Rodeo student with frequent Migraines for two years?

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    I am a 21 year old college student where I have a scholarship to rodeo.  I have been experiencing frequent migraines for the past 2 years.  They have been increasing in frequency steadily over this time.  I at first thought that they may have increased due to a car accident I was in about a year ago.  However, I do see a chiropractor which does not seem to help significantly.  I have seen doctors for migraines and was prescribed Frova.  Although this medication does relieve the migraine, I have side effects that cause me not be able to function resulting in missing class and practice at least 2 times per week.  These side effects include a burning sensation almost like being poked with needles all over my skin and is more severe on my face, sometimes facial numbness, shaking, confusion, and severe pain and stiffness in my jaw making it painful to even speak.  This is becoming a reoccurring almost unmanageable problem since to keep my scholarship I am required to attend class, practice, compete, and maintain a high GPA.   The doctors I have seen do not seem to understand the problem and talk to me like I am making this up.  Please help!  I have gotten to the point were my migraines are having a heavy impact on my life.  How do I get recommended to a doctor that can help or help me to find a medication that will have less severe side effects?  Would a daily medication relieve medication problems?  Any suggestions in management? Emily.

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    Answer:

    Dear Emily;

     

    Do you know of any Migraine triggers you may have other than the car accident you mentioned? Many things can trigger Migraines:

    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.

    Frova is one of seven Migraine abortive medications called triptans. The triptans include Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Amerge, Relpax, Axert, and Frova -- as well as Treximet, which is a combination of Imitrex and Naproxen Sodium. They each bind to different combinations of serotonin receptors, so they each act a bit differently. Many people who can't use one triptan, find they can use at least one of the others.

     

    At this point, it's time to move on to new doctors, specifically 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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    Anyone with three or more Migraines or headaches a month, we need to be talking with our doctors about prevention, and please trust me when I tell you that you couldn't possibly have tried everything for prevention yet. 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.

     

    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.

     

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

     

     

    To review other questions from our Ask the Clinician Column,
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    If you need help finding a  Migraine and headache specialist,
     visit our listing of Patient Recommended Specialists.

     

     

    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 June 12, 2010.

     

Published On: June 18, 2010