Migraine questions

I haven't noticed any food triggers, but my biggest causes are stress (I carry tension in my right shoulder), and bright light.
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I've had migraines since I was 8 ... Relpax is my current lifesaver.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
Yep. I remember being in 1st grade and watching the storm clouds coming in and feeling my head pound and my eyes get those auras. So scary as a child.

Relpax is amazing.

ETA: Over-sleeping is also one of my triggers. I could not sleep in as a teen at all. Now, I can in moderation (not every weekend but maybe once a month)
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Last edited by SpunkyCurls; 02-04-2009 at 02:01 PM.
My 13 year old son has been getting migraines since last year. Re your post: hot dogs and all deli meats contain nitrates which are a major trigger. For my son the worst triggers are exhaustion and stress. The pediatrician (and research) shows that migraines in pre-teens and tweens are not uncommon and are often outgrown. Look for family history, as they are also genetic. Turned out 2 of my sibs had them at that age as well.

I give Motrin ASAP, put him in the dark, cold cloth on forehead etc. It seems the sonner you catch and treat the lesser the duration.

Good luck.

PS. I would guess that in girls in particular fluctuating/hormonal changes are a contributing factor...?
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Over-sleeping is also one of my triggers. I could not sleep in as a teen at all. Now, I can in moderation (not every weekend but maybe once a month)
Originally Posted by SpunkyCurls
Out-of-whack sleep cycle is one of my triggers. Getting up really early, oversleeping, or burning the candle at both ends.
shoulder-length 3a/b, depending on weather and products (or lack of products!)
Jeep, 15/30 days? I don't know how you manage!

suburban, she hasn't started menstruating yet. At 13 1/2, I'm assuming that should start any time now, but then I've been saying that for six months. (I started right before my 13 bday.)

The darn neurologist still hasn't called me back. I called at 11:15 to add my cell # to the request for a call, that's when the receptionist bothered to mention that he wouldn't be in the office until 1:30 and will likely call me btw. patients. If I'd known that, I would have tried the pediatrician this morning. Maybe she could have gotten through to the neuro. (She did it before, when we were there in her office about the migraines last fall.)

DD's had this migraine since Monday night. I think at this point, it's obvious that the Imitrex isn't working at this dosage (currently at 50 mg.) I think he either has to increase the dosage or try something different.
The doc finally called. Said to give DD another dose of the Imitrex. One more in 2 hrs, if needed, then if that doesn't work, go to the ER for a shot. DH is going on duty as primary caregiver, if that is necessary, this child does not do well with needles.

Please cross your fingers for us that this dose does the job!

thanks, again, every one. We're defintely going to watch those hotdogs and deli meat. I don't think her sleepcycle was off this time, but it's a good idea to monitor it, anyway (with the epilepsy, and in general.)
it took me a long time to figure out that my migraines were caused by blue lights. like the blue LED lights on your computer, or fluorescent blue shop signs, or the blue flashing lights on top of cop cars and snowplows. this seems to be my only trigger, but my sensitivity to the blue lights seems to depend on how tired i am, if it's that time of the month, or if i'm stressed out. i don't take anything because my migraines are never very painful, i just get crazy long auras. i have had them since i was a very small child but didn't tell anyone for a long time, because i thought they would think i'm crazy. kurlykae, i hope your daughter finds a way to comfortably manage her migraines. good luck.
Check labels for nitrates and preservatives such as citric acid.

Citric acid is also in fresh fruits such as pineapple and oranges.
Originally Posted by medussa
Ah yes, citric acid. Lemon-lime soda is one of the worst offenders for B. He doesn't generally get headaches from hard liquor, but ALWAYS from margaritas.
Originally Posted by meryn
Could also be the tequila in them. I can drink the Ninfaritas at ninfa's in Houston (they use everclear) but I can't drink tequila. 1/2 of one and I am scrambling for the pain meds.

Imitrex nasal is great stuff. Usually within 15 min...nasty taste in the back of my throat but worth it.

MSG - we might have to look into migraine stuff for my 9 YO...her head hurts and builds until she throws up then she is fine. My migraines don't make me nauseous, for which I am so grateful. She's been tested for the sinus/head malformations...we've done food diaries, but she gets them so sledom that it's hard....only ever few months so....hard to figure out. I am hoping that a different dr will be of more help, the last one wasn't much help.

Good luck.
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Let me get your guys' opinion on something. I have suspicions that my 3 year old gets migraines. Being only 3 he's not exactly very able to describe his symptoms, so I'm not sure.

He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

I get sudden migraines sometimes myself. It didn't even occur to me that it might be that until we had one at the same time and I realized my head felt squished too.

So what do you guys think?
Let me get your guys' opinion on something. I have suspicions that my 3 year old gets migraines. Being only 3 he's not exactly very able to describe his symptoms, so I'm not sure.

He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

I get sudden migraines sometimes myself. It didn't even occur to me that it might be that until we had one at the same time and I realized my head felt squished too.

So what do you guys think?
Originally Posted by cympreni
That's a possibility, but I would also check into seizures.
My triggers are stress, bright sunlight in my eyes, MSG, hormones (went away when I went off the pill), certain white wines, and lack of sleep. What I've found is that it's usually a combo of triggers that does it so it's hard to pinpoint just one thing.

I didn't have much luck with prescription medications. I usually ended up using a narcotic with imitrex or maxalt, which just made me loopy. Now I take 5 ibuprofen tablets every 6 hours, and that works better than anything else and it's less expensive.
My triggers are stress, bright sunlight in my eyes, MSG, hormones (went away when I went off the pill), certain white wines, and lack of sleep. What I've found is that it's usually a combo of triggers that does it so it's hard to pinpoint just one thing.

I didn't have much luck with prescription medications. I usually ended up using a narcotic with imitrex or maxalt, which just made me loopy. Now I take 5 ibuprofen tablets every 6 hours, and that works better than anything else and it's less expensive.
Originally Posted by mrspoppers
I'm afraid DD's triggers are a combo and we'll never narrow it down. We're keeping a food diary now, so hopefully, if eeded, we'll figure something out.

That's a lot of ibuprofen, mrsp. I think the prescription strength is 4, but I'm glad you found what works for you.

The good news is the dose the doc approved this afternoon did the trick. DD is finally feeling better. It was nice to see a smile, hear a giggle, and feel some energy again, so then we sent her to bed early! Just 45 minutes or so. We just wanted to be sure she'll be better tomorrow.
cympreni, I think your little guy is quite impressive to be able to describe a headache so well. I'd definitely check with the pediatrician on it. As for the suggestion on seizures, as it would happen, my same daughter has seizures, as well. Doc says they are unrelated, but anyway, you might want to look at epiliepsyfoundation.org for some info on that. I found the website very helpful last year, when we first suspected that DD was having seizures. Hopefully, you can eliminate that as a possibility, but even it were E., there is plenty of info and assitance out there, just like here on nc.com!
One thing I forgot to mention as a possible trigger is "smoke flavoring." My neurologist gave me an exhaustive list and that's one that hasn't been mentioned yet.

I'm a little bit of an obsessive label reader and you'd be surprised how many of these additives are in our foods. One thing I'm looking into is why certain cereals trigger headaches for me. The only preservative I've seen on the label is BHT but I'm not sure if that's the trigger or not. I just have to avoid any kind of cereal with preservatives during a headache cycle. When I'm not in a cycle, I can eat anything I want. So I've been lucky that way, over the years.

It's also important to remember that what might be a trigger for any of us, may not be a trigger for your daughter, KurlyKae. I think the key is to keep the food diary, as you've been doing, as well as keeping all the other factors in mind (such as weather, sleep patterns, allergies, etc...). In time you'll be able to figure out how to minimize the number of migraines, as well as figure which medication protocol works for your daughter.
He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

So what do you guys think?
Originally Posted by cympreni
I think you should talk to his pediatrician and explore this further.
Thanks for the advice. It hadn't occurred to me that it could be anything so serious. I was just going to bring it up at his next time we're there, but I think I'll call for for appointment now.
I had my first migraine at 17, in high school, in my typing class of all places! I can get the migraine 10-30 mins after being in contact with a trigger, listed below:

* Potassium and nitrates - I can't eat bananas or drink sports drinks
* Weather - high pressure days, especially right before it rains. In this case, I wake up with a migraine.
* Industrial/commercial lighting (i.e. CFLs) - I can't keep my lights on at work.
* Certain smells can trigger a migraine as well. I can't really identify a specific smell...but one whiff and I am in pain
* Certain noises, especially high pitches can cause migraines for me as well.
* Menstrual cycle - right before and right after due to the hormonal shifts. I was on BC for a while to see if that would help curb the migraines...and it did for a while, but I had other serious side effects on BC and got off.
*disclaimer* spelling, grammatical and psychological errors are for your enjoyment.
He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

So what do you guys think?
Originally Posted by cympreni
I think you should talk to his pediatrician and explore this further.
Originally Posted by medussa
I agree. Recurring headaches in a small child can be serious, and migraines would probably be the least of my worries.
I give Motrin ASAP, put him in the dark, cold cloth on forehead etc. It seems the sonner you catch and treat the lesser the duration.
Originally Posted by rudeechick
I was a migraine sufferer for many years (they gradually stopped happening, thank Heaven). Going into a dark, quiet place immediately is very helpful, but giving Motrin or any NSAID (aspirin or ibuprofen, etc.) IS CONTRAINDICATED. After the visual disturbances in the beginning when the blood vessels in the brain constrict, usually in response to adrenaline and other stress chemicals, the blood vessels of a migraine sufferer over-react by too much dilation and the result is a little brain swelling and the terrible migraine headache. NSAIDs INCREASE THE DILATION, and make the headache worse.

The reason exhaustion triggers migraines relates to low blood sugar. If a kid w/ an active metabolism exercises heavily or simply goes too long w/o eating or eats only carbs that burn up fast, the body tries to energize by producing adrenaline to help turn body fat to usuable sugar, thus triggering a migraine.

The best treatment I ever found, other than specialized pharmaceuticals w/ side effects, was to put an ice pack at the base of the skull/top of neck toward the side of the head that hurt. That helped shrink the blood vessels back and reduced pain quickly, although it still took a long time to feel mostly normal. Heavy physical activity, like sports, should be curtailed the next day, as the person usually feels drained, and forcing oneself could create a vicious cycle of repeat migraines.

Taking a good magnesium supplement daily, like "Doctor's Best" brand, along with a multi-vitamin helps w/prevention. Magnesium can at first be laxative, so it's best to start out w/ a low dose and work up to ~200mg - 300mg daily divided into 2 doses as soon as the bowels allow. For some people taking magnesium and avoiding blood sugar crashes is enough to end the headaches. Of course for some women nutrients that help level out the monthly hormonal crashes are necessary as well. Highly allergic people sometimes respond to food allergens w/ a spurt of adrenaline, so finding and avoiding foods you're allergic to can resolve the problem.

When you know what to do, migraines are preventable. If the pressures of life lead you into doing something that triggers a migraine, the icepack and/or prescribed medication can be a godsend. Avoid OTC remedies w/ ibuprofen or aspirin like the plague.
Jeep, 15/30 days? I don't know how you manage!
Originally Posted by KurlyKae
It was certainly harder to deal with before the triptans came along. They really have made my life so much better. I look back at all the things I missed (tho I refused to miss school or work) and it makes me sad. Now I rarely miss an event. Those very expensive little pills are like tiny miracles to me.

Some of my migraines are preventable. I know the triggers but choose to ignore them sometimes - I just won't totally give up things like beer and hotdogs.
But many of them are not preventable - I can't control the weather, and I can't always control stress, or the amount of reading/computer work I have to do at my job, or my hormones, or the perfumes that other people wear.

So everyone just has to learn what works for them. Ice makes mine worse. Heat helps. Sleep used to be my escape and cure. Now I have to force myself to stay awake or it gets worse. Light used to bother me but I don't have to hide in a dark room anymore. Sounds still really bother me but you can't always get away from it.

I keep waiting for the day when mine start to disappear. Not holding my breath tho. My dad is 75 and his have not lessened at all.
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