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Taking Migraine to Heart

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been having chest pain that sometimes radiates into my throat, neck, jaw, the back of my tongue and even my teeth. Almost everyone will recognize these as potential symptoms of a heart attack. So after it happened the first time I did what any nurse would do, I decided it was all nothing. I even thought that I might be turning into a hypochondriac looking for another diagnosis to add to my growing collection. When it happened the next day I did what I should have done the day before; I went to the emergency department. There I went through loads of tests as I had a very thorough doctor who apparently did not want me to leave the hospital and have a coronary on the way home. Everything was perfectly normal but he recommended that I see a cardiologist, which I did two days later. Because my symptoms sounded like angina, this doctor booked me for an angiogram, so less than a week later I was lying in a cardiac lab with a catheter wending it’s way up my arteries. The verdict? My arteries were “squeaky clean”.

What you may be asking, has all this got to do with migraine? The cardiologist told me that I may have a type of angina that does not involve plaque-lined major arteries but could result from vasospasm that narrows the arteries and deprives the heart of blood and may be linked to migraine (as if migraine pain and symptoms weren’t enough). A high percentage of people with the syndrome who also have migraine. Those with this condition will have angina pain, a clean angiogram with some specific abnormalities on a stress test. I don’t know yet if I have CSX -more tests and appointments to follow.

I’d never heard about CSX and since I imagine that very few of you have either, I thought that it was a good idea to share this information. If you have chest pain, don’t do what I did at first, which is ignore it. “Better safe than sorry” applies here! If you are being investigated, I suggest you let the doctor know that you have migraine disease. If all your tests come up clear (yeah!) and you are still experiencing symptoms, you could ask that Cardiac Syndrome X be considered.

I’m not a practicing nurse and this information is only for your consideration, not for self-diagnosis. If you have chest pain, seek medical advice immediately.

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

  • Queen-T
    3 years ago

    Hi India, thanks of sharing your story. I am a chronic migraineur that has heart symptoms along with my migraines too. I don’t always get pain, but i get palpitations, arrhythmia, tightness and discomfort in my neck. It can be scary i know. It normally passes after a while, and when you learn it is a symptom of your migraine it isn’t quite so scary. And because migraine is linked to so many other conditions, its easy to feel like a hypochondriac. Keep positive, best wishes T

  • Hope and a Prayer author
    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing about your heart symptoms – its unbelievable how many ways migraine can manifest in our bodies and brains. Perhaps this is the simplest explanation. I do hope that you’ve had a cardiac workup though – better safe than sorry.
    Be well,
    India

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Hope and a Prayer,
    Thanks so much for posting this. I could imagine it would be frustrating for a patient to be having chest pain and being told all looks normal. So this is an extremely valuable post even if just one person reads it and it opens up a helpful dialog with their doctor. Even just the point that we often feel like hypochondriacs is so relevant to all of us. Thanks so much for posting. I hope you find helpful treatment for your angina.
    Be well,
    Lisa Benson

  • Hope and a Prayer author
    3 years ago

    Hi Lisa
    Thanks for your comments. I hope that it of help. Although I am still going through with the testing, it seems that the angina-like pain may have been stemming from an almost more obscure source: co-enzyme Q10. I had no idea that a supplement thought to have benefit with some heart conditions can have chest pain as a side-effect. Another lesson learned: just because a treatment is “natural” doesn’t mean it is without side effects.
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/coenzyme-q10/safety/hrb-20059019
    India

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Dear Hope and Prayer,
    Thank you greatly for taking the time to share this information regarding CSX. This was a very beneficial story to share with our community members, as you are correct, this is not highly discussed as a relation to migraine. As always, we appreciate you being such an engaging member of our community. You’ve had some wonderful comments to share. We always look forward to seeing and reading your posts and again thank you for sharing this story.
    Best regards,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Hope and a Prayer author
    3 years ago

    Hi Joanna
    Thank you for your comments. I am very grateful for the migraine.com community, which is a rich resource and source of support and inspiration. I have read every story and article since discovering this site and have learned much, including the fact that I am not alone.
    cheers,
    India

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