Junior Member (female)
Join Date: Jun 2009
I have had chronic headaches since I was in my teens. In my mid twenties I started getting migraines, along with more frequent bad headaches and dizziness, especially around my period in my late twenties. I never really did much about it; I ignored it and went on with life in pain every day eating Excedrin and vicodin. It was a way of life that I thought I had to live with. When I turned 30 I had a severe vertigo attack (thought I had a stroke or something). I never felt anything like this in my entire life. Now I've been suffering from chronic daily vertigo for the last year, ever since this attack. I never had vertigo or motion sickness until now. I had tons of tests done; all which were normal accept one of my ear tests showed I was having a minimal amount of vestibular disturbance. My MRI & MRA of the brain and neck were normal and I had no hearing loss or ringing in the ear (Meneire's Disease). Also Meneire's Disease vertigo attacks don't last any longer than 24 hours for the most part. I have read and done my research about every ear disorder/illness/disease problem possible. Neck disorders, brain disorders, asked doctors tons of questions and talked with other people about their illnesses. The number one rule is, if you don't have hearing loss you most likely don't have an ear disease, other than possible trauma, virus or bacterial infection. All possible ear diseases/tumors and or trauma of the ear was ruled out. So what was causing this vestibular disturbance? I even went to the HOUSE EAR CLINIC in L.A. and they suggested I see a neurologist (but that was months later during my investigation for a diagnosis). I saw many, many doctors, including neurologists, none of which could help me. They kept thinking it was BPPV, but BPPV does not last all day long 24/7, day after day. It comes and goes in bouts of vertigo spells usually with head movement as the calcium crystals will dislodge and move back and forth in the inner ear. You can have BPPV your entire life but you don't have the symptoms all day long. Also there is surgery that can help correct it, if it disrupts your life enough.
Doctors kept giving me quick fix drugs (Ativan :lorazepam, diazepam: AKA valium, antivert etc) for my severe vertigo attacks and bad headaches, which only heavily sedated me and it never got rid of the symptoms (I found out later these drugs are bad for migraine patients: Dr. said its like giving me alcohol and meclizine only works for so long). Finally, I had a second ENT doctor suggest it might have something to do with my history of headaches and migraines. I saw a UCLA neurologist. All the symptoms I had told him (I had other symptoms as well, some strange) he explained, were from migraines. He had seen hundreds of people like me and groups of families like me. Migraines are a hereditary disease he said (which a few of my family members also have). He said especially since my MRI/MRA was normal and I had no hearing loss it was confirmed that migraine was the cause. He said vertigo is the second most common symptom of migraines and doctors still don't know exactly why it can affect the inner ear.
He was the first doctor to tell me with confidence, “You will get better” instead of saying “You need to be optimistic" like all the other doctors. He also said migraines can cause stroke like attacks/symptoms but are reversible; not like a stroke. I finally got a diagnosis after almost a year of hell! I never gave up. I read online information daily. I kept seeing doctors until it finally lead me to the right place. Migraines can change throughout your life and symptoms will come and go but you will always have migraines because it is a hereditary disease, but you don't have to live with the symptoms. I wish I would have learned more and taken better care of myself when I was younger. I could have prevented this attack and all this constant vertigo that had greatly taken away my independence and created so much anxiety and depression. I cried all the time, I wanted to die; I did not want to live in a world where my mind was always spinning out of control. The doctor also explained that anxiety/depression is the worse for migraines. It will trigger them and make it harder to treat it. I had to get this problem under control and keep telling myself I will get better, even on the bad days.
Before all this vertigo, I was in a toxic relationship (emotionally stressful) for 2 1/2 years. Six months after dating this person I started getting sick all the time. My headaches were worse, migraines more consistent and I would get dizzy many times. I didn't understand what was happening to me. On top of that, my boyfriend at the time was an insomniac and he would never let me sleep. I had sleep disturbance ever since I met him. My diet also changed too! I'm not blaming everything on him; it was my fault that I stayed with a person like this for too long. I tried leaving him 3 times! He kept promising me he would change and was seeing his cousin who was a psychiatrist. The point I'm trying to say here is, don't lose your happiness over anything. Not even love, because if that person, or job, or place or whatever it is, is not making you happy than get out, get out right away. It’s not worth your life, your health, your happiness. STRESS KILLS!
Anyone with headaches/migraines NEEDS to read this book called HEAL YOUR HEADACHE: the 1 2 3 Program by David Buchholz. He is a neurologist that has worked with migraine patients for over 2 decades. I actually learned about this book from a woman on a message board, explaining her strange symptoms and vertigo. She had drop attacks, burning sensation on her scalp, headaches, severe vertigo and many other problems. It seemed like she was in more worse of a condition than me. She got on migraine medication, followed this book and is now living a normal life again. Her doctor recommended this book to her. I bought it cheap online and boy did this book describe me and my symptoms perfectly. This book explains other patients and their strange symptoms: numbness (even on one entire side of the body), sinus problems, scalp problems, visual problems, and many other things that you would not think would be related to migraine, and you don't have to have a headache with these other symptoms. Also, the UCLA doctor that I saw says migraines are hereditary, that's true, and the doctor in this book also agrees but also believes everyone has the migraine mechanism, EVERYONE! It’s just a matter of time if you trigger it or not! The reason why your doctor has not been able to help you is because most doctors don't know how to help you. Most doctors don't know much about complicated migraines and most doctors don't want to deal with you. Migraines are complicated and can have many, many, types of symptoms that people and doctors never put 2 and 2 together. We as migraine sufferers have to live more simple lives, you must keep your stress down, you must sleep,( the 2 most important triggers of migraine) know what foods trigger your headaches (caffeine #1, MSG, alcohol, chocolate, old cheeses), you must control anxiety and depression as best possible. These are all of which really trigger migraines and make it harder for your body to heal. Stop taking daily quick fix drugs for your migraines (Excedrin, vicodin, imitrex etc). It causes reoccurring headaches/migraines. There are other triggers that this book talks about as well. Please read this book, it will help you if you follow what this book has to say. It has helped me! I’ve been on treatment for a month now. I follow the diet, I do mild yoga, massage sometimes, and I have been on migraine medication for about a month now. It is working! I’m not fully recovered just yet. The medication can take 2-3 months to see much improved results and if it doesn’t work I will try the next migraine medication that the doctor recommended (which by the way there is no such thing as a daily migraine medication other than methysergide, which is rarely used because of the concern for scarring internal organs. Most other medications used for migraines were formulated to help other illnesses and found out through trial and error that it reduced symptoms of migraine). Just to let you know I don’t like being on medication, I’ve always preferred and done the more natural approach in my later years (vitamin B2, fish oil, feverfew, ginger, magnesium, peppermint oil, many other herbs and supplements, ayurvedic treatment, chiropractic, massage: which only worked to a small degree for me) but this is what I have to do for now because I am chronic. I don’t like the side effects (usually dizziness and sedation) but they start to subside after a few weeks. You do not have to get on medication.
Just follow this books suggestion for a couple of months and if you have no relief the next step is migraine medication. Also you do not have to be on medication all your life, because migraines usually come and go throughout your life time. For some people who have chronic headaches their entire life is mostly because of all the over the counter medications they are always eating and the wrong foods, no sleep and stress; like I was! The most important thing is to keep your migraine triggers down as much as humanly possible. If you really want to change your life for the better, your going to have to put in the TIME! That's all there is to it, no ifs, buts, or wants. JUST DO IT!
I have noticed a difference. I don’t have weird numbing spells in my brain anymore or on the side of my face or pressure build up and my chronic neck pain and tension is gone. The pressure and pain in my ear has reduced tremendously. My vertigo and headaches have decreased and I don’t get as much motion sickness in the car. I have a long journey ahead of me and as much as I would like to be cured over night, I have to remember I was sick for a very long time and it will take time to fully restore my health again. I will stay positive and keep you posted with my recovery over the next few months.
I suggest you do some research and find a well renowned neurologist that specializes in migraines and balance disorders. Read this book, and if the doctor does not understand what you are saying, telling, asking them, then get a new doctor. Keep trying till you find the right doctor. Even if you have to go outside your insurance and pay a bit more money. It is worth it to have your health back, your life back, and your happiness. All I want to do is help other people to not have to go through what I went through, that is why I’m telling you my story. Your migraines can change for the worse. Please take care of yourself and don't ignore your pain.
Last edited by Administrator; 09-24-2011 at 05:49 AM.