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Triggers and Causes

Low BP and Migraine

  • By nataliecharles

    Hi,

    I am wondering if anyone else has the same symptom I seem to have (my mother as well has this symptom). Ever since we can remember whenever one of us has had a migraine that person also has extremely low blood pressure. 99% of the doctors in our area are convinced that with a “true” migraine you have to have high blood pressure. I become very irritated with doctors because when they do the BP check they comment in a manner as if I am faking it because my blood pressure is low.

    I am curious if anyone else has this same issue and what they had done to address it. I also tend to have extremely high BP when I do not have a migraine or cluster headache which makes almost every doctor I see want to put me on BP medicine, only to induce a migraine once I take it.

    I am not looking to have a stroke so I am trying to work with them but when the Rx seems to trigger a migraine I usual choose the high BP over not being able to function.

    Thank you

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    nataliecharles,

    That’s indeed an interesting problem. Have you seen a cardiac specialist yet? This may have much less to do with Migraine than something else that needs to be addressed. A comorbid condition that happens to act as a trigger too.

    Migraine is frequently triggered by even tiny changes within our systems. A change in BP can certainly trigger Migraines. A Migraine doesn’t mean you have to have high bp either, although frequently patients do have elevated bp due to the pain.

    There are many different health issues that can trigger changes in bp. If it were me, I would get a referral to a cardiac specialist and start there.

    I hope this was helpful 🙂

    ~Ellen

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    nataliecharles,

    You’re welcome!

    I hope you will come back and let the community know how it goes. There may be others out there with your same issues that could really benefit from what you have to say 🙂

    ~Ellen

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  • By Diane

    I find this post interesting, bc I have had low B/P forever usually Under 96/?? , However I have had Classic migraines since age 6, though they tapered off at age 35 then returned as sensory and seems to be gluten triggered among other things. I have had doctors question the validity as “everyone says that they have a migraine, what makes you think it is not just a bad headache?”, to which I have clearly stated the light, sound and hemi pain and only relief being vomiting in a dark quiet room. Then they do listen. Why they disappeared and reoccured with a daily vengance I’m not certain. My b/p rises to normal when the h?A is in full bloom, as does my intolerance for enviormental stimulus. But that is pain induced. I have seen a nerologist that stated as we mature symptoms change from classic at times. He encouraged me to accept this (as opposed to fear of Alzheimers forgetful fog) A Opthamologist also r/o vision causing the blurring.
    I began to notice if I did not rest, eat properly or had gluten it returned. Reading this forum has helped mr to understand . A cardiologist r/o any heart issues then sent me to the neurologist. So yes indeed do see a cardiologist. Also keep a journal of what triggered and how manifested, to help him clearly understand if the egg or chicken came first. Good luck in your search.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi dianejusa,

    Thank you for sharing with us! It is always wonderful to hear what other patients have experienced and what’s working for them.

    FYI – I did want to mention that “classic” migraine is not a diagnosis according to the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders -III, beta version or ICHD-III beta version. It was used, but we are trying hard to get everyone on the same page with accurate diagnosis. Migraine with aura
    https://migraine.com/migraine-types/migraine-with-aura/ is the term that used now.

    Nancy

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  • By Jan Piller

    I have low blood pressure – 112/64 is usual. But my doc put me on a beta blocker anyway and told me to take it at night once I’m in bed so I don’t get dizzy and pass out and hurt myself. The first 7 days on the verapamil I was migraine free. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Then the headaches started creeping in and I’ve had a headache or stabbing pains in my temples every day. And the last couple of days have seen my migraines return. I see the doc again on Monday. I don’t know what the outcome will be. I have spina bifida and my optic nerves are deformed also so I’m missing some peripheral vision and I get ALL of those other symptoms during migraine also. (upset stomach and diarhea, horrible headpain, splotch in my right eye, can’t remember words and have really crappy depth perception. Moving hurts. Light hurts. Noise hurts. I always thought my migraines were caused by the spina bifida but after 26 years I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe it’s a heart issue? Maybe, like my deformed nerves, I also have deformed blood vessels. Nobody has ever cared to find out. I don’t think I’ve had very good care up to this point although I love my doctor.

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  • By Rhonda

    My BP is typically 89/56 and is never over 90/60. It was only higher when I was pregnant (none of my doctors or nurses then realized my BP was twice my normal until I developed preeclampsia). I have terrible migraines with aura. I do exercise everyday and I have a pretty healthy diet. Can my low BP cause my migraines?

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  • By c1x7ff

    Here is my story… maybe this will help.
    I have had migraines since around the age of 7 now I’m 39 (male) weight 50Kg
    recently the aura migraines have returned after about 5-10 years absence.
    I’ve got 3 of them already this year.
    In the last month and a half I’ve been getting a headache nearly every day, by night time I’m usually worse. I went to the doctor about 4 days ago and my blood pressure was 95/60, I’ve always had low type BP.
    I’ve been drinking lots of water like around 3 liters a day to raise my BP.
    The headaches have gone since I’m doing this…
    also to raise blood pressure I’m taking juice from crushed basil leaves with honey twice a day.
    I also eat a gluten free diet.
    If you have low BP try to raise it to a better state because I think the low BP can definitely trigger a migraine.

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  • By Denise Clark

    Thank you Ellen, your posting helps me to understand why my migraines are relieved by Medical Marijuana. Cannabis is known to be anti-depressant(SOME strains) and anti-seizure. It’s also anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic(ends vomiting). I believe low blood pressure and dehydration are my triggers(reduced blood to brain). If I forget to drink for a few hours, I can expect a migraine around 3 AM.

    I vaporize one or two “hits” and all symptoms end immediately…especially vomiting. I still feel exhausted, but that is nothing. Marijuana edibles take too long to take effect and vomiting eliminates any help from over the counter pharmaceuticals. I’m left with no negative side-effects, and strangely no “high”. The low THC strains are not as effective for me.

    Here is an interesting podcast regarding our endocannabinoid system: http://www.ganjapreneur.com/ethan-russo-endocannabinoid-deficiency-medical-cannabis/

    Denise

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  • By JRain

    Hello – I’m new to this site, although, unfortunately not new to migraines. I’ve had them since my late teens (I get aura).
    I too have always had low blood pressure–I now think that this is because I have a histamine intolerance (http://www.histamine-intolerance.info/). Having too much histamine can cause low blood pressure. It can also cause migraines. I wanted to mention this idea here in case it helps anyone else. I recently, for the first time ever, was able to stop a migraine from happening – AFTER I had the visual disturbance of the aura. I did it with a combination of a Benedryl and an Advil Migraine. I had tried Advil Migraine on its own, but it did not stop me from having a migraine.
    I’m working on learning more about histamine intolerance. I have other symptoms that are also explained by it (facial flushing, wine intolerence, symptoms from too much sun, a constant runny nose, despite allergy testing not turning up a culprit, skin issues, joint pain in hands…the list goes on.)
    If you have migraines that are not responsive to anything else, you might try Benedryl, with or without a pain reliever that includes caffeine. I’m not a dr…so you should probably check with yours first, but I was amazed to have stopped a migraine in its tracks and I really wanted to share this info with other migraine sufferers, in case it helps!. Best of luck to everyone here!

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi JRain,

      Welcome to the Migraine.com discussion forum – we’re so glad you are here!

      I’m so happy to hear you were able to stop your attack from progressing, that is huge! Histamine intolerance is popping up more frequently, we have information on this here; https://migraine.com/blog/foods-potential-migraine-triggers-understanding-food-chemicals/.

      There is some confusion about cause and trigger when it comes to migraine. We aren’t exactly sure what the cause of migraine is, but do know an attack can be triggered but certain foods, histamine intolerance, irregular sleeping patterns, skipping meals, alcohol, changes in the barometric pressure and many other things. We have an interesting article about triggers vs. cause here; https://migraine.com/blog/trigger-versus-cause/.

      Keep us posted!
      Nancy

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    • By JRain

      Thanks Nancy! I will check out the links – I continue to research and learn more about histamine intolerance every day. I am still in shock that after more than 25 years I was finally able to circumvent a migraine using this information.

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  • By Sarah1028

    Hello,
    I am 19 years old and I’ve been having migraine since i was 15. My headaches increased when i was 17. I had very low blood pressure then. But now it seems alright. I have trouble sleeping at nights too…. I get very sleepy and when I lie down in my bed and close my eyes all the sleep just goes away and I stay awake for an hour and then only go to sleep. And I wake up late in the morning so tired because of that. I sleep more than 8 hours if I sleep even half an hour after 10pm. It is so damn tiring and I’m not sure as to what to do about it. I have already taken X ray, Ct and MRI. There’s nothing wrong with my head it seems. And a neurologist suggested me prothiaden when i was 17. It worked for a week. and since I was feeling too sleepy that I felt sleepy most of the time that I couldnt concentrate, i stopped it. Now sometimes I feel dizzy and not a single day passes by without me having a headache. I am not able to concentrate also and my memory is deteriorating little by little. I request any of you to tell me what my condition is and how to solve it.
    Thank You.

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  • By c1x7ff

    By the way this is the one i use for migraine and i also play it through out the whole night on repeat mode keeps me sound asleep 🙂

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  • By Ouchie

    I responded to another post about blood pressure and found this one.. My pressure has always been good 120/70 but the neurologist put me on verapamil ER 120mg a day.. Seems to have helped some.. I thought he was nuts for putting me on it but I was willing to try anything

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  • By maryagendron

    Yes, those with migraine usually have low blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause headaches, but this is known as malignant hypertension. Angela Stanton outlines her theory on why people with migraines have low blood pressure in her book The Stanton Protocol. Her protocol is focused on increasing salt intake so as to help the body regulate blood vasodilation better (salt helps to restrict blood vessels). She also focuses on people getting the optimal potassium to sodium ratio. This is necessary for proper electrolyte balance as well.

    I discovered Stanton’s protocol and thoeries after healing myself of migraine headaches through the exclusive use of three humble foods. The Simplywell Migraine Relief Protocol also helps to balance electrolyte levels but also supports liver, gallbladder, and kidney health, and also reduces histamine load in the colon due to bacterial imbalances usually caused by antibiotics or other medications. Antibiotics also damage the kidneys, which regulate our electrolyte balance as well as our blood pressure and vascular health. Also, there are bacteria in the colon that help to regulate our blood vessels and presumably, when these bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics, this also compromises our vascular health.

    My protocol is called the Simplywell Migraine Relief Protocol. So far it has been successful in those with classical migraine, chronic migraine, hemiplagic migraines, and migraine with aura. It has been less successful in those with a history of triptans, for some reason. We are still working on helping to support this particular group of migraine sufferers.

    More info including the e-book is available at http://www.simplywell.info

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  • By gemroy

    Hi I’m 35 and I have sudden onset Migraines. I have never suffered like this before. I’ve had 3 in the last 3 and a half weeks and my bp last night was 90/30. My bp has always been low but not that low!! I’m now on one 10 mg tablet of anti depressant to take at night and if u feel a migraine coming on I have pills to try and stop it. Problem is i don’t have the same constant symptom.
    I’m going for blood tests as doctor says I have lots of symptoms not normally linked to migraines.
    Thank you for all your messages re low bp and migraine relationships fingers crossed we can all get rid. I know I can’t carry on as I am living at present. X

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi gemroy,

    Thank you for your questions. I’m sorry you are having a rough time and suffering so, I understand how frustrating that is.

    A migraine attack can include a long list of symptoms other than head pain. In fact, you can have a migraine attack without the headache phase! When you get a chance take a look at this information on migraine symptoms; https://migraine.com/migraine-symptoms/.

    You may want to start keeping a migraine diary to help track your attacks. Keeping a detailed diary (which most true migraine/headache experts encourage us to do) will help identify patterns our attacks have and triggers. You can read more about keeping a diary here; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    Trigger identification and management is an important part of a migraine management plan. Migraine triggers can include but are not limited to certain foods, odors, lighting, skipping meals, changes in the barometric pressure, sleep interruptions, fluctuating hormones and many others. If we can learn what our triggers are and avoid them, we may be able to reduce attack frequency. Here is more information on triggers; https://migraine.com/migraine-triggers/.

    I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on how you are doing,
    Nancy

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  • By Trapti

    Even I never thought the same, Migraine and Blood pressure could be correlated, but I wonder it’s true, my husband was experiencing a mild headache from past few days, I thought because of stress he is feeling the same, we changed some eating habits. Still, it did not work. Then we went to Doctor; then we found his Blood pressure is the lower side that is why it is triggering a migraine. So we came to know Blood pressure can cause A migraine or it increase the intensity of A migraine headache. Now he is following few exercises and good eating habit, and feeling better these days; I would like to share one article with you regarding the same
    http://howtogetridofcholesterol.com/vitamins-for-migraine/

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Jan Piller

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much. I too have many comorbid conditions that really make treating my Migraines difficult.

    112/64 is not necessarily out of the range of normal blood pressure for many people. Like everything else medical, this will vary from person to person and only you and your doctor can decide whether it is too low for you. That is normal to high for me 🙂 If I’m Migraining and not on medicine that will lower my blood pressure, it will be much higher though.

    Blood pressure medicines along with nearly every other medication there is available for Migraine, are used off-label. That means that, although they may help Migraine, this is more of a happy accident, than by design. When doctors give you an anti-depressant for your Migraines, it’s not because they think you’re depressed. It’s because this class of drugs often can be helpful for Migraine patients. Same with anti-seizure medicines. You don’t have epilepsy, but those epilepsy drugs may help to prevent some of your Migraines. Unfortunately, this means there are often lots of side effects with these off-label meds because they were designed to do other things we don’t necessarily need treatment for.

    Another way to think of off label use of medicines is aspirin. It’s really intended for pain, but taking baby aspirin is helpful and useful for some cardiac patients too. 🙂

    The fact that you got some relief from the BP meds may be a clue, or coincidence. It usually takes weeks for these preventive medicines to begin to help Migraineurs. Sometimes they start to work right away (Hallelujah!!) and you might be one of those patients. If it did help, it may be a clue that this class of medicine might be helpful to you in another dosage, or taken in other ways. You’ll need to have a conversation with your doctor about this and make a decision together about side effects. It’s important to understand though, that especially with blood pressure medicines, side effects are often short-lived. The longer you take the medicine, your body begins to get used to it and the side effects get less and less and even sometimes disappear completely. If the side effects are severe, it’s likely that too high a dosage was initiated, perhaps too quickly. Again, a decision you need to talk to your doctor about. If you’re worried about a side effect, please talk with your doctor asap, but don’t change your medication protocol without talking to them too. Some medicines must absolutely NOT be stopped without following specific instructions, so this is vitally important.

    Another thing that might be helpful for you to understand, is that Migraine is a primary condition. This means that it’s not caused by any other condition. Other conditions (called comorbidities) can often exacerbate and interact with Migraine, but they won’t cause it. Maximizing your health conditions by managing them the best you can will often positively affect your Migraines too, but there is no guarantee this will be the case. Very often other conditions can act as triggers for Migraine attacks, and this might be what you’re experiencing. What does your doctor think?

    ~Ellen

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  • By Sarah1028

    Hello,
    I am 19 years old and I’ve been having migraine since i was 15. My headaches increased when i was 17. I had very low blood pressure then. But now it seems alright. I have trouble sleeping at nights too…. I get very sleepy and when I lie down in my bed and close my eyes all the sleep just goes away and I stay awake for an hour and then only go to sleep. And I wake up late in the morning so tired because of that. I sleep more than 8 hours if I sleep even half an hour after 10pm. It is so damn tiring and I’m not sure as to what to do about it. I have already taken X ray, Ct and MRI. There’s nothing wrong with my head it seems. And a neurologist suggested me prothiaden when i was 17. It worked for a week. and since I was feeling too sleepy that I felt sleepy most of the time that I couldnt concentrate, i stopped it. Now sometimes I feel dizzy and not a single day passes by without me having a headache. Also, there are parts of my head which pains if I just touch them like both the corners of my temples. I am not able to concentrate also and my memory is deteriorating little by little. I request any of you to tell me what my condition is and how to solve it.
    Thank You.

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  • By c1x7ff

    Hello
    I have suffered bad migraines and ones with aura as well since around age of 7 now i’m 40.
    the last 2 years I have been using Isochronic tones mainly white noise ones as i find them the best
    also i’m taking omega 3 supplement around 4 a day and this other supplement called Migradol, it has magnesium and vitamin B in it. since i’ve been doing this im a lot better and migraines are much less severe and frequent. also i suffer from imsomnia and take very long to sleep and have ADD aswell.
    I would recommend the things i posted above as they are working extremely well for me.
    with the isochronic tones white noise i play on my laptop when i go to bed and it always puts me to sleep in 10-15 mins (amazing!) not like before without it i would take 3 hours to fall asleep.
    isochronic tones are a special frequency that change your brain waves when you hear them, this link on youtube has helped many migraine sufferers, good luck i hope it can help you. let me know how you get on!

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=isochronic+tones+migraine+white+noise

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for your comments and questions. Let’s see what I can do to help.

    Currently, migraine is thought to be a genetic neurological disorder that is managed with lifestyle choices, medication, and behavioral management. We don’t yet have a “cure” for migraine and there is no magic pill, I’m sorry to say. It’s hard work keeping migraine away.

    It seems people with migraine have overly sensitive brains. When we come into contact with certain stimuli, or triggers an attack may occur. These triggers include but are not limited to interrupted sleeping patterns, certain foods, hormonal fluctuations, changes in the barometric pressure, dehydration and many others. Keeping a detailed migraine diary will help us identify our triggers and any patterns our attacks have. With all the apps out there, keeping a diary is really easier than every. Migraine.com has The Migraine Meter you may want to check out; https://migraine.com/blog/new-migraine-meter-app-available-on-itunes-and-google-play-for-android/. If that isn’t what you are looking for, there are many others available.
    To help you keep a diary, here are some tips; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    Sleep interruptions can be strong triggers for many of us. If you’ve not had a sleep study, I would encourage you to discuss this with your doctor. There are plenty of sleep issues besides apnea that can complicate migraine. Here are some tips that may help with sleep; https://migraine.com/blog/sleeping-tips/
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-sleep-1/
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-sleep-2/
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-more-sleep-rules-tips-and-tricks-part-3/.

    If you find your attacks are centered around your cycle, you may want to talk to your doctor about Frova. This triptan, a medication that stops the migraine cycle has been shown to help with this. You can read more about that here; https://migraine.com/blog/short-term-option-for-migraine-prevention-frova/.

    Let me know if you have more questions I can help you with,
    Nancy

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