Migraine headaches, please advise

My boyfriend gets cluster migraine headaches. He’s had one every day for 3 weeks. He has consulted a neurologist, etc. but the medicine they give him doesn’t work. What have you guys taken that has worked for your migraines?

Today he told me he got a nosebleed with the migraine and it hurts so bad he is shaking. Strangely, his doctor doesn’t think it’s a big deal. What is your advice?

He needs to rule out everything but migraines, if they’re that bad.

Imitrex works for me, especially combined with a nice blast of caffeine. Caffeine is the great double-edged sword of migraine sufferers. It can help a headache, or cause one.

A second opinion sounds in order.

I hear that Botox injections are quite helpful:


I get the treatment every few months, and wondered why I always got a headache when the effect started to wear off, so I asked my doctor. Turns out I have headaches, I just can’t feel them because of the Botox – now, if I could only get my health insurance company to cover the cost!

I just talked to him and he said the pain is at the base of his skull and it’s a lot of pressure. I know that he’s gotten a CAT scan and stuff and they said he has some excess fluid on the back of his brain. I am just worried because nothing is working for his pain. It’s scary. I also told him to get a different doctor.

If the pain is eased by lying flat on his back, could be a spinal headache and yes, medical attention is needed immediatley.

If pain isn’t lessened by lying flat, and that is where his head usually hurts with migraines, ginger might help. Aids in circulation, opens blood vessels, eases nausea.

Imitrex works for me as well although sometimes it just lessens things enough I can lay down without retching. I think he sound see another doctor and you can go with him to the emergency room for a severe migraine if you are feeling really concerned.

Has he tried just one medicine, or more? I understand that what won’t work for one person will work for another with similar headaches, and there are a handful of different treatments available.

Zomig (zolmitriptan) is what I use, and it absolutely works. Before I got that prescription, nothing helped but getting as much water in me as I could keep from coming back up, and that helped only marginally.

He needs either more help from the doctor he has, or a different doctor. Has he been firm and clear with the one he has? There are a sufficient number of hypopchondriacs who mis-characterize their pain that sometimes you have to work to convince doctors that you mean what you say. Would he let you come to an appointment to help describe what he’s going through?

Indygrrl, sounds something very much like what MrseNiGma has; excess fluid build up in the brain, causing pressure on the optic nerve, dizzyness, sometimes ringing in the ears, and pain so bad you can’t stand it. I’ve never seen her in so much pain.

She was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri, and was prescribed Diamox which is quite a potent Diuretic. I’m sure some of the more experienced medical voices on the board could speak more articulately on it than I, but it’s worth looking into.

As for my own migraines, I used to get them much more frequently than I do now. I have taken Tylenol #3 which has caffeine and codeine. It made me comfortably numb.

I’m sorry about your BF, and I can relate to seeing a loved one suffer and the feeling of helplessness it brings. A second opinion is very much in order IMO. I hope this helps a little.

I used to suffer terribly and the only relief I found was Imitrex INJECTIONS not the pills. Also I went to a massage therapist and she was able to hit the trigger point and get rid of the headache in an instant. If she removed her fingers the headache would come back so we would have to “ease” into releasing her fingers.

In the long run I found when I lost weight and watched my caffenine intake I didn’t get the headaches any more.

I would go to a different doctor.

I said,
“…causing pressure on the optic nerve…”

Hmm… should be nerves. She’s not a Cyclops. Really.

That sounds absolutely horrible. It also sounds like he needs a new doctor.

Also, my understanding is that cluster headaches and migraine headaches are different things, and are treated differently, so I’m a bit confused by the “cluster migraine” reference. I’m a lifelong migraine sufferer, but I hear clusters are even worse. I don’t think that the triptans (Imitrex, Zomig, Amerg, etc) are recommended for cluster headaches at all, and I thought the preventatives for each were different. I’ve never researched clusters much, though, so I could be wrong.

This is a fairly good migraine resource http://www.migraines.org/

Also, I started a thread a while back asking people what they were taking for their migraines. You might want to have a look there. But again, if clusters are treated differently, it may be moot. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=156284

From what you are saying, if it were me, I’d be 1) heading for the ER NOW and 2) firing my doctor and finding a new one when I was feeling better.

I don’t do the injections. Pills usually work fine.

When the nausea is so bad that I can’t hold down pills, I use Imitrex nasal spray. This generally works within 30 minutes. It’s a great solution to the nausea problem, for me.

They can do so much more now for migraines than they could when I suffered from them as a kid.

Mr. Adoptamom suffers from cluster migraines. He’s 49 and his brother “outgrew” them at 50, so we’re praying he will, too.

Mr. Adoptamom takes Verelan PM XR 300 mg per day as a preventative when he’s in a cluster. For any breakthrough headaches, he either uses an Imitrex injection or a Zomig. No amount of narcotic drugs would touch the pain associated with these types of headaches, plus they left him feeling hungover. Please explore non-narcotic options with your doctor.

You might be interested in going to Cluster Headaches and spending some time reading. This site helped him tremendously.

Best of luck with finding a solution. We searched for years before finding the right combination of medications and doctors willing to prescribe them.

I don’t recommend this wink, but my diet (rich in caffeine) seems to help. I had the first one in maybe a year the other day due to a bad front, and it was a mild one I was able to sleep through.

I get so nauseated, I can’t keep anythingdown and can’t do either the pills or the nasal spray. That nasal spray is freaking nasty stuff.
I have to do the injections.
I just went 10 rounds with my insurance company about why I had to have the injections (they were willing to cover the pills or spray, but not the injections). The bitch kept saying, “Wouldn’t you rather just swallow a little pill that give yourself a painful shot?”
Yeah, you dumb bitch, I enjoy giving myself a shot in the ass. :rolleyes: My neurologist had to write them a letter to get it approved.
Okay, I’ll stop before this gets moved to the Pit. :wink:

Just curious, Indygrrl, what did they give him, a pain reliever or a preventative? I take Topamax every day now as a preventative. It’s an epilepsy drug that works on the electrical impulses in the brain, and is fairly new in treating migraines. I don’t know how it would work for cluster headaches. It works wonders for me. The frequency and severity of my migraines has been cut dramatically.

This time they gave him Imitrex, and I think they gave him a very strong anti-inflammatory and some type of blood pressure med. I linked him to this thread, so hopefully he can come on later and look at all of your responses.

He hasn’t taken any “painkiller” type medicine, because it hasn’t worked for him in the past.

I feel so badly for him. He’s in so much pain, and there’s nothing I can do. Poor baby.

This is what he just said:

Have those of you who can’t keep pills down and don’t like the sprays or injections tried the dissolves-on-the-tongue pills like Zomig? Probably some of you have… I don’t know what I’d do without them if they didn’t work for me. My nose is usually too stuffed up to do anything with a nasal spray and giving myself an injection while I already have a migraine would be way beyond my then-diminished capabilities.

I can relate. :frowning: Vicodin Extra Strength only takes the edge off for me. At my last ER visit, I got two shots of Demerol (among other things, including Toradol), and the migraine came back a few hours after I left the ER.