Understanding Migraines

Top Migraine Questions and Answers

Teri Robert Feb 5, 2013 (updated Oct 15, 2014)
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Our readers ask many good questions about migraines. Here are some that are relevant to many migraine patients, along with our answers.

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Migraine preventives - how long?
Migraine preventives - how long?
Q: My doctor prescribed metoprolol 25mg ER and this is Day 2. Could it be that these have not gotten into my system yet enough to help prevent attacks?A: Yes, it's entirely possible that the metoprolol hasn't had time to help yet. With many of the medications used for migraine prevention, it can take up to three months to give them a fair trial and know if they're working.   Read more...
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Are dull, daily headaches migraines?
Are dull, daily headaches migraines?
Q: I don't feel my symptoms match migraine symptoms. Have had non-stop headaches since beginning of year. Some days there's a dull ache, others so bad I vomit.  Sharp, stabbing pains sometimes, too. A: There are several possibilities to discuss with your doctor: There's possibility of chronic migraine... the possibility of more than one headache disorder... ice pick headaches...    Read more...
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Is migraine curable?
Is migraine curable?
Q: Is Migraine curable?A: Migraine is a neurological disease for which, at this time, there is no cure. However, by partnering with a doctor who truly understands Migraine and how to treat it, often a true Migraine specialist, most Migraineurs can find treatment regimens that reduce the frequency and intensity of their Migraines. We may not have a cure, but effective Migraine management is the next best thing.
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Sharp, stabbing pains?
Sharp, stabbing pains?
Q: I'm having sharp, stabbing pains in my head. Last just a few seconds. What could they be?A: Unexplained head pain should always be checked out by our doctors to be sure it's nothing serious and to get the appropriate treatment. Nobody can diagnose us via the Internet, but we can share some information. One possibility to discuss with your doctor is ice pick headaches.
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Hysterectomy for migraine?
Hysterectomy for migraine?
Q: Would having a hysterectomy help reduce the number of Migraines I get or their severity?A: Statistically speaking, probably not. For some women, a hysterectomy does help, BUT for other women, it can make Migraines worse or make no difference at all. Following a hysterectomy, 67% of women find that their Migraines get worse. If you don't need one for other reasons, having one for Migraine is not advisable.
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Worsening light sensitivity with migraines - see an ophthalmologist?
Worsening light sensitivity with migraines - see an ophthalmologist?
Q: As a Migraineur with increasing light sensitivity, should I be seeing an ophthalmologist?A: Yes. Other conditions can cause increased light sensitivity, so it's a good idea see an ophthalmologist. Also, a higher people with a form of glaucoma called "low-tension" glaucoma have Migraines than is seen in the general population. It doesn't show on the typical glaucoma test, so it's also a good idea to have a visual fields test.
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What about migraine and risk of stroke and heart attack?
What about migraine and risk of stroke and heart attack?
Q: What's the real scoop about Migraine increasing risk of stroke and heart attack?A: Migraine does increase these risks to some degree. The increased risk is greater in women, particularly those who have Migraine with aura. It's vital to understand that this increased risk is not reason to panic, but is reason to work with our doctors on lifestyle changes that can reduce our modifiable risk factors.
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Can painkillers really make migraines worse?
Can painkillers really make migraines worse?
Q: Can painkillers really make Migraines worse?A: Yes. There are two main issues here. If used more than two or three days a week, they can cause medication overuse heaache. Also, research has shown that any use of opioids or barbiturates increase the risk of Migraines becoming chronic.
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Can I take migraine meds and antidepressants?
Can I take migraine meds and antidepressants?
Q: I've been told that I can't take Imitrex or similar medications with antidepressants because of serotonin syndrome. True?A: No, in most cases, this isn't quite true. The use of these medications together carries a warning because of the potential for serotonin syndrome. We should know the symptoms so we can immediately report them if experienced, but the use of these two types of medications is not contraindicated.
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Sinus headache or migraine?
Sinus headache or migraine?
Q: I've been having headaches with facial pain and runny nose or congestion. Sinus headaches or Migraines?A: Unless you have a sinus infection, these are most likely Migraines. Studies have revealed that more than 90% of what people think are sinus headaches are really Migraines. Only a doctor can diagnose though, so please consult your doctor.