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Is this a vestibular migraine or regular migraine?

I have never suffered from migraines in the past. I noticed that with perimenopause I started having very severe headaches that went on for days leading up to my period. This past month, on the day I got my period, and in fact, the shortest period length I ever had, I had a visual disturbance at my computer desk at home. Very spin feeling. It lasted only a few seconds. Afterwards I was off balance. Over the next day, a bad headache started, which turned into a migraine based on what I have researched. I was light sensitive, had to stay in a dark room, had pain behind eyes, in forehead and referred pain behind left ear.

Eventually it went away after two days, but I was left with some residual headache, leg and arm feeling like I just ran a marathon. In addition, I felt swaying or off balance - especially when I moved my head side to side.

I initially thought I had an ear infection (I know...stupid. right). Since I am in lockdown due to covid, my teledoctor said it sounds like a migraine and I should do vestibular exercises to help with residual dizziness.
I also tried BPPV epley as well.

I should also mention that the day of the visual disturbance my mom's health had taken a turn for the worse as she is Stage 4 adrenal cancer. So I believe my trigger for first ever migraine was stress and hormones. Perimenopause has been brutal for me.

So, I was hoping on any ones thoughts as to if this was a regular migraine or vestibular migraine. How long does your limbs feel weird after a migraine? How long does the swaying feeling last? Will I be doomed to get another migraine every month now? Does preventative aspirin or aspirin help with migraines?
Thank you

  1. Hi soccernj,

    Thank you for reaching out to us. You've asked great questions and I'm happy to hear you've spoken with your doctor about this.

    Although we can't give medical advice, we can give you information on how to manage and live with migraine disease. Migraine attack symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days. There are four phases to a migraine attack; prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. Here is information that details these phases; https://migraine.com/infographic/the-four-phases-graphic/.

    I wish I could tell you if you'll be having a migraine attack each month, but that's not possible. I can tell you it may be possible to reduce migraine attack frequency and severity if you're are able to identify your triggers and reduce the ones we can. This would involve keeping a detailed migraine diary for a few months, which you can read more about here; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    As far as medication to prevent migraine attacks, that's a conversation only your doctor can help with. I can provide you with this information to discuss with him/her,if you see a pattern in attack frequency connected with your cycle: https://migraine.com/blog/short-term-option-for-migraine-prevention-frova/.

    I've had vestibular issues in the past, and still do if I move my head too quickly when turning over or getting out of bed. I did have some PT done a few years ago to help, and it did.

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing and I'm sure others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you.

    Have a great day!
    Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Thank you for your help! I am working to find a way to avoid another hormonal triggered migraine. You mentioned PT for your dizziness. Are you referring to vestibular exercises? I had started to try that, but it made me more dizzy. I seem to make it through the day if I keep my head straight. Did the exercises eventually help? How long did it take?
      Thanks,
      Jen

      1. Hi, @soccernj,

        Just to add to Nancy's post, I also experience occasional vertigo and doing exercises for it at home (the Epley maneuver) does help make it more bearable. Something you should know about those exercises is that it's pretty common for them to make you feel extra dizzy before you start to recover. In my case, it takes a few rounds before I see results, and I really have to push through that initial dizziness! So gross. 🙁

        Anyway, consider having a chat with your doctor about these experiences -- they'll be able to give you medical advice that fits you individually. Definitely get their OK before trying anything new at home. If you're uncomfortable, you can also have exercises done in an office setting.

        Best of luck to you! Keep us posted.
        Melissa, migraine.com team

      2. Thank you both for your advice! I have to do telemedicine due to covid lockdown still going on in my area. We are right near NY.
        The ENT online said that my dizziness should resolve after awhile from my migraine and that I could try vestibular exercises (eye tracking, head movements) and BPPV exercises such as Epley.
        I actually did the Epley two nights in a row and I did feel extra dizzy initially. I didn't realize it can impact you that way. I will try again the exercises if I don't continue to improve. I feel a slight improvement every day but I am very afraid of getting another hormonal migraine so I am doing everything I can with supplements I researched and keeping de stressed.
        Thanks,
        again.
        Jen

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