Daily Migraines with 6- to 12-hour breaks?

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    I've had migraines or what I called sick headaches.  I have these headaches for years.   Over the last several years, they have gotten more and more frequent.  Now I am having them everyday with only maybe 6 to 12 hour breaks between.  I'm 52 years old and a critical care nurse.  I have HTN, and CAD, so this limits what I can treat my migraines with.   Nothing is working, I feel as if I have no life anymore.  I am totally worn out and confused, I can't  do my job, so I am off work on short term disability. I am going to file for long term disability per my family doctors suggestion.  I live in a dark quiet room with ice packs,  pleaaaaseeeeeeeeeeee help.

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    Dear Jennifer;

    With only such short periods between Migraines, one has to wonder if they're all individual Migraines, or if you're having longer Migraines with temporary reduction in symptoms due to medication. You didn't mention what you take for your Migraines, so it's hard to offer much input there.

    You don't mention any preventive treatment. Anyone who has more than three Migraines a month needs to be talking with their doctor about Migraine prevention. There's growing evidence that Migraine is a progressive brain disease. A recent study showed that Migraines can cause brain damage, and that people with three or more Migraines a month are more susceptible to this damage. For more information, see Is Migraine a Progressive Brain Disease? Yes, Migraines Can Cause Brain Damage. If you've tried preventives unsuccessfully, don't lose hope. There are now over 100 medications and supplements that can be used for Migraine and headache prevention. The frustration of trying to find what works for us can make it seem as if we’ve tried it all, but with so many possible preventives, it’s literally impossible to have tried them all. See Migraine preventive medications – too many options to give up! for more information. and

    Do you know what your triggers are? Trigger identification and management is a vital component of managing Migraine disease. One of the best tools for identifying triggers is a good Migraine diary. You can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary. Some of us have food triggers; some of us don't. It's advisable to determine if your daughter does, and an elimination diet is the best way to do that. For more information and a workbook on this, see Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.

    How many days a week are you taking some kind of pain reliever or other acute medications? Taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans or ergotamines or any kind of pain med more than two or three days a week can make matters worse by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this.

    If your doctor isn’t able to help you, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It’s important to note that neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

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    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.

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    Last updated April 8, 2010.

Published On: April 08, 2010