Discussions By Condition: Headache

Persistent migraine headaches

Posted In: Headache 1 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • February 12, 2011
  • 00:48 AM

Summary
I’ve had headaches since a young age, and they have progressively gotten worse as I’ve grown older. If I were to describe the pain, I’d say it’s like a throbbing tooth ache in my brain.

More than anything, I want to know what is causing the headaches. I’m not interested in masking the pain with medications, because I feel like there is an underlying problem. What I’m experiencing is NOT NORMAL. I’ve compiled a long list of everything I can think of that might be relevant. Please respond with suggestions such as disorders that might cause my symptoms or tests I can ask for.

Patient Description:
Weight: 121lbs
Height: 5’ 9”
Age: 29
Gender: Male

Current Symptoms:
- Persistent migraine headaches.
o Migraines last between 48hours and a week.
o Migraines are usually so painful that any kind of activity is unbearable.
o Have missed countless hours of work, school, and social opportunities as a result of the migraines. The social damage is especially severe.
- Headache aura includes:
o Tiny white squiggly dots
o Vision difficulty
o Increased blood pressure and faster heart beat
o Brain fog (confusion, detachment from my surroundings, lightheadedness)
o Heart palpitations usually precede and follow a migraine.
- Migraine symptoms include:
o Throbbing pain on one or both sides
o Accelerated heart beat (even while resting, I can feel my heart hammering away)
o Cognitive difficulties (slurred speech, difficulty forming thoughts, difficulty communicating)
o Light and sound sensitivity
o Lethargy
- Other symptoms
o Dramatically decreased sex drive. Can go 2 months with no desire for sexual activity. However, sexual activity seems to make me more sensitive to my known migraine triggers.
o Occasional stabbing chest pain (maybe once or twice a month)
o Sinuses tighten up. Usually can’t breathe through nose during a migraine.
o Sometimes have excessive yawning during the afternoon that leads to a migraine later in the day.
o Almost always craving sweet foods.

Triggers
- Anything higher than 40 on the glycemic index will bring on a migraine aura, and depending on how much is consumed, possibly a headache. The higher on the scale, the more intense the headache.
- Brain fog is sometimes felt only minutes after consuming certain types of food. As an example, drinking a fruit juice brings on almost immediate brain fog.
- Going too long without eating, or eating too much in one sitting.

Patient History:
- Pediatrician diagnosed me with ADD. Complained of frequent headaches and an inability to concentrate.
- Took Ritalin until around age 14. Had a bad hallucinogenic episode after several months of use, and so I stopped taking it.
- Went to emergency room for severe headache. Had severe motor function problems due to intensity of the headache. Doctors didn’t find anything wrong in the blood work or CAT scan. Morphine didn’t really do much to stop the pain.
- Took Adderall off and on up until around age 22. Medication helped with concentration issues, but not head pain.
- Visited a general practitioner around age 25. Told him I had persistent migraines. Recommended I see a neurologist. Standard blood work checked out fine.
- Visited neurologist, and checked out fine.
- Visited an allergen specialist and requested food allergy tests. Determined I had no food allergies.
- Visited a different general practitioner. Nurse commented that I had “very thin blood”, and doctor noted that I had high blood pressure. Blood work checked out normally, otherwise. Doctor prescribed propranalol for blood pressure.
- Visited same doctor again. Reported the propranalol made me very slothful, and didn’t seem to help with migraines. Doctor prescribed topamax and zomig. Neither had an effect on headache frequency or intensity.
- Visited same doctor again. Doctor prescribed ametryptaline. Ametryptaline seemed to have a very minor effect on headache frequency, but I had horrible nightmares and was falling asleep at work. Stopped taking the medication.
- Visited a different doctor. This doctor gave me a glucose tolerance test, which showed my blood sugar dropping to 49 and reaching a high of 170 or so over a 4 hour period. The doctor described this as “reactive hypoglycemia” and said I should closely monitor my diet to avoid headaches.
Related Informations:
- Only time in memory when I did not get a headache from eating normal, everyday food was when I was on the wrestling team in high school for a few months. During that time, I had an intense daily workout, and consequently, had mental stamina and focus greater than at any other point in my life. To show what I was like without migraines, I had easily achieved a 4.0 GPA and had met my first high school girlfriend. After I stopped wrestling, my grades plummeted to Ds and Fs, and I ended my relationship. The reason I quit wrestling was because of vertigo problems (tumbling or spinning would make me nauseated and dizzy).
- I literally eat nothing above 40 on the glycemic index. My diet is strictly controlled, but still, I sometimes get migraines if I miss a meal. I rarely eat out, and every ingredient is meticulously chosen for each and every meal. Even the slightest slip up can ruin the next 2 weeks.
- 2 or 3 advil is the only thing that reduces the migraine symptoms. In order to completely eliminate the migraine pain, I estimate that I would need to take 12 per day.
- Without a migraine, I’m a pretty smart, funny, and industrious guy. I get high praises for my professional work. (I’m a software developer) With migraines, I’m mean and impatient, and my work is sloppy. The difference in my behavior is tremendous. I often feel like I’ve been robbed of some of the best years of my life because of constant pain.

Family History
- My family has a history of diabetes.
- My half sister has graves disease
- I have a 1st cousin who has migraines that cause her to black out.

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1 Replies:

  • It sounds like you have a few types of headaches. It sounds like tension headaches, this type of headache can be caused from tightened muscles in the neck (front and Back). A tension headache can be constant and can cause referred pain up the sides of the head, between the eyes, and the back of the head. Do a search on SCM neck muscle and headaches. You may want to go to a certified massage therapist and have her work on your neck and shoulders muscles. It also sounds like you may have sinus headahces and inflammation. You may want to go to an ENT doctor and describe your symptoms. Stress and inflammation can really put a toll on your body. You could also have reactive hypoglycemia, due to your family history. You may want to keep track of what you eat to see if your sugar is causing headaches. Also, eat protein at every meal, this helps regulate the sugar ups and down. Good luck.
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