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  • migraines

    I am a long-term migraine sufferer. I get migraines all the time. Unfortunately, they happen very quickly with little to no warning. This means that I can be five minutes away from the barn (which is not close to my house) when suddenly a migraine will hit and I will have to miss my lesson. They have gotten much, much more frequent now and I have about seven make-up lessons that I have to do. I have been to a doctor, an ophamologist, and I have an appointment scheduled for a neurologists but that doesn't stop me from missing lessons. My trainer understands why I miss my lessons, but my doctor is clueless as to why I am getting so many migraines (although we think its hormonal) and it is getting pretty frusterating having these migraines control my life. I take imetrix when I get a migraine, but it doesn't help much. We have tried tylenol, ibuprofen, and excedrin, but they don't work. Is there anyone out there who is/has going or gone through the same thing? How did you cope with it? How did you survive not being at the barn as much?

  • #2
    there is a thread here on migraines. I take a generic version of Topamax - not everyone likes it.

    how about imetrix? (sp? comes in tablet form,.

    I have heard that some migraines are caused by a hole in your heart.

    I have also used Cafegot to stop them and it worked very well for me. It has caffeine and ergotamine in it. I have a blood clot travel thru my brain and I had a stroke 30 min after I took it in 2007. I have not taken it since.

    have you attempted to track these migraines and your hormone changes each month? that might help.


    • #3
      Skippy, there are a TON of things that can cause migraine- foods, sleep patterns, pain from arthritis, hormones, and drugs (over the counter as well as prescription drugs). MSG and red food coloring are huge contributors. Drugs that ARE effective for migraine can also cause rebound headache, basically putting you into a chronic migraine state that never ends, except for the time that your body is temporarily OK from a migraine pill- it can be Imitrex or excedrin or about any migraine drug- and then the migraine comes back. So you take another migraine pill.

      I've had migraines for a long while. I went to a neurologist for three years and tried a LOT of preventive medications, the shortest 'trial' being six weeks. When I started having suicidal thoughts, my neurologist took me off Topamax and decided not to try more preventives. Most folks can find a preventive medicine that works for them. Unfortunately, the neurologists mostly know how to prescribe drugs, not how to go carefully over your lifestyle and eating habits to find out where the problems are. I knew a nice woman with a 10 year old girl, who was suffering terribly, and whose doctor was trying this drug and that. I talked with them, and we figured out the problem was the MSG in chicken noodle soup, which was the kid's favorite after school snack. Mom got rid of the soup, and the kid got rid of the headaches.

      Of course, it isn't that easy when the problem is related to your monthly hormone fluctuations.

      If you want to pm me, I can go over a lot of the foods and drugs (caffeine is a major player) that are an especial bother to migraine sufferers. MSG and its similar counterparts are 'hidden' in soooooo many things, it can be really hard to stay away from it, even when you look for MSG on a label. (They can legally put ingredients similar to MSG in food and call it 'natural flavor', though 'natural flavor' will not always mean MSG.)

      Yeah, I've had a great clinician come, and had to go home to bed, or had to go barf behind the barn. It sucks.


      • #4
        Skippy, I also take the generic form of Topamax (a fairly high dose, twice daily) and it has been instrumental in reducing my migraines as well as reducing the strength of the ones I DO get. I do know that it doesn't work for everyone, but it has been great for me. My neurologist and I determined that mine are probably somewhat related to stress, but also very much genetic. We can trace them back 3-4 generations at least on my mother's side. Food does play a role, I get them if I don't eat meals on a regular basis and also find that caffeine can HELP mine (caffeine is also an ingredient in Excedrin Migraine which is why that medication can help some people and not others). Excredrin Migraine will usually take care of a migraine if I catch it early enough, but my neurologist and I also tried Zomig as I had a really bad reaction to Imitrex.

        I found it very hard to be at the barn when I had migraines and that WAS hard, but I knew it was dangerous for me to be there when I did have one as my vision typically is affected as well as my balance and that just isn't a safe situation around horses.

        All I can say is work with a neurologist to determine what could be causing the migraines. I think there are so many different reasons for migraines and each person is different. The best thing is to work out a plan with your neurologist!


        • #5

          Someone on the other migraine thread mentioned this herbal treatment. I get sudden killer ones too. Right now I am withdrawing from all my prescription meds, and OTC because the rebound headaches are too frequent.

          This stuff is not supposed to cause rebound headaches. I just bought it the other day and have not tried it yet.

          I guess I do the neurologist route in a month or two.
          There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


          • #6
            The artificial sweetener in most diet soda is another contributor - to the point of causing blackout in some people.

            Most of my migraines have now thankfully subsided - I quit working on a computer a third of my life, that had to help ALSO menopausal, which did make some difference. Mine tended to be mostly muscle tension, causing a golfball size lump at the base of my skull along the spine - NOTHING would reduce it or ease the cramping.

            Lately, I am finding that when I get the awful knots in my neck and shoulders, rubbing Magnesium oil into the area and leaving it on for an hour or so really helps - I do it before I go out to do barn chores in the morning (I wake up with the pain) and then shower off after I come in - USUALLY by that time it's subsided.
            Homesick Angels Farm
            breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
            standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID


            • #7
              Jumping over here because I am also a chronic migraine sufferer and it impacts my horsey life as well. I struggled for years with them, and found that I have multiple triggers, including lack of sleep, stress (well, duh), hormones, and sugar. I have to eat carefully, take good care of myself, and just in general maintain a healthy lifestyle. My neurologist is a big believer in balance and in trying supplementation first before putting you on meds, but I did have to eventually go on topomax.

              But you may have good luck with the following supplement regime that we tried:

              400 mg of CoQ10 per day
              250 mg of Magnesium
              High dose fish oil (I vary in what I buy - I just get the highest potency EPA/DHA that's the cheapest that week)
              Time release B vitamin (this became VERY important when I started taking the Topomax, as I found that it helped a lot with the tingling and other neurological symptoms from that drug)

              Those helped a little, but didn't get rid of them. So then he added Topirimate (Topomax). It took me about 3 months to get to a theraputic dose, because you have to start taking it slowly and increase gradually. The brain fog when you start has to be felt to be believed, but in my case it DID go away. I managed to complete a doctoral dissertation while on the stuff, so there IS hope . I couldn't write without it anyway because the migraines were interfering with my writing schedule so I was desperate.

              While on topirimate, my migraine frequency dropped from maybe 2-3 a week down to 2-3 a month. But he STILL wasn't happy, so he added Inderal (propranalol), a beta blocker. And that was the magic combination that finally knocked out the worst of them. I occasionally get one when I'm overtired or when I get my period, but for the most part I am migraine free. I still get one stubborn one the day before my period, but I take one relpax a month to deal with that and figure menopause (I'm close) should knock that one out!

              I HATE being on so many heavy-duty drugs. And you CAN'T just go off any of them without tapering, so it's a real commitment. But I was having such severe migraines that I couldn't function, and now I can. So I probably would have done anything at that point .


              • #8
                I think I replied on the other migraine thread.

                I think that it depends on the individual for reaction to Topamax. When I first started it, my side-effects were not as severe. I did have tingling in my fingers and a metallic taste with certain foods/drinks. I really had no brain fog, which was a certain relief. The side effects subsided after some time. Weight loss was also a side effect--a nice one .

                I have found Botox therapy for my migraines to work incredibly well. I was in bed with migraines between 3-6 days a week before my Neurologist sorted out my headaches. For my hormonal headaches, he and my gyno worked on a plan where I have minimal periods, as those headaches are some of the most severe. For the true migraines, as I said, the Botox therapy has worked wonders.

                I was originally part of one of the studies prior to FDA approval. One of the things I do remember about Botox is that when I initially started with it, is that I thought it would work instantly; however, it doesn't work that way. It actually took several treatments to see full results.

                My body does not tolerate Imitrex, so instead I take Relpax and I also have Stadol nasal spray--a total lifesaver. It's not ideal taking meds & getting Botox, but it sure beat being bedridden. Good luck with finding a good treatment plan.


                • #9
                  I take Esgic Plus for migraines. I find that if I just can't quash it with that, I'll have about 1/3 of a light beer. I think alcohol changes up the vessels in the head and it truly works for me. (Yes, I know, don't combine; I work in medicine). (Please no one do this, btw. It's probably not a good idea.) But, for me, it can stop a migraine when the Esgic is just not doing enough.

                  Also, if I go out walking, when I feel one coming on, can keep it away.


                  • #10
                    Oh, has anyone taken Maxalt and had it make them short of breath?

                    I tried it once and it did that. Kind of scary.


                    • #11
                      Yes I have - Relpax at first did this to me. I got a tight feeling in my chest and they made me do a stress test before I could take any more but I was fine. PFMJ, I am looking into getting a new neurologist, and may explore the botox therapy. I am pretty happy with my migraine control right now, but if it should chance to stop working as well, that's something I would think of.


                      • #12
                        Interesting about the walking---sometimes getting out early and feeding and picking can clear the headache.

                        Last Friday night I had sushi and a killer migraine started at 3 am. That happened once before, maybe they put MSG or something in the sushi?
                        There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                        • #13
                          What a great name, Bank of Dad.

                          The walking - best is if you wash the hair (sometimes I get the old head in the bath/shower to get water on the head if the migraine is getting serious). Wet hair seems to help. (I guess it's some kind of vaso-constriction, even if superficial.) Then walk in cool weather with wet head (no hat, defeats the action).

                          Now, do I have this right - headaches are vaso-dilation in the brain/head, yes? (That is why caffeine works, vasoconstrictor.)


                          • #14
                            Right, vaso constrictor needed. Ditto the wet head helps, and or, just really cold air.

                            We had rain and low pressure this weekend, and I could feel it in my head .
                            There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                            • #15
                              Topamax works for me and because fiornal for when I have one- works pretty well for me.


                              • #16
                                My husband had 3 - 4 day migraines many years ago to the point we finally went to Johns Hopkins to find out if he had a brain tumor and learned from his doctor what are the food triggers for migraines. He eliminated all of them, beans, preservatives in deli meat sauerkraut, chees, many nuts, the list goes on but I am sure you can find it. He also flushes daily with a saline solution, (we now use the himalayan salt), and exercises regularly. He never has any migraines now and does not use any drugs except for the occasional ibuprofen. Imitrex is dangerous stuff.
                                "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                                • #17
                                  I've been getting migraines since I was 8 (has it really been 12 years? I feel old...). For the first few years I just took children's Motrin, then ibuprofen with an abortive (I think it was Zomig back then) if the ibuprofen didn't work. (now the thought of taking ibuprofen for anything related to my head seems wierd) It ended up where I was taking over 1000mg/week, resulting in rebound headaches and stomach problems. I've seen a bunch of neurologists and had tests/scans done to no avail. I used to take preventatives (tried every one in the book, even the more uncommon ones) but the ones that worked would stop working after a while or had side effects that were way too severe Also played around some with my diet with no results, but I might try it again. So now I don't take any preventatives , nor do I currently see a neurologist. I had the same problem with the abortive meds (Zomig, Imitrez, Relpax), they'd work and then not. So far I've had the greatest luck with Maxalt MLT , though I have had to up the dose. I do take Migrelief (a supplement) and that seems to help some. I have figured out two of my triggers (sleep and eating regularly (from hypoglycemia, these ones are accompanied by severe nausea)).

                                  I remember at one point we were considering Botox injections, but didn't do it. Anyone here try them?

                                  I know what you mean as far as dealing with it... I feel like my entire life has been scheduled around what issues could arise. I probably would have had a completely different childhood ~ high school (and even college) life had I been as healthy as a normal kid. But overall I have a better handle on it than I used to. I'm still very careful about making any plans in advance (there's a lot of last-minute texting "do you want to xyz tonight?") but I will make some.

                                  The other problem is that I have too much s#!t going on, it's hard to sort out what symptoms are from what (migraines/POTS/hypothyroidism/the unknown mystery illness doctors can't figure out). I feel like I'm taking a pharmacy every time I go on vacation...

                                  But back to migraines...

                                  Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                                  Oh, has anyone taken Maxalt and had it make them short of breath?
                                  I take Maxalt MLT, never had that problem. I do, however, get bad muscle fatigue in my neck.
                                  I used to take Imitrex

                                  Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                                  I take Esgic Plus for migraines. I find that if I just can't quash it with that, I'll have about 1/3 of a light beer. I think alcohol changes up the vessels in the head and it truly works for me. (Yes, I know, don't combine; I work in medicine). (Please no one do this, btw. It's probably not a good idea.) But, for me, it can stop a migraine when the Esgic is just not doing enough.

                                  Also, if I go out walking, when I feel one coming on, can keep it away.


                                  • #18
                                    I take epival(anti seizure drug) for my migraines, it has lessend the severity and frequency to the point i can manage with t3.

                                    Chocolate is a big trigger, and perfumes ect,

                                    mine are genetic
                                    Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching

                                    Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bank of Dad View Post

                                      Someone on the other migraine thread mentioned this herbal treatment. I get sudden killer ones too. Right now I am withdrawing from all my prescription meds, and OTC because the rebound headaches are too frequent.

                                      This stuff is not supposed to cause rebound headaches. I just bought it the other day and have not tried it yet.

                                      I guess I do the neurologist route in a month or two.
                                      Do you know where to get this outside of the US? Have you heard anymore about it? Almost sounds too good to be true! I too am adverse to using medication but have had great results with herbs (but then seem to get immune to it after a few months)


                                      • #20
                                        Don't you all love it when you are at work (or somewhere), tell someone you have a migraine coming on and they say, "Oh, just take Motrin/Tylenol. It works really well."

                                        Or someone tells you they have a migraine, they are sitting next to you & chatting & looking pretty o.k.

                                        They just have no idea of how bad a migraine is.