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Migraine and possible triggers

Hello there,
I'm sharing my experience here in the hope that you can help me understand what's going on.

I have been suffering from chronic migraine for about 6-7 years now. Tried many treatments, almost all of them were a failure. However, the last 4-5 months have been a living hell to the point where I have been unable to carry out my everyday activities. I spent the last months with daily and high intensity migraine, barely leaving my house, unable to study for my university exams.

I'm currently under Emgality and Venlafaxine (been on this treatment for 6 months now). I'm seeing my neurologist next week to understand if the treatment is working or not.

I recently went on a trip abroad with my friends: I thought it would be a disaster due to migraine attacks, my anxiety rose to very high levels, but in reality it wasn't. At all. I had all the triggers you could ever think of: change of my routine, weather changes, very busy daily schedule, physical activity, alcohol, emotional instability, 2-3 hours sleep at night (sometimes even 1) for 10 days. I only had 2 severe attacks. As soon as I came back home, migraine came back. That's why I decided to book another flight last minute and travel somewhere else for 7 days. Again, many many triggers, but only one severe attack.

I have been back home for 4 days, 3 of which have been a complete disaster. My migraine attacks are back to "normal" (long, severe, no working treatment). How is it possible? I have been thinking it could be the weather here where I live. Humidity here is just unbearable. Could it be a possible explanation? If so, I would consider moving somewhere else just to have my life back.

Thank you very much.

  1. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your journey with us. Good to hear you were able to enjoy your trips!!
    It's certainly possible heat and humidity can trigger a nasty migraine attack. I also wonder if there is an environmental factor in your home that is trigger attacks such as mold or some other allergen? That's my first thought.

    Good to hear you'll be speaking with a neurologist, one I hope is an expert who treats migraine and headache disease as all neurologists are not. Try not to lose hope- there are over 100 medications, supplements, devices, complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications that can be used to treat migraine disease.

    Let me know what you think, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. This also makes me think of the time that one of our advocates decided to throw caution to the wind and go on a real vacation. Like you, she did well and then came home to migraine. Hopefully she will see this and chime in with her experience. Unfortunately I dug into our archives and can't find that article; maybe I was thinking of the wrong person. In any case, location really can make a difference and I think that's worth talking about with your doctor. Please try to rest if you can, and know that we're here to support you! -Melissa, team

      1. yes! Thank you for sharing your experience on this article. Exactly the same happened to me! Both when I went away, and when I came back. I shed a tear reading the last paragraph. Just like you, I thought I would be able to get back to my normal life, which has been on hold for the past 6 months. Unfortunately, I've been having a devastating crisis since I came back home. At least I'm seeing my neurologist tomorrow to eventually change my treatment, which hasn't been beneficial at all, I guess. I just can't understand what the problem here is. I find myself unable to do anything really most days of the week and having very few productive hours compared to the past. But in reality, I'm not stressed, I have family supporting my illness, I haven't been studying nor working, I've been trying to eat as healthy as possible and do physical exercise whenever I feel like I'm able to do so. It just seems not to make sense.

        As hard as it could be to move somewhere else on my own, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to feel better. Not only is it painful to feel this way, but depression kicks in due to the quality of life we experience as migraneurs.

        Thank you again for sharing.
        Much love,

      2. Hi there- you are clearly such a dear. So- first, I hope your appointment with your neuro went well today. Second, a move is a huge thing for a migraineur. I understand the desperation to do anything to better the pain and complex neurological symptoms, of course. I want to send you this article written by another of our contributors, Kerrie, who moved from Seattle to Arizona for this reason alone- to try to improve her migraine condition. I think she discusses the role of depression as a comorbid condition in this piece- if not, she certainly does in other pieces:

        I can see about putting her in touch with you directly if you have questions for her as this would be such a major step and she's someone who has already undergone it.

        Let me just clarify and respond to one part of what you said- when you stated that you can't understand what the problem is. You state you are living carefully- exercising, eating right, etc etc- you have good support- all the things.

        Migraine is not your fault.

        You are not causing it. Things can get confusing here because the more we live with migraine, the more we understand that we have triggers that can cause a flare up to happen- so we believe we have this power to make an attack happen- therefore we start to believe we have a power to make it not happen. Well, unfortunately, we don't.

        Migraine lives inside of us. It's a complex neurological condition that we have. Like Multiple Sclerosis or Diabetes- it's a condition sometimes it worsens with age and hormonal changes - we have it- and we must learn to manage it. It's a journey that involves all the stages of grief from denial through to acceptance. We can get savvy about learning to live alongside it- and to carve out a good life despite it.

        You are not alone.


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