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Migraines and the Opioid Crisis

After suffering from migraines all of my adult life (now 55 yrs old), I finally decided to get daith piercings in each ear and I also requested Aimovig injections. I can truly see a difference in the frequency, as well as, less intensity in the migraines so far. I often feel like a different person. Fast forward to a couple of days ago, I suffered a severe migraine and my husband drove me a local hospital. It was a terrible experience and I feel like this community can help me understand or offer some advice. My migraine was so bad, I could barely talk. I actually felt better moaning through the throbbing pain behind my left eye and the nausea was almost unbearable.

After triage, they rolled me to a room where the doctor asked what typically happens when I come to the ER with a migraine. I whispered, they either give me Phenergan and Demerol or Morphine. The doctor immediately stated we don’t have Demerol. I felt as though I had said something wrong due to her response. I had not suffered such a severe migraine since January. A hospital visit is usually the last resort for me due to a $200 deductible. The doctor finally gave me morphine, along with Phenergan. I had a CT scan on my head and another round of morphine. I cried and told my husband that I felt like I had done something wrong because of my migraine. Why can’t doctors just treat you based on your level of pain instead of making you feel really small due to the opioid crisis? I have co-workers who avoid going to the hospital for the same reason. Unfortunately, I am still experiencing a nagging pain behind my eye which has me wondering if the doctor even gave me pain medication. What are migraine sufferers to do in this world of opioid addiction?

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.

Comments

  • Vivmac00
    1 month ago

    I completely understand! One thing I have noticed – when I said “Phenergan, for nausea” THEN said “and Demerol, for pain.” ( instead of Demerol first, or just “Demerol & Phenergan”), I got better results. It’s like the wrong wording will set off the little “opiate-seeker! alarm bells” in the doctors head! No, I don’t want drugs, I want relief!

  • glassmind
    2 months ago

    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out and sharing. I encourage you to develop a printed “Migraine Action Plan” with your doctor. You can carry this with you to the emergency department as a guide for treatment.

    You can find samples online.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/head.13255

    While this and most advise against opiates, your doctor and you can craft one that includes such treatment.

    I have such a plan and have found it very helpful at the e.d. It speaks for me when I cannot. It gives validity to my condition. And it carries the authority of my do tor’s signature as well as providing contact info if the emergency team wants to or needs to consult with my doctor.

    My own plan excludes opiates as I personally must avoid them. It clearly states which rescue medications are most effective for me and states things like “reduced noise and lighting” which can be hard to come by in the hospital.

    It also lists my current medications and allergies and emergency contact.

    I hope to never use it again, but it has been very helpful. I also habe a digital version on my phone.

    Also talk to your provider about small quantity at home prescriptions of rescue medications. Personally, aquiring anti-nausea meds (zofran) has been keyfor keeping me out of the e.r. I can generally sleep out the pain if I can keep down my other medications. Each person is different of course.

    Hope this helps and may you be able to avoid the e.r.

    Hugs

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi luvjones03,

    I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful migraine attack. The first thing that comes to mind is getting in touch with your doctor Monday to see if he can help you completely break this nasty cycle. I’ve been given a steroid dose pack in the past that has helped.

    I completely understand what you are saying. We aren’t seeking “drugs” when we go to the ER, rather we just want the pain to end. I wish more hospitals and urgent care centers were able to comprehend that. I understand they have their “protocols” but some of us don’t fit into their neat little boxes.

    I hope this pain passes soon,
    Nancy

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