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Complementary Alternatives Therapies

Nicotine (vaping or patches)

  • By Vapor

    Just wanted to share my experience because I, like others, got to be very desperate until about 3 years ago when i finally made a breakthrough. I have had migraines for over 55 years(since 10 years old) and in later years also developed chronic daily headaches of less severity than the migraine but actually more disabling because of the frequency. Was in a sorry state. I tried everything preventative over the years and nothing worked(except maybe magnesium a little). Triptans helped my migraines but obviously could not take them for daily headache. Also i was taking one triptan a week on average and they caused side effects. Anyway my headaches are 95% less now (been ok now for about 3 years) and i very seldom take a triptan – an occasional ibuprofen is all i seem to need.
    The solution for me was nicotine. I use e-cigarettes rather than tobacco but patches, lozenges etc would probably still work. In fact i think tobacco rather than pure nicotine could even make things worse so best avoided.
    Will not work for everyone but if you are desperate like i was then maybe worth giving it a try. It works for me as a preventative (i.e will not cure a headache once started).

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Vapor,

    Thanks for sharing and I’m glad to hear you’ve seen a reduction in your migraine frequency and severity. I can tell you for many of us nicotine is a strong migraine trigger – but I’m happy you’ve found relief.

    Nancy

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  • By Vapor

    Hi Nancy,
    For me indeed tobacco was a trigger i.e. cigarettes but in my case in turned out that it was the other constituents of the tobacco and not the nicotine – maybe the carbon monoxide. But in any case i am sure nicotine itself would be a trigger for some people. Migraine causation seems to be very complicated. Over the years i was prescribed a number of drugs which the doctors and web sites claim have worked as preventatives for many people e.g. amiltryptamine, topiramate etc. These medicines made me immediately very ill after one small dose !
    So its a case of what works for you as an individual.

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  • By tallguywithmigraine

    Hello Vapor,

    Thanks for your post. Your migraine condition sounds very similar to mine, so I am very interested to hear about your experience using nicotine for relief. How often do you use the e-cig? And for how long does each session last?

    Thanks,

    Sean

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  • By Vapor

    Hi,
    I used an e-cig on a daily basis and throughout the day – pretty much like a tobacco smoker would do with cigarettes. But of course you only get the nicotine and not the hundreds of other chemicals in tobacco. Nicotine is a vaso-constrictor. In other words it constricts or narrows the blood vessels. My notion is that it is this property that helps as a preventative against my migraines. Triptans which also work for me are vaso-constrictors and it has been thought for some time that vaso-dilation (the opposite of vaso constriction) is involved in the causation of migraine. It mayalso be that the nicotine helps prevent fluctuations in blood pressure which is also thought to be a factor in migraine but that is just pure speculation.

    Anyway as an update after around 4 years i have now stopped the e-cigs (stopped about 8 months ago) and so far the headaches have not returned. Dont know how long though before i have to start again.

    Hope this helps

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  • By tallguywithmigraine

    Hello Vapor,

    Thanks very much for sharing your experience. I wanted to give you an update on my results using nicotine to treat my chronic migraines during the past 20 days. I’ve had chronic migraines for the past 14 years and have tried every treatment available including botox, migraine surgery, countless preventative medications, and non-traditional therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. Prior to starting nicotine I was having to use abortive medications (triptans) on 4 out of every 10 days. During the past 20 days using nicotine, I’ve had to use abortive meds twice.

    I’m sure hoping and praying these good results hold up over time!!! For me, the best method of nicotine administration seems to be the nasal spray, which I use every 2-3 hours during the day. I also tried using nicotine patches and lozenges, but these didn’t work well. I haven’t tried e-cigarettes.

    Thanks again for your post, and I’ll try to keep you updated periodically.

    – Sean

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  • By Vapor

    Hi,
    Glad to hear that it is helping. I had been a smoker when i was younger so the e-cigs was natural for me but i should not think that it matters what method is used.

    I too tried many, many solutions (though not botox or surgery). The other thing i tried which worked somewhat was magnesium. you can buy a magnesium oil or something like that which you spray onto the skin. This works much better than magnesium tablets.

    Hope you continue to improve

    Geoff

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  • By ssmaoss

    In my case i started smoking when i was 20 and started with migraine at 24, after 8 years smoking i decided to switch to vaping. My migraines decreased a lot, and also the pain involved, i think that the lack of oxygen when somebody smokes is a main factor about the headache level. Now i’m wondering if droping the amount of nicotine i consume every day would work to reduce even more the migraine problems.

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