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Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

Please Help… Migraine hangover lasting weeks

  • By dave2017

    some background to start…

    I’m a 40 year old male, had about 2 or 3 migraine attacks in my life each of which only lasted a few hours.

    Just over three weeks ago I had the following attack…

    I was very stressed at work (office job, sitting behind a computer screen)… went for lunch and as I drove back to the office the sun was glaring in the windshield of my car I believe this was the trigger.

    So as I sat back at my desk my vision started to get very blurry and when I turned to talk my work colleague I could only focus correctly on half his face. Then I left the office to attend my doctors… vision was blurry all this time and when I arrived at the doctors surgery I couldn’t remember my doctors name.

    I was quite confused not knowing the exact location I was at something I should have know…. I was confused about other minor details too. I attended the ER and after some blood test they informed me it was a complex migraine attack and they would plan a CT scan for a few weeks later.

    This was 22 days ago now and ever since I’m suffering from ‘brain fog’ not sure how best to explain it but I’m not 100% alert, it’s like I have a hangover all the time. There’s very brief periods where it clear 2-3 hrs over a 4 day period. I wake up each morning hoping it has cleared but when I get up I still feel the same. I shower two times a day hoping to clear it but nothing works.

    Has anyone ever had after effects of a migraine that lasted for weeks? I’ve been googling but I have not found any such cases.

    My CT scan is in 4 days time so my doctor is telling me to wait….. but he is not giving me any info or reassurance this is a normal period of time to feel like this.

    Sorry about such a long post but I’m quite worried id never feel the same again… so id be most grateful if anyone has experienced something similar and can share their story?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

    Regards

    Dave

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  • By catwks

    HI Dave, I just started treatment for migraines so I m fairly new but yes I have experienced migraine symptoms for weeks in fact I have had migraines everyday for 3 months pretty much non stop. Some days I am functioning better then others. I also work long hours. I would suggest keeping a journal and trying to figure out patterns and triggers. I am applying for intermittent FMLA at my job because sometimes I have to leave early , your employer might offer something similar so you don’t have to try to suffer through work.. Its really scary and sometimes you feel like you are crazy but your not. I think it just takes finding the right medication and figuring out triggers etc. I am also going to try a holistic doctor to see if diet can help as well. Everyone is different in symptoms etc but i find getting plenty of sleep helps.

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  • By GardensatNight

    I’m sorry. I haven’t had brain fog last this long. Did they not have you take any migraine meds to see if that would clear it because they thought it might be a stroke?

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  • By dave2017

    Many thanks for the replies…. they really do help.

    So I had CT brain scan yesterday will be two days before i get the results. Over the last two days I’ve found that the brain fog feeling clears for a few hrs in the evening until the next morning, however once i get up the same feeling returns… so hopefully its starting to clear. Its 4 weeks tomorrow since I had the initial attack.

    I’m going to ask my doctor now to refer me to a migraine clinic, hopefully theres some meds i can take to clear this feeling.

    Thanks again for your help and ill post back once i have more news.

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  • By GardensatNight

    Dave, (sorry if these seem like dumb questions… trying to think outside the box)… could it be something you’re eating? Have you looked up some of the migraine diet links to see if you could be re-triggering yourself over and over again?

    You also mentioned in your original post that you thought the attack started in bright glare, and was exacerbated by use of a computer screen. You then said you get better in the evenings. Could you be becoming light sensitive (more light sensitive) and not realize it? I know at first when my light sensitivity was progressing, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t until I coincidentally looked away from a screen and the headache diminished that I realized my computer was hurting me. It wasn’t until I randomly had all the lights off in the house one day making pancakes while home sick and my horrible head pain cleared for the first time in weeks that I realized (terrifyingly) how sick light made me. Have you tried switching off the lights and using natural light for a day? Have you tried turning off screens for a day as an experiment? (Btw, they make screens that don’t emit light or flicker…. I currently use one.)

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  • By dave2017

    Many thanks for the replies…

    Just to reply on a few points….

    * could it be something you’re eating?
    I havent had any change in my diet recently, however I’ve now started to avoid food which ive read could be a trigger…. cheese, dairy, red wine, coffee, choclate etc.

    * Could you be becoming light sensitive?
    I’ve been thinking this too as direct sunlight was the initial trigger. I’ve been working from home the last few days in a room with black out blinds etc…. i returned to the office yesterday and by lunch time I didnt feel well at all…. the brian fog feeling was very strong and i felt dizzy as i walked around.

    My bedroom has complete black out blinds as i wake each morning I feel ok as i lie in bed but as soon as i get up and move to other much brighter rooms the brain fog feeling starts again and lasts the day. So its either the motion or the light that triggers the brain fog again.

    I’m returning to my doctor tomorrow for my CT scan results and asking to be referred to a neurologist.

    I have a 5 week holiday planned to the Indian ocean in 4 weeks time so im hoping i can get this under control before then.

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  • By GardensatNight

    Dave, do you notice any difference in symptoms when you are lying flat (one pillow only) versus when you are vertical? Like if you are foggy/achy, and you lie down flat for a bit, do the symptoms improve? Do they get worse when you stand?

    Paul, I am on topimirate, as are many people with migraine. It’s hard to say if it helps me because they threw a bunch of stuff at me at the same time in an effort to bring the migraines under control. But there are studies that say it works for many people.

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  • By dave2017

    Hi GardensatNight,

    Thanks for your reply. I always sleep on one very flat pillow. I have noticed that when I wake up i feel ok and if i lie in bed for say 20 mins without sitting up i still feel ok, but once i actually get out of bed the Brain fog has returned again. So seems its when i stand up and start to move around it get worse.

    Not sure what this means to be honest…. I’m losing my mind here as everything with the medical system seems to be such a struggle my CT scan results have gone to the wrong doctor… i.e. the doctor in ER and not my local GP…. spent all day yesterday trying to get the results sent to the correct Dr. only to discover his secretary was gone home early so i have to wait till Monday.

    My GP wont refer me to a neurologist without the CT scan results.

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  • By GardensatNight

    Dave, there’s something you could read up on called “postural headaches” which is where your head feels okay/better when you’re flat and then as soon as you’re vertical, you start getting a headache. I would mention that to your doctor. You might also see if any of the symptoms you’re having sound familiar.

    One test that you haven’t mentioned is a lumbar puncture, which is to test your CSF pressure. Have they done one of those? It’s not a super common problem, but if your doctors are stumped and nothing else is working, you might mention it and see what your doctor thinks, especially if you try lying down periodically and the symptoms go away..

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  • By dave2017

    just popping back here to report back….

    So I got my CT scan results and all was clear and all my blood test came back ok.
    So its 5 weeks tomorrow since the first migraine attack and there is no sign of this brain fog feeling lifting, I have no headaches just this detached feeling every hr I’m awake. its starting to get me very down now….I broke down a few times already as I can get my head clear.

    I’m showering a few times a day, staying in dark room, eating healthy non processed foods. I find I need alot of sleep now after 8 hrs good sleep by 1pm the next day I’m exhausted so I nap for an hr and again around 6pm. This is not like me.

    I’ve tried getting out getting fresh air. I went to work a few days ago and had to come home at midday as i felt weak and had heavy brain fog.
    so to make matters worse my GP (local Dr.) has told me there is nothing more she can do for me… she has referred me to a neurologist but I’ve been told it will take 6 months before I get an appointment…. this is going private paying out of my own pocked… public it would take 2 years….. health system here in Ireland is completely broken.
    I’ve been put on just pain killers and aspirin which ive given up as they didn’t do anything for me.
    Honestly I dont know if i can put with this for 6 months without seeing a specialist.

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  • By GardensatNight

    I’m not sure about that supplement specifically. I do take magnesium. I’m not sure if/how much the supplements I take actually help, but I take them because the doctor says to.

    How much water are you drinking? Does anything change when you drink LOTS of water?

    Is it possible you were in any kind of accident or had some type of injury (not necessarily to your head) in the weeks/months before this happened? Did you hit your head? Were you in a car accident? Were you whiplashed? Could you have hurt your back picking up something heavy? Twisted around weird?

    For me, figuring out what was going on (and I’m SO sorry this is happening to you, I know you must be so miserable at the thought of 6 months without a neurologist appt) boiled down to putting together clues of when did symptoms improve slightly, and what was I doing/not doing then. Are there ever times when you feel better than other times? What were you doing BEFORE that?

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  • By dave2017

    Hi GardenSatNight,

    Thank you so much for your reply as it really got me thinking and as a result I have had a break through…

    So to answer you questions I’ve had no accidents or injuries in the past that could relate to how I’m feeling now…. however thinking back to that day (5 weeks ago now) when this all started … the glaring sun shinning in my car windshield was the initial trigger for the migraine and everything went downhill from there.

    A few days after this migraine attack I attended my local optometrists and got new standard glasses & polarised sunglasses. There was little change in the strength of the prescription and my optometrists said it was unlikely this was the cause of my migraine.

    Anyways this got me thinking if i could be light sensitive…. so i started wearing my prescription polarised sunglasses constantly both indoors and outdoors for the last 24 Hrs, watching TV and guess what…… the brain fog feeling has lifted completely.

    Even when i woke this morning in bed (my room is very dark with black out curtains) i put them on before getting up and my head has been 100% clear all day. Always when I get up and got down to the kitchen (which is very bright ) the brain fog feeling would return in mins.

    Now i still got very tired around 3pm like I do every day over the past 5 weeks….. but honestly I feel like ive wont the lotto now…. hope I dont jinks it now.

    I know im going to look crazy wearing them in the rain & indoors but I honestly dont care .

    Ill report back in a few days with how im doing.

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  • By GardensatNight

    That’s great that you think you may have found what could be the trigger!

    I am very light sensitive. You are probably not as bad off as me, but I will offer some various solutions/ideas and you can take from them what you will.

    The common advice is not to wear polarized sunglasses indoors because it can increase light sensitivity. I always want to throw something at the wall when people say things like this because it’s not like any of the things all my eye doctors have suggested have actually made me improve, but I get what they’re saying too. They make a special type of glasses called FL-41 lenses designed especially for people with migraine brains and light sensitivity. You can wear the indoor version indoors. They don’t work for everyone. They don’t work for me. You might still have to use the polarized to watch TV. I would try to soften the glare level and even out the light levels in your house overall to avoid having to wear sunglasses indoors (I just avoid certain rooms at certain times of day as the sun moves around the house.)

    I would check the light bulbs in your house. The least irritating kind of light bulb for light-sensitive people is an incandescent bulb. The softer the better. If you’ve got LED or fluorescents or halogens in there now (which lots of people do), you’re probably dousing your brain in constant flicker and light it doesn’t like. Incandescents because they heat up, wind up absorbing most of the flicker so your brain doesn’t perceive it as much as the others.

    Natural light (not too bright, no glare) is what my brain prefers. We have layers of curtains on the windows. We only go blackout if I’m in full migraine attack mode. Otherwise we use sheers and semi-sheers to soften the light depending how sunny it is so we can use sunlight isntead of lightbulbs.

    TV/smart phones/computer screens are irritating to some migraine brains (especially highly light sensitive people) for two reasons–the light emitted and the fact that they flicker.

    Not sure what to do about a smart phone. I can’t use one.

    For the TV, according to my husband they make some TV’s designed for gaming that flicker at a faster rate (120, I believe) rather than whatever is the standard (I know when he tried to adjust a screen at 60 and 75 it felt like stabbing knives to me.) Also, some people find LED less irritating than fluorescent, and some TV’s you may be able to adjust the blue (down–blue is very irritating to light sensitive people.) But, others can just use the polarized glasses and be okay, so hopefully you can too.

    On to computer screens, because if phone and TV are bugging you, the computer probably will eventually, too. They make filters that can go over your screen. They make LED screens that rarely refresh (refresh rate gets you) and can have the blue turned off (mine is by ViewSonic–can’t use it any more), and there is this AWESOME screen I use made in China by Dasung called Paperlike that is an E-ink. It emits no light and doesn’t flicker at all. It’s like the early model Kindles, but the size of a sheet of paper. It is the reason I can still interact with the world.

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  • By dave2017

    So quick update on this thread I started 3 months ago…..

    Its been 4 months now since this all started…. i.e. migraine attack and left with brain fog ever since.

    Im still suffering from extreme brain fog every min of the day for the last 4 months…. I’ve been to a migraine specialist clinic in London and was told im suffering from chronic migraine without a headache. I was put on amitriptyline 20mg daily…. After one month I had to come off it as I was getting a constant ringing in my ears. During my time on this drug I saw no improvement only that I seemed to sleep a lot more than normal.

    For the last few months I’ve been trying a few different things hoping to improve this brain fog feeling:

    • Eating healthy home cooked meal no processed foods.
    • Walking 4 miles a day
    • Taking 500mg of magnesium, Co Q10, riboflavin
    • I’ve tried acupuncture, Shirodhara head massages, craniosacral therapy

    This all started with the classic migraine symptoms as I’ve outlined in my original post, Aura, vision problems, tingling in right arm & tongue. However ive never had any of these symptons since, im stuck with this constant brain fog feeling 24/7.

    I have notice a major improvement in my energy levels since now im not as exhausted like I was in months 1 & 2.

    To be honest im starting to think its not migraine and maybe more a burnout as I was extremely stressed right up to the day of this attach…. Id actually go as far to say it’s the most stressed ive been in my life due to many major stressful/tragic events for months prior to this.

    Sorry for the long post but Im hoping to find someone with a similar experience, if so id be most grateful to hear your story.

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  • By fisk

    Hi Dave,

    I’m not sure if you are still checking this forum post, but I was wondering if you have found out any more about your brain fog issue. I’ve been having a similar experience for 1 year and 4 days now, and was curious if you were able to narrow down the cause, or find a specialist who was able to shed any light on your condition (or hopefully not I guess if it’s light sensitivity…).

    Thanks!

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    • By dave2017

      Hi Fisk,

      Its almost an year since I first started having this brain fog feeling. I’ve seen a neurologist three times in 12 months.

      Initially they said it was a silent migraine attack, but ruled this out on the second visit. He requested I get B12 injections which raised my levels from 180 to 364.

      But I still have the same brain fog feeling every min im awake, I also having tingling in my tounge after waking from sleep, this normally only lasts a few mins, I still have no energy.

      I was sent for a sleep test which showed i snore now… something i never did before they recommended I try SomnoGuard a device which could improve my sleep quality as he now thinks my quality of sleep is very poor.

      So im going to try this now… ill report back with an update later.

      Some questions for you if thats ok:

      * when did you start feeling this brain fog feeling? were you stressed at the time? I know i was and blame this as the trigger.

      * what have you tried?

      *

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    • By ryanconnecticut

      Hi Dave — this is my first time posting on this site. Reading your story was like finding my long lost brother. I have been dealing with such a similar tribulation. I got an attack of vertigo, followed by six months of brain fog. It’s been one of the most miserable periods of my life. I’ve been to every type of doctor there is, and nobody can see past their own specialty. I’d really like to check in with you and see if you have found anything else helpful. In addition to what you have tried, I will point out that I think it’s really worth your doing some work on your eyes–specifically a neuro-ophthalmologist. Have them check you for convergence and divergence issues — it’s a symptom not a cause, but the treatment is physical therapy (literally like doing eye exercises) but it helped me. I’m finally coming around to think I have some sort of vestibular migraine disorder, but along the way I have been diagnosed with Miniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, psychological disorders, cranial disorders, sleep disorders — and a lot of it feels like a bunch of hogwash. At any rate, I’d love to hear more from you as it sounds like we are going through similar things.
      All best,
      Ryan
      38 year old male, USA

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  • By Sarah10

    ME ME ME!
    I’ve never been diagnosed with migraines and had a series of 6 over the course of 4 days – aura/occular. It was terrifying. This took place in mid June. It is now the end of July and I’m still living in a fog. I also have head pressure & ringing in my ears. Some days are worse than others. Today was really bad. I had some cognitive issues – forgetfulness, etc.
    When the attacks first happened, I was a complete idiot. I couldn’t comprehend text on screens for a full week. I was slowly able to articulate my ideas, and was extremely sensitive to light and sound.
    I’m still sensitive to light, but not as bad.
    Like you, I go to bed every night excited to not feel crappy for 8 hours. I wake up, feel pretty good, then get a sneaky tingle across my tongue, which starts the feeling crappy again.
    I also take showers to try to feel better!
    Interesting that you were discussing polarized lenses. I recently updated my rx with polarized sunglasses and I think they are making my dizzy fog worse.

    I have an appointment to see my general doc with the hopes she will refer me to a neurologist. Fingers crossed.

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  • By jimmyh5

    I had a migraine for the first time in years 3 weeks ago, after playing my first game of football for years.
    Ever since my vision hasn’t been the same and I have numbness in my hands. Very frustrating. I drive a lot with work so it’s wearing me down.
    Drs tomorrow, not very hopefull it will be sorted any time soon.

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    • By AusCurtis

      Hi All, I’m from Brisbane Australia. Ive had very similar symptoms to what Dave has described. Ive been looking all over the internet to find a reason as to why I’m feeling this way. In my finding I would recommend getting a (STI) sexual heath check. The herpes virus can cause a lot of these symptoms. I’m getting checked next week and will keep you all updated.

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  • By shawng

    I know this is an old thread, but wanted to chime in and say you’re not alone. I’m 37 and have had migraines/various states of “brain fog” for the last 7 or 8 years. I feel like I’m drunk and tired all the time. I’m about 145lbs, 5’10”, male.

    Your story sounds VERY similar to my own. I’ve had CT scans, an MRI, multiple blood tests, physical therapy for vertigo, sleep study, etc… Doctors all say I’m healthy and send me home.

    In my early 30’s I started getting migraines once a month or so. Sometimes they would come with vision issues where everything looked like stars (same affect as staring at a bright light and looking away) that consumed my vision.

    About a year and half ago I cut caffeine and beer out of my diet on a whim and it actually made a pretty significant difference. I had tried cutting it in the past, but only for a week at a time. This time I went for longer and started noticing a positive difference after a month or so. Lack of sleep or several nights in a row of bad sleep are also a trigger for me.

    For the most part I feel like I’m back to normal, but I occasionally get a migraine and will feel the “brain fog” episodes for weeks at a time before it gradually gets better. I’m in one of those episodes right now from a migraine I had a few weeks ago after being symptom free for a 6 or 7 months streak. It can be very depressing during those times. The migraines are less frequent now, maybe a few times a year. The brain fog lasts for a few weeks and then I feel ok again.

    The only thing I can suggest that worked for me is to avoid common migraine triggers and try to get a good night of sleep of at least 7 or 8 hours. Stay active. Power through the bad episodes and try to stay positive. It sucks. I sympathize.

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  • By ShawnElyce

    Hi all! I’m in the middle of a bad brain fog episode and wondering if anyone has found any answers? I’ve dealt with this before, but never for this long or bad and I’m barely functional.

    It seemed to start with a bad migraine over a month ago – although I have had several since then.

    I feel half drunk all the time and can’t focus. It’s so frustrating.

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