Migraine headaches

This week, reports revealed that Minnesota State Representative and aspiring Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann suffers from migraine headaches so severe that they’ve led her to seek emergency medical treatment. Detractors say it’s proof she’s not fit to lead. Bachmann and staff have protested, even offering up a physician’s letter as evidence that, as she stated, her “ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines.”

Is chronic migraine truly debilitating or just a mere nuisance? Here’s what you need to know:

1. It’s misunderstood.

The American Migraine Foundation defines migraine as “an inherited neurological disorder that is characterized by hyperexcitable brain networks that may be triggered by a variety of stimuli.” The difference between migraine headaches and “regular” headaches is there is no single cause for migraine. There is also no cure.

There’s also the severity factor: migraine is accompanied by searing, excruciating pain, starting with symptoms like extreme light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting or severe fatigue. A third of migraine sufferers also experience an aura phase, which might involve visual hallucinations like flashing lights, sparks or lines (followed by dark spots), as well as facial tingling or numbness. Aura occurs from cortical spreading depression, a wave of hyperactive nerve activity followed by a prolonged state of suspended inhibition in the neurons.

According to a 2008 article in Scientific American, records of migraine date back at least 7,000 years, “yet it continues to be one of the most misunderstood, poorly recognized and inadequately treated medical disorders.”

Previous explanations for migraine’s cause include “vapors” in ancient Greece – the modern term “migraine” is derived from the Greek term “hemicrania,” an affliction involving half of the head – and swollen blood vessels in the 17th century. Now, migraines are understood to be related to the brain stem. Another possible culprit may be a drop in serotonin or other brain chemicals, which can trigger a major sensory pathway.

2. It’s not uncommon.

Thirty-six million Americans, or about 12 percent of the U.S. population, suffer from migraine. One in four households in the U.S. has a member with migraine. There’s a genetic link, too. Although no single migraine gene has yet been identified, up to 90 percent of migraine sufferers have a history of migraine in their family.

The World Health Organization ranks migraine as the 19th top cause of disability worldwide, affecting sufferers’ social and work capacities and also predisposing them to other illnesses such as depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. Untreated migraine headaches typically last from four to 72 hours, and a full attack can even last for several days or more. Most migraine sufferers only have a few attacks each month, but 3 percent of Americans have chronic migraines, or at least 15 days of headache each month for at least six months. Most migraine sufferers experience their first attack during adolescence, and experience fewer attacks as they age.

Medical expenses and loss of productivity due to migraine cost the U.S. more than $20 billion each year. But migraine research is underfunded compared to that for other illnesses. In 2007, the National Institutes of Health allocated $13 million for migraine research, while giving $294 million for asthma research and $1,037 million for diabetes research.

3. There’s a gender gap.

Questions about Bachmann’s ability to serve as president have an undeniable gender component, as three times as many women suffer from migraine than men in the U.S.  A 1991 study found that 18 percent of American women had migraine, compared to 6 percent of men. Thirty percent of women suffer from migraine during their lifetimes.

One reason for this gender imbalance is that decreased estrogen levels, which normally occur before a woman’s menstrual cycle begins, have been associated with migraine. Girls and boys have the same occurrence of migraine prior to puberty, but starting in adolescence, when hormones also start fluctuating more, the gender disparity widens. Two-thirds of pre-menopausal woman suffering from migraines have reported regular migraines or “menstrual migraines” immediately before or during the start of their periods, which is when estrogen levels drop.

4. There’s some hope.

According to the American Headache Society, there’s no cure for migraine. Instead, treatments are aimed at reducing headache frequency and stopping individual headaches when they occur.” Bachmann described her headaches as “easily controlled with medication.”

Migraine sufferers can take regular preventive medications to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches, but such medications are only successful for half of the patients that take them, and only for half the time. Preventative medications include beta blockers and some anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants and antihistamines. Injecting Botox into face or neck muscles has also been approved by the FDA for chronic migraine treatment.

Abortive or acute medications are taken when a headache occurs. These include pain relievers and triptans, drugs which also relieve light sensitivity and nausea. Many migraine sufferers also try relaxation techniques, acupuncture and vitamin supplements.

Maintaining regular sleep and eating patterns and exercise, as well as reducing stress and avoiding known triggers, have all been known to reduce the frequency of migraine. Common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, aged cheeses, artificial sweeteners, MSG, chemical exposure and other environmental stimuli such as bright lights, loud sounds or strong odors.

5. Migraine sufferers, you’re in good company.

Migraine hasn’t prevented people from excelling in their fields. Famous migraineurs include Thomas Jefferson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elvis Presley, Lewis Carroll, Serena Williams, Ben Affleck, Sigmund Freud, Ulysses S. Grant, Julius Caesar, Terrell Davis and Virginia Woolf.

Woolf wrote that English “has no words for the shiver and the headache… Let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.”

Author Joan Didion also wrote about migraine in her 1968 essay “In Bed”:

“The physiological error called migraine is, in brief, central to the given of my life… When I am in a migraine aura, I will drive through red lights, lose the house keys, spill whatever I am holding, lose the ability to focus my eyes or frame coherent sentences, and generally give the appearance of being on drugs, or drunk… That no one dies of migraine seems, to someone deep into an attack, an ambiguous blessing.”

 

Comments

  • Gail Jennings

    Thank you for the article. I am a 57 year old female migraineur and even though the migraines are not as frequent as they were pre-menopause, I still suffer at least 2 a month. I wanted to add that in addition to the causes you listed, I also notice that my headaches are associated to barometric pressure. I am so distressed that detractors would use migraine headaches as a weapon against Bachman. Do they also feel that people suffering with diabetes, asthma, or high cholesterol are also unfit to work?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Candy-Finkbeiner/100000092560116 Candy Finkbeiner

    My 11 year old is a severe sufferer of migraines. It interesting to know some of the triggers we were unaware of. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Candy-Finkbeiner/100000092560116 Candy Finkbeiner

    My 11 year old boy is a severe sufferer of migraines. It is interesting to know some of the triggers we were unaware of.

  • Anonymous

    I had my migraines completely under control for five years with a maintenance dosage of topiramate. When Alabama switched their insurance drug plan to Med-Impact they refused to fill my prescription without “pre-approval.” As far as my primary care physician and I can tell, there seems to be no way to get “pre-approval.” My headaches came back with a vengeance. Every time I get one (quite frequently of late), I wish I could share it with our Insurance Board and all of the idiots who make mindless decisions about patients without any knowledge of them. This is not my only grievance with this hideous company.

  • http://twitter.com/cdashnaw cdashnaw

    Please take him to a neurologist. They are equipped to properly treat migraines; family doctors aren’t. It will make an enormous difference!

  • gloria green

    Good article. I’m 59 and have suffered with migraines since I was a teen. They just got progressively worse and I had to be hospitalized several times. I felt like tearing my head off and nothing the doctors gave me seemed to work. Years and years with migraines, they just started to come less and less and now I take medication to prevent them. For me preventive medicine has worked, and am grateful for it.

  • Pammcgffn

    I suffered from migraines for about 30 years. They recently got worse with pre-menopause and exercise (triathalon training), and I went to see my doctor. He prescribed rizatriptan benzoate to relieve my attacks, but I insisted I needed something to prevent attacks as I was getting them with every workout. He looked through some options and finally suggested taking a magnesium supplement. I got to say, it’s made a big difference! And it’s over-the-counter and relatively cheap. There are many different kinds of megnesium supplements, some more easilly absorbed than others. I’m taking a powdered magnesium citrate. Sure wish I’d discovered this in my 20s. Would have saved me years of pain.    

  • John Whitford

    The sumatriptan drugs like Imitrix work well at relieving my pain. I agree that a visit to a neurologist is the best place to start. I never got effective treatment until after that.

  • Karen

    Also  – I found that taking Vitamin D3 daily helped my chronic migraine status retreat to regular status – many fewer attacks!

  • Karen

    when our insurance changed, they only approved 4 pills per month of sumatriptan or any other triptan – this after I had been using 18 pills per month prior! Good luck!

  • Karen

    My parents both suffered with migraine – mother’s stopped after menopause…mine got worse. Vitamin D3, propranolol, antidepressant daily help to prevent, triptans to deal with attacks. I agree about the triggers and the barometric pressure changes. My daughter and one of my sons both suffer, but don’t take triptans yet.
    In response to the detractors of Ms. Bachman with reference to migraine – I add Abe Lincoln to the list in the article – migraine AND depression, and look what he managed to accomplish, and against a tide of detractors!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HCQOY74WADAQ7XROKSASMMKFUE Carol

    Had migraines since I was about 7 years old. Have been to 3 neurologists, many family doctors, etc. Have tried all the preventatives, including topamax, depacote, beta blockers, etc. Went through a food elimination study where I didn’t eat the known triggers for several months. I still get about five migraines per week. My blessing is that imitrex, or the generic, sumatriptan, always works to take them away. Am still looking for a preventative and will try anything… but feel that I have!  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HCQOY74WADAQ7XROKSASMMKFUE Carol

    Had migraines since I was about 7 years old. Have been to 3 neurologists, many family doctors, etc. Have tried all the preventatives, including topamax, depacote, beta blockers, etc. Went through a food elimination study where I didn’t eat the known triggers for several months. I still get about five migraines per week. My blessing is that imitrex, or the generic, sumatriptan, always works to take them away. Am still looking for a preventative and will try anything… but feel that I have!  

  • Silentbrd

    i think at that age is should be a concern, i have read that other places it is not normal for someone so young to get them, i agree with cdashnaw, take him to a neurologist, they specify in that sort of thing. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2XYUKTTH44YTNKOCXRMGE5MSVU Andrea

    Might want to look at the blood type diet/ Genotype diet. I  know many people report relief with diet changes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Candy-Finkbeiner/100000092560116 Candy Finkbeiner

    We have had MRI done and it was clear. Doc thought maybe severe allergies, prescribed clariten, which seems to have helped some, but he still gets one once every week or so. Doc also claims possible stress, but I don’t see it really. Normal, happy kid with good grades and a lot of love. Still considering a visit to specialist though, not a bad idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Candy-Finkbeiner/100000092560116 Candy Finkbeiner

    We have had MRI done and it was clear. Doc thought maybe severe allergies, prescribed clariten, which seems to have helped some, but he still gets one once every week or so. Doc also claims possible stress, but I don’t see it really. Normal, happy kid with good grades and a lot of love. Still considering a visit to specialist though, not a bad idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1014348838 Wendy Droppleman

    I read that a migraine gene has been discovered… http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/642585.html

  • SueD

    My son had begun having migraines at about 11 years of age. They were terrible and including vomiting until he had dry heaves. He had an MRI and all was normal. We tried several migraine drugs but what ended up working was just taking 1 81mg (baby) aspirin per day. Today he is an adult and has not had migraines since his teens.

  • Dlynch141

    That’s because some foods can be a trigger for some individuals

  • Dlynch141

    I am unable to take migraine meds because I’m on anticonvulsants.  As such, I take 600mg Ibuprofen & caffienated coffee when I get the aura.  Stops the headache about 90% of the time.  Another little known fact, many people who have seizure disorders also suffer from Migraine.

  • Maureensmithson

    Karen, you should be able to appeal that decision , your dr can submit a request for additional pills .  I go thru this every time I change insurance coverages. 

  • Jadette Harris

    Have just been through an attack that lasted all week, and every day I called in sick, I heard the disbelief in my boss’s voice.  While it’s awful to know so many are suffering, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone.  I’ve never had migraines with this severity or frequency before.  Also, thanks to everyone for sharing your info in the comments.  I will definitely be looking into vitatmin D3 and a magnesium supplement! 

  • Dlynch14

    Your doctor should have advised you.  Contact the American Headache Society for more information

  • Jeanine

    I, too, have had migraines since I was 7, and Sumatriptan works for me as well.  Nice to know someone else has had them as early as me.

  • Mary Bosselman Sahling

    I have had migraines since I was 30 and now am 61. I still get them, one of the worst trigger is heat and humidity for me. And some foods and alcohol.. I have always taken Imitrex and now take the generic and the meds to do help me. I also have been told to take Vitamin B 2 and Magnesium. I just can’t do much outdoors and we live where in the summers lots of heat and humidity. Even in the winter when in AZ.  if its too hot I get a migraine. We do love to be at the lake and ect. and its so so hard for me. If you have anything better then please let me know what to try.
    Thanks

  • Kathier0510

    I am a member of the National Headache Foundation. The have great information and suggestions. They have seminars that are very informative as well in most major cities,They are located in Chicago, IL but have other offices.

  • Indigoleatherleaf

    I have noticed mine are triggered by the barometric pressure as well as several other triggers. I thought I was the only one who was affected by barometric pressure.

  • Indigoleatherleaf

    I have noticed mine are triggered by the barometric pressure as well as several other triggers. I thought I was the only one who was affected by barometric pressure.

  • Indigoleatherleaf

    I have noticed mine are triggered by the barometric pressure as well as several other triggers. I thought I was the only one who was affected by barometric pressure.

  • http://twitter.com/LeeloosMigraine Heather Zanitsch

    That is factually incorrect – It is not unusual for even babies to have migraine, if they are prone to them.  There is nothing unusual about having migraines in childhood, but they may generally present as the subcategory “abdominal migraine,” with many stomach problems including vomiting through a 24-hour period – no headache phase.

    Also, neurologists are the general practitioners of neurology, and aren’t always equipped to deal with migraine patients they way you think they would be, unless they have specialized in headache disorders (there are only 290 board-certified headache specialized neurologists in the US, so the need is great).  Some neurologists are at the top of their game when it comes to migraines, but you can get bad neurologists too, who throw their hands up when Topamax doesn’t work for their patients, and who tells them there isn’t anything else that can be done, and that’s not true, either.

    In my experience, my overall GP treated my migraines very well until I could make it to a new migraine specialist (they are not necessarily neurologists, though some get continuing ed in neurology).  It depends on the doctor’s knowledge base, really.  Some are in touch, some aren’t, and if they aren’t and you are sick, you owe it to yourself to find the doctor who is willing to help you help yourself get better.

  • Christelle

    I am 42 year old woman and had migraines all my life. They got worse after the birth of my daughter and took a bad turn in 2006. I found a woman neuro who understood my condition and pain. After trying so many meds and a few results, she sent me to the Mayo Clinic where they put a name on my type of migraine : Hemiplegic migraine. I was able to abort the attack with the sumatriptan but with these type of migraine, it is not advise to use them. I live in Florida and I have a hard time dealing with it. the pain is excruciating, I have memory loss, seizures and can’t walk for at least 3 to 4 days without a walker or a cane. I was hospitalized 4 days because i lost conscience during a session a physical therapy and was unconscious for about 48 hours. It took me 3 weeks to be able to walk without a walker and another month with a cane. The sad thing is that at the ER, the doctors were ready to inject the Imitrex despite having a medical  tag. My savior was  my husband who showed up to stop them. Sadly, many MD have a lack of knowledge about migraines and they treat us with disregard ( it is my opinion ). Thank God to my neuro, the local hospital has a protocol Thanks to my neuro ) on how to treat me. My husband is getting educated and is fighting for us to be recognized as really sufferers not hypochondriacs and pain med seekers.
    My PCP apologized because he didn’t know about this type of migraine and didn’t know how to treat it.  My 11 years old son has also migraines and he already knows what triggers his : Beef jerky and Hot-dog.
    We need to educate ourselves and sometimes the doctor.
    Knowledge is power and hopefully a cure will come.
    For the common migraine, Botox has been approved in 2010 for chronic migraines.
    I just need a new brain…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/MomcatJoan Joan Redd

    Excellent article! I’m a long-time sufferer of migraines, also. There is a 4-generation history of them on my mother’s side, me being the 4th generation. Mine suddenly got worse 2-1/2 years ago with perimenopause; also, my triggers changed from mostly menopausal and scent-related (as well as some foods and red wine) to primarily barometric pressure. I suddenly went from 1-2 a month to 8-10 a month! I don’t tolerate beta blockers well (25 mg is all my body will handle), so my internist started me on Topamax. Things kept getting worse, so she referred me to a migraine specialist within the Internal Med practice, and he has increased my Topamax dosage gradually. I’m fortunate to be one of the persons who respond well to it. I still get prodrome symptoms often and what I call “wanna-be” migraines. At this point, I’ve gone through most of the triptans that used to work for me, but they no longer work; some never worked at all. I’m left with the most expensive ones – Frova works the best. My migraine specialist helps me with samples or I could not afford it, even with insurance co-pays. 

  • Mewilljam

    My neurologist had me cut out bacon; because of the nitrates were a trigger. 

  • Gilleanmcleod

    I’ve had migraines my whole life, I am 55 now, they started when I was 12.
    7 weeks ago I had a series of headaches for five days and ended up at urgent care.  They gave me an iv with benadryl.  I gave up chocolate, all alcohol, wheat, gluten, grain on that night.  It’s 7 weeks now and I still have not had a headache.  Touch wood.  Oh, and I drink huge glasses of fresh green veg. every day.  Boring, but I feel great.

  • Pilgrimscottage

    Try going gluten-free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheHungryHousewife Leslie Wasson Green

    I have suffered migraines for about 16 years. I used to get them SEVERAL times a month. I did figure out that MSG is a HUGE trigger for me, so I cut it out. Now I am left with menstrual migraines. They happen anytime right before during or right after my period and last for about 4-5 days. They are horrible. I am completely useless for those days. I feel so bad for my kids and husband. I have tried everything the Doctors have prescribed..anti-seziures, beta blockers, the regular migraine meeds, daily low dose of anti depressant….everything. My brain scan was perfect. So now my OBGYN has put me on birth control to see if they will help by leveling out my estrogen. I am on the second pack. I still had a migraine with the first pack. So I am giving it two more months and if the pills do not help, I will discontinue them as well. I don’t need the added hormones in my body. I just want help. I really don’t think it is fair for so many people to suffer. And those who do not suffer from migraines just don’t understand. They think, “oh its just a headache, get over it”. I find it very frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    What this article fails to mention: It is possible and common to see migraine in people with no pain at all. Migraine has been associated for a very long time now with severe headache, but the pain aspect can vary in severity.  I get painless migraine all the time.  I also get complex migraine with aura that can make me aphasic and/or mimic stroke (hemiplegic migraine is horrible).

  • Anonymous

    What this article fails to mention: It is possible and common to see migraine in people with no pain at all. Migraine has been associated for a very long time now with severe headache, but the pain aspect can vary in severity.  I get painless migraine all the time.  I also get complex migraine with aura that can make me aphasic and/or mimic stroke (hemiplegic migraine is horrible).

  • Onthedelware

    Article mentions Beta Blockers and that is not what has kept my migraines under control since 1989.  My doctor prescribes CALCIUM BLOCKERS.  When I went to a clinic in Princeton they did not know a about the research and did prescribe Beta Blockers and in my case, made no difference at all.  Before Calan SR (Verapmil) I had terrible symptoms and every week had 24 hours of vomiting and suffering.  It was a chronic condition that followed the information that I had no Estrogen in my body since age 38 (Yale study was where I was examined).  Ask your doctor about studies on Calcium Blockers to see if they are for you.  They are prescribed for Hypertension.

  • Onthedelware

    Article mentions Beta Blockers and that is not what has kept my migraines under control since 1989.  My doctor prescribes CALCIUM BLOCKERS.  When I went to a clinic in Princeton they did not know a about the research and did prescribe Beta Blockers and in my case, made no difference at all.  Before Calan SR (Verapmil) I had terrible symptoms and every week had 24 hours of vomiting and suffering.  It was a chronic condition that followed the information that I had no Estrogen in my body since age 38 (Yale study was where I was examined).  Ask your doctor about studies on Calcium Blockers to see if they are for you.  They are prescribed for Hypertension.

  • Onthedelware

    Article mentions Beta Blockers and that is not what has kept my migraines under control since 1989.  My doctor prescribes CALCIUM BLOCKERS.  When I went to a clinic in Princeton they did not know a about the research and did prescribe Beta Blockers and in my case, made no difference at all.  Before Calan SR (Verapmil) I had terrible symptoms and every week had 24 hours of vomiting and suffering.  It was a chronic condition that followed the information that I had no Estrogen in my body since age 38 (Yale study was where I was examined).  Ask your doctor about studies on Calcium Blockers to see if they are for you.  They are prescribed for Hypertension.

  • Kathrynehf

    I am a 37 yr old women who has suffered from migraines since 5yrs old.  I have tried every drug on the market and have continued to get worse.  I now have the inablity to urinate, walk, use my arms and speak some days.  The doctor told me today he thinks its all from the migraines but i find it so hard to believe that all this pain in my body can be from my head.  I had been told in the past i had fibro, lupus and possible ms.  At least those made since to me…this dr telling me its all migraine related is for the birds…nobody cares anyway.  They see me coming and think all the wrong reasons…I wonder how many other people have this problem.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I take magnesium citrate capsules to prevent onset of migraine.  One of the many root causes of migraine is magnesium deficiency and calcium/magnesium dysregulation.  Regular maintenance  with magnesium is much the same as taking CA blockers.  It is also good for hypertension.

  • Christie D

    I am a 41 year old woman and have had chronic migraines since I was 15. They run in my family on both sides. I have only 2 triggers, strong smells like shellac, and barometric pressure. I have been to many doctors, and not one of them has ever believed me that my migraines are caused by barometric pressure. I can’t tell you what it feels like to read here that this is the cause of others’ migraines too. It is so validating to know that I am not the only one in the world who suffers from this unavoidable trigger.
    I once had an MRI when I was suffering from viral meningitis, and the neurologist told me something interesting upon looking at my brain scan. He said I had a brain structure abnormality which is common among migraine sufferers. It involves a lack of the proper subarachnoid cisterns around the brain stem. I’ve always wondered if that is the actual cause of the migraine tendency which has been passed down in my family.

  • Shannnjose

    i to notcie headaches caused by barmetic ressure.you are not alone

  • Obteuse

    I had headaches as a child, and develped migraines as an adult. The ONLY thing that works for me consistently, both as a cure and as a preventive is chiropractic care. I’ve gone in literally vomiting, and walked out and gone to breakfast at a restaurant (with bright lights & noise!). No kidding, it can be THAT dramatic. I absolutely swear by it. Get a good one, and you’ll never have to worry about migraines or taking drugs again.

  • Djh0505

    I too, take imitrex, and if it was not for this drug, I would not be able to function at all during a migrine, I am finding out that the heat is one of my “triggers” With the summer like it has been in the Midwest, I have been missriable.

  • http://somebodyhealme.dianalee.net/ Diana Lee

    I started having migraine attacks around age 6, and I know many other people who started having them as children. They can start at any age.

  • Clemente Bermudez

    My Doctor say that never, never use Aspirin in children

  • Djgr03

    I have migraines from the barometric pressure as well.  It’s horrible!

  • Saragabate

    Thankou

  • Mike Frei

    I have have known many people that have had migraines and I have recently found an all natural product that has helped alot of people control their migraines fairly quickly. Its called Kyani NitroFX and NitroXtreme. Visit http://mfrei.com/testimonials and click the migraines tag to read how this has helped with migraines, then head over to the products page to learn more about these amazing products.

  • Christelle

    Sometimes after or during a major migraine attack, i also lose the ability to speak properly even sometimes nothing, cannot walk, my left side feels like dead. I have some difficulty to urinate…. You are not alone. The brain is the control center of the whole body and during a migraine, everything is going “whacked”. Body temp changes, I am cold then hot… I was told by my neuro ( she is pretty good ) that even fainting spell can be from a migraine and sometimes the brain goes on a “save mode ” and shuts down. If you do not have a trusty relation with your PCP or neuro, change. My Neuro is not taking my insurance but she gave me a good deal as a pay cash patient.
    Keep hope I know you are suffering but you are not alone…

  • Christelle

    Did you try  to go to Walamart pharmacy, Costco, Bj’s….
    They offer great discount drugs and you do not need to be a member to use the pharmacy. You can ask also your local pharmacy if they have a discount card and you may be able to buy the meds you need. I did buy a discounted card at mt little pharmacy and they beat (prices) Walmart. Walgreens and even my ins. I take med for my thyroid and 3 months of  levothyroxine cost me only $9.99. Walmart =$ 10.00 and my insu =$14.00 instead of $21.00 if I do by mail.
    Ask you doctor for samples if he/she help you.
    A lot of pharmaceutical companies are going to lose their patent this year and the next 2 years, so you may be able to get the generic or else at a lower cost. Your doctor can required that it is MEDICAL NECESSITY to have this amount of topiramate.
    Ask 1st your pharmacist or doctor if the pills can be split and if it is the case, ask for a higher dosage and split the pills in half.
    I hope you can get the help and meds you need.
    I do feel your pain…..

  • Christelle

    I live in Florida ( central ) and I know about heat and humidity, hurricanes which are some of the factors to trigger a migraine. After menopause, a lot women can develop hypothyroidism which can lead to migraines.
    Sometimes, sinusitis can appear as migraine because of the pressure.
    You need to have a full blood test done and avoid the triggers like alcohol, nitrates, nuts, cured meat, chocolate, certain beans ( lima ).
    MSG, aged cheese….
    Acupuncture may help to prevent, chiropractic……
    Herbal solutions but the best would be to see a specialist in migraine headaches…..
    Good luck and you will still have fun.  

  • Dsgaleotti

    please look into cranial sacral therapy.  after I weaned my daughter, I went into a downward spiral of migraine that was my stasis…..my body lost sight of what it was like to be not in migraine mode.  a friend suggested cranial sacral therapy and the therapist saved my life, where traditional medicine and other alternative therapies failed.

  • GMach

    At 61 I discovered magnesium by accident a year ago. Was getting upto 4 aura attacks weekly and started magnesium for something unrelated. Noticed that I wasn’t getting the auras and attacks as often. Has eliminated 90% of my auras and following full blown migraine. Not sure of the mechanism but it does work for me. Now if I could find the same lucky fix for tinnitus life  would be perfect

  • Lindseyk

    My experience has been the same. Thank God for chiro

  • Jetercharisse

    Make sure you do not have chronic Lyme disease: it causes chronic migraines. I have genetic early onset migraines then at 35 years old (i am now 53) got Lymes and have chronic neuroborreliosis.

  • Jetercharisse

    Make sure you do not have chronic Lyme disease: it causes chronic migraines. I have genetic early onset migraines then at 35 years old (i am now 53) got Lymes and have chronic neuroborreliosis.

  • Lcoutsy

    christie dear, recntly read to bbegin muscle relaxers when you know a weather front is coming good luck.  leslie c.

  • suzanne

    Frova is the one that also works for me. Sad thing is that my insurance will not cover it now and the cost is too much. It is crazy I priced it recently and it was over $1,000 for a 90 day supply! But it is the one triptian that does work very well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/physioabhinav Abhinav Tyagi

    methycobal 500 injections thrice weekly

  • BarbieConnecticut

    My 16 yr old daughter suffered couldn’t move her head, transforming migraine which means never goes away, for 10 months! straight… Finally our Yale New Haven Neurologist suggested FOOD DYES (also MSG, Nitrates, and no more Artificial Sweetener). I knew MSG was a trigger, eliminating FOOD DYES … NO MORE MIGRAINE! she’s only had 3 or 4 since August… amazing. Blue Dye, and Red Dye were the worst, so no powerade, no snow cone, it’s in IBUPROFEN, you can get dye free medication, keep looking at your labels, give it a try, it’s worth a try to feel better and good luck and God Bless!
    Barbie – Norwalk,CT

  • sueb

    Stay on the BC pills for at least 6 months 2 months is notlong enough they helped me but it seemed like it took forever.

  • candy

    I understand your delima. I, myself have suffered from this condition for as long as I can remember. The people around me do not understand that this is not just a simple headache. It is way more, and to suffer this way while people disbelieve the intensity of you condition is doubly frustrating! I wish I could just wak up one day pain free, I have not had that since January 2008. Still I hope one day the doctors would find some sort of reliable treatmen that can actually help me.

  • Becca

    I have the same 2 issues at 36 years old here

  • Anon

    I also get them before it rains, almost every time.

  • Vigiler

    Tinnitus is a side-effect of using a triptan. I was using Imitrex for a couple of weeks and I all the sudden developed tinnitus…which dissipated a few days after I stopped taking Imitrex. Hope this helps.

  • Vigiler

    Barometric pressure is obviously one of my triggers, and strangely, I found that if I take a plane ride, it makes my “migraine season” subside dramatically. I went from Iraq to the U.S. and amongst all the flights I noticed my need for Imitrex completely stopped. So somehow, I think, the artificial pressure change somehow affected me for the better…but hope this helps in some way ;)