Migraines / headaches

Help! I live in the Southern hemisphere - so it’s mid-summer here. I have been getting migraines since 2013, and seriously for the last 2-3 years. They are infinitely worse in summer - so right now is my own personal hell. Enough so that my doctor made a referral to a neurologist after my last MRI (Jan '19) showed that there has been some deterioration in parts of my brain (L/R parietal lobe). Because of COVID-19, I’m still waiting to see the neuro.

The migraines are worse in the summer, when it’s hot and bright.

I’ve been undergoing neck manipulation (on advice from a migraine clinic) for a while now, to no real effect. I have glasses, and am due for an eye check, but historically it has made no difference to the severity / frequency of my migraines. It’s to the point now it is affecting my life quite severely.

Has anyone any tips or ideas for possible triggers, or things that have helped bring them relief? I found a hotpack on my head helps, and I have a script for sumatriptin which works 95% of the time (but leaves me feeling ‘hungover’ for the rest of the day).

I work shiftwork - 3 days on / 3 off type thing. I typically get a migraine or a cluster headache (2-3 days of a sore head and feeling unable to do much) on my first day off! So that by the time I recover I’m back at work. I rarely get them on workdays. Very unfair.

Not a victim myself, but a close friend had frequent - near daily - migraines.
She used a coldpack & took a drug that had caffeine as an ingredient: butalbital.
But she overdosed herself, ordering the drug from Canada when Dr refused to refill as often as she wanted & routinely taking more than prescribed. Even after I researched & warned her about rebound.

Has anyone suggested Botox to you?
Friend refused to try it as she feared the needles. But to my mind a quarterly round of injections would be worth trying for the potential months of relief.

Yes, my mum suggested the Botox routine. There was some reason I decided against it though - limited effectiveness perhaps? Might be that there wasn’t a practitioner nearby. We live 1800km (by road) from our capital city.

Speaking of needles - my next try will be acupuncture so… bring 'em on! :face_vomiting:

Are you taking a magnesium supplement? It can be helpful and sure is an easy box to check. My migraine specialist doctor suggested it for me, and it’s solved mine 100%.

No, I’m not. I will pick some up and give it a try, thank you!
I found another thread on here about migraines, where it was suggested that CoQ10 might help… In for a penny, in for a pound…

Migraines are miserable.

I know how incredibly hard it can be to pinpoint triggers but the fact that yours often start on your first day off is interesting. Any change in sleep pattern is a trigger for me so I’d often get migraines on my days off until I realized that I stayed up later at night on the last day of work. Keeping my sleep schedule as consistent as possible has helped me. Also, do you change what you eat or drink on your days off? Alcohol? Either more caffeine or less caffeine, or drinking caffeine at different times?

I’ve found that an ice pack on the back of my neck/base of skull helps me, even though the pain is always centered around my right eye. And my chiropractor helps a lot, too, both with preventative care and he’s also been able to completely stop one veey memorable full-blown migraine that happened to hit me like a freight train during an appointment.

As far as medications go, my neuro is adamant about not using OTC nsaids due to the risk of rebound headaches. I’ve tried a number of prescription “rescue” meds and usually have a 50% chance of any of them working. I do find that often the longer the migraine lasts, the harder it will be to stop it and the more likely it is that it will come back quickly. If I do have a migraine that lasts for more than four or five days, I usually need methylprednisone to stop it. Or a visit to urgent care.

Regarding preventatives, I’ve tried Topamax but couldn’t handle the side effects and I’m not sure it helped anyway. But my neuro put me on a new drug. Aimovig, a year or so ago and it has worked amazingly well for me, much better than even expected. I went from near-constant migraines to about two or so per month, rarely lasting for more than a few days. That class might be worth trying if your neuro thinks it might help.

Hugs! My neurologist is a lifesaver. I hope you find one that is as skilled as mine and are able to find some relief soon!

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Here’s what I take (and what my doc recommended)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0031WZB9O/

Other types of magnesium haven’t worked nearly as well for me, but different stuff works for different people, so if you don’t see results with one supplement, it might be worth playing around to see if something else is more useful for you. Good luck!!

You mentioned cluster headaches…my husband suffered with these for years (thankfully they stopped about 4 yrs ago). After trying many different meds (some made him go skinny as a rail others caused rebound migraines and various other horrible side effects) he then tried botox and that didn’t work either. One really bad episode had me taking him to the ER and they were about to give him a shot of something (and he hates neeedles) so I asked them to try him on oxygen ( as I had been doing lots of research online and had seen this mentioned several times). Thankfully it worked for him and from that point on we had oxygen in the house for him. As soon as the attack started he would put on the mask and within 5-10 minutes it was over.

Interesting that you get them on your first day off–do you have a stressful job?
There is such a thing as a post-stress trigger.
My migraines have eased up with age, but were notoriously post-stress. I never got one while in the middle of a stressful project (and I was responsible for 12 million dollar budgets). But when the project was over, had been turned in, all done, and I could relax–the migraine would come on like a ton of bricks and lay me out for up to three days. My co-workers would actually ask me, after the crunch was past, had I gotten my headache yet?

Thanks Simkie, we don’t have that brand here but I looked at the composition of it and got something as similar as I could. It also is powdered and with chamomile - take it at night.

I discovered something else interesting. I am on anti-depressants, which I have felt have been contributing to my migraines (like the progesterone pill does). Turns out the type I’m on is actually used to suppress migraines. I’m going to talk to my Doc about upping the dose for a bit.

@Harbour - oxygen, wow! How would one go about getting that? I’d definitely try it.

@Maythehorsebewithme - Yes. Very stressful. Think “thin blue line” type. Before that I was a forensic psychologist when I got my first attack. It was put down to a combination of dehydration and stress. I got my latest attack on Boxing Day evening (Dec 26) and couldn’t get out of bed until the morning of Dec 28 . I worked Christmas Day and had a wonderfully non-stressful day - even the clientele wished me merry Christmas (and me to them).

I only get the prolonged migraine / cluster headache events over the summer. I have noticed that I am getting very, very intolerant to heat, to the point that getting into a hot car brings a wave of instant nausea and lightheadedness.

For some background, I grew up in a mining town, where the summers averaged 40 C and 100% humidity, and winters a balmy 25 C. I live a thousand clicks south now. We get the odd 38-40 C day, and winters of 6-12 C. So I am a child of this climate! Never had issues with “summer” until the last three or so years. In winter, I get the chills below 20 C.

I need to move to New Zealand :frowning:

@SummerRose, yes the pain is around my eye too. That’s how I know one is coming on - the “punched eye” effect. I touch places on my temple and find spots that feel “smooshy” (probably psychosomatic!) and incredibly sore during headaches - usually behind that spot is where the headache is, and they are typically around my eye socket.

My first huge event knocked me around for three weeks, with three hospitalizations and a week of being unable to stand upright because it knocked out my balance. The MRI done then showed a normal brain, now I have a lobe that looks like it belongs to an 80 yr old.

Not to be anti mask, but my migraines significantly went up when mask mandates started to go up. I noticed I would get headaches when wearing a mask and if worn for over 30 minutes, I would get a migraine. It made me think more before going places a mask was needed. My doctor doubled my migraine medication which has helped significantly. I still wear a mask and support wearing one.

Chiropractic work significantly helps as well. I found a good chiropractor who does an amazing job.

I work long hour graveyard shifts and a lot of my migraines before covid were due to lack of sleep. They almost always came on my first day off, which sounds similar to yours.

Mask wearing, stress, weather changes, and sleep are my triggers.

We have no mask mandate here, thank God. I’m a long way from the handful of cases in our state. I imagine if we did have one, I’d be a bit stuffed.

Weather is definitely a trigger!

Strangely enough, I’m fine after nightshifts. It’s dayshifts that seem to stuff me, even though I do not get headaches at work (which is a slightly different climate).

I think I’m allergic to being in my house perhaps.

If you get them after being under stress, on the day after days of work, consider that relaxing your body does after the stress could be contributing to them as the body, especially blood vessels, relax and start throbbing with pain signals from having been stressed.

I had terrible migraines for years, then had a couple heart attacks.
I was born with an undiagnosed heart defect that they found after the second one.
That second heart attack left a heart arrhythmia behind, so they put me on a very small dose of a basic, old beta blocker.
What you know, no more headaches but maybe once a year.

If your doctor thinks a very small dose beta blocker may work, you could try that if you have not yet.

I’m not sure my doc will approve as historically I have an average lower BP; but I am on SNRIs for stress / anxiety, perhaps upping the dose will have a similar effect?

I am cutting out the coffee for a week to see if that helps. I have been known to over-indulge at work on the cheap instant they give us, so no coffee is like doing Sober October for me.

I have had 1 to 2 day headaches for years, (I am not young) that always started Sunday morning early, 3-4 am, and never during the week. I always assumed it was my sinuses/allergies and that being home (cats, dogs, dust) and in the barn 24 hours over the weekend, without breathing in clean office air (haha) for part of the day triggered it. No one thing would make the headache go away, it would just finally stop hurting.(I also got wicked stomach upset–that is how I could tell it was just not a simple headache starting.)

Last year after a 3 going on 4 day headaches started I finally went to a migraine specialist. (though I still thought it was sinuses but the sinus doc waived me away.) He prescribed Sumatriptan which “works on the serotonin (or 5-HT) receptors located on blood vessels in your brain . This causes them to narrow. This helps take away the headache and eases other symptoms such as feeling or being sick and sensitivity to light and sound.”

He described my headache as post-stress. He said he had a doctor patient that got them if he golfed! It has worked every time I have taken it, about once every 4-6 weeks.

Good luck, I have a feeling migraines are very individual but my “cure” has been a real life improver.(edited to add I think certain serotonin enhancing medications cannot be used with it but I thought it might help to know how it works–on the blood vessels.)

Once we discovered the oxygen worked we simply when back to his Dr. and she wrote out a scrip for the oxygen. We then went to a respiratory company that supplies the tanks and masks.

I don’t get migraine, thankfully, but I used to suffer from lesser headaches very frequently. They stopped when I started seeing a McTimony Chiro who has straightened out my totally zig zag body.

After one bad fall from a new horse I had concussion, with constant headache, for nearly five months. Didnt occur to me to go to see the chiro. She did a small skull manipulation and the headache simply turned off, just like that. Now I see her as soon as possible after any fall, horse or awkward trip, as well as regular maintenance. It might be worth seeking a McTimony practitioner as they treat the whole body, not just the bit that hurts.

I can’t take sumatripan because it makes me feel horribly weak and out of it, but I do take risatriptan if my migraine is severe and keeping me from work or play. At 5mg I can still function normally, I can only use 10mg at night after going to bed due to the side-effects . I only take it once or twice a month, the rest of the time I treat my migraine with diet coke and dark chocolate. Weird, I know, but it works for me. My neurologist also put me on melatonin, 10mg, nightly to improve sleep quality to decrease migraine frequency and severity. In the spring, summer and fall I take an anti-histamine daily to decrease sinus pain, which again, lessens frequency and severity of the migraine. Nothing to be done about barametric pressure changes which is what triggers many of my migraines. Oh, I also practically live in polarized sunglasses.