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Need help diagnosing

I looked back i my medical record. Ive been fighting headaches for a few years and the docs cant figure it out. They thought it was sinus infections and gave me antibiotics. They thought wisdome teeth or tooth infection cause im im my 30`s. They gave me migriane meds but it didnt help for more than one day. They told me about pain releaver headaches. They said i have strong tmj muscles and have night gard. Ive only been doing chiropractic for 5 years which helps but doesnt stop them. Im trying to get an accupunture treatment started. The headaches are dehibilitating and make it imposible to work or do daily tasks. I have trouble keeping eyes open and seeing. Im nauseous and feel hot and flushed or get chills and shiver. I have to go into a dark quiet and cover in a blanket. Im not convinced its sinuses or teeth problems. Any advice for my docs to try or tests i should try? Or even for me to try for home treatment?

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I'm really sorry this is happening to you. When you say they gave you "migraine meds" do you mean preventatives like anti-seizure meds (Topomax, Gabapentin), beta blockers, or anti-depressants (Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline), OR do you mean abortives like triptans (Maxalt, Imitrex, Naratriptan, Sumatriptan, etc) and DHE? Or have you tried both? If you tried meds in the first category, how long did you stay on them? It can take up to three months to see an effect, and sometimes you have to use them in combination.

    How many times per week do you take any sort of pain reliever or triptan? Could part of this be medication overuse headache MOH?

    I have a bunch of different things that contribute to me being a STAR migraine disease candidate (ha) and like you, one of them is that I've had screwed up TMJ issues since I was a kid. I'm sure you already do like I do and don't ever eat anything you have to chew hard (I get a headache even from trying to bite a carrot.) Botox REALLY helps me in that regard because it puts key nerves in your head and shoulders to sleep for three months at a time, and I have a lot less pain for my good weeks after that.

    For some people, nerve blocks (injections of steriods and/or lidocaine) are helpful. They don't help me, but some swear by them.

    But there are also lots of things you can try at home to make your living space as migraine friendly as it can be. Have you looked at some of the migraine elimination diets posted here by Kerrie Smyres? I know my body is very reactive to food triggers. If I eat a food trigger, I have constant headaches for days. We make all my food from scratch at home. I eat almost nothing preprepared.

    I would also check to see if you could be sensitive to light or sound. Try taking a break from lights and screens for a day and just use natural light from the windows. Does your head feel better? Some bulbs are better for migraine brains than others. They make special LED bulbs that some people tolerate well, and one of my neuro-opths recommends incandescents as the least irritating if you're really light sensitive.

    Sleep disruption can be a huge trigger. Do you sleep the same amount every night? Do you get at least 7-8 hours of good sleep? My neuro reminds me that this is when the body produces chemicals that lower your trigger threshold. If you miss that production period, you'll be in trouble the next day.

    Hope that helps. Sorry for the long response.

    1. Gardensatnight,
      I took abortive migraine meds that was a nose spray maybe 4 years ago. I was taking it 5 days a week and then get a headache the next day. Thats when they started on sinuses. I havent tried botox for the tmj. I use a night gaurd and no chewy candy or gum. Also try to put my tongue on the roof of my mouth to relaxmy jaw. I will try to chane my lights in my house and see if that helps. Im going to try to start a headache journal and see if foods or what not trigger my headaches. So far i know screen time makes it worse but not sure if it triggers it. I will see if after work or playing on my computer starts it. I try to sleep between 7 to 9 hours a night but it depends on my work scheduled. I wake with an alarm and early on work days and sleep in on days off. N
      Have you found changing amounts of caffeine trigger headaches? I do find fermented foods cause them the next day. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

      1. If you can tell screen time makes it worse, then the light and flicker probably are triggering/affecting your head every time. Migraine triggers last for a three day window, generally. So anything you do will stay with you and negatively affect you headache wise for three days. That's why it's not always possible to tell exactly what gave you a headache unless it's REALLY potent (like I have some things where I feel sharp pain right away within seconds of exposure). They do make screens that are better for migraine brains and they do make bulbs that are better for migraine brains.

        Changing the amount of caffeine is a potent migraine trigger, which is why it's usually advised not to consume caffeine (I stopped once I developed chronic migraine), but to answer your question, before when I used to have so many cokes per day and then the next would have fewer, I would always get a bad headache. Our type of brain doesn't like that withdrawal.

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