Forums


Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

why can't the doctors figure out what is wrong?

  • By yelena/eric

    Hi. My name is Eric. I am joining this forum on behalf of my wife, who has constant migraines/headaches. She suffers from them daily, and can’t remember when she last had a pain free day. She has been to Jefferson U, Hershey Medical, etc for help, but to no avail…and no real diagnosis…other than “you say it hurts, lets try this”.
    We are at wits end, and she has become depressed by her constant pain. I guess my question to someone, anyone, is have you had similar story, and found that the doctors missed something, or that although the pain is classified as a migraine, something else is the actual cause?
    Thanks for your help
    Eric

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi yelena/eric,

    Thank you for your question. Your wife is lucky you are invested in her care. Let me see what I can do to help.

    It sounds like you may be having a difficult time with her diagnosis. Here’s the thing – migraine is a genetic neurological disorder – it’s own disorder, not caused by anything else, similar to epilepsy and diabetes in that they are their own disorders. The thing about migraine is it’s a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning there is no blood test, image study or xray that will diagnose migraine. A diagnosis is determined after a qualified doctor goes over our symptoms, discusses our medical history and our family’s medical history and gives us a complete neurological exam. Here is more information on trigger and causes; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-causes-migraine-triggers/ Does that make sense?

    Migraine as I said, is currently thought to be a genetic neurological disorder that when our overly sensitive brains come into contact with certain stimuli, or triggers an attack will occur. Triggers can include but are not limited to dehydration, irregular sleeping patterns, fluctuating hormones, changes in the barometric pressure, certain foods, skipping meals, smoking, alcohol and many other things. Let me share information with you on triggers you can share with your wife; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/. If your wife hasn’t kept a detailed migraine diary recently, I would encourage her to do so. A migraine diary can help determine any patterns to our attacks, our triggers and what medications work and don’t work. Here is information on how to keep a migraine diary; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    Migraine.com has the Migraine Meter your wife may want to check out, or if that isn’t what she is looking for there are many other apps out there that makes keeping a migraine diary pretty easy today; https://migraine.com/blog/new-migraine-meter-app-available-on-itunes-and-google-play-for-android/.

    I’ve given you plenty of information, I hope it helps. Please let me know if you have more questions,
    Nancy

    I bet if your wife looks back into her family history, she will find family members that had some sort of ‘headache’. Some people called migraine ‘sick headaches’ or ‘sinus headache’ when in fact they really may have been migraine.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By msscott

    Yup, similar story–doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist. They found nothing wrong in any results yet I was still in so much pain with my headaches nearly every day. I was seeing an ENT who referred me to a new doctor, who actually finally understood what I was going through. She diagnosed me with vertical heterophoria, which basically means one of my eyes was slightly higher than the other. my whole life my body has corrected with misalignment but about ten years ago it finally gave in and that caused the headaches and all the other awful stuff. anyway, now i have to wear special prism glasses BUT no vision therapy, thankfully since it’s so much money. i had to go back and get them adjusted every few weeks and i still get a headache about once a month or so, but the relief has been incredible. and it can run in families, so if your wife has someone else with similar symptoms, it’s probably genetic.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply