Migraine questions

Take the quiz. There are lots of them online.

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Migraines reminded me of this. I'm a vata, and if my schedule gets out of whack, I get out of balance and get a migraine
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Last edited by mandyv; 02-05-2009 at 02:02 PM.
I have a call into our doctor, but sometimes I find personal experiences just as helpful...
So, my 13 yo DD has migraines. At this point, she's taking Imitrex (50mg dosage.) We (DH and I) are trying to pinpoint any triggers to help avoid the situation, if possible.

I've read that various food, as well as weather changes, may be culprits. If you get migraines triggered by food, what is the timeframe btw. eating and the onset of the migraine? DD had pizza and a hotdog for dinner Monday night (leftover night) about 6:30. The migraine hit about 9:30. With 3 hours btw., could there be a connection? What I've seen says more like 20-25 minutes.

Also, weather changes. Monday we were experiencing SoCal's Santa Ana winds. Major winds with very warm temps (80s.) The winds are gone now, but she's still got the headache. Obviously, we can't control the weather, but if it turns out to be a trigger, we can be ready to deal, I guess.
Originally Posted by KurlyKae
I used to get awful migraines at least twice a week before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It's an autoimmune disease that prevents me from eating anything containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. I don't know exactly what the correlation is, but it's worth looking into. Does your daughter also feel nauseous at all after meals? That's another symptom of Celiac. I'm asking because you mentioned that the migraine happened a few hours after she ate a dinner that contained quite a bit of bread.

Figuring out something like this is really worth a simple blood test. After ten years of fighting it, my last serious migraine was 8 months ago. All I had to change was my eating habits. HTH!

http://www.celiaccentral.org/
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Wow, I wish so many of us didn't have migraines in common. (I don't remember if I mentioned that I get them, too. But they occur once or maybe twice a year, Excedrine Migraine makes it managable. They aren't nearly as bad or long lasting as DD's.)

Unfortunately, while last night's dose of the Imitrex helped a lot, the migraine was back again this morning, that last dose did nothing and I had to take DD into the ER. After 3 1/2 hours, they gave her Norco 5 (a version of...vicodin? I think so.) And now, she's hopefully sleeping.

We're definitely going to be keeping track of what she eats, and maybe the weather, too. She mentioned that a friend with diabetes does the same, so hopefully she'll be helpful on that, and see what happens.

Thanks soooo much to all of your support and the information, the links, etc. It's good to know we're not alone.
I second whomever recommended Relpax. I love that stuff. It has saved me. It's expensive on my insurance but since my migraines are hormonal I only need 1 per month. I usually take one and then go to bed with a heat pack on my head (ice does not help, the pain radiates through my sinuses and the heat soothes those) and I wake up 100% better so the scrip lasts me about 6 months.

From reading the fioricet label its pretty much extra strength Excedrin. I think it's caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen. Not good if caffeine is a trigger for you. That was proscribed to me by my gyno and it did not work. When I talked to my primary doc he just looked at me and asked if I'd like some real migraine meds. He knows me well and knows if I'm asking for pain meds I am really in pain.

My mom has heinous ones caused by caffeine and chocolate. Just 1 little chocolate chip will send her into a multi-day migraine. Though dutch cocoa is safe for her. It's cocoa that is processed with alkali which does something to render it safe for her. She can't have large amounts still but it's something.

In addition to keeping a food diary you should also have her start charting how she feels before one comes on. Then she'll start to recognize clearly when one is coming on so you can catch it early. It took me a little while to connect the tension in my good shoulder with a migraine. Now when I feel the knot coming I can take evasive maneuvers! I hate that knot. No amount of massaging will release it. I had my dad dig into it one day and he was like "it just keeps pushing back!"
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.
Originally Posted by JusLooking
I think she should talk to her doctor about the aleve/ibuprofen. I've always been told that they are good for migraines. Aleve is my lifesaver, I'm just saying...
I have to agree about the NSAID, we give an NSAID as part of our protocol for migraines in the ED I work at. We do also give Magnesium, and an antiemetic.

Our docs avoid narcotics because studies show it only causes rebound migraines. (the migraine is relieved until the narcotic wears off and then comes back again)

Hopefully you can find out her triggers! I get a migraine with my monthly, and at times of stress, I wouldn't wish them on anyone!
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The ONLY thing that has helped my migraines is Excedrin migraine. I have taken about 3 migraine medicines, and gave up. Excedrin pretty much saves me.
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The ONLY thing that has helped my migraines is Excedrin migraine. I have taken about 3 migraine medicines, and gave up. Excedrin pretty much saves me.
Originally Posted by CurlyHairedFarmer
That is my livesaver also!
http://public.fotki.com/BrewCrewGrl/

The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be- Konrad Lorenz
The ONLY thing that has helped my migraines is Excedrin migraine. I have taken about 3 migraine medicines, and gave up. Excedrin pretty much saves me.
Originally Posted by CurlyHairedFarmer
That is my livesaver also!
Originally Posted by BrewCrewGrl
Isn't it wonderful?! HOWEVER, after taking it for about 2 days I get caffeine withdrawals. It has quite a lot in it.
3a with some 2c thrown in
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Currently Loving:
Shampoo: CJ Gentle Cleansing Shampoo, Giovanni 50:50

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Leave-in: CJ Beauticurls Leave-in

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My migraine miracle cure is 4 ibuprofen and a large mocha frappuccino.
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While caffeine is a trigger for me, and I normally avoid it completely, I find that once I get an aura, I can usually prevent the full-blown migraine by taking several ibuprofens and a cup of caffeinated coffee.

The auras were scary before I understood what they were, but I'm glad that I get them because the warning saves me from a major migraine.

Fortunately, I rarely get them any more since I went caffeine-free and got past menopause.
I used to see a migraine specialist and I'm also a medical student so I read lot's journals/research. Here are some recommendations
1) If the imitrex isn't helping he might try switching to a different abortive medication such as relpax.
2) If he has them very often he should try a medicine to help prevent them and decrease the severity. Excamples are Atenolol, Amitryptaline, and Topamax.
3) 1000mg of tyelonol has been shown to be affective for migraine pain. So for kids, I would have him take the highest single does he's allowed.
And for me, triggers are not eating regularly, and stress.
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UPDATE:
First, thanks, again, to everyone for all your input on this subject. It really does help to get so many different ideas and experiences.

After three different migraines in February, we may have isolated a trigger in hotdogs. DD is upset, of course, since she loves hotdogs, but this wouldn't be a problem if she didn't eat them, right?

Anyway, no real hotdogs since the third migraine, and no more migraines. I found nitrate/nitrite free hotdogs at Trader Joes this week, and now I'm a hero! (she's 13, so that won't last, but I'll take it for now)
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UPDATE:
First, thanks, again, to everyone for all your input on this subject. It really does help to get so many different ideas and experiences.

After three different migraines in February, we may have isolated a trigger in hotdogs. DD is upset, of course, since she loves hotdogs, but this wouldn't be a problem if she didn't eat them, right?

Anyway, no real hotdogs since the third migraine, and no more migraines. I found nitrate/nitrite free hotdogs at Trader Joes this week, and now I'm a hero! (she's 13, so that won't last, but I'll take it for now)
Originally Posted by KurlyKae
Great news!!!!!!!

Do she notice a difference in taste? The ones I get have to remain frozen until use. Also, they're not the best tasting dogs, according to the kiddos. I've never been to TJ's, so if you recommend them, it's worth a trip for me!
I can't say myself, yet. We had an open pack of regular dogs, so DD2 and I had them to finish off the pack, while DD1 had her first TJ dog. She said it tasted okay. But, honestly, that girl puts so much mustard on a hotdog, I don't know if she tastes the meat at all! The real test will be when DD2 has one, she doesn't use any condiments. I'm sure we'll try again, soon. Our schedule with the play they are currently in requires quick meals, so we're bound to in the next day or so. I'll let you know.
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AG re:coil, LALooks gel, John Frieda Secret Weapon
I can't say myself, yet. We had an open pack of regular dogs, so DD2 and I had them to finish off the pack, while DD1 had her first TJ dog. She said it tasted okay. But, honestly, that girl puts so much mustard on a hotdog, I don't know if she tastes the meat at all! The real test will be when DD2 has one, she doesn't use any condiments. I'm sure we'll try again, soon. Our schedule with the play they are currently in requires quick meals, so we're bound to in the next day or so. I'll let you know.
Originally Posted by KurlyKae
Thanks, KK!
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.
Originally Posted by JusLooking
Good advice. That explains why I get the headaches when I'm exhausted. Also my blood sugar is often erratic. I'll get on the magnesium.

2 Aleve helps but Advil does not. Zomig nasal is the best prescription drug I've found, at about $30 a dose.
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Poo: KBB shampoo bar or Shikai moisturizing shampoo
CoWash: VO5 kiwi
Cond: Robert Craig, Tresemme Natural, or Fekkai Shea Butter
Leave in/Styling: Grapeseed oil, KBB milk, KCCC, and Aveda Confixor

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