Migraine Gem - Thyroid and Other Endocrine Hormones

MigraineGemsPurpleMigraines and headaches don't exist in a bubble. Comorbid conditions (conditions that we can have at the same time, but these conditions don't cause each other) can have significant impact on effective treatment of the individual disorders.

Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, this is a good time to take a look at the connection between thyroid and headache disorders. A strong connection has been found between hypothyroidism and both new daily persistent headache and chronic Migraine.

Dr. John Claude Krusz notes that, "Thyroid and other endocrine hormones can play a notable role in the development of headache and Migraine and in their failure to respond to treatment."

For more information, see Thyroid Disease Can Be Comorbid to Headaches and Migraine.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

Follow me on    or 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2014
Last updated January 16, 2014.

 


Migraine Gem - The Impact of Gastric Stasis

MigraineGemsPurpleFor some time, it was theorized that the nausea that many people occur during a Migraine attack may, in part, be caused by gastric stasis. In simple terms, gastric stasis is delayed emptying of the stomach.

Research has shown that the nausea of Migraine isn't caused by gastric stasis, but gastric stasis is still thought to be one reason why some Migraineurs don't respond well to oral medications during a Migraine attack.

This is one reason that in addition to the current injection and nasal spray medications available for aborting a Migraine, there are two new Migraine medications awaiting FDA approval:

You can find more information about gastric stasis in Study Ties Gastric Stasis to Migraine Disease.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

Follow me on    or 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated December 4, 2013.

 


Migraine Gems - Diagnosing Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

6a00d8341ce97953ef019afff7fbb5970b-800wiIdiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), aka pseudotumor cerebri can cause headaches and trigger Migraines.

When Migraineurs have frequent Migraines, but can't identify the triggers for those Migraines, it's not unusual for their doctors to suggest a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to rule out IIH, and this is where a problem can come in.

What's the problem? Too many doctors don't know how to rule out or diagnose IIH. Too many erroneously think that everyone with IIH has papilledema (swelling of the optic nerves), and that a dilated eye exam can rule out IIH. Or they think that a trial of a medication used to treat IIH can rule it out or confirm the diagnosis. This is also incorrect.

There is only one way to definitively rule out or diagnose IIH. To find out what that is and read about a true case of what can happen when it's not diagnosed, see Pseudotumor Cerebri: Getting the Diagnosis Right.

sig

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!

 

Follow me on    or 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2013
Last updated March 2, 2013.


Migraine Awareness Month #5: "Do That To Me One More Time."

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Today's prompt for the National Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #5  What comfort measure do you find helps you enough during a Migraine that you go back to it again and again, and how do you use it?

My go-to comfort item that gets me through Migraine attack after Migraine attack, is my heating pad.

I have often joked that my heating pad needs a name, because I cuddle with it more than my husband.  (Sadly, hubs agrees with me, lol) It goes nearly everywhere with me.

When I asked my doctors why heat is so helpful to me, nobody seems to have an answer.  Since I tend to suffer from inflammation one would think heat might aggravate the situation.  However, when I’m in pain I do tend to find it difficult to argue with success.

Placement of my heating buddy has everything to do with its success. 

In my case, I get a pain trifecta: Migraine (usually my left side) with extreme pain behind my eye, and trigeminal neuralgia that shoots across my face, eyeball and inside my ear like lightning while at the same time throbbing like the worst tooth/face ache you can imagine, radiating down the front of the left side of my neck.

I usually put my heating pad directly onto my face, even putting it over my pillow so I can lay on it, pain side down.  If tension is a problem in my neck, I have the larger sized pad that easily wraps around the back of my head for comfort there as well.

Thankfully it turns off automatically and I have never suffered any burns from it, however I do know of someone in the Migraine community at large that had an old model without the automatic shut off.  She took her meds, fell asleep on it and woke up with 3rd degree burns. 

There are times when even my heating pad isn’t sufficient.  I usually retreat into my hot pounding shower then.  I’m never quite sure if it is the heat itself that is so soothing, or the distraction of the hot pounding water over my bruised body that seems to help.  (Hurts so good?) Again, it’s tough to argue with success.  At the very least, the cooling down process after the shower allows my body to relax and sometimes fall asleep (often with my heating buddy wrapped comfortably around my face and head) when intense pain of an especially brutal attack usually makes rest impossible.

Do you find heat or cold to be more comfortable during an attack?  Do you find that changes from one Migraine attack to another?

What is your favorite comfort item?

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

Ellen


Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #3: Just shoot me now!

AwarenessMonth2012BC2

Today's prompt for the National Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge is:

Migraine Awareness Month #3  What's your worst Migraine trigger? Can you avoid it? How do you handle it?

MSG, bright lights, perfume bottles dressed as people, weather fronts and air pressure changes, a sleepless night, hormones… all are big problems for me.  These triggers are often difficult to control or predict and for people like me, they are potent triggers.

My worst trigger is actually different.  It’s different because it is almost entirely beyond my control.  My biggest, worst trigger is… my comorbid conditions. 

I’ve written at Migraine.com before about autoimmune thyroid dysfunction (Graves’ disease), lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.  I’ve told readers there about little known conditions called dystonia and tardive reactions.  I’ve written elsewhere about laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) as well as systemic inflammation, facial neuralgias and even about spinal problems.  Together these are my Achilles’ heel.

I’ve long ago learned how to manage most of my food triggers – I shop, cook and eat as though I lived 200 years ago.  CHECK.

I quit my jobs and remodeled my home to avoid lighting and sleep triggers.  CHECK.

I try not to go out into the public very often unless I have a way home so if noise and smell triggers set me off I can quickly get away from them. CHECK.

My hubs follows the weather very carefully and warns me when fronts are coming through that might trigger problems for me.  I try to make all my flights non-stop or I drive (at night and early morning) to avoid those pressure triggers.  CHECK.

I had a hysterectomy and quit all HRT and the hormones that became (for me) such a huge trigger for Migraine with aura.  CHECK.

All those CHECKs came with a hefty price, in more ways than financially.

So I have gone to great extremes and I’ve managed to do just about everything right and still, I remain a chronic Migraineur.

No matter how hard I try, no matter the giant mountains I have climbed to reduce my triggers, I cannot control my worst trigger: my other health issues.

Most of my comorbid conditions involve inflammation and my central nervous system in one way or another.  They are highly reactive to outside stressors (like triggers) such as illness, injury, medications or yes… stress itself.  These "triggers" cause disease flares where my immune system begans to attack my own body.  I have organ and musculoskeletal damage from them, so I MUST avoid flu and colds, dehydration, all sunlight, certain food and medicines, cold temperatures, wind… and negative emotions. 

Not only do my comorbid conditions complicate my life, but also my Migraine treatment.  As a result, when I do have a Migraine that runs amok, I have precious few options to pull me through.

  • No triptans
  • No DHE
  • No traditional anti-emetics
  • No drugs that cause tardive reactions (an enormous list)
  • No additional NSAIDs

My treatment for these comorbid conditions limits the medicines I can take while undergoing treatment.  These include the entire class of opiate pain relievers.

In avoiding all my Migraine and health triggers, my life has become pretty limited.  I had to come to terms with all my different diagnoses as well as my *new* life with them.  My “old life” and dreams were gone in one long, agonizing puff of smoke.  I went through several stages of anger and grief before I realized that I have done everything I can do to be better.  The rest, for right now, just has to wait. 

Life however, doesn’t.

While we wait for brilliant researchers to find us new treatments, I can still be a person that has value.  I do still have choices.

When I am able, I can contribute to my home community (I am a CERT trainer and medical First Responder), my Migraine community (I am an educator and advocate) and communities for those pesky comorbid conditions.  I can help others and see them smile.  I am still a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend - - and a member of the human race.

I live every day of my life now with pain because of those things over which I have no control.  My Migraines are the worst, and all roads lead to them.  If I was given a choice of a cure for any of the significant health problems I have, it would be Migraine I would wish away. 

To learn more about these health conditions, check out these helpful links:

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.

To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

Have a great day!
Ellen


Migraines and Our Hearts - Are You Wearing Red Today?

GoRed100 Good morning, Migraine people! Are you wearing red today? If not, please change clothes! :-)

Today is Wear Red for Women Day, a day to recognize that heart disease is teh #1 killer of women and build awareness and new, healthier habits.

Did you know that having Migraine disease increases our risk of heart disease? It does, so it makes sense for us to talk with our doctors about risk factors and how to reduce them. Please take a few minutes to learn more by reading Migraines and Heart Health - Wear Red This Friday.

Before I close, I want to share a video that my friend Ellen showed me. It's great fun!...

Live well,


 

Puz-only-btn


Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

Follow me on    or 

 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated February 4, 2011


Migraines, Suffering, Suicide, and Hope

HangOn166 This, week, I've seen people with Migraines talking about suicide. One of them attempted to take her life over the weekend. If I'm honest, I have to admit that I had suicidal thoughts several years ago, when my Migraines were at their worst.

You probably know the feelings that bring people to this point...

  • the hopeless feeling that we're going to spend the rest of our lives being in pain and debilitated most of the time...
  • the frustration of people around us not understanding that a Migraine isn't "just a headache" that can be "cured" with aceteminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen...
  • the fear of when the next Migraine will hit, and the fear of leaving home because if it...
  • the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy when fearing losing our jobs...
  • the despair of losing relationships with family, friends and coworkers...
  • the loss of hope of having any quality of life...
  • and on, and on, and on.

All of these feelings can build until we don't see a reason to continue living, to where we just want it all to end.

When we're feeling that way, most online support groups and forums arent the place to turn for real help. The people there aren't trained to help someone who is feeling suicidal. The first thing to do at such times is talk to a trained professional. If we have a counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist, that's the place to start. There are also hotlines we can call:

  • 1-800-273-TALK,
  • 1-800-SUICIDE,
  • and for teens, the Boys and Girls Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.

There's also the option of going to a hospital emergency room and asking for help. Once the immediate crisis has passed, online support can be valuable to help us.

But, how do we keep from getting to that point in the first place? How do we live with the pain and all the rest while we work on a good management regimen? This is why we need to be honest with ourselved and our health care team and work on our coping skills. I really think there are times in our lives when all of us can use help with coping skills. This is one reason so many Migraine and headache clinics have psychologists and psychiatrists on staff. It's not to tell us it's "all in our heads."

When I first visited the Jefferson Headache Center in Philidelphia, a psychological profile and exam was part of my first appointment. I had to see the psychiatrist before I saw Dr. Young, my Migraine specialist, and I had a huge chip on my shoulder about it. Knowing this, the first thing Dr. Tramuta did was address my question, "Just why do I have to see you, and see you even before I see Dr. Young?" He had a two-part answer to my question:

  1. He was to screen for depression. If I had a depressive disorder, was I being treated for it? If so, was the treatment working well.
  2. He was to evaluate my coping skills for living with a chronic disease, and set up appointments to help me develop better coping skills if necessary.

PLEASE, if you're having problems coping with Migraines, or any illness for that matter, seek professional help. There is NO shame in it. No need to be embarrassed. Ask your doctor for help, for a referral to a counsellor, psychologist, or psychologist. Get screened for depression, and if you're diagnosed with depression, get treatment. The prevalence of depression in the general population is 17%. Among Migraineurs, it's 47%. IMajor depressive disorder is a disease too, and there are treatments. I'm among the 47% of Migraineurs with major depressive disorder. With treatment for the depression, I'm so much more able to cope with Migraines, stressors, and life in general.

It breaks my heart to see people in so much distress and thinking of taking their lives. It doesn't have to be like that. It can take time to find an effective Migraine management regimen, but it can be done. If you're not making progress, consider a new doctor. No doctor right for every patient. Keep in mind that neurologists and pain management doctors aren't necessarily Migraine specialists. Find a Migraine specialist. Tie a knot in the end of your rope, and hang on while you get whatever help you need with coping. Find a discussion forum or some other way to talk with other Migraineurs so you don't feel alone. Remember that we need to take care of ourselves -- body, mind, and spirit.

Live well,


Puz-only-btn


Get the latest Migraine and headache news, informational articles, tips for living well, and more in my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.

Follow me on or

 

 

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated August 20, 2010


Pseudotumor Cerebri: Getting the Diagnosis Right

GettingItRight100 Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), aka idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), is often said to be a rare condition. Simply speaking, pseudotumor cerebri is a condition in which the body either produces too much cerebrospinal fluid pressure or doesn't absorb it well, resulting in increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure.

Undiagnosed or untreated, PTC can cause many problems, some of them quite serious. Those problems can range from headaches and Migraines to permanent blindness.

In England, 19-year-old  Rachel Mulhall discovered the dangers of PTC after being misdiagnosed with headache not once, but six times. In July, 2009, Mulhall went to her general practitioner doctor for a headache that she described as "something crushing her head." The diagnosis? Headache. Over the next month, Mulhall saw five more doctors at Medlock Val Medical Practice in Droylsden, Greater Machester; Tameside Hospital; and Mnachester Royal Infirmary. All of these NHS doctors diagnosed her with "headaches" and sent her home.

What happened to Mulhall is shocking and inexcusable. Please continue reading Pseudotumor Cerebri: Getting the Diagnosis Right.

Live well,


Follow me on    or 

 

   
Want this badge?                Want this badge?


Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated May 3, 2010