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Migraines, smells, and shingles

I have suffered from migraines all my life. The most persistent trigger for me is odors. (Even when I was 4 years old I begged people not to wear perfume or use cleaning products around me because of the debilitating headaches I got when exposed). Numerous odors cause immediate migraines for me (often with a locked jaw that "pops" when opening). Certain foods, light conditions, and barometric changes also cause migraines, although not immediately, and are usually preceded by auras (visual and tactile). I experience a good deal of suicidal ideation when the pain gets really bad.
My migraines started getting considerably worse about 18 months ago. I also started getting ocular migraines and sometimes go blind in one eye (usually triggered by lighting issues such as computer screen, glare, and eye doctor exams). In addition to my headaches getting more intense, lasting longer (up to 5 days), and my neck getting way stiffer and painful, I also started getting various facial pains/sensations both before and during migraines.
I am convinced that the worsening and expansion of my symptoms is related to the ocular shingles I contracted 18 months ago (the facial pain and eye issues are very similar). I am curious if anyone else has observed a similar pattern. I am not having a good experience with getting medical help and any feedback is highly appreciated. Thank you!

  1. Hi ScottJ,

    Thank you for reaching out. I'm sorry you've had such a rough time. As you know, shingles can be extremely painful. I had them when I was eight years old after a nasty bout of chicken pox.

    I believe its possible to have an uptick in migraine frequency and severity after something as significant as shingles. May I encourage you to seek out the expertise of a "true" migraine/headache expert. These doctors are board certified in headache medicine which is different than being certified in neurology. When you get a moment, take a look at these articles; and

    I hope that helps,

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