Relief after 20 years

I’m sharing this in case it helps someone else. I will also put in the disclaimer that I can’t say what part of what I am doing is the “magic” part, but I’m just happy with the results.

I am one of those lucky people who can’t take a lot of the most prescribed migraine medications. This has made treatment difficult over the years. My migraines started in my late teens and progressed to the chronic diagnosis in my mid twenties. Before coming under control I was in the hospital a few times with vomiting that wouldn’t stop. Not fun.

The first thing that got the migraines under some sort of control was Verapamil. It wasn’t perfect, but I had a terrible reaction to beta-blockers so this was the next option. I was on this for a good 15 years, with Fiorecet for the break thru migraines which happened a few times a month. As I got older I developed sinus issues which fed into the migraine so I would end up taking a horrible cocktail of meds to get ride of the pain.

Along the way we started me on 50mg of Zoloft for mild anxiety which seemed to be making the migraines worse. The Zoloft really helped that and with no side effects I’ve noticed.

5 years ago we decided to try Topamax instead of Verapamil. It worked a bit better, but the side effects were not the greatest. The worst part was the memory loss. I felt slightly brain damaged. When the neurologist increased the dosage to 75mg I thought I’d had a lobotomy, so we decreased to 50 and I could function.

This year the migraines got exponentially worse, for no reason we could find. They became an everyday fact of life, not always debilitating, but always there. No change to the brain, a relatively stress free life style-the only thing that changed was my age. We discussed a medication change, only to realize my options were Lyrica which my neurologist didn’t feel would be effective for me, or Botox injections which I was not in favor of. So I started doing some research on my own with my primary care doctor.

I started acupuncture and we took the Topomax down to 25 mg, and added a magnesium/B2 supplement. I also found some research indicating electrolyte therapy could be very effective in treating a migraine (my idea of being properly hydrated was focused on water. This research discussed how the sodium/potassium pump worked, the effect on the brain and nervous system and electrolyte balance). Here is the link to a great article:
https://www.hormonesmatter.com/dehydration-salt-deficiency-trigger-migraines/

It has been about a 6 weeks now, 3 acupuncture treatments in that time. The constant migraine I had for weeks has been gone for 3 weeks now. I have gotten a very mild migraine twice, both times had triggers I could identify. Taking Excedrin with Gatorade or Pedialyte has brought relief in 15 to 20 minutes-unheard of previously. I haven’t needed to take the Fiorecet at all.

So I don’t know if it is the acupuncture, the proper hydration, the supplement or a combination of everything, but something is working for me. I hope this can help someone else!

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

View Comments (11)
  • Suhuben
    3 years ago

    I am in my 11th month of 24/7 headache with ice pick stabbing pains. I am exhausted. Done most everything everyone here has done. Seen every type of doctor for every kind of head problems one can think of. All tests are normal. The pains increase with a sneeze, cough, laugh, or simply bending over. I can’t take much more. I tried Indomethacin but it made my gums bleed, got ulcers in mouth and privates, a rash on my face. It only gave me 4 days of some relief. I know why they are called suicide headaches.

  • April Coots
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for saying that Topamax made your brain blurry. I had suggested to my dr that I have experienced memory loss since taking it and she more less just laughed it off. Now I am finding out that they are also using Topamax as a diet pill. That would explain 40 lbs weight loss. I want to try something else but I don’t know what or where to start. Thank you for your story.

  • Maddy
    3 years ago

    Try Alka Seltzer Gold at onset. Have aborted several migraines successfully, in about 20 minutes.

  • Lolita
    3 years ago

    I’m glad if acupuncture is working for you. It didn’t work for me. After 11 sessions, I gave up..

  • kirstinab
    3 years ago

    I too, have been suffering with migraines for 20 years. Unfortunately, I have yet to find consistent relief. I have tried many, many medications, Botox, dietary modifications, natural hormone therapies, supplements etc…the one therapy I haven’t tried is acupuncture. I will try now.

  • Lolita
    3 years ago

    As I posted before. We should try anything. But acupuncture didn’t work for me. 11 sessions and no relief.

  • Mmelle
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your good fortune here, and the treasure trove of information you have provided. I have been taking verapamil and gabapentin for about a year and a half and was actually singing the praises of my headache doctor. Then suddenly the migraines returned with a vengeance. The doctor was treating me became unavailable and my pain management doctor stepped in saying that I obviously needed something He put me back on Vicodin, which helped some but not much. Now a new headache specialist has repeated what the first one told me about Vicodin setting up future headaches. She told me to stop it and has put me on a short term dose of prednisone and a muscle relaxer. I seem to be responding to this and am feeling a lot more hopeful than a few days ago.

  • FlyDragonfly
    3 years ago

    I have had fairly good luck with Verapamil but still get breakthrough migraines. I take the max dose that my doctor feels comfortable giving me. I had lots of horrible side effects from Topomax. I couldn’t go far from the bathroom and ended up losing 19 lbs. It’s hard to work from the bathroom. I tried acupuncture before but it didn’t seem to do much of anything for me. In the past I tried massage therapy which seemed to help a lot but I had to give that up a few years ago due to lack of $$ (I have teenagers). I am thinking of trying the massage therapy again but I think I may try your suggestion of adding electrolytes. I am a big water drinker but I will try something like Gatorade. I am wondering if it makes a difference whether it’s the sugary form or the low/no sugar type.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Dear emusick,
    Thank you greatly for taking the time to share you journey with migraine. You have quite a health history and reveal many important details which were VERY beneficial to address with the community. Kudos to you as well for keeping up with the changes in your health, symptoms, side effects, etc. to now come to the point where you are currently experiencing some relief! This process has I am sure been exhausting to get where you are! May you continue to experience positive results!

    Please be sure to check back and let us know how things are going! Thank you for being part of our community.
    Warmly,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Maddy
    3 years ago

    Our neurologist also said something about electrolytes this visit, suggested hydration as always but alternate one dose water with one dose electrolyte drink. Over-hydration can actually purge the electrolytes from your system getting you out of balance. Thanks for posting that article.

  • bekdallas
    3 years ago

    Wow! I often crave gatorade when I have a migraine but I always thought it had more to do with the sugar my body wanted… hmmm. I have been wary to try acupuncture but my mom keeps suggesting it. I’m in my mid to late 20s and hoping to go off my meds (Topamax) sometime in the next 3-4 years to try to have kids, thanks for sharing your success story!! Topamax has really given me my life back, I cannot imagine life without it now.

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