Chronic Migraines with no trigger or causes?

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  • Full Question:

    I'm an 18 year old girl who's been diagnosed with chronic migraines with No trigger or causes. I've had an EEG, MRI, multiple ct scans, and lots of blood work done. Everything was normal besides I'm low on b-12 which went back up to normal with supplements. Frequently I've noticed that I've been getting sharp shooting pain on my left side above my temple it last 30 seconds top and is random. Do you have any ideas on what could be causing these or my migraines? Michelle.


    Full Answer:

    Dear Meg;


    Migraines don't just happen. They have triggers. It can take some time to determine what those 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 find a list of potential triggers in Common Migraine Triggers. You can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary. Some Migraineurs have food triggers; some don't. It's advisable to determine if you do, 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.


    When Migraineurs are having problems identifying their triggers, we suggest a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to rule out a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Some doctors think it can be ruled out if an eye exam doesn't show any papilledema (swelling of the optic nerve), but that is incorrect. The only truly definitive diagnostic test for this is the lumbar puncture. IIH can trigger Migraines. You can find more information on this in Pseudotumor Cerebri (IIH) – The Basics.


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    Regarding the tests you've had — these tests usually ARE "normal" in Migraine patients. They're used to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.


    Don't confuse cause with triggers. Migraine is a primary headache disorder, which means that it's not caused by any other condition. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease caused by genetics and neurons in the brain that are overly sensitive and react to our triggers. Triggers are what provoke individual Migraine attacks.


    The sharp, shooting pains you describe may be ice pick headaches, but only your own doctor can diagnose. You can find information about ice pick headaches in Ice Pick Headaches - The Basics.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



    If you need help finding a  Migraine and headache specialist,
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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 17, 2013.

Published On: April 17, 2013