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Changing migraine pattern -- why?

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Old 06-12-2003, 12:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 88
jafc HB User
Unhappy Changing migraine pattern -- why?

Hi everyone, this is my introductory post (though today I found myself replying to lots of other posts!).

Since childhood, I've been suffering from infrequent classic migraines. First I have the visual aura where I cannot see clearly and then I see flashing lights as if someone has taken my picture with a flashbulb many times in a row. As soon as the aura comes, I know I have about a half hour to take medication (Imitrex, except while trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing) or I'll be vomiting and in excruciating, incapacitating pain and on my way to the nearest ER for a shot of Demerol. (Relatively) fortunate for me, these episodes have occurred only once or twice every 1-3 years until last fall.

In November 2002, I had a migraine that lasted for a week with 4 auras and distinct peaks of nausea and pain and then periods of almost normalcy, or perhaps it was 4 migraines in a week. I'm not sure. Because I was still nursing my baby, I didn't take Imitrex and tried to just endure the pain. Though I felt truly awful, I didn't vomit and the pain wasn't unendurable like with my previous migraines. However, after a week of it, I couldn't take the nausea and pain anymore, so I went to the ER and was given Raglan (sp?) and Morphine. I then visited a new neurologist who gave me some more Imitrex and asked me to keep a journal. Unfortunately, I've never been able to identify any triggers for my migraines except that a few have come *after* periods of prolonged, intense stress.

A few weeks ago, I had a migraine with aura and took Imitrex because my baby had weaned. I felt absolutely awful, but didn't have to go to the ER. The next day I had my usual "migraine hangover." I felt OK over the weekend but it came back Monday night and the "migrainey" feeling still didn't subside for a couple of days. I didn't take more Imitrex because it was just a low-level nausea and minor pain, but with a distinct "migrainey" character (does anyone know what I mean?). This recent episode could have been a rebound headache caused by the Imitrex, but the 11/02 episode (when I took no medication until going to the ER) was so different from my migraine experience.

When I saw the neurologist last fall, he told me that it's not unusual for migraine patterns to change.

The major changes in my life from the time of my old migraine pattern to my current are that I've had two children and nursed both (maybe migraine pattern change is influenced by hormonal changes?) and that I've stopped working and am a stay home mom (which I've found to be more stressful than working because my boys are both "spirited" i.e., difficult and strong-willed).

I'm seeing the neurologist in a couple of weeks, but am curious about my fellow migraineurs' experiences with changes in migraine pattern.

Just to round out my history, my life has been complicated with two other types of headache as well: tension headaches caused by clenching (bruxism/TMJ)for the past 14 years and a debilitating, splitting headache that lasted from 1991-1995 and was most likely caused by a whiplash injury from a MVA. These two situations seem to have become linked together and have evolved into a chronic pain syndrome that feels entirely separate from my migraine experience.

Thanks for your feedback,


[This message has been edited by jafc (edited 06-12-2003).]

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Old 06-12-2003, 01:01 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: madison, wi usa
Posts: 968
Karla HB User

Hormones and stress are two big things that can cause your migraines to change in frequency and severity. Sounds like with having a few children that you probably have a little of both of those going on. I wouldn't worry to much about it but of course you should see your dr any time your headaches change in nature.

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