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My sore brain.....migraine journal

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Yeah, my husband had them when he was younger, but he only has one like every 15 years or so now. My mother in law used to have them but not after menopause. My mother has had them since she was 3 years old and they continued after menopause. I developed them in my 20's and my son has had them since he was 6 or so. If both parents have them the incidence of kids having them is almost 100%. It hurts me so much my son has them. It makes me feel guilty.


Yeah I have also had them as a child. I remember being 10 years waiting for my aunt to come pick me up from school. The teacher had to sit me next to an open window because I almost passed out from the pain in addition to the nausea. The problem is when a child has them adults seem to downplay it like you aren't in pain or you're too young to get headaches.


My fiance has stated he has had them so badly where he would just touch his hair and be in agony. His mom gets them at least once a month and has to be in a total pitch black cool room. My mom is on medication for them.


I've already had an MRI done last year and nothing was found (thank goodness).


I understand how you would feel guilty I probably will too but it's not your fault. We have no control over genetics.

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Yeah there was the idea that kids did not get headaches years ago. Well now they even know that infants can get migraines. I have had a CAT scan in which they found nothing. My mother takes a preventitve medication. I used to take Maxalt but then it stopped working. I tried Imitrex and it caused me heart problems. My mom used to get them really bad when I was young about 4 times a week. I get about 4 a week as well. Not all of them are horrendous though only some of them are. My mom's have reduced in number and severity though.


It is SO hard to watch him throwing up and throwing up and throwing up. My son's are always bad like my mother's were when she was young.

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Migraines up the wazoo lately. I did not sleep barely a wink last night so I had one and was groggy as heck all day but had to take him to his surgery and then make his food, all cold of course, make son's hot. I was going to go to sleep but my son went to the park so I have to stay awake.

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For the past almost 48 hours I have had the WORST migraine in a while. The pain is indescribable and I was throwing up so violently it was coming out my nose too. If I had a gun I would literally blow my own head off. Seriously.

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For the past almost 48 hours I have had the WORST migraine in a while. The pain is indescribable and I was throwing up so violently it was coming out my nose too. If I had a gun I would literally blow my own head off. Seriously.

Hi Victoria,


I really feel for you - I really do. I've suffered from migraines since I was 14 years old and missed half of grade 9 due to them. My Dad also has them and started at age 14 and my sister at age 12. My Mom was the only one spared! When I volunteered with the migraine foundation we had several calls from people who said they had a gun and were about to eat it so I absolutely know how serious you are about it. You just want the pain to end!!!


Hugs to you (not too tight though...don't want your head to pop off!). The barometric pressure has been up and down a lot where I live and that's a huge trigger for me. I feel constantly hung over and haven't even had the pleasure of attending the party!!

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Hi Victoria,


I really feel for you - I really do. I've suffered from migraines since I was 14 years old and missed half of grade 9 due to them. My Dad also has them and started at age 14 and my sister at age 12. My Mom was the only one spared! When I volunteered with the migraine foundation we had several calls from people who said they had a gun and were about to eat it so I absolutely know how serious you are about it. You just want the pain to end!!!


Hugs to you (not too tight though...don't want your head to pop off!). The barometric pressure has been up and down a lot where I live and that's a huge trigger for me. I feel constantly hung over and haven't even had the pleasure of attending the party!!


Yeah, you are right. It does feel like you are hung over after. Barometric pressure does a lot to me too. I am sorry you and your family get them as well. My mother has had them since she was 3 and my son has had them since he was 6.


Yeah, I am pretty serious about wanting to blow my head off. It feels THAT BAD. I am glad you understand me. Often people who have never had a migraine do not understand how excruciating and debilitating they are.

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So true! So many people think it's just a 'bad headache' and don't understand it can be a real disability, especially if you are a chronic sufferer. Transition seasons are bad for me too: spring and fall so I am bracing myself for September/October!

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Yeah my mother was really bad when I was young. She had them this bad about 3 times a week. I get migraines a few times a week. Not like this though. Usually I can control the pain with force of mind and such and just live life through it, but these ones that are truly disabling I can not control at all. I get stroke like symptoms with them too. It is just sooo bad. I have problems with employers about it too. It is not like I can control it, you know? I always got grief about it. Employers would say, " oh it is just a head ache, take a pill you will fine." Well, NO I won't be just fine. I have been at work puking and puking so many times I can not even count. People who have never had one do not get that it affects ALL your body systems and sometimes you just can not work, it is impossible. As it is now I can not drive and I can not go home because I am too sick. I am only on here to try and take my mind from the pain or I would literally want to die. I am better than yesterday when I was totally debilitated and puked just from moving.

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A friend feels that my migraines are related to food, so I am going to keep track of what I eat in the day before I get one. What I had before my migraine started.


A cheese burger

a diet Pepsi

pistachio nuts



so the next time I get one I will have to keep track. That day was a bad food day because I was limited to what I could eat while traveling for 6 hours .

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Migraine is disease, a headache is only a symptom. Migraine pain is caused by vasodilation in the cranial blood vessels (expansion of the blood vessels), while headache pain is caused by vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). During a migraine, inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain, i.e., neurogenic inflammation, exacerbates the pain. Therefore, medicine often prescribed to treat a headache, such as beta-blockers, dilate the blood vessels and therefore can make a Migraine worse.


Unlike a headache, the Migraine disease has many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, auras (light spots), sensitivity to light and sound, numbness, difficulty in speech, and severe semihemispherical head pain. One Migraine attack alone can last for eight hours, several days, or even weeks.


Migraine is a genetically-based disease. We first learned this in the mid-90's, as it was specifically stated in correspondence with M.A.G.N.U.M. by Dr. Stephen J. Peroutka, M.D., Ph.D., President & CEO of Spectra Biomedical, Inc., a group of research physicians dedicated to understanding the genetic basis of Migraine and other illnesses, the "data are unequivocal: Migraine is a genetically-based illness. Individuals with a single parent having Migraine have approximately a 50% chance of having Migraine. This susceptibility is neither psychological nor induced by environmental causes."


The the really exciting genetic discoveries where yet to come! And it came from down under by an Australian genetic research team at Grithiths University, north of Sydney. The Millennium year was a breakthrough year for Migraineurs as the Australian team, lead by Professor Lynn Griffiths, discovered not one, not two, but three genes for Migraine disease! MAGNUM had the opportunity to interview Dr. Lyn Griffiths, one of the world's top experts on Migraines and genetics. Dr. Griffiths is the director of the Genomics Research Center at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University, in Queensland, Australia. She told us that the research clearly shows that almost all Migraineurs have a close relative who is also a Migraineur. Migraineurs have a real ally in Dr. Griffiths as we where very impressed with her resolve for follow her research as far it goes, which just may lead us to a cure in the future.


A Migraine is induced by various controllable and uncontrollable triggers. Uncontrollable triggers include weather patterns and menstrual cycles, and controllable triggers include bright light, aspartame, and alcohol. The severity and frequency of Migraines for one person depends upon how many triggers an individual must experience before a Migraine is induced. The combination of triggers is different for each person.








Migraine is a true organic neurological disease. A Migraine is caused when a physiological (not psychological) trigger or triggers cause vasodilatation in the cranial blood vessels, which triggers nerve endings to release chemical substances called neurotransmitters, of which the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HTT) is an important factor in the development of Migraine.


Dr. Saper stated in his endorsement letter to M.A.G.N.U.M. that "[Migraine] is not a psychological or psychiatric disease but one which results from biological and physiological alterations." Similarly, Dr. Fred D. Sheftell, M.D., Director and Founder for the New England Center for Headache specifically stated in his letter of endorsement that "Migraine is absolutely a biologically-based disorder with the same validity as other medical disorders including hypertension, angina, asthma, epilepsy, etc. Unfortunately, there have been many myths perpetrated in regard to this disorder. The most destructive of which are 'It is all in your head,' 'You have to learn to live with it,' and 'Stress is the major cause.'"


Misdiagnosis of Migraine as a psychological disorder can lead to a doctor prescribing unnecessary, counterproductive, and even dangerous medication. It is common for a Migraineur to be diagnosed, for example, with clinical depression and prescribed unnecessary drugs, leaving the Migraines unaffected. The continued presence of the Migraines may lead the doctor to believe that the Migraineur is unable to "handle" problems and is still "depressed", leading to continued unnecessary drug treatment ... and so on.


As mentioned above, the Migraine disease is induced by various trigger mechanisms. Trigger mechanisms can be broken down into two primary categories: uncontrollable and controllable. The Migraine triggers usually work in combinations.


Remember, Migraine is a disease that involves a heightening of one's senses, all of one's senses. A Migraineur is more sensitive to his or her surroundings, including light, sound, smells, taste (chemicals in foods), and touch (including the touch of the atmospheric pressure on one's body). Awareness of one's environment is critical for a Migraineur.


A good example of an uncontrollable Migraine trigger is weather patterns. Germany, for example, offers a telephone number that people such as weather-sensitive Migraine sufferers can call to find out the risk to their health of that day's weather pattern. A recent study entitled "The Effects of Weather on the Frequency and Severity of Migraine Headaches" conducted in Canada arrived at the following conclusions: 1) "Phase 4" weather, characterized by a drop in barometric pressure, the passing of a warm front, high temperature and humidity and oftentimes rain, is closely associated with higher frequency and severity of Migraine attacks.; 2) a high humidex discomfort index during the summer is associated with an increased frequency of Migraine attacks; 3) wind from the southeast was shown to be associated with more attacks than wind from any other direction; and 4) a number of Migraine sufferers may be sensitive to extreme rates of barometric pressure changes.


Another common uncontrollable trigger is the menstrual cycle. As explained by Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., Co-Director, The Comprehensive Headache Center at Germantown Hospital and Medical Center, Migraine usually develops around the time of the first menstrual period, called the menarche. The Migraine appears to be the result of falling levels or reduced availability of estrogen. Migraine sometimes becomes worse in the first trimester of pregnancy, but many women are Migraine-free later in their pregnancy. Menstrual Migraine is often more difficult to treat than other types of head pain. Women who have Migraines only with their period can often achieve relief by taking preventive (prophylactic) medication just before their period begins. If severe menstrual Migraine cannot be effectively controlled by any of these medications, hormonal therapy is a possibility.


Controllable triggers, on the other hand, include bright light, chemical smells, second-hand smoke, particular alcohols such as red wine and some hard alcohols such as scotch, foods that are known vasodilator such as fish, some chocolate, aged cheese, and foods which contain nitrates and/or the radical vasodilator MSG.


Therefore, if one avoids controllable triggers during Migraine-weather or menstrual cycles, one may be able to escape a Migraine attack. Another tip: take abortive medication prescribed for Migraine at the earliest sign of a Migraine attack. Oftentimes, if one waits to take the medication until the attack has matured, the medication may prove practically ineffective. The drugs commonly prescribed to Migraineurs fall into two groups: abortive and preventative (prophylactic). There are some common problems and adverse effects associated with a host of the medications. Some of the more pronounced are: from abortive drugs, dizziness from Stadol, tolerance to barbiturates, rebound headache from overuse of Ergotamine and over-the-counter non-narcotic analgesics (e.g., Tylenol, aspirin and NSAIDS); and from preventative drugs, beta-blockers and calcium channel-blockers can trigger headaches/Migraines. Get to know your pharmacist, he or she can be an important source of information.








Migraine can induce a host of serious physical conditions: strokes, aneurysms, permanent visual loss, severe dental problems, coma and even death.


According to the New England Journal of Medicine, "migraine can sometimes lead to ischemic stroke and stroke can sometimes be aggravated by or associated with the development of migraine." Twenty-seven percent of all strokes suffered by persons under the age of 45 are caused by Migraine. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country. In addition, twenty-five percent of all incidents of cerebral infarction were associated with Migraines, according to the Mayo clinic. Most recently the British Medical Journal reported that after evaluating 14 major Migraine & stroke studies in the U.S. and Canada that Migraineurs are 2.2 times greater risk for stroke than the non-migraine population. That risk goes up to a staggering 8 times more stroke risk for women Migraineurs on the pill!


Migraine and epileptic seizure disorders are also interrelated. The most intimate interrelationship between the two being Migraine-triggered epilepsy. Migraine affects up to 15% of the epileptic population. In basic terms, Migraine and Epilepsy are both disorders characterized by paroxysmal, transient alterations of Neurologic function, usually with normal Neurologic examinations between events (attacks).


Not only can the Migraine disease be life threatening, but it can have a devastating and disruptive effect on normal living. Migraine sufferers experience not only excruciating pain, but social ostracism, job loss, disruption to personal relationships, and prejudices in the workplace.


Oftentimes people think that those with Migraines just can't handle life, or, in reality, are drug addicts or alcoholics. Such perception can be formed when, for example, people see a Migraineur wearing sun glasses indoors (photo sensitive), lying in a dark and silent room (photo and sound sensitive), making frequent trips to the rest room (nausea and vomiting), leaving early, working late, slurred speech, all what they may think is erratic behavior. According to Dr. Sheftell, "Historically, patients with the most intractable Migraines experience a downward spiral in terms of income and contributions to society at large."


Also, a recent study showed that the loss of labor time and lost productivity of Migraine sufferers may exact a significant toll on U.S. business. According to a position paper signed by the American Academy of Pain Medicine, et. al., 150 million work days per year, equivalent to 1,200 million work hours, are lost each year to head pain. The corresponding annual cost to industry and the health care system due to Migraine amounts to $5 to $17 billion.








The fact that so many doctors don't take Migraine seriously can be as disabling to the Migraineur as the disability itself. The leading doctors in the areas of neurology and head pain have themselves stated that this disease is grossly misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In fact, 60% of women and 70% of men with Migraine have never been diagnosed with this disease. This medical ignorance and corresponding inaccurate writings unfortunately perpetuate the myths and misunderstandings about Migraine and convey this to the general public.


Dr. Saper stated that "Migraine is a serious and underestimated health problem ... Patients with Migraine are shunted along an assembly line of misdiagnosis, undertreatment, or frank mismanagement. They are subjected to unnecessary procedures and preventable consequences." And as Dr. Silberstein wrote to M.A.G.N.U.M., "Migraine sufferers must not only cope with their pain, but also with society's misunderstanding of the disorder. Migraineurs are frequently dismissed as neurotic complainers who are unable to handle stress. The truth is that they frequently battle against great odds in order to hold down jobs and support families ... Young Migraine sufferers sometimes miss enough school so that they are unable to graduate with their peers."


Similarly, Dr. Sheftell stated "In addition to misdiagnosis and under-diagnosis, Migraine sufferers will bear the brunt of discriminatory policies by a variety of health care agencies." Such agencies may deny reimbursement for emergency room visits and for hospitalizations for the most severe sufferers. It is not uncommon for doctors to think that a Migraine sufferer is in the emergency room to receive drugs, and dangerously turn them away.


Because Migraine is a genetically-based disease, severe Migraine, according to Spectra Biomedical, "will be diagnosable by objective DNA tests with in the next few years. These tests should also lead to a significant improvement in the disease management of this common and often disabling illness."


Improved health care related to the Migraine disability is one way in which M.A.G.N.U.M. is working to improve the life of Migraineurs. M.A.G.N.U.M. is working with U.S. Senator Charles Robb to include Intractable Migraine in the Code of Federal Regulations "Listing of Impairments" Parts A & B. This is an immediately achievable health care reform on which Senator John Warner (R-VA) & Congressman James Moran (D-VA) have committed to work with M.A.G.N.U.M. on.


According to the world’s leading Migraine disease epidemiologist, Dr. Richard Lipton, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, -- "Education and empowerment are the keys to successful Migraine management. Patients, who understand their disease, identify their triggers and learn to use both behavioral strategies and medications effectively can dramatically reduce their burden of illness." MAGNUM in working hard to continue to empower Migraineurs by keeping access to quality information about their disease ever available and current.


We are far from a cure, let alone a sure-fired treatment, for Migraine. But understanding that Migraine is a real and debilitating disease goes a long way toward improving the quality of life for Migraineurs and their loved ones.


And if you are not a Migraine sufferer, then remember the next time you offer advice to the person in your life that suffers from Migraines, make sure it's not toxic (i.e., you need to avoid stress, cheer up, don't drink Coke, or other well-meaning but emotionally debilitating statements). Rather, offer to turn down the lights and the TV, and let them know you understand. Remember: Migraine is an "invisible" disorder. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "But a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!" Like Alice's Cheshire-Cat who sat in a tree revealing himself only to Alice, he nonetheless had great impact on her daily travels, as Migraines do on individuals who suffer from them.


( Michael John Coleman and Terri Miller Burchfield are both Executive Board Officers of M.A.G.N.U.M.: Migraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding for Migraineurs, a non-profit health care public education organization dedicated to bringing public and government awareness to Migraine as a true organic neurological disease. Mr. Coleman is a nationally-recognized artist who has suffered from intractable Migraines since the age of six. If you would like further information or would like to help M.A.G.N.U.M. achieve its goals, please contact them at 100 North Union Street, Suite B, Alexandria, VA 22314 phone: (703) 349-1929 fax: (703) 739-2432 web: link removed )

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Migraine is associated with a neuronal network excitability, with activation and sensitization of the trigeminovascular system. Cortical spreading depression (CSD), recognized as the neuronal phenomenon underlying visual aura, is believed to begin in the occipital region and to gradually spread anteriorly.[2] This phenomenon is accompanied by a transient oligemia, followed by hyperemia in other parts of the cortex.[3]


Various molecular and cellular mechanisms may lead to the increased susceptibility of CSD in migraineurs, which could potentially play an important role in the pathophysiology of migraine variants. Researchers have suggested that a vasogenic leakage from leptomeningeal vessels, with activation of the trigeminovascular system, probably contribute to the prolonged aura in patients with hemiplegic migraine. ( from Medscape)


Like my migraines

Hemiplegic migraine is a very rare but well-described form of migraine variant. It was initially described in 1910 as a type of migraine consisting of recurrent headaches associated with temporary unilateral hemiparesis or hemiplegia, at times accompanied by ipsilateral numbness or tingling, with or without a speech disturbance.


Thus, a history of recurrent transient hemiplegia or hemiparesis that occurs during an attack of migraine headache suggests hemiplegic migraine. The hemiparesis may resolve before the headache or may persist for days to week.


The focal neurologic deficit may precede or accompany the headache, which is usually less dramatic than motor deficit. Other migraine symptoms may variably be present. Patients may also experience disturbance of consciousness, and, rarely, coma.[5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] The neurologic deficit is transient and usually clears in minutes to hours, or resolves with the beginning of the headache phase.[11, 12, 13, 14, 15]


Two forms of hemiplegic migraine are known: familial and sporadic. Both familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) and sporadic hemiplegic migraine (SHM) are phenotypically similar subtypes of migraine with aura, differentiated only by the unilateral motor symptoms.[16, 17] ( from medscape)

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Different ways migraines and smells impact sufferers:


Increased sense of smell

Desire to avoid smells

Smells may trigger migraine attack

Smells can lead to increased nausea

In some, migraines alter the sense of both taste and smell

Some report phantom smells

Studies on migraines and smells


A 2007 study of 1,000 patients in London found about 40 percent reported that they couldn’t tolerate smells during a migraine attack. The odors that disturbed them the most:


Perfumes or colognes, 64 percent

Food, 55 percent

Cigarette smoke, 55 percent


When I have a migraine I become incredibly sensitive to smells, light,sound. I can smell things very far away and most smells make me vomit. EVERYTHING when I have a migraine smells revolting, even my own skin, though I know it does not smell. It is hard to escape your own body when everything bothers you. I can hear neighbours in their own house and it annoys me to death. I can not have light. I develop very bad aphasia where I can not remember words, I can not spell properly. I have forgotten how to spell my own name. I forget common words. I lose all feeling in the left side of my face and and sometimes lose sight in my left eye. My left ear has it's own pulse you can actually feel it with your finger in the ear canal. It feels like someone is stabbing me through my left eye repeatedly for hours or days. The left side of my head throbs incessantly. The pain is so excruxiating I can not even explain it.( DESCRIBING HOW MY OWN MIGRAINES ARE.

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A list of common migraine symptoms


Sensitivity to light, particularly bright lights ”photophobia” YES

Sensitivity to sound, particularly loud sounds ”phonophobia” YES

Sensitivity to smell YES

Aura YES

Vision changes YES

Numbness, tingling YES


Pain on one side of the head YES

Throbbing Pain YES

Vertigo YES

Feeling lightheaded or dizzy YES

Nausea with or without vomiting YES

Puffy eyelid

Difficulty concentrating YES

Fatigue YES

Diarrhea – constipation YES

Mood changes YES

Food cravings YES



Neck pain YES

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I had the strangest migraine yesterday, TOTALLY atypical for me.It wasn't actual pain but pressure, unbelievable pressure in the top of my head. I just HAD to sleep because I could not stay awake. There we also unbelievable waves of nausea.

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I have had a migraine niggling at me for hours I am going to give in and go to bed. My son had friends come over and I did not have the heart to tell him I was sick. I am sick so often it is not really fair to him.


I saw a commercial that said if you have 15 or more migraines a month you have something called chronic migraine. There is also a new migraine study going on in Toronto. Hm I might give them a call.

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Oh, I saw that clinical trial in T.O. too Vic! I don't have them that often anymore, but I certainly have the auras that often. I should tell my Dad about that - he is where I got them from!!!


I hope you feel better soon. Transitional seasons are bad for me, plus emotional stress, which I am sure isn't helping you. HUGS!

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