My 16 year old son began having migraines about 1 year ago. There is a 4 generation history of migraine in our family (I have had them for 33 years). His headaches almost always begin during the night and awaken him about 2 - 4 a.m. He has aura, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and pain on one side of his face and at the top and back of his head. He has the headaches about 3 days per week and it has severely affected his schooling. We consulted a neurologist who recommended Zomig and propranolol.The Zomig did not help and before we were able to explore any further options, my husband was laid off and we now have no insurance. My son has been taking Naproxen for the pain and then he tries to sleep through the episode. He has also been taking feverfew as a preventative (which has helped me immensely with my migraines). We had heard that sometimes vitamins/calcium help and so have been giving him a general multi-vitamin and an over-the-counter calcium supplement. He also takes Clarinex for his hay-fever-type allergies and a decongestant for sinus headaches (which seem to trigger or aggravate the migraines).He is otherwise healthy; 6'2'', 160 lbs., plays basketball, runs cross country, and lifts weights. This has really disrupted his young life and has been very discouraging for our family in our attempts to help him. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Frustrated Mom.
Answer:Dear Frustrated Mom;
Your son's lineage is a comfort feature for a headache physician, as headaches often run in families. He might benefit from a better, sounder and deeper sleep pattern. His night-time headaches might reduce. I like an item called tizanidine (Zanaflex) to help create good sleep and reduce migraines. Naproxen can be tough on the stomach and can contribute to analgesic rebound headache if taken with real regularity. Magnesium supplements have been tried rather successfully, but I don't know of any convincing data with calcium (other than the need to keep magnesium and calcium balanced). Sinus headaches are migraines about 90% of the time, having a different presentation and decongestants and antihistamines usually don't have much to offer. An older medication called Midrin can be useful to treat the headache itself, as the migraine-specific triptans are expensive.
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
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Published On: April 30, 2007