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General Questions About My Migraines and Mental Health

Hello all,

I'm new here, and I just wanted to give a little background:

-I've been suffering from debilitating migraines since I was ~12 years old (I distinctly remember one of the worst ones I've ever had was around that age)
-I had been dealing with these migraines for 14 years now (I am a 26 y/o female)
-I also have been prescribed the following: Abilify, Wellbutrin, Ritalin, and Lamictal for bipolar/attention disorder

So basically I just had some concerns about treating these migraines. Recently, I suffered from a terrible migraine that lasted for 4 days. I only took 400mg of Advil per day, as I did not want to become tolerant to any medication. On the last day (yesterday), I was extremely nauseous and the migraine was unbearable, so I went to the local urgent care and they gave me a tryptamine-based medication and Zofran for the nausea (both IM injections). The symptoms slowly disappeared after about 1.5 hours, and I felt much better. I woke up today without a headache of any kind and this was a HUGE relief for me; however, around 5pm I felt a dull pain again, causing slight sensitivity to light. I'm really worried it's another migraine that will last for days on end. I was told to take 800mg of Ibuprofen if it did come back, but now I'm not sure I want to really go that route if it's something that occurs everyday. I'm also pretty cautious about this whole thing, as I already take 4 medications already, I don't want there to be any weird interactions, although my doctor has said it would be fine (he is a psychiatrist).

Anyway, I wanted to ask, is there any way I can successfully treat my migraines without using medication? I am really worried about the amount of chemicals that are ingested, and I want to limit that unless absolutely necessary. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you for your help.

  1. If you are getting migraines often, I would suggest seeing a headache specialist. Because of the medications you are on already, it would be best to see what options you have on the migraine front and get the specialist to consult with your psychiatrist on how best to approach things.

    1. Hi sr41489,

      Welcome to the community. Apologies for the slow reply. I'm sorry to hear about your migraines and understand how challenging it can be when managing multiple conditions.

      There are non-pharmacological options for managing migraines, as well as lifestyle measures. E.g. Trigger identification and avoidance, Sleep hygiene, Biofeedback, Acupuncture, Physical Therapy, Massage, Stress-reduction, Exercise, Diet. Any treatment and especially supplements would need to be checked with your doctors for safety and to rule out potential interactions. You may like to read more about these options here:

      Essentials Overview on Triggers:
      Foods Implicated in Migraine:
      Natural Remedies:
      Complementary Therapies:

      Even if you are looking to avoid additional medications, it may be worth seeing a headache specialist as they are the experts in diagnosing and managing headache disorders. They can help you manage your condition while taking your other diagnoses and medications into account:

      Headache specialists may advise options other than medication such as: lifestyle changes, identifying and avoiding triggers, physical therapy, supplements and neuromodulation devices e.g. the Cefaly: These devices are promising new approaches for those looking to avoid medication. Ritalin and Lamictal are sometimes used for migraine prevention, so the specialist may be able to optimize your treatment with the psychiatrist.

      Preventives are usually recommend if one has 2-4 severe migraine attacks or more per month, with the aim of reducing frequency and severity. Acute medication is used to treat a migraine attack when it occurs. Acute treatment is used early with the aim of stopping the migraine as quickly as possible, as we become more sensitive to triggers (and even more migraines) the longer it goes on. While there are lifestyle and non-pharmaceutical options for prevention, I haven't found many for acute treatment. I use ice, a dark room, hydration, "Sea Bands" and ginger for nausea, and magnesium. The most effective non-medication acute treatment option I have found is the Cefaly on the acute setting. Unfortunately, only the preventive setting is available on Cefaly devices in the US. The European and Canadian devices have preventive, acute and relaxation settings. There is another neuromodulation device, the Spring TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) which is FDA approved for acute therapy of migraine with aura:

      It may also be worth talking to your psychiatrist and PCP to see if they can help support you in managing the migraines.

      Best wishes and please let us know how you get on.


      1. Last night I had my first migraine in 20 years. I suffered from migraines from the time I was 16 to 18, severe debilitating migraines with aura. Last night was very mild, but I am having that fear again... "when is the next one". I have an idea of what brought it on, but not sure.

        I had no signs or symptoms, onset was rapid. I immediately started drinking water, took a vaso-dilator, 500mg of Magnesium and drank bunch of espresso while continuing to hydrate myself. It seemed to help, but I'm not sure how things would have been if I didn't do any of that.

        It's got me a little scared. I might detox myself and start living a healthier lifestyle.

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