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Migraine symptoms without headache

I do not have painful headaches but so many of the other symptoms caused by migraine plague me daily. I’m new to being diagnosed with migraine. I’m 33 years old and have had a litany of tests (as it looks like everyone here has had) with normal results except for my MRIs that show “a spot typically associated with migraine”.

The biggest culprit for me is 24/7 light sensitivity/photophobia and abdominal pain/nausea. Glare from natural light is blinding and my vision is totally distorted making me feel disoriented, off balance and nauseous. This means that sunny days are no longer welcome invitations to enjoying life outside which is a heartbreaking reality when wanting to play with my beautiful 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son. Hazy days seem to be particularly debilitating and when the sun is anywhere other than directly overhead in the sky I have trouble seeing much clearly.

I’ve seen many doctors, neurologists and optho-neurologists and they continue to ask me about stress and anxiety. Artificial light – light from the computer which I’m on regularly for work, light from the tv and flourescent lighting can also make me feel nauseous and colors always appear washed out or “blown out” – sort of like when a photograph is over-exposed. The abdominal pain and nausea has left me exhausted and under weight but I’m realizing after reading many of the posts on this site that I am very lucky. My neurologist told me that one day I will likely suffer from terrible headaches and I’m scared of what may be in the future but inspired by all of you and the endurance and faith that you hold.

Next week I have an appointment with my neurologist and we will be discussing changing my medication from 10mg of Norvask to something like Effexor XR. I’ve tried Effexor XR in the past and didn’t like it and it didn’t really do much so she is looking into alternatives. The Norvask hasn’t touched any of my symptoms. I’ve also tried taking 500mg of Magnesium and Vitamin D each day .

I’m wondering if anyone else has suffered primarily with visual symptoms and if you’ve found any effective treatment? I’m starting to feel like my husband and family are tired of constantly hearing about how bad I feel and am hopeful that someone out there might have some advice.

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


  • Migraineur
    5 years ago

    I have a lot of these symptoms with significant auras (particularly visual) and have had significant benefit from sodium valproate.

  • Denise Broccone
    6 years ago

    My eyes are totally affected by light 24/7 for many years now…I wear sunglasses all the time, even indoors if the shades are up. Havnt found anything that helps and I choose not to take anything, just prefer to be drug free and trying to deal with it. If someone suggests something that works/helps, I would try it, but I think once the damage is done to the nerve endings in your eyes it cant be undone??? For me, for the past 15 years, its constant sunglasses.

  • Kathryn Mason
    6 years ago

    Topomax!!! it is a psych drug for bi-polar or seizure control.. the best benefit I had was my migraines became very managible.. I was having migraines 10 to 30 days a month.. went down to 0-2 a month with shorter duration. I tried the torporol? injections for relief during that time and if given within the first 15 minutes it worked for me.

  • migrainenana
    6 years ago

    I can relate to your story very well. I have frequent light sensitivity too, not 24/7, but enough to make me aware of weather and light changes that affect my vision. The worse days do seem to be the extremely sunny ones when there’s not a cloud in the sky. I also feel it when sitting at traffic lights in the early morning at daybreak (my workday started at 7:00AM). Fluorescent lighting is routinely bothersome as well, and staring at a computer screen can sometimes bring it on. Lately I also noticed that photophobia can actually be a warning sign of an impending migraine attack; light sensitivity and dizziness are the typical auras for me. A lot of my migraine “headaches” are actually bouts of extreme dizziness, imbalance, nausea, and significant head pressure vs. severe pain. Having said that, I also have the more typical headaches as well, the kind where the pain on one side of the head is so unbearable that normal functioning at work or home is out of the question. I’m very sorry to hear that you have these issues constantly-I know how horrible it is to feel like you’re constantly reacting to light. It’s good to know that someone else has this same type of atypical migraine experience because it seems like most people have the more typical crushing headache episodes with this disease.

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