'm very thankful.

I hope you are able to figure out what triggers them, and what helps with the pain.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:46 AM   #9
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I get mini-migraines, and started getting them in my mid-30s. I usually get an area in my vision which is blurry and won't clear - that's my warning sign. The best thing to do is to head home and to bed for a few hours. The headaches themselves tend to be localized on one side of my head, but it's the vision mess-up which is most annoying. If I can't see, I can't work/read/knit/watch TV etc.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:53 AM   #10
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I have been suffering from migraines since I was in elementary school - I will be 40 next Month. My migraines start with seeing colored wavy flashing from one of my eyes. The flashing gets bigger, and bigger, until my vision is so blurred I can not see. Once the flashing is gone (it can take up to an hour) the headache sets in. It is a headache that is hard to explain. It almost feels like someone went into my head and knocked my brain around for awhile. It's very sore and it makes me nauseous. I have to be in a dark room, with no sound as light and sound make are amost unbearable. I sleep as long as I can when I get a migraine. The next day my mind will be almost like it's in a fog and I have trouble concentrating. Hope this helps you.
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