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Severe Migraine with Visual Aura, Please help

I have been suffering from severe migraines since I was 12 years old, I am not 24. I have tried Ajovy, Verapamil, and Topamax for prevention, and basically every triptan, Nurtec, Cambia, etc. for rescue meds. Nothing has seemed to help, especially not the preventative medicines. I was able to go several years without a migraine on Verapamil, but the last 3 months I have had 4 severe migraines, each lasting between 24 and 72 hours, and putting me out of commission for over a week. I am desperate for anything that could provide relief and prevention for these migraines.

The details of my headaches are: visual aura usually lasting more than one hour, visual aura as the first symptom, tingling and numbness of the extremities usually on one side of the body, severe head pain, often migraines that cycle (I feel better and then the whole thing starts over again). My dad suffered from similar migraines when he was younger, but not as severe. He outgrew them pretty much by my age, and I have not been so lucky.

I greatly appreciate any help!

  1. Hi ZachMetz,

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with us. I'm sorry to hear you are having an uptick in migraine attacks, that's always frustrating.

    Don't despair! Two important things to keep in mind is a doctor who is an expert in treating headache disease (migraine is a genetic, neurological disease) can make a huge difference in our treatment AND there are over 100 medications, supplements and devices that can be used to treat migraine disease. So let's get to the "easy" stuff first.

    Here are some articles that discuss how these expert doctors are different and how to find them; https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/ and
    https://migraine.com/getting-help/is-it-time-for-a-new-migraine-doctor/. I'm currently seeing my 6th true expert, and have made progress. The National Headache Foundation has a great tool to find a true certified expert here; https://headaches.org/resources/healthcare-provider-finder/.

    Ok, on to prevention. Those of us with migraine disease seem to have overly sensitive brains and maintaining a routine. Managing lifestyle choices is not easy, but imperative to helping combat migraine. This means going to bed and waking at the same time seven days a week (not always easy, but very important for those of us with migraine disease), staying hydrated, not skipping meals, regular exercise, and trigger identification and management. Some triggers can be avoided while others not so much. How is your migraine management plan? I'm here to help!!

    As I mentioned above, there are over 100 medications, supplements, and devices that can be used to treat migraine disease and more on the horizon. It typically can take up to 90 days, at the therapeutic dose, before we see improvement. During this time, potential side effects may lessen as our body adjusts to the new medication. The thing is if we don't give each medication a fair trial, we'll never know which one would have been the "one" that works. Many of us with migraine take a combination of medications to help prevent this disease. This article has a great explanation of preventive medications available; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-preventives

    I've given you a lot of information, so I'm going to stop for now. Will you let me know what you think?

    Wishing you a low pain day,
    Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

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