Migraines...can you help?

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Posted 1/4/2013 by pretzels in NSBR Board

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 479,777
August 2010
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:19:14 AM
My DD just turned 11. Last night, she had a very bad headache. It came on very quickly. She literally went from normal to being in tears because her head hurt so badly. I gave her an ibuprofen, she went to bed in her totally dark room, and 2.5 hours later woke up without the headache. She felt drained and wasn't hungry despite missing supper, but her head wasn't hurting.

My DH's family has a history of migraines. His sister has pretty severe ones, as does his dad, although his dad hasn't been officially diagnosed.

DD had a couple of serious headaches two years ago, and I brought it up at her yearly check-up, along with the family history. At the time, her pediatrician said he could prescribe her medication that helped only if she took it before the headache started -- like if she started seeing auras or spots. The problem is, DD never reports seeing spots or auras. The headache just comes on, and comes on strongly. We asked her last night once she felt better about spots or lights around things or people and she said she didn't experience that.

There doesn't seem to be a trigger like caffeine or chocolate or loud noises or anything like that. She doesn't mention having headaches except for these extremely bad ones. She did not vomit, either (I have bad headaches where nothing helps but vomiting.) She started wearing glasses at the beginning of the school year, but only needs them for reading and close-up activities.

What next? I'm going to record this headache in a notebook (and any others that occur between now and her next check-up, although if they start happening more often, I'll schedule an appointment sooner).

She recently hit puberty, so I suspect last night's was hormonal in nature. I think my SIL said that once she hit puberty, hers happened more often and were more intense.

Is there anything else I can do or should be keeping track of? I hate for her to suffer if there's something that can "fix" it.

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PeaNut 43,061
July 2002
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:23:41 AM
Sleep (or lack thereof) and changes in weather are HUGE triggers for me. Exposure to strong perfumes can trigger later in the day.
If I've been out in extreme weather (hot or cold), it can trigger.
A combination of hormones, weather, caffeine, booze can trigger.

My triggers are always different though, and it's usually a cocktail of triggers.

When I was first diagnosed, I had to keep track of everything including food, weather, and anything unusual.

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PeaNut 242,768
January 2006
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:30:13 AM
my dd was diagnosed with migrianes at 5. for her, getting really hot, taking a long car trip, dehydration and prolonged loud noises tend to trigger hers. she always has more headaches in the summer time than the winter time. She just got glasses in December for watching tv because she was complaining daily about headaches, but they weren't migraines. she feels like "dying" when she was one and usually is able to sleep it off with some medication like tylenol. She also takes a magnesium supplement every day on recommendation of her pediatric neurologist. My dd doesn't see auras or spots either, she just gets sick really fast.

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PeaNut 123,471
January 2004
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:33:45 AM
Honestly, she needs to get a full work up from a neurologist. They are the quickest way to get her headaches under control, find her trigger points, and get her on the path to living w/them. Heck, when I was in highschool? I actually got a scholarship from Voc Rehab because of my migraines. They praised my parents for early diagnosis, treating, etc.

My trigger points are the weather(barametric pressure) , hormonal, and AFTER stress leaves. Not during stressful times, but after the stress has been resolved, I usually get a doozy. 2 days of hell or more.

Good luck to your daughter. I don't wish them on anyone.

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PeaNut 123,471
January 2004
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:35:28 AM
I was also going to add, have her stay hydrated. Lots of water. And, not sure if you're in a cold climate, but now that it's winter, when I feel one starting, I'll go sit outside for 20 mintutes. That cold fresh air really helps.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 479,777
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:39:19 AM
Thanks, y'all.

She did go to the movies with my ILs, her brother and her cousins yesterday, and my MIL told me that they had to sit close to the front because the theatre was so crowded. That may have been what set it off, because it was after she got home from the movie that it started.

We live in a moderate climate, although the weather has been pretty cold (for us) recently.

I will ask her ped for a referral to a neuro. We will have to travel because there are no pediatric neurologists here in our town. When her brother had Absence Epilepsy, we had the initial diagnostic EEG here, and then had to travel about 90 minutes away for treatment.


PeaNut 319,638
May 2007
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:41:57 AM
I get two kinds of migraines, occular and sinus. The occular I will have blurry vision, white spots, etc. But no warning for the sinus ones, and they are the worst of them! I agree with the above poster that she should have a full work up, to see what specific type she is having.

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PeaNut 446,845
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:46:29 AM
I also started getting migraines when I turned 11. They lasted just a few hours each but once I hit 15, they became worse, like losing the feeling in my arms, face, whole left side, and sometimes not being able to speak.

When I turned 20, I had my first 3-day migraine. This is the first time I went to the doctor. (This was in 1990.) I wanted that nose spray that was supposed to provide immediate relief but my doctor said we had to do a range of things before getting that prescription. The first thing was beta-blockers. I was on the beta blockers for three months but I didn't like the way it made me feel. I felt very lazy and sleepy all the time and I still got my monthly migraine (the day before menstruating). So I stopped taking them.

The migraines immediately got better, in that they became visual and not painful. I only go blind for about 20 minutes, and it comes quarterly instead of monthly. I find that if I take headache medication, it comes back with a vengeance, so I just let the migraine run its course. If I had discovered the beta blockers at a younger age, that would have been great.

But I understand that everyone is different. I'm glad you are taking her to the doctor. I hope you can find something that works for her (before getting to the really scary symptoms).


PeaNut 191,190
February 2005
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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:55:51 AM
I am a migraine sufferer. Now that I am in menapause I get them less frequently. Now when I get one, it ususally starts with sinus pain. I can't take any migraine medicines. They cause me to have rebound headaches, making my migraines last for days, instead of hours. But, many people do report getting relief from migraine meds.

I saw you posted that she went to the movies. Did she eat any popcorn while there? Believe it or not, if I eat theater popcorn, it triggers a headache that sometimes turn into migraines, so I don't eat theater popcorn anymore.

prairie sentinel

PeaNut 57,182
November 2002
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Posted: 1/4/2013 12:13:03 PM
I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to figure out a bunch of things that trigger migraines for me and I can usually successfully avoid them--and the migraines! Generally, one trigger won't bring on a migraine, but once I stack two or three, I'm in trouble. I am also fortunate that I get auras, etc before a full blown must-lay-absolutely-still-or-I-puke migraine hits--and if I take a motrin/advil/tylenol when the aura first strikes, I will still get a big headache, but not one that takes me out for a day or more. My first migraine was when I was in grade 5, about when my first period started, and I have many cousins who also get migraines and find that puberty/pregnancy/menopause either increase or decrease the severity.

Anyway, my list of triggers . . .
a change in sleep pattern (too much sleep, too little, getting up or going to bed at a really different time); hormonal changes (period, in my case); stress; bright lights (like springtime sun off the snow); Aspartame; barometric pressure swings (fun when the Chinooks blow through, lol!); eating like an idiot


PeaNut 394,173
October 2008
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Posted: 1/4/2013 12:21:31 PM
My triggers were MSG, cheap candy store chocolate, red wine and perfume.

I took a lesson on how to relax ~ imagining sand draining out of my body thru my fingers & toes ~ to help me relax & get some much needed sleep.

Good Luck.

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
-- Dr. Seuss


PeaNut 201,886
April 2005
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Posted: 1/4/2013 12:22:05 PM
I've been a migraine sufferer for the last 10 yhears. Birth control started it all for me. I do not get ANY aura or sensitivity to light, no vomiting, just straight PAIN. My triggers are mainly low sleep and stress, other than that we have no clue it's just the way I am. I agree to start a diary, write everything down, what she was doing, eating etc. You may see a pattern but there are not always answers, you just learn to deal witht he things you know- like for me sleep and stress and keep learning. Rebounding because of too much medication was a mojor problem for me in the begining when they were getting more and more frequent. I never understood the power of Tylenol and Advil. Rebound migraines are a nasty cylce to get into- just as bad. But don't let anyone tell you it's not a migraine because she has no other symptoms. I've had them almost every 2 weeks for 10 years with no symptoms other than pain. Migraine meds are tricky in that you need to take it at the onset for it to work and often your not sure- is tis a minor headache or a migraine. It's defnetly a learning thing. LEarning about your own body. Every migraine sufferer is different. Hope you can get some advice from your Dr. or neurologist. I don't wish migraines on anyone!!


PeaNut 386,215
August 2008
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Posted: 1/4/2013 1:08:33 PM
My son started getting migraines at age 9. He too did not have auras.
His doctor prescribed a nasal spray. He was to take this as soon as the headache started. It worked a treat. It stopped the pain and the vomiting but he still needed to sleep for a few hours.
I hope you are able to find a medication which works for your daughter.

Even though I am in the UK, the medication is one which is commonly prescribed in the USA.
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