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Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

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Old 03-05-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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jennck35 HB User
Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

I am looking for people like me who suffer from chronic migraines and hope that some of you will share your stories and experiences, and possible successful treatments/remedies you might have come across. I myself am at the end of my rope and not sure where to turn.
I am a 31 year old female. I suffered from severe migraines as a child and saw a neurologist from ages 8-14. He put me on a daily medication that helped to keep them under control. When I started going through puberty about age 15 is when the occurence and severity of the migraines got better. They took me off the medication and I spent my teens and twenties getting only the occasional migraine and I did not feel I needed to seek medical treatment for them. It might very well be a coincidence, but it seems like since I turned 30 years of age that the migraines have returned. I am now getting migraines up to 3 times a month (which from reading other peoples posts, 3x per month is not really alot, some people get them several times per week, which I can't even imagine). Anyways, they are becoming quite frequent and I had one so bad last week it landed me in the ER, I just couldn't tolerate the pain. They had to give me Phenergan to stop the vomiting and they pumped me full of Dilaudid which is one of the strongest narcotic painkillers their are. The Dilaudid eased the pain enough that I could fall asleep, but it did not get rid of the pain. .
My migraines almost always start while I'm sleeping, and I'm usually awakened by the excruciating pain in the early hours of the morning. The pain starts as a stabbing, sharp pain behind one of my eyes. Feels as if I'm being stabbed directly in my eye socket and brain right behind the eye. After I stand up and move a little it then begins to spread, and eventually engulfs my entire head, jaw, and neck. I get very nauseous, and ususaly vomit several times during an episode, which is a problem when you need to take meds for pain. I also see blank spots in my line of vision and have extreme sensitivity to light. Sometimes I can mentally control the vomiting long enough to take pain meds and give them time to absorb into my system, which will help. But ususally I end up throwing up whatever meds I take, which makes getting rid of the migraine impossible. They can last 4-12 hours. I thought that they were related to my menstrual cycle since most of the time I get them right before my period or right after it starts. But now they are coming at other times during the month. So I don't know what my triggers are. I don't drink, or smoke. I am not overweight and eat a farily normal, healthy diet. I've tried taking Imitrex which if I can take it soon enough I seems to stop the migraine from becoming severe, but does not make it go away. I think this is because you are supposed to take it at the onset of the migraine, but the problem is that I am asleep during the onset so by the time I wake up I already have a full-blown migraine. Prescription pain meds ususally will do the trick if I can take them in time but I find it difficult to find an MD who will prescribe narcotics for migraines. I am seeing a new neurologist this month and hope to get some help. Does anyone else experience what I am experiencing? I'd like to know if there are others that get migraines whiile they sleep and if anyone has pinpointed what the triggers could be. Thanks for your input.

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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Thamarai HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

That was the story of my life throughout my college career. What you're describing was exactly what I experienced. My cycles would last about a month and I'd end up with about 50 migraines in 30 days. It's the worst kind of alarm clock, huh?

Research DHE45. It's a treatment they administer intravenously and you're admitted for about 2-3 days in a hospital. It's supposed to stop a cycle of migraines.

But to be honest, sometimes preventive medication can suck but is necessary. Just stay away from Topamax. That stuff is toxic. I was disoriented, vomiting everyday, suffering from memory loss, and I was down to about 120 pounds (and I'm 5'9").

Also, the next time you end up in the ER, which I hope is never again, make sure they give you a triptan (like maxalt, immitrex, relpax, etc.) and NOT a painkiller. The mechanism of a painkiller doesn't stop a migraine. I wish med schools would make that a known fact and not just apparent to neurologists.

Good luck and message me if you have any other questions I might be able to help with!

Old 03-13-2009, 01:46 PM   #3
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jennck35 HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

Thanks for the input. I know what you mean about Triptans but my problem is that I can't take them. I have a heart condition called SVT (a form of tachycardia) and I have to avoid triptans. They elevate heart rate, blood pressure and can actually induce a tachycardia episode. So I'm stuck. Narcotic painkillers are usually the only route I can take. It's either that or nothing and try to wait it out. Which sometimes is almost unbearable.

Thanks again

Old 03-14-2009, 09:27 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Bay Area, CA
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Gin72 HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

I know just what you are going through and I do sympathize...The vomiting is the worse! My migraines generally begin in the middle of the night which is unfortunate because the triptan drugs don't usually work after the migraine is in full force. I'm enduring a rough patch right now with headaches waking me up at least 3 times a week. I was on Inderal as a preventive for 20 yrs. but it stopped working. I had great success with Topamax for a year but that stopped working as well (I only lost 7 pounds and had no other side effects). My Neurologist then tried me on a large dose of Amitriptyline but I had horrible side effects so now he's starting me on Deseril this week (only available in Canada)

As a headache abortive, I give myself Toradol injections (previously my primary care doctor was giving them to me). Toradol is great because it's not a narcotic, doesn't make you sleepy and doesn't usually cause a rebound headache. However, if the Toradol doesn't work then my PC doctor gives me 2 mg. of Dilaudid IM. And if my vomiting is out of control then unfortunately the ER is the only way to go.
I'm really hoping the Deseril works and I stay out of the ER.

Just remember, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another and you may have to try several different drugs. My neurologist actually runs a headache center and he told me there are many drugs that take 3 months to work and many people don't give them enough time to work before giving up on them.

I wish you luck and hope you have a good Neuro that will work with you.

Old 03-15-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
blue s
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blue s HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

Gin72: A colleague told me about a recent study that found eating applesauce or an apple before bed can prevent morning migraines. I think it has something to do with the pectin, and has been very helpful for me.

Another study involved drinking a lot of Gatorade at the very beginning of a migraine to stop it or at least lessen the severity. I usually drink the all natural Blue Sky Blue Sport instead of Gatorade. (I have it special ordered by the case at the local health food store.) It helps me a lot. I don't recall the exact amount recommended though. I probably drink about 32 oz of Blue Sky Blue Sport in the first hour when I'm getting a migraine.

Also, laying down with an icepack on the back of my neck and one on my forhead, with a microwaved heat pack or hot water bottle by my feet usually helps tremendously. I get under the covers to stay warm. If I do that and relax enough to fall asleep, my migraine usually disappears.

Old 03-20-2009, 03:43 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Sundancespirit HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

Hi All, I am from the UK and have suffered with migraines since I was in my teens although I think I may have had some earlier as I remember getting "flashing lights" in my eyes from a very early age maybe 6yrs. I am guessing that many prescribed drugs are different between here and North America. I have been on Imgran (Imitrex) which is a Triptan for about 15yrs now and it works for me for about 90% of the time. I get on average 4 migraines a month so not as bad as alot of people. I went to the doctors yesterday for my yearly prescription review (good old NHS - National Health Service) and he expressed concern over the amount of Imigran I was taking. I had a real feeling it was due more to the financial consequences on the doctors practice rather than my general well being! He suggested I take a low dosage of anti-depressant in particular Amitriptyline. I was very concerned about this as anti-depressants don't have that good a reputation, Gin72 I noticed you took these but you were prescribed a high dosage - do you know the actual mg level? My doctor suggested 10mg to 25mg tops and I was wondering if the side effects would be a dramatic on such a low dose - any ideas or suggestions?

What is quite amusing when reading postings from you guys in the US is that you all seem to have Neurologist, I don't think I have ever seen a Neurologist in my life! My migraines were diagnosed and treated my General Practitioner!!!!!!!!

I may try Hypericum (St John's Wort) as this is used alot in Germany as an alternative to anti-depresants and has had a high success rate for depression. I will let you know how I get on.

Last edited by Sundancespirit; 03-20-2009 at 03:47 AM.

Old 08-31-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: sydney australia
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sharonmaria HB User
Re: Chronic migraines that start in my sleep

me tooooooo!!! my life is really getting affected by this, same as you , miagrains when i was little , went away for a few years , a long time actually , and now since i turned 30 i seem to get them almost every night , im living on imagrain which helps but there must be a reason , im thinking my neck the way i sleep, i dont know either and at the end of my tether, im starting to not want to go to sleep, i wish it was 3 times a month , %80 of the time im waking with this extream pain in one side of my head, so bad its the pain that wakes me up , i also feel nausus when i wake and cant sleep till the drugs work but then i wake grogy, i hate it what is going on , im going to have a head scan but its supportive to know some one eles has it and im not going crazy.

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