Full Question: Normally, my blood pressure runs 105/65, but during a migraine it goes up to 185/120 (average) with my pulse rate approximately 120-140. I understand the correlation between my migraine causing my blood pressure to go up, then the pain causes my blood pressure to increase more, then my high blood pressure makes my head hurt worse, turning into a vicious cycle. I’ve tried all the beta blockers, calcium-channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors but they do not control by blood pressure during a migraine – the only way to bring it down is to get control of the pain and end the migraine. My question is why when my blood pressure goes up so high, I feel so cold and shiver uncontrollably. My teeth will even chatter. I feel like I’m freezing, even if it’s 90 degrees. I’m sure there’s a vascular explanation. Can you explain?
Sometime, overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system during a migraine can result in cold extremities and increased blood pressure. You observation is correct: getting the migraine under control will reduce the blood pressure fluctuation (usually). Your clinical condition might be an excellent reason for your headache doctor and your internist to work together on your symptoms.
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.
If you have a question for this section of our site, please click** HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via THIS FORM**. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or SharePost comments. Thank you.
Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.