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Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Ninja

Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Ninja

I’m about ten minutes into this particular made-up migraine type as we speak, and I am really tempted to add to its name a series of expletives that are not fit for this website. (Its full name might really be Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Type Called The Ninja—AKA “That Effin’ A**hole The Ninja” but let’s not go there right now.) You can see how angry I am that The Ninja Migraine has shown up today without warning.

The Ninja doesn’t make an appearance in my life all too often, and for that I am grateful. But today it swept in on this sunny, beautiful day, a day I had set aside to Get Things Done, and for that I am anything but grateful.

The Ninja has no regard for what you have planned for the day. Unlike other migraines I’ve described in my Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types posts, this one doesn’t give you any warning whatsoever. You have no idea your day is about to be highjacked. With The Creeper, you know something’s afoot, even if the full attack never sets in all the way. With The Ninja, you think everything is better than it’s been in awhile.

Take this morning. I woke up migraine-free and blissful. Yesterday and the day before I felt sick but remained in a pretty good mood nonetheless; I had to take Imitrex both mornings in order to be functional by the afternoon for work but had good, relaxing days, all told. Imagine my delight to get out of bed this morning feeling fully refreshed and awake (this is rare for me). I did the dishes, tidied up the kitchen, and made tea for Jim and me. We snuggled and hung out with the cat for a bit, and then I got up to get ready for the day.

Ha-YA! Boom! Slice! Chop-chop-chop! The Ninja was waiting for me in the living room, where he jumped out from behind the armchair and sliced the left side of my brain wide open. I winced in pain and felt dizzy with rapid-onset nausea. I uttered, “No! Not today!” as I walked to the doorway to hold onto something for balance, my stomach suddenly churning.

I had felt really great just an hour before, just ten minutes before. I had none of my usual migraine warning signals (even in hindsight) and had just realized that, unlike yesterday and the day before, this day was MINE. I could spend my time as I wished without having my mind distracted or dulled by migraine.

How do I feel right now? I’m angry. The Ninja showed up swiftly and without provocation. I looked back on my last twenty-four hours in an effort to figure out what I may have done to get The Ninja out of hiding. Why did he attack me today? I can’t be sure.

Have you ever been thwarted by The Ninja? Were you able to figure out why he came for you? What does it feel like to start your day on a positive, (relatively) pain-free note only to have The Ninja jump out and highjack your day? Is there a particular way you treat yourself and/or medicate to get rid of The Ninja migraine that’s different from how you treat your other attacks?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • TracyM09
    5 years ago

    What a wonderful description for a Migraine that totally comes out of nowhere and totally kicks your butt. I had one on Wednesday, I went downstairs and greeted my Mother and my happy Pomeranian, I was sitting there for a bit before I was going to have cereal….suddenly my plans were changed as the nausea, weird vision, and nasty stabbing left eye pain came out of nowhere. That Ninja must have been hiding under my recliner…I never saw it coming! Within 15 minutes of coming down I told my Mom I’d see her later then up I went to medicate ASAP! If I didn’t catch it quickly I knew I’d end up at the Clinic getting Morphine and Phenergen. My friend also Loved the Ninja description. We both know, without communicating, how we each are doing, especially during some of our weird weather!!

  • tina gascon
    5 years ago

    walking in or out of air conditioned rooms/buildings make the Ninja attack. Even with the two sets of doors it still attacks.

  • Glory
    5 years ago

    I love this. For me, the Ninga seldom comes out of nowhere, but can be tracked down to a certain stimulus. In my case, it is the tennis/basketball courts of our complex. Kids come out… One basketball is fine, two basketballs are irritating, but add in that THIRD basketball and I will shortly be gone gone gone, as the song says. However, it is always unexpected and since my immediate future is cowering in a ball of misery between the passenger seat and floor of the van as my husband drives on and on for three or four hours wondering at what point we go to the hospital, I think I can relate.

    For sonny boy, the Ninga types seen to attack the second we think things are sorta under control. Maybe feeling good and having endorphins is in itself a trigger? Despite everything, he completed all his college courses this year in the high 90’s. Despite all the meds, including high opiates, the next week was hell on earth for him. Of course, living in Florida with the environmental stressors may also play into the picture.

    In any case, I love the label.

  • Beverly Militello
    5 years ago

    You call it “The Ninja” I call it “The Slam Dunk” or “Sucker Punch”. 90% of the time I get awoken in the middle of the night because the migraine came out of nowhere and is off the pain scale, and I’m throwing up. Occasionally I’ll get hit during the day. There’s no rhyme or reason for them and the only thing that makes them go away is going to the ER and getting Demerol and Phenerghan.

  • Cindy
    5 years ago

    Thanks for posting this today. It happened to me yesterday. For me these are the worst kind of migraine. I love your unofficial names and have starting using them.

  • Steelmagnolia
    5 years ago

    I found out many years ago that when I have been under a lot of stress and not getting the right amount of sleep for any reason I will have a “headache” and to me these type headaches are NOT full blown Migraines…..and believe me I KNOW what a real migraine is. I’ve had them all my life and some serious enough to wind up in the hospital. After you get relaxed and get rested up then the real Migraine hits like the ninja you describe. I have learned not to hold in anger for any reason. The anger you hold onto is your biggest problem and getting angry because you have a migraine only makes the pain worse. When I learned to let go of the anger and just ride it out without getting upset then they began to lessen plus I take feverfew and in the spring when the weather is so unstable plus all the allergens I take it daily.

  • Writermom
    5 years ago

    Thanks, Migrainegirl, for your helpful and sometimes hilarious postings. You give us information, allow us to see that there are others experiencing some of the same things, and sometimes have a good laugh at something that’s not even close to being funny! Your work is appreciated!

  • pamkau
    5 years ago

    The ninja is usually the most acute of my migraines and over the years I have learnt that feeling too good, full of joie de vivre, great mood and lots of energy is actually a part of the ninja. That is the aura instead of flashing lights.
    It’s very sad that now when I feel good I have to arm myself against the ninja.

  • Shan43
    5 years ago

    Oh yes the Ninja has hit me before!! Just depends on things that are going on during the day..could be stress, or the dreaded pre-menstrual migraine, too much physical exertion from the day before, or even an MSG reaction. Things will go along great then I start to feel that dizziness and disorientation come on and if I don’t treat it quick with my triptan it can get out of hand. Thankfully my Ninja’s go back into hiding after the triptan kicks in. Before I took Amerge I would be laid out in bed with nausea and a missed day at work. So glad I have a medication that helps me if I need it!

  • Susan L
    5 years ago

    Ahhhhhh, the Ninja. Finally, “IT” has a name. The worst of my migraines. Comes on like a jack hammer out of nowhere and brings me to my knees. Like you, I don’t have a clue where or how or why it comes from. And I’ve had years of practice examining the intricacies of my migraines. I find my high percentage menthol roll on and sunglasses or eye mask in bed with the curtains drawn & complete withdrawal from the living to be my only recourse. Fortunately, the level 9 pain doesn’t stand up to my 10% menthol too long, and it seems to calm down to something less excruciating. But I’d love to know what electric nerve impulses are charging around in our migraineur brains that cause these horrid Ninjas.

  • Ann
    5 years ago

    I’ve suffered from hormonal migraines since I was 11 years old. After menopause they disappeared but then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the Ninja attacked. No more just pain for a day or two and the knowledge of when my migraine will appear and leave. Now it’s anytime, any place, anywhere and it arrives with visual disturbances, dizziness, nausea, abdominal migraine, pain, depression, fogginess and spaciness. I can’t hide from Ninja. I can’t eat, not eat, sleep, not sleep, exercise, not exercise, take drugs, not take drugs etc. etc. because Ninja doesn’t give a hoot about what I do, don’t do, refrain from, take up etc. etc. Ninja is relentless and I have given up. It’s a hopeless battle. I have no fight left in me. Call me Ninja Ann….

  • Writermom
    5 years ago

    And so, even using the ice packs on my neck and head, I suffer. I have so much on my agenda for today, but most of it will have to wait. I can’t think straight with this Ninja, and often don’t communicate with others outside my family. So, I’m going to lay down again and try to sleep. Maybe the Ninja will go somewhere else while I sleep.

  • Writermom
    5 years ago

    My Ninja grabs me while I sleep. Yes, I awake at 3:00 a.m., with my head hurting. “I really don’t want to take a med at that time of the day. It’s so early and I may need it later. Maybe the Ninja will go away if I can just go back to sleep.” I say to myself. Sure enough, I get back to sleep and when it’s time to get up, 3 hours later, My head is about to split. Not only did the Ninja not go away, it went round and round and got much worse. And that’s how I started my morning today. And the pain medication hasn’t helped much.

  • Beth
    4 years ago

    I, too, have been awakened by the Clydesdale kick to the head of the Ninja! I’ve learned, after the first one, to keep my night time medication in my night stand. I have had them attack during the day, too. The worst one hit when I was out with a friend. She drove me to the fire department…called 911 and my husband. I was in the hospital for 3 days!!

  • flipflops7
    5 years ago

    Writermom, I, too, have wakened up in the night so many times with a Ninja and hoped it would go away, only to have it get many times worse. Now I face the music and take the med even tho’ I may need it later. I found that taking the med sooner on less pain is better than the med being less effective on more pain later on. Aaarrrgh, but this is awful! Lately it’s been like a lose-lose situation for me with any barometric change triggering a headache.

  • Rick
    5 years ago

    On Sunday evening, May 11, my girlfriend and I were watching TV about 10:30PM. I had had a pretty good day with no migraine in sight. We had a nice dinner out, walked the dogs and settled down for a couple of shows on TV.
    A little while later, my Ninja s\hit out of nowhere. He hit the left side of my head, too, but, with the point of his sword right behind my left eye. The pain was so great that a 62yr. old man broke into tears. I have never had a migraine hurt so bad in the 21 or so years of suffering with these monsters. The thing that gets me is, I had just taken all my meds for these headaches about an half hour before it hit. This is very uncommon for me.
    The only thing that kept me from having to go to the ER was a cold compress that I keep in the freezer and putting it on my forehead an eyes and going to bed. Luckily, I was able to fall asleep quickly. How, I’m not sure.
    I guess I slept well that night because I felt okay the next morning.
    I have never felt pain that bad in my entire life. I have broken one arm, hit in the mouth with a baseball and lost some teeth and several injuries, but nothing ever hurt as bad as that headache, ever.
    Maybe someday someone will find a cure for this terrible monster.

  • kateymac
    5 years ago

    It also makes me think of those old, original, Pink Panther movies. “Not NOW, Cato!” – Inspector Clousseau (Peter Sellers), had hired a man to randomly attack him without notice. It was always SO inconvenient. It was hilarious. Migraine Cato? – not so hilarious. But I do sometimes yell “Not NOW, Cato!”

  • bluesjr
    5 years ago

    As I type, I’m sitting inside on a beautiful California day, wearing my $$$ rose-tinted migraine glasses and a baseball cap to cut the light because I got migraine hi-jacked when I woke up this morning. Can’t even make it to the store. I’m soooo careful with diet and exercise, my meds, stress, exposure to all kinds of things (even refused to sit in someone’s very scented house yesterday), and still I get these mystery migraines.

    Mainly I’m writing to say how enlightening your migraine blog has been. You articulate so well things that I have been feeling but haven’t had the words for. And you do it with humor – always good for the soul.

    bluesjr

  • mygrainetoo
    5 years ago

    Ninja migraines! I just discovered that at least some of my ninja migraines may have been coming via calcium. I came across the article & had no idea that calcium could be a problem. Also, I am a week and a half into Fioricet & Topamax generics & feel like I am in charge of my life for the first time in 2 years! I wish I had quit thinking that it was always ‘a trigger’ that I should figure out & was somehow my fault & that I had gone to my doctor sooner.

  • mygrainetoo
    5 years ago

    Sorry I’ve been out so long & that I left an incomplete post. I was taking a multi-vitamin plus more calcium but there wasn’t enough magnesium or vitamin D for me in the multi, I guess. Too much calcium without magnesium or vitamin D or (more rarely) potassium can lead to muscle cramps & severe headaches & migraines.

  • Maggiecook
    5 years ago

    How is calcium related to migraines? I have not heard about that before.

  • ddnben
    5 years ago

    Most of my migraines are ninjas. I always said it was like being hit on the head with a 2×4 because they come on that fast and I can’t do anything about it. I have no warning or anything. It’s only been recently that everything will taste like dirt 24 hours before I get a migraine.

  • Maggiecook
    5 years ago

    Omg, I say the same thing about my migraines. I too feel like I have been hit in the head by a 2 x 4. No warning, whamm, down you go! It is horrible.

  • Luna
    5 years ago

    “I looked back on my last twenty-four hours in an effort to figure out what I may have done to get The Ninja out of hiding. Why did he attack me today? I can’t be sure.”

    When I feel really good and energetic that usually just means the calm before the storm. Used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out triggers besides odors of most kinds but the comment below helped me. “What did I do, where did I go wrong” is just crazy thinking with this type of disease or brain dysfunction.

    One thing to remember. Not always does any one trigger actually start a migraine attack.
    Triggers are those things that start the migraine chain reaction. It’s believed by some that it actually takes a combination of things to really get a migraine going….
    http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com/migraine-prevention.html

    Also, somewhere I read that triggers may not manifest in an attack immediately.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    Jean,
    I definitely agree with you. I think that most people have multiple triggers and you may not immediately react when exposed to one trigger, but if they keep stacking up eventually your brain will rebel and a Migraine will explode!
    -Katie

  • Les
    5 years ago

    The Ninja attacked me last week. It was awful. As soon as it appeared, I slammed three Aleve, and one Relpax. It killed two thirds of my day and prevented me from taking advantage of a sunny day to work on my car.

    I’m among the (un)lucky men who get these things. But I feel like part of the community (even if most here are gals) and relate to many posts by you and Kerry.

    Janet, thank you for your post.

  • Writermom
    5 years ago

    Les, my father suffered severe migraines as long as I ever knew him. Six of his seven siblings did, also, and two or three of them were men. So, welcome. You men may be fewer in number than us women, but you are not alone. And your suffering is just as horrific!

  • Writermom
    5 years ago

    I know totally where you are coming from, Ann. That is how mine has been all day today .

  • Kanani
    5 years ago

    Yes, I have experienced “the ninja” and it’s awful. It doesn’t seem to matter if I had plans for the day or not, it’s always frustrating and discouraging to experience. Added to that frustration are people who just don’t get it or think I’m faking it for attention. Really??? Sometimes I have evil thoughts of wishing others could experience migraines for at least one month; not for punishment for being ignorant about migraine but just for some empathy and validation. I can really only get either one from other people with migraine.

  • maxgordon
    5 years ago

    I never experienced the Effin’ A**hole Ninja migraine until after I hit my forties. Unfortunately, now that I am 98% post-menopausal, I get them as frequently as I get the Effin’ A**hole Countdown-to-Hell migraines. When you know you have done nothing from your list of known triggers, and you are still whacked upside the head with an auger, it can be rather depressing.

  • bluebird
    4 years ago

    Yes.

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