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Moving from High Altitude – Will it help?

  • By Goaway

    I’ve tried all the drugs, Botox, Injections, Chiropractors, PT, Acupuncture, you’ve heard the story before. I’ve lived at an altitude above 5400 feet for over 25 years. My migraines started at the age of 14 and slowly got worse since living where I live. I’ve asked my doctors and neurologists if moving to low altitude would help and they have no answer, they do not know. I would do it very quickly if I knew it would help. It’s a huge sacrifice, but I would do it. I need a better life.

    My current neurologist suggested a lumbar puncture. She said that that would indicate if there were an issue with the altitude. I don’t know if this is conclusive though. My opening pressure was high, not sky high, but definitely higher than what was normal by a bit. I’ve struggled with the thought of moving. My migraines do not abate when I go to low altitude once a year for vacation, but I have several friends who have told me that their friends’ migraines did get better after moving to low altitude. One such friend’s story was that it took 6 weeks before she was better and in 6 months her migraines were gone.

    One recent year, when heading home from low altitude, I felt fine one day while driving back home, then my head started screaming out of nowhere at one point. I checked the altitude of the town I was in when this happened, after I returned home, and it was 3300 feet above sea level.

    I am unable to do anything. I can’t go out for any type of outing, I can barely shop, cook and do laundry and often can’t do these things. Everything now gets much worse from around the end of September through early June. Things are a little better after this time frame, but not by much.

    If you have any thoughts or suggestions or anecdotal evidence, please share.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Goaway,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us – we’re happy you’re here!

    I hate that migraine disease is making your life so miserable. Let’s see what information I can give you that will help.

    I wish I could say moving would make a big different in migraine attack frequency and severity, but that may not be the case. The thing is it is unlikely we have only one trigger. I can share an article Kerrie wrote on moving for this very reason; https://migraine.com/blog/relocating-avoid-weather-triggers/.

    If you haven’t seen a doctor who is board certified in headache medicine, it may be time to. Neurologists may be fine doctors, but have a hard time being experts in one area because they treat so many different conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s and others. And being certified in headache medicine is different than being certified in neurology, it’s a bit confusing, but worth looking into. I can share this information on how these expert doctors are different and how to find one; http://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/.

    I hope this helps,
    Nancy

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  • By Ughhhh

    Hi,
    I’m not certain, but I can tell you altitude is part of my migraine problem. I did not have this until moving to high altitude. When I go to sea level cities that have lots of weather changes and are considered migraine problematic cities, I have only the tiniest of symptoms, a slight squeezing, a slight tiredness, NOTHING like my symptoms at high altitude in a city with severe barometric pressure changes.
    I definitely think for me that for some reason altitude is a major player in making me more susceptible to other migraine triggers such as barometric pressure. I’m not sure with you since you don’t sound like you instantly feel better at low altitudes as I do. My symptoms are immediately lessened or gone at low altitude

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