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Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

Migraine seizures for many years (probably neck related)

  • By LoSeena

    Hello. I’ll try to keep it informative to fully describe a person and her problem.
    Also, sorry if I’d use wrong subforum, i felt like this one is the right one.
    A1) My english level is intermediate at max, so I don’t know health-specific vocabulary.
    A2) Subject of this question is my mother, and we live in a ~600k population city in Russia.
    A3) This question can go to three topics: Headache, Migraine, Neck pain.

    B1) My mother is 44 years old. She is quite skinny, probably not more than 55kg, height is around 173cm. Was skinny all her life.
    B2) She has a medical education, was working as obs and gynae for 6 years untill leaving for other job around 5-6 years ago.
    B3) She rarely ever got medical examination through her life, and all I know about her health is:
    – light form of hypermobility;
    – definitly has multiple problems with gastrointestinal tract;
    – was diagnosed with infertility at age ~40;
    – was diagnosed with osteoporosis of the neck segment at age ~43;
    – sometimes has stress-related knee pains;
    and most importantly:
    – has headache seizures since age ~21 (as she says since she delivered me), which seem to progress slowly in their scale.

    C1) She used Ibuprofen or equivalents for many years to relief her hadeaches, and keeps using it because she says it helps with headaches which are not that severe.
    C2) Around 3-5 years ago she started using Sumatriptan without any doctor’s recommendations for reliefing more severe migraine seizures, which started to appear, and Ibuprofen no longer helped against those. After taking it, she falls asleep and her head is okay after she wakes up.\
    С3) She feels like how water shower helps to relief pain (which is strange, considering hot water dilates blood vessels), she also squezes her head with kerchief.
    C4) Yesterday she reported to me that that night she’s got a seizure and Sumatriptan didn’t work for the first time ever, headache gone in only 3+ hours. She says that she was literally silently crying for 3 hours straight; pain is on an unbearable level. She also said, that her neck was more painful than her head.

    D1) Headaches, which she successfully cures with Ibuprofen can happen at any time of the day, but what we are most certain of is that heavy migraine seizures only develop during sleep, and she usually wakes up early in the morning with severe pains already developed. It is defenitly somehow related to sleeping process, sometimes she tries to sleep on a different side of the bed or in a different orientation, because she thinks it would help (and statisticly sleeping different really helps her to have less seizures).
    D2) She says that during those heavy seizures exactly one half of her head (always the same half, right) experiences severe pain, as well as this same half of the neck, especially painful is the spot higher on a neck, almost at a point where a scull bone can already be palpated (I want to make stress that her neck pain is not in the center, but rather on the side, where a back neck muscule is located).
    D3) She diagnosed herself having migraine and started to take Sumatriptan, because she gets nausea, sensitivity to light/sound, and because of how unbearable the pain is.

    E1) She had gone to the doctors once or twice during last 5 years in attempts to get any solution to the problem, but was not satisfied with the treatment, as she said, they were not involved into her case and only wanted to take money for the reception. One of the doctors, if I recall correctly, “neuropathologist”, told her to buy neck collar, insoles, and medical glasses with dots, even though no surveys were done, except basic neck x-ray. She indeed bought all that stuff, but later called it useless, though she sometimes uses her collar, as it seems to help if seizure happened. But a problem with collar is that it’s too uncomfortable to sleep in this thing or wear it on for long periods of time.

    Question one: is this description enough to, at least guess by educated people here, what is her problem, or at least what is the direction to dig into?
    Question two: if yes, is this problem solvable, at least to some extent, what should she do and what to change in medical threatment or lifestyle to make things better?
    Question three: what additional medical survey should she take exactly, to get a bigger picture of what can be the cause? As I mentioned, our city is not that small, and we definitly should have some equipment here.
    Question four: what other sites/doctors should I try on the internet if you can recommend anyone.

    In 3 days she was signed to the reception from a new doctor, but she is completely unfaithful in their skill or in a chance that they have experience in solving such problem. She was a medical geek, so her scepticism is understandable, mostly health care system is meh in our country.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi LoSeena,

    Thank you for sharing your mother’s story with us. I am sorry she is having a difficult time with her head. Let me see what information I can give you that may help.

    As much as I wish we could tell you exactly what’s going on with your mother, I’m afraid only a qualified doctor can do that. Getting online medical advise is not the best idea or safe, however, getting information online you can share with the doctor is a good option. I can tell you there are no blood tests, or image study’s (medical survey) that will diagnose migraine disease. A diagnosis of migraine disease is achieved once the doctor gives a complete exam, discusses the symptoms and goes over medical history. It’s tough when you don’t have faith in your medical team. This is why it’s important to be an educated patient. I hope that makes sense!

    One of the best things your mom could do is to identify her migraine triggers. If we are able to identify our triggers, and then avoid the ones we can, we may be able to reduce our migraine attack frequency. Migraine triggers can include but are not limited to certain foods, dehydration, skipping meals, irregular sleeping patterns, lights, odors, changes in the barometric pressure and others. Here is information to share with her about triggers; https://migraine.com/sponsored/are-you-ignoring-one-of-the-top-migraine-triggers/ and
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/ and
    http://migraine.com/blog/your-worst-migraine-triggers-stress-really/.

    Here is something else to think about, ‘stackable’ triggers and goes like this; if we are exposed to one of our triggers, say fluorescent lighting, we may not have an migraine attack. But if we encounter more than one trigger such as an irregular sleep schedule, skipping a meal, eating a trigger food and/or getting dehydrated, then we may have one. You can read more about stackable triggers in this link; http://migraine.com/blog/the-riskiness-of-stacking-triggers/.

    It’s important for people with migraine disease to keep a regular sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. This can be challenging, but very helpful. Here are tips and tricks that may help;
    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/.

    There is a link between migraine and seizures and this link will give you more information ; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-and-seizures/.

    Another thing to think about is if we take pain relievers and/or migraine medications (sumatriptan) whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week, can increase our risk for getting something called rebound or medication overuse headache. If we are in a rebound cycle, our migraine attacks will be more difficult to treat and we may end up in a daily cycle of pain that too may be hard to break. This article may be helpful; https://migraine.com/living-migraine/stop-rebound-headaches/.

    I wish I had more information for you, but I’m not familiar with the health care system in your country.
    Please let me know if this is helpful,
    Nancy

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