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Migraines? But what kind? Help greatly appreciated!

I've been experiencing a lot of nausea and spells of upset stomach and other gastro-related issues off and on for quite a while. I get sharp, stabbing pains in what feels like behind my eyes. It started on the right side, and was right side only for months, and now it has started doing it on the left side as well. I also have been getting pain on the right, back side of my neck, and more recently, pain and weakness in my right shoulder, and sometime down my right arm. I have "visual snow" and my ophthalmologist said that this can sometimes be a result of migraines. I seem to always have a dull headache, usually in the back of my head, starting from my temples and working down to my neck area in the back. However sometimes, I get debilitating, pack-a-punch headaches. I always seem to have a difficult time talking and concentrating when these come on. My previous primary doctor seemed to be struggling to figure out why I feel so yucky, and it wasn't until my eye doctor mentioned migraines that I thought to look into it. I have started keeping the migraine journal on here to track symptoms, but I'm just wondering, does this sound like typical migraine issues? I've been trying to do research online, but it seems like there are so many different types, I'm getting a little confused/overwhelmed. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I see a new doctor soon, but it will be four weeks of waiting, and I'd like to get some input from actual migraine sufferers. Thank you!

  1. BriarRose,
    Your symptoms do sound like Migraines. However, I'm not a doctor and I can't diagnose you. The symptoms you describe could also be attributed to other illnesses as well, so seeing your doctor is the best course of action. You mentioned a new doctor? What kind? I highly recommend a neurologist. A primary care doctor has very little training in headache disorders. The best type of doctor for you to see is a Headache Specialist, which a neurologist who only deals with patients who have Headaches. Neuros can deal with Migraineurs as well as patients with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. If you are able to see a Headache Specialist, you should think about it. There are over 300 Headache disorders, so a specialist can help to narrow it down for you. Here is a list of them:
    http://www.ucns.org/globals/axon/assets/10300.pdf

    Getting back to your symptoms, it is very common to have neck and shoulder pain associated with your Migraines. I personally need regular massages to keep those tight muscles in check. Sometimes a muscle relaxer can help.

    It is also common for the pain to move from one side to another or to radiate behind the eye. The "snow" that you are seeing is called an aura. A large number of sufferers see this before the Migraine hits. It usually goes away in 15-20 minutes and then the pain gets very intense. Here's more info about all stages of migraines:
    https://migraine.com/blog/what-are-the-stages-of-a-migraine-attack/

    The difficulty speaking or finding words is also unfortunately a side effect that some people experience. It can be scary at times. This is why you should definitely see a doctor and make sure to mention all of these symptoms so he can check you out for any other issues that could be causing this.

    Since you won't be seeing a doctor for a few weeks, I'm sure you want some relief now. Check out this page to see if there is anything that you may want to try now to help you. Excedrin Migraine helps many people and there are also natural remedies you can try. Please make sure to read up on everything and don't try it if you think it may interact with any other meds you're on.

    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/

    I hope this will help get you started. Feel free to ask questions and I hope you get relief soon!
    -Katie

    1. Thank you! I should be clear, I'm not actually looking for a diagnosis. I know that is impossible to do over a website, and dangerous to think otherwise. I just wanted input from others who know for sure they have migraines. The primary doctor I was seeing for the last 8 or so months left a lot to be desired, and after being sent home with muscle relaxant and pain pills every time without any real answers, I made an appointment with a different doctor at a different facility. It is still a family practice doctor, not a specialist. With the way my medical insurance works, I'll need to get a referral from a GM in order to see a specialist. But, the more I go in knowing about migraines and perhaps my specific symptoms within the large variety, the better my appointment will go (I hope) 😛 Thank you for your input Katie! I have other medical issues, and it seems like it is taking forever to figure out what's really going on with my body. When I started to look into migraines, I thought I saw a lot of myself and got excited. The information on this site has been fantastic!

      1. It sounds like migraine to me, too -- it's great you have an appointment with a doctor to look into your symptoms.

        You ask which kind of migraine. There are different kinds, though most people either have migraine with aura or migraine without aura. Other types, like hemiplegic, basilar or retinal, are quite rare. You could still have one of them, but for your early research, general migraine information will probably be the most useful. The visual snow is consistent with migraine with aura, so you may want to concentrate on that.

        Best of luck with your new doctor. Please let us know how it goes!

        Kerrie

        1. Thank you, Kerrie! I talked with my ophthalmologist in more depth today about the visual snow and pain behind my eyes, and the possibility of it all being caused by migraines. He said it's definitely common, but one weird thing... the visual snow I experience is ongoing. It isn't something that comes on just before a headache and eventually goes away, but is something that I always have. He said that this didn't sound consistent with migraines, but wanted to be clear that he's not an expert and said it could still be a symptom. In the reading I've done, migraine with aura makes it sound like the symptoms come and go as the headache comes and goes. Is there such a thing as chronic migraine with aura? I'm so excited to see a new doctor about this. Thanks again!

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