Season changes and migranes?

Adam Lenhardt

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Am I the only one for whom Spring and Fall mean regular, braincrushing, workstopping, naseating migraines? With the temperature and pressure ping ponging all of the place, it seems like I'm popping Advil and Excedrin more often than I'm not.
Temperature bounced back to 70 here in Boston today and my head is killing me. Anyone else suffer from this phenomena?
 

MarkHastings

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I get them too, but more in a head-sinus way. With the leaves changing and all the rotting crap floating through the air, my head kills around this time of year.
 

Henry Gale

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Adam,
Have you see a neurologist?
I'm curious if your headaches are migraines.
There is another type, much more painful, called "cluster headache".
The majority of migraine sufferers are women. Cluster victims are usually male.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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My mother has a worse history with migraines than I do. While cluster headaches sound like they could be a possibility, the symptoms don't match as closely. While the pain is usually focused in one area (such as under the eye, as mentioned in the linked article) it usually radiates out over a fairly wide area. I also wouldn't describe the pain as sharp. It hurts, but not in an "ice pick" sort of a way. The more debilitating aspects for me are the other side effects: in addition to my head killing me, I get a fairly significant sensitivity to light, feel nauseated, and bending over is a nightmare.
Roughly 15% of men will have at least one migraine each year, compared to 35% of women, so I'm not THAT uncommon.
Two excedrin migraine and an Advil (ibprofen) clear up the light sensitivity and the nausea while reducing the headache to a normal level, so it's not unliveable. It is, however, a pain in the ass.
That's the only nice thing about when it starts snowing. It means the temperatures will usually stay consistently low enough that this doesn't happen.
 

BrianW

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For me, migraines are absolutely debilitating. If possible, I wait them out in a dark closet, surrounded by pillows and hanging clothes to block out the sound and light. Luckily, I get migraines only once every few years now. I don't think they have to do with the changing of the seasons, though. I used to get them four to six times a year, but I discovered that if I take a high dose of ibuprofen (1250 mg) when the symptoms first appear, I can drastically reduce the severity of the pain. I keep a pill container on my key chain with Advil in it. The only times I get migraines now is when I'm caught without it. Once the symptoms start, it's not long before the pain hits with full force.

I've found that I will sometimes have just a "regular" headache (no migraine symptoms, but won't respond to medication) that ultimately advances to a migraine. If your migraines are triggered by the changing of the seasons, could it be the case that you're just getting regular sinus headaches that manage somehow to quickly trigger the migraines? If so, then if you could prevent the sinus headaches, you may be able to prevent the migraines they trigger.

I hope you find some kind of answer. Focusing on prevention has been key for me.

1193 days without a migraine, and counting.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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It's possible. The strange thing with that is that I get the occasional sinus headach too, which is nothing like the migraines, just a minor irritation behind my nose.
Medication is definitely key. My little cocktail of excedrin migraine and Advil (565 mg each for excedrin, plus 200 mg for the advil) seems to do the trick. I've still got a bit of the headache, but the nausea is greatly reduced and the light sensitivity is totally gone. The only problem is that 65 mg of each excedrin is pure caffeine, so I've really got a chance in hell of going to bed at a decent hour now.

Good to know I'm not alone out there.
 

Henry Gale

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I get clusters.
They're pretty remarkable during the couple of months they occur. Happened in 2001, 1987, 1976, 1973 and a few earlier.
The last two sets were diagnosed and the medication is getting better so I don't have to suffer through the whole thing anymore.
One problem is trying to guess when they're over and stopping the meds, only to find out they're not gone.
 

MarkMel

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I get mind numbing, pain so bad that you think about grabbing the shotgun, vomiting, auras, numbness in face, hands and tongue. First time I got one I thought I was having a stroke.

I haven't gotten them in a couple of years now. They were mostly caused by MSG, with a little stress thrown in. I also get bad sinus headaches that are definitely seasonal.

I always get pissed off when someone in the office walks around saying they have a migraine. No, they have a headache, probably sinus. I wouldn't wish a migraine on my worst enemy.

One thing that helps is Imitrex. For me it doesn't completely restore me to a normal state, I'm still out of commission for 2-3 days but it makes the pain more bearable and the migraine hangover less severe.

They have a new nasal spray that is supposed to work very quickly. My wife gets migraines as well and recently tried the spray. She said it was more effective that the tablets. So we got a bunch and I keep some in my office and car just in case.

I do think that a sinus headache can turn into a migraine as it has happened to me. The way I avoid that is to take sudafed, the blue liquid caps. Clears up the sinus headache pretty quickly. The only problem with this is finding it. The meth makers have caused legislation so that it has to be stored behind the counter and if you want to buy more than one box you have to give you licence. If you can't find that one, look for ones that have guaifenesin and phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.
 

MarkHastings

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I hear ya! I get sinus headaches a lot and I get low blood sugar headaches a lot and while these are all pretty awful (as everyone here knows) they are NOTHING compared to a migraine. I hate when people say "I think I have a migraine" or "Man, I have a migraine!"


Ummm, NO! If you HAD a migraine, you wouldn't say "I think I have one", you'd KNOW you had one!
and plus, if you're not thinking of ways to actually put your head in the freezer (to cool down your head), then you only have a bad headache.

And you're right, no one WALKS around saying they have a migraine. The fact that you are walking around negates the fact that you have a migraine.
That would be like walking around saying you're paralyzed from the waist down - or saying "I'm a mute"
 

Mort Corey

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Sheeze....these things sound horrible. The only time I've ever had any kind of headache it was self induced....usually the night before.

Mort (who's kinda glad not to feel your pain)
 

Alex-C

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Migraine sufferer for 15 years here.

Generally speaking, if you can carry on with your normal daily routine in a normal fashion, your headache may be bad, but it aint no migraine. Migraines are absolutely debilitating. I often describe them to people as instant hangovers (something a lot of people can identify with).

Imagine feeling fine, la de da, day is going well, ho hum...then you get a migraine. Within a short period of time, you are in the throes of what is such a terribly painful headache that it casuses you to vomit and seek out the quietest, darkest hole from all living beings and the noises they cause that the only small relief you can hope for is to wait this awful thing out until it goes away and that experience may cause you to want to put your head through a wall because the pain from putting your head into a wall seems like a better option than what your are experiencing. All this happens, or "comes on" within 30 minutes.

I could go on, but I wont. you get the idea.

I have used many meds from midrin, cafergot, ergostat to imitrex, maxalt and others. The imitrex nasal is good and quick. But it doesnt make everything "better" and that is the hardest for families, bosses and co-workers to figure out. You may escape the part where you vomit, but you are not 100%. You are a walking zombie. Just not a vomitting zombie who wants to tear their own head apart to get rid of the pain spot.

IMHO, one of the things that contributes to those in society who claim to have migraines (when what they have is not medically a migraine) is the marketing of products like Excedrin Migriane to them. Also, migraines dont show up on MRIs, X-Rays, or other diganostic testing machines, thereby allowing some to use that to their advantage.

Let's put it this way (and I'll admit, this is a gross oversimplification), if aspirin plus caffeine in a pill is allowing you to continue your daily routine, you dont have a migraine. If your headache hurts so bad, that the pain causes you to vomit, much like passing a kidney stone will do, then you should seek professional medical treatment.

Imitrex is a great thing. A wonderful and great thing, worthy of the cost. Without it, my life would be very different. Every job that I ever applied for, I would have to explain that some days, for no "apparent" reason (i.e. its not visibly apparent to know I am suffering from a possible migraine) I will have to leave with no notice.

Other headaches are debilitating to varying degrees. Sinus and cluster and the rest all have their effects on our daily lives.

My personal experience is that during migraines, sounds dont bother me at all one bit, its the lights. Any light whatsoever hurts. Think about that, a light that I can see, hurts my head. They do vary a lot from person to person. I feel most sorry for those who have migraines that last several days. That, I could not possibly imagine ! Mine, for the most part, are limited to a day or two. The worst part can be 30 mins to 2 hours. Its not over after that, but I really would have a different life altoghether if they lasted a long time. I have called ambulances for myself during migraines in certain situations. Its not an ailment I would wish on anyone and my honest and heartfelt sympathy goes out to those, like me, who suffer on a regular basis.
 

MarkHastings

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Yes.

I will admit though, Excedrin Migraine does WONDERS for my low blood sugar headaches, as well as my "Really Bad Headaches", but yes, as far as the actual migraine, Excedrin Migraine is as useless as trying to put out a house fire with an eyedropper.
 

Alex-C

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Oh, I am certain it is effective for other headache ailments. Caffiene does help at the onset of a headache.

Fiorinal is a good one.
 

MarkHastings

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LMAO! I was JUST telling this to someone. I was telling them about this massive migraine I had a few years back (probably the last migraine I've experienced) - it was Christmas and I had spent the night at my (now ex) girlfriends. She was a Carb-a-Holic, so I kind of overdid it on sugary snacks and breads. In the morning, we had sugary muffins and by the afternoon, we were at my moms for pasta. Man! All of those sugar carbs kicked my ass! Right after dinner, I was puking like I had a nasty hangover - and that's exactly how I describe it to people. I was USELESS the whole day (and into the next few days).


Speaking of that...how about the next few days after a migraine!
It takes me a good 2-3 days to recover afterwards.
 

JohnRice

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Adam, I have to wonder if your seasonal migraines aren't actually brought on by allergies. The same time of year when you get them is also when allergies are typically the worst. You might look into the practice of flushing out your sinuses daily with warm saline. It can do wonders. Also, certain foods are known to be irritants, particularly cheese, chocolate and alcohol.

I have gotten migraines since my early teens, but somehow I have managed to learn to mostly avoid them now. Focused relaxation can be a real saviour. They have also changed through the years. When I get one now, it is like the worst 24 hour flu you ever could imagine followed by 3-4 days of a completely nonfunctioning fog. I have trouble walking without falling down during that time, let alone thinking. Fortunately, I haven't had one in about 3 years.

I would seriously look into flushing your sinuses. It may do miracles.
 

Aaron Reynolds

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Not to minimize or pooh-pooh the suffering of those who really do have migranes, but if it's seasonal and related to the drier seasons you may want to consider that you could be becoming dehydrated. If you're not a heavy water drinker, try drinking water constantly throughout the day to see if it helps.

It did for me.
 

MarkHastings

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Hmmm, kind of like treating it as if it really were a hangover (which it often feels like) - I guess that makes sense.
 

Henry Gale

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I was trying to avoid, "my headaches are worse that your headaches"...but Alex's reference to clusters is a lot on the dismissive side.
Let's turn our hymnals to page one at the cluster-headaches.com site.


"Cluster headaches are extremely painful, and doctors claim it to be the worst pain medically, stating it is worse than amputation without anesthetic, and worse than natural childbirth. Because the pain is so bad, and a few victims have gone to the most extreme measure of escaping them, they have earned the nickname "suicide headache"."

Decades ago when I checked a book on headaches out of the library and got to the "clusters" chapter, it was a revelation. Until then I wondered why I was receiving this punishment.
 

Alex-C

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Not my intention at all. I equate cluster headaches to migraines. In fact, there was a period where I was diagnosed with cluster headaches as a form of migraines, so my apparent distinction between the two was purely unintentional. I dont wish clusters or migraines on anyone.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I'll definitely try it. The only strange thing is I never have any other allergy symptoms; no runny nose or anything. I don't eat cheese, generally don't eat chocolate products, and am a non-drinker due to a family history of abuse. In fact, the first time I had what I consider to be a migraine, I made myself a big old mug of hot chocolate. I thought it was a vascular condition at the time, chocolate's full of caffeine, so can't go wrong there, right? Wrong. Made it 100 times worse.
That said, the fact that the residual headache (which is probably just the rebound headache from the cornucopia of drugs I took Friday and Saturday) settled in my sinuses makes me think you could be on to something. I'll give it a shot.
 

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