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Help with My Migraines

I have had migraines since I was a child ~1st grade and have been to multiple doctors and had CT scans and MRIs which provided no information until I went to the emergency room at 23 years old. Will describe this later.

Symptoms: Nausea, Vomiting, brain fog, dizziness, extreme intense pain that comes as a wave that lasts around 5 minutes, loss of appetite.

Description: Thunderclap every couple of weeks. Happens at work or at home while active and at rest. Typically lasts a couple hours up typically, but I do also have a monthly week long migraine usually. Pain is ALWAYS on my left side, above my ear near the temporal region and sometimes closer to the occipital region. This pain is a sharp throbbing pain that is worsened when leaning over, squatting, and does not respond to any medication, being in a dark and quiet room, or by eating or drinking. I am almost NEVER dehydrated as I live in the mountains and drink 3+ liters of water every day.

ER Visit: this visit helped me realize my migraines are truly strange. I will describe this as I described it to the ER. Presenting with Thunderclap headache so severe I lost balance and was incorrectly counting money which caused my supervisor to encourage me to go to the Emergency room. Was given Diphenhydramine, Iopamidol (During CTA), Ketorolac, metoclopramide HCl and sodium chloride (Typical IV Migraine cocktail). This did not relieve pain at all of my migraine. I was given a CT angiogram head and neck with intravenous injection of contrast.
Findings of CTA: Nothing except some new information that was not seen when I received an MRI when I was around 10 years old. Here is how it is listed on my report from the ER. POSTERIOR COMMUNICATING ARTERIES: Present on the left but likely congenitally absent on the right.

I was basically told we cannot help you and there is no aneurysm so you can go home and we will refer you to a neurologist. At this point I had accumulated a huge bill and had no insurance so I never went to the neurologist and today I still cannot afford another huge bill by going to a neurologist. I was hoping someone could see this and confirm they have had a similar experience and explain what was done for them/what worked to help relieve this and other advice. I work in a highly technical career and these migraines are getting extremely bad and are causing me issues in my work.

  1. I should also mention the CBC differential and metabolic panel came our completely normal.

    1. , I'm sorry to hear about your lack of insurance. We are not able to provide medical advice on this site as we are a non-clinical team. Most of our team are patient advocates writing about our personal experiences and should not be construed as medical advice.

      There are several people who have written about thunderclap migraines. You can find those articles here:

      I would encourage you to speak with your PCP to find out what options for insurance and/or insurance assistance are available in your area and work towards obtaining insurance so you can get to the neurologist as directed at the ER doctor. Every person's migraines are caused by different things and sometimes require different treatments even if they are the same type of migraine. This is not a one-size-fits-all type of diagnosis. Working with a doctor and/or medical team is the safest thing to get to the bottom of what you're experiencing.

      Good luck. ~Liz, Moderator

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