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Hi everybody!

I think I might have posted to this board once before, but I don't remember. I do recognize several names from the petlovers board among others.

I'm Tammy, a 34 year old mom, wife and accountant. My daughter is 8 and I have a German Shepherd pup and a great husband that I don't get to see that often. I have had migraines since I was about 10 years old off and on. Probably between 10 - 13 and then they started back up again when I got pregnant with my daughter at 24. They have been off and on ever since, but mostly on for the last 3 years.

My doctor has me on Imitrex 100 milligram which I am supposed to take as soon as my vision gets blurry. These headaches never completely go away while I have them and they usually last 4-7 days. The one I have now started New Year's night and was really bad, bad enough that I called in to work on Thursday. I went in on Friday because I wasn't queasy any more but I wound up wearing my prescription sunglasses all day at work. I don't really have sick days yet so I have to go in anyway.

Do you all have any suggestions on other things that I can do? I am tired of having these things and tired of them disrupting my life. I want to work out, and I can't ever get into a routine. As soon as I get a schedule going for 3 weeks, the migraines start up again and I can't work out. I have tried to work out anyway, but they get so bad I throw up. It is really hard to get going again once they go away.

This is the end of my whine, sorry. I would really appreciate any suggestions that you all could give me.

Tammy
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Heya!

Man - 100mg of Imitrex? I think one of mine is bad if 50mg doesn't knock it out of orbit! Have you seen a neurologist? Are you on a preventative? I've been on Topamax which has helped mine, altho they're starting to get bad again. I think I need to start with getting my eyes checked, then I may need to switch my birth control prescription - I went from the pill to the patch a few months back, and the worst of my headaches are hormonally-related, and those are getting much worse. So we'll see.

Kaiti
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Hi Kaiti!

Have you seen a neurologist? Are you on a preventative?

No, I haven't seen a neurologist yet. And the only preventative I am on is the Imitrex. I am supposed to take it as soon as my vision whacks out and it is supposed to keep it from setting in. Are there other preventatives? What is Topomax?

My migraines are hormonaly related too. I am not on the pill or anything at this point, but I heard something very interesting on the news the other day that I am going to check out. The said that taking low dose birth control pills continuously for up to four months was now considered safe. There wouldn't be a week of sugar pills, you would just take regular pills for up to four months, then take the sugar pills to allow for a cycle. The way they explained it, the number of cycles are reduced to 4 per year. Since my headaches are hormone related, maybe that would work.

Anyway, I think I am going to set up another appointment before I get to busy with tax deadlines to go.
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Topamax is actually an anti-seizure med, but it's also used to prevent migraines - it's taken daily, rather than when one's already starting. I've also been on Elavil (10mg), which is an anti-depressant (usually given in higher doses for that tho), but is also given in lower doses to prevent migraines. I found I was more likely to get them on that, tho. Hmmm... maybe I should ask my doc about doing the 4 periods/year thing. First, eyes (they're due for a check, and when the head is acting up, eyes are always a good thing to check, esp. if you spend as much time as I do looking at computer screens). Then... do I call my gynecologist first, or the neurologist?

hmmmm

Kaiti
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Hi! Here's what works for me:

Caffeine: If you drink coffee etc. regularly, try weaning yourself off to see if that helps. But do it gradually; cold turkey invokes a 3-day migraine. Coffee plus hormones were my triggers, and without the coffee I've done pretty well.

Nutrasweet can be a trigger, too.

Regular sleep patterns: I used to get weekend migraines when I slept later than usual. I thought of that when you said you had a bad one on New Year's Day.

Finally, I've heard that sometimes after menopause the migraines are much less bothersome. I'll let you know in a couple of years if that's true!

Good luck.

-Mary
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A previous poster mentioned Nutrasweet as a trigger. There are many others red wine, processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meat, etc) can also be triggers because of the nitrates & nitrites. Other triggers can be MSG (Chinese food) aged cheeses (cheddar), diet pop (Nutrasweet). I also knew someone for whom tomato sauce was a trigger. She could eat a serving or two but more than that was pushing it for her.

Personally, I grind my teeth in my sleep and a visit to an orthodontist where I had a special night guard made to sleep in helped me a lot. My best friend and I are also affected by the weather patterns. When the seasonal patterns start to change and big fronts come through we feel it. I'm in Central Ohio and some years are worse than others.

Also, don't limit yourself to Imitrex. There are other drugs available now that do the same thing, Maxalt & Zomig are a couple. And one of the newer ones may work better for you. I had good luck with the injectable Imitrex but, never with the oral form. I get good results with Maxalt & Zomig both. But, my insurance only covers the Maxalt so that's the one I use now.

Good Luck
Robin

*Soapbox* - you don't say much about your doctor. But, if he/she hasn't mentioned any of the food triggers and other things then find a doctor who is more up-to-date with the research. And Kaiti's suggestion to visit a good neurologist is a good place to start. And check him/her out too. Some are very up on the recent migraine studies. Sorry, I was told too many times in my teens & 20's that it was all in my head (so to speak).
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I'm in Central Ohio and some years are worse than others.

I went to college in N. Ohio, spent vacations with my grandparents in Columbus, right smack in the middle of the state. So THAT'S why I have migraines!

;-)

-Mary
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Soapbox* - you don't say much about your doctor. But, if he/she hasn't mentioned any of the food triggers and other things then find a doctor who is more up-to-date with the research. And Kaiti's suggestion to visit a good neurologist is a good place to start. And check him/her out too. Some are very up on the recent migraine studies. Sorry, I was told too many times in my teens & 20's that it was all in my head (so to speak).

He hasn't said a whole lot about triggers. But I knew about them and asked before he had a chance. He has questioned me on changes in my diet and environment, and we couldn't find anything through that. I found a headache journal for my palm pilot that will let me record the condition and circumstances surrounding my headaches, so I hope I will find a pattern that way.

I feel better today. I haven't had to take an imitrex yet, so that is good. I really want to exercise tonight, but I am almost afraid to try it. I will see what happens.

Thanks for your help, and the soapbox! I too have been told too many times that it was all in my head. Nothing makes me madder than for someone else to tell me I am imagining pain.

Tammy
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I found a headache journal for my palm pilot that will let me record the condition and circumstances surrounding my headaches, so I hope I will find a pattern that way.

Where did you find it? I've been listing mine under note pad, with a different set of entries for each week. I'd be interested in having one specific for my migraine diary, though.

Since this is my first post, I should explain my situation as well. I only recently started experiencing migraine (starting at age 32). It started with a major one in the middle of the night in April that sent me to the emergency room. They went once a week after that, then twice a week mid-summer, then like clockwork at every 36 hours starting in August. By September they were every day. Fortunately they were more moderate and only occasionally severe, and I never experienced any visual disturbance with them. It took me two months of daily headaches to get my neurologist to order an MRI and a spinal tap (I originally thought they might be connected to a trip I took to Ecuador, and perhaps I'd picked up something). I wasn't (and still am not, probably) completely happy with him--he's a big shot in the field, I guess, but has no ability to speak to a patient. Fortunately the tests turned out to be normal, and one thing that did happen is that he told me to go off the pill, which I'd been taking for many years. Since then my headaches haven't been as frequent. But that's actually the opposite of what many people experience.

I was taking Topamax for them starting in September, but never found that it helped. So I went off it just recently, and am just on Zomig for the acute attacks. I guess I'm a bit happier without it, since ceasing Topamax is more beneficial if my husband and I should decide to start a family as we hope to sometime soon. Topamax is definitely harmful in that instance.

Marcy




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I really want to exercise tonight, but I am almost afraid to try it.

Yes, I found that really vigorous exercise triggered a migraine. So unfair!

Good luck.

- Mary
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I found a headache journal for my palm pilot that will let me record the condition and circumstances surrounding my headaches, so I hope I will find a pattern that way.

Where did you find it? I've been listing mine under note pad, with a different set of entries for each week. I'd be interested in having one specific for my migraine diary, though.

Oh yes! Tell us where!

I never seem to have food triggers for mine - they're usually lack-of-food triggers. One of the first things I do when I feel a headache coming on is start eating. Some caffeine if I haven't had any that day, and protein. Or just food in general if I know I haven't eaten enough. I'm pretty bad about procrastinating on the eating.

I also read something interesting once - wish I could remember where! - about chocolate as a trigger. Apparently some doctors may think it's a false trigger. Seems that perhaps what could happen is the body's asking for carbs, it's misunderstood and a person eats chocolate, gets a headache that might have been prevented through carb consumption, and the chocolate gets blamed. Interesting theory. Thoughts?

Kaiti
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Hi guys,

Sorry about just dropping the link in, I hit a button wrong and it sent it before I was ready.

This is only one of the ones that I have found. It just happens to be free, so I downloaded. I haven;t used it a whole lot yet, but it looks promising.

There are several more at palm software connections. Also at handango.com, I think.

Hope that helps,

Tammy
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THANKS!
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Thanks for the link to the headache diary--I've already downloaded it and added to my Palm! It looks like it will be a real help in monitoring them. I had been using Note Pad, and transcribing the info to the sheets my dr. keeps in my file. This will allow a greater ability to keep track, though.

Marcy
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channelcat wrote:

really want to exercise tonight, but I am almost afraid to try it. I will see what happens.

In terms of exercise and migraine, I've found that my usual habit of bicycling to/from work really doesn't aggravate them, and I haven't had to abandon that yet (almost 2 years of bike commuting so far). I don't know what kind of exercise you do, but perhaps the cycling doesn't have the jumping around or intensity that some exercise might, and may work for you? Even when I have a migraine coming on at work I'm able to ride home alright. It might be worth a try.

Marcy
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Even when I have a migraine coming on at work I'm able to ride home alright. It might be worth a try.


Thanks! I will give that a try. Usually I put my favorite band into my cd player and walk, run, do arm exercises. I have an exercise bike, but I can't seem to manage to lift weights or anything while I am riding. To uncoordinated I guess ;-)If I put the intensity up enough I might be able to get my heart rate up enough.

Thanks,

TAmmy
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...I can't seem to manage to lift weights or anything while I am riding

ROFLMAO! I would fall off IMMEDIATELY!

-Mary
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