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Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

Migraine Types

  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Fawn Hunkins-Beckford – You have brought up several things here that we can talk about:

    First, you have said you have thyroid problems, but haven’t elaborated. Do you have Graves’ disease? This is the type of autoimmune thyroid problem that results (sometimes) in TED (Thyroid Eye Disease). Graves’ is less likely to exacerbate Migraine than Hashi’s, but antibodies and fluctuating or unbalanced levels can be troublesome no matter which direction they are – high or low.

    I am a little confused, because you say you are having aura and constant headache pain. These may be connected, or not. Are you seeing a Migraine specialist yet? You have also said you have acephalgic Migraine, but if that were true, there wouldn’t be any pain.

    There are over 300 different headache disorders and some of them can cause constant pain. Chronic Migraine is only one of them. Chronic Tension Type Headache is another, and your symptoms as written here remind me more of TTH than CM. There are some symptoms that do sound like Migraine though, so seeing a good Migraine and headache specialist is probably going to be a real key for you. Without an appropriate diagnosis, treatment and management is nearly impossible.

    One fairly quick way to help determine if head pain is Migraine is to gently bend over and put your head lower than your body. If it becomes more painful, this is often a sign that it is Migraine. Sometimes doing this doesn’t change the pain, or the pain may even get better. These can all be pieces to the puzzle that a good specialist can help you tease out. We can’t diagnose a person, but do try to at least help you figure out what is information that should be shared.

    Here is a link to information that can help you find a specialist: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

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  • By Otter MacAilein

    Fawn, I suffer from constant headache. As of the moment my headache specialist is at a loss for what exactly might help. My diagnosis is chronic migraine, but it doesn’t respond to treatment (as of yet.) I can’t imagine trying to find relief without the help of a headache specialist. Just any neurologist won’t do!

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  • By slhart

    I suffer from chronic migraine. I have a constant daily headache that progressively gets worse as I attempt to live. Bending over does increase the pain.
    Recently I went through some stressful work issues which caused a severe migraine which contracted the muscles on the right side of my face causing a numbing sensation from my temple to my jaw accompanied by stabbing pain, blurred vision, nausea, light and smell sensitivity.
    I went to my neurologist and she had me admitted to the hospital 3 weeks ago for a DHE treatment but that didn’t help. Something they gave me caused my liver functions to become elevated. They took me off all my migraine medications until my liver functions return to normal. The right side of my face is still numb and I’m still waiting for my liver functions to return to normal.
    I do have a level 7 migraine every day. It goes to level 10 once or twice a week depending on how active I try to be. My eyes are always sensitive to light and I seem to have a super sensitive nose as I smell everything. Lately I have been waking up always around 3am with a level 10 migraine. I’m not sure what is triggering this or how to stop it. I do not have TMJ. I can use my IM Toradol and Phenergan to try to break the 10’s as needed.
    I have been to the eye doctor, the dentist, pain management specialists and many neurologists but I’m open to suggestions. My current Neurologist is also a migraine sufferer.
    I see the doctor on Friday to talk about botox. I tried botox in 2006 and it did not help but I have to try something.
    Right now a dark room and ice packs are my best friends.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    slhart – It is vitally important that you get an appropriate diagnosis for your symptoms. I wish symptoms were enough to get an accurate diagnosis, but the fact is sometimes we have to test to rule out other things in order to get to the bottom of the puzzle sometimes. A neurologist isn’t necessarily the best person for you to be seeing, frankly. Here is a link to a post where you can find a specialist near you: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/ Many headache and Migraine specialists are also Migraineurs and truly do understand. Often they also have family that suffers. They can’t necessarily tell you this information, but it is true nonetheless.

    Has anyone ever talked to you about the symptoms of hemiplegic Migraine? Here is a link that might be helpful: https://migraine.com/migraine-types/hemiplegic-migraine/ We can’t begin to try to diagnose anyone here, but it might make for interesting reading while you wait for an appointment with a specialist who can do more for you. The hallmark symptoms of hemiplegic Migraine is hemiplegia: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-hemiplegia/. I know some HM patients whose hemiplegia takes some time to go away.

    Botox injections have changed since 2006. The protocol that was most effective in testing is now in use and utilizes 31 injection points – this is more than the old protocol. Also, there is a certain amount of skill involved in getting these injections in just the right spot. This means you want someone who is very familiar with the techniques and how to locate the appropriate anatomy to give them. Almost anyone can give these injections, but you’ll want someone who is especially well-versed. Here is more information on where those injection points are: https://migraine.com/blog/botox-chronic-migraine-experience/

    Good luck, and I hope you’ll come back and let us know how you’re doing. Hang in there… 🙂

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  • By Evelyn

    Hello – this is my first post here. I’m wondering if anyone has the same type of migraine I’ve been experiencing. In addition to my “typical” migraine (pain on right side of face, tingling in face, sinus symptoms, ear aches, etc) I also get another migraine. It’s been fairly cyclical for the last few months – arriving just before or during my period. Prior to this, it was happening every couple to 3 months. It starts while I am sitting down as a tightness in my right forearm and pressure in my sinuses/forehead. When this happens, I know that when I stand up I will get extreme pressure and pain in my head and my ears; down my neck, into my shoulders and upper back. I can hear the blood rushing through my carotid artery in both ears. It lasts anywhere from a few seconds to 2 minutes (sometimes much longer) after standing; as soon as I sit down, it’s gone within seconds. But, it comes back when I stand up. My neuro checked my spinal fluid pressure and it was fine. My blood pressure is fine, and doesn’t change much at all when this happens. I’ve had it taken sitting, standing, and lying down … it’s pretty much the same. My neuro is fairly stumped, because he said there are typically three things it would be, and I have none of these. My GP believes it is a complex migraine. I’m at a loss … it’s extremely painful when it happens, and no meds so far make a difference. (Relpax (which works on my regular migraines), Imitrex, Verapamil, Aleve, Advil…. Any insight would be much appreciated! Thank you!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi evolving62,

    I’m sorry to hear you are having a difficult time right now. Migraines around menses can be tricky to treat and at this point I would encourage you to see a migraine specialist, rather than a general neurologist. Neurologists are fine doctors but have a hard time being experts in any one area because they treat so many different conditions such as MS, epilepsy, stroke and more. Here is information on how migraine specialists are different: https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/.

    The other things is that if we take migraine abortive medications and/or pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week days a week we may increase our risk of medication overuse headache or moh. If we have moh our migraines may be more difficult to treat and we can end up in a cycle of endless pain. Here is information on this; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

    Nancy

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  • By Anonymous

    Hi all, first post here . I too suffer migraines a couple days right before and after my monthly cycle. Usually I have migraine with the floating auras and tight neck and shoulder muscles. however the last months or so I not been getting the auras which usually serve as a warning now I get a full on migraine which feels like I’ve been hit. I’m having to use ice packs in addition to medication for the pain. I’ve been seeming a neurologist whose convinced its all hormone related. I’m also suffering from fibromyalgia and severe anemia which my doctors refuse to treat except with iron pills. So if any of you have any suggestions on a good way to approach this I’m all ears.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Coolsmart,

    Welcome to the Migraine.com discussion forum, we are so glad you posted!

    First let me say if you feel your doctors are not listening to you, it may be time to see a new one! It’s important to work together with our doctors so we can maintain a good partnership – after all, it is OUR health. Now, having said that you may want to consider seeing the expert who treats people with migraine and headache disorders. This doctor is a migraine specialist and is board certified in headache medicine. These doctors (who by the way are not all neurologists, just as all neurologists are not migraine specialists) get there certification from the United Council of Neurological Subspecialties or UCNS. We have information on migraine specialists in this link; https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and if you’d like to look for one that information is in this link; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    Fluctuating hormones can trigger migraines and menstrual migraines may be treated with Frova. It’s used as a preventive and seems to work well for quite a number of women. That information is in this link; https://migraine.com/blog/short-term-option-for-migraine-prevention-frova/.

    I hope this helps,

    Nancy

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Coolsmart – Anemia can be a powerful Migraine trigger. The first question then becomes, do you know why you are anemic? Addressing the cause of the problem could be life changing for you.

    Our overall health staying consistently good is really important for us. If they can’t yet figure out why you are constantly anemic, there is an option of IV infusion for anemia. A friend of mine has these as her anemia is related to her autoimmune disease, which is fairly common.

    I too am nearly constantly anemic. I now have IV micronutrient therapy which has been helpful, but mine is caused also by autoimmunity. It’s a fight, and I know that it could be triggering my Migraines, but since I don’t absorb iron tabs well, and the cause of my anemia isn’t even caused by that (there are over 100 types of anemia) it’s worthless to go that direction and only causes me digestive upset. Maybe you are similar, but it sounds like you may need a new doctor or a second opinion to figure it out.

    Here is an interesting article about a genetic link researchers found not long ago. A marker on the X (female) chromosome helps to control how our brains use iron. I found the connection fascinating. https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-genes-x-marks-the-spot/

    ~Ellen

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  • By Andrew Mestern

    Hi all,
    I have had diagnosed migraines for at least 8 years. For at least the last five years and probably as far back as I can remember they have been all left sided,left neck pain,all the typical sensitivities. Some of the other symptoms are confusion, and poor communication skills. I take Imitrix, respond well in usually 1 or 2 hours.

    Today I have a migraine on the RIGHT side and its freaking me out. In some ways its the same, all the sensitivities are there if not amped up a little, but the confusion and mental fog is gone. The pain is more intense, I can’t sit down or stand still, but I can’t walk or move quickly either.
    Weird.

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  • By wikisaur

    I noticed that my particular type of Migraine isn’t included on this site. There are some that are close, though. I suffer from an inability to keep my balance. It isn’t vertigo or light headedness. In my case nothing is moving/whirling; I don’t feel light headed. Instead I feel like I’m walking on a high-wire. Every step I take I think I’m going to fall. If I go too fast, or don’t pay close attention, I actually do fall.

    It took 4 specialists, 6 years, and a research hospital to diagnose me, but once I was on the medication I haven’t had those symptoms. I still get the light sensitive/sound sensitive/pain migraine, but only infrequently. The final specialist said that this type was extremely rare and can only be diagnosed if all other possibilities are removed.

    Still, I’m overjoyed to finally have it taken care of.

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi Sack36,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m thrilled to hear you have found relief. Would you be able to share your diagnosis with us?

      Do keep us posted on how you are doing,

      Nancy

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    • By wikisaur

      There isn’t much more I can tell about the diagnosis. I had all the eye and ear tests to make sure they weren’t the problem. The University of Washington teaching hospital came up with the final diagnosis: migraine. Apparently there is no trigger. From the time I first got the symptom until I was medicated there wasn’t a time I was without symptom. The imbalance would wax and wane, but never go away totally. Dr. Rubenstein prescribed Topirimate.

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  • By silly lily

    Hello.I am suffering from migraine since 2012.I don’t know which type it is.sometimes i go without it for months.and sometimes i have it more than twice a day for several days.sometimes its totally stress induced,while sometimes its due to the environmental factors.i haven’t yet been able to figure out the triggers.but everytime i go for an evening walk i feel as if my ‘behind the ear’ area will blast.the aura comprises of purple pink spots, blurry images,after images of lights after closing my eyes.sometimes its like snow flakes falling all over.i feel some kind of electric shocks in my limbs and spinal cord.cold foot and fingers too.and tingling all over,even if i do not have any pain.
    the pain is not always very severe except a few times.but i did suffer partial paralysis once.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    andrewmestern

    I’m so sorry you’re suffering right now. Migraines can be soooo confusing sometimes. Scary too! It’s considered a progressive disorder and often changes throughout time, which further complicates things. It’s important to understand a few things though, and I hope I can help you with some of them:

    When your Migraine pattern or symptoms make a significant change, it’s time to see your doctor. Most of the time change is just a part of a new Migraine pattern, but with 300 different headache disorders, often with similar symptoms, only your doctor will be able to diagnose you for sure. Theis is important. Rarely is a problem like this dangerous, but you want to be sure you’re staying on the right side of the odds.

    It is not uoncommon for Migraines to change sides. When Migraines are side-locked, it can in fact actually sometimes indicate that it’s not Migraine, but another headache disorder. Even occasional change can still indicate you may have possibly been misdiagnosed, or actually have multiple disorders going on simultaneously – also a very common icky part of Migraine.

    Let me give you a couple non-Migraine things to look up and consider and potentially mention to your doctor:

    Hemicrania continua: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-comorbidity-or-alternative-diagnosis-hemicrania-continua/

    Cervicogenic headache: https://migraine.com/blog/cervicogenic-headache/

    Please see your doctor as soon as you can. A Migraine specialist is a great place to begin, since they have received additional training and are highly skilled and stay up to date on treatment and management skills. Here is a link that can help you find a specialist near you: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    Please let us know how you’re doing…

    ~Ellen

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