9/10/07 #8 - Severe headaches, not convimced they're Migraines?

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  • Full Question:
    I have experienced moderate to severe headaches all my life (I am nearly 45). About 2 years ago I was "officially" diagnosed with migraines. There seemed to be a clear link to my menstrual cycle as a trigger.

    Imitrex does help make the episodes manageable. But it does give me some occasional eye edema, and some minor heart palpitations (both of which disappear within a few hours) Here's my question--I am still not convinced mine are really migraines. I fit the profile in terms of localized throbbing pain, one side of the head, lasting for as long as 4 days without intervention. But I don't have nausea, or light/sound sensitivity. Even the commercial for Imitrex suggests that ONE of those must be present in a true migraine. Since I have reached a level where the headaches are manageable and the disruption to my quality of life is minimized, my doctor wants to stay the course. However it troubles me to think I might be chasing the wrong problem, or taking medications I don't need (nothing is ever 100% without risk) Any ideas?

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    Dear Sufferer;


    In general, yes, either the nausea/vomiting or the phonophobia/photophobia are present for a diagnosis of Migraine. However, when the pain is unilateral, throbbing, lasts the appropriate length of time, AND correlates to menstrual cycle, it's not surprising to see a diagnosis of Migraine. Also, Imitrex is a Migraine-specific medication. It's highly unlikely that it would be of any help to you whatever if you were not experiencing Migraines.


    Still, it's your body, your life, and your diagnosis. If you're not certain of the diagnosis, why not see another doctor for a second opinion? There's never anything wrong with seeking a second opinion.


    Have you tried any of the other triptans? There are now seven in the family, and it's quite possible that one of them would work for you, but not produce the side effects you get from Imitrex.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


    If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see 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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    © Teri Robert and J.C. Krusz, 2007.

Published On: September 09, 2007