Getting Migraines again after 30 years. Why?

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  • Full Question:

    I get migraine headaches on the average every week, they last from 3-5 days. Always the left side of my head. My left eye socket, the sinuses on my left side, my teeth and jaw on my left side, my ear. All feel like 5 conditions rolled into one like a sinus infection, ear ache, someone has taken a baseball bat to my jaw, teeth and eye socket. It does not stop there. I sleep continously, sometimes am violently nauseated, other times mildly nauseated where I only have to carry around a puke pail, I go from warm to cold. Even in 90 degree weather I'm putting on a sweater. I cannot eat nor drink anything as it will cause vomiting. I'm literally incapacatated for the duration of my migraine. My doctor prescribed Zomig 5 mg. I do have a lot of stress in my life as my home burned down middle of winter I'm a rescuer and lost animals, my girlfriend of 38 years hung herself, and much more. Why am I getting these awful headaches and how can I prevent them? My doctor contributes them to stress. My family is concerned and feel I need a complete exam. I use to get them almost 30 years ago, once again I'm getting them for the last 7 months.

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    Thank you, Andrea.


    Full Answer:

    Dear Andrea;


    We really can't say "why" you're getting these Migraines. Have you tried keeping a Migraine diary to identify your triggers? 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.


    As for stress - There's still some controversy, but we hate to see anyone accept that stress is a trigger without at least trying to see if they encounter triggers during stressful times that they either don't encounter at other times or they're only triggers when the body is stressed. The International Headache Society has removed stress from their list of Migraine triggers and put it on their list of exacerbating factors -- things that make us more susceptible to our triggers. Many people have sworn stress was a trigger for them until they kept a very detailed diary for a few months. More information in Is Stress a Migraine Trigger?. We hope you'll thoroughly investigate this as we think we do ourselves a real disservice by thinking stress is a trigger for us and not looking closely for other triggers during stressful times.


    How long has it been since you had a complete exam? It certainly couldn't hurt to do it if it's been a while. Other health issues can strain our bodies and make them more susceptible to our Migraine triggers just as they make them more susceptible to viruses and likely to "catch" a cold.


    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 January 10, 2012.

Published On: January 10, 2012