Doctor examining brain to see the impact of medication

Relief… It Can Come From the Strangest Places

In order to not sound misleading, the doctor I see for migraines has not changed. The recent successes I have had in finding relief for my migraines can only be explained as a coincidental domino effect.

Seeing a new doctor for COPD

I recently began seeing a new pulmonary doctor for my COPD. I needed a new perspective because my coughing fits were getting worse and quite frequent, which was triggering very regular migraines. Although my abortive (Imitrex) works well for me, I run into the same problem many people have. You only get a handful of doses per month, in my case about 9 I believe.

Naturally, this leads to the thought process of “Do I take medicine now, or wait until it gets worse?” It is that same rabbit hole many people who suffer are faced with each day.

Discovering a side effect from blood pressure medication

After all the necessary paperwork was filled out, we were called back into an exam room. The doctor took a quick listen to my lungs, and began asking me about any current medications I was on (whether they applied to COPD or not). After we went through the list, the doctor looked to my wife and I and asked why we were seeking a new doctor.

We explained our frustrations with the original doctor and went on to go over my current symptoms with the fits of coughing that had become a regular occurrence. The doctor paused for a moment and glanced back over the list of medications he made while we were talking. He stopped on a medicine I wouldn’t have dreamed would have any relevant side effects.

It turns out that my blood pressure medication has a side effect of coughing. He chose to leave me on my current COPD medications but changed my blood pressure medication to something different. Within a matter of days after changing medications, my regular daily coughing fits had slowed to once about every other day.

The domino effect

The doctor told me that it could take weeks potentially for the side effects of the medication to dissipate. I was happily surprised when the coughing symptoms began to fade away almost immediately. The reduction in coughing fits in turn led to a reduction in my migraines. Although it was not his intended purpose, my new pulmonary doctor became my new favorite person.

The much needed relief has helped me to get more rest and sleep more soundly. The better quality rest I have been getting has helped reduce my overall number of migraines, and improved my level of focus and productivity each day.

An impact on migraine out of left field

I would never have guessed that something so seemingly arbitrary as a blood pressure medication would have a side effect like coughing. In that regard I also could not have imagined something like that to have had such an impact on my migraine frequency or severity.

Things to consider

Have you ever considered having your migraine doctor look into other medications you are taking to see if one of them could potentially be contributing to your migraines? Could some of the food you eat even be a contributing factor? It may be worth having a conversation the next time you see your doctor. It may not yield any results, but you just never know, something insignificant might make a difference for you in the long-run.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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