Migraine Suffers Please HELP!!!

Updated on January 18, 2011
P.A. asks from Cerritos, CA
15 answers

Had a bizarre skiing accident and collided with a snow boarder. Long story cut shot, I fell on the back of my head and felt that I had the wind knocked out of me. Luckily had my helmet on so it blunted the force trauma. Got up skied down the slopes and headed back home. Went the next day to make sure that there was no damage to the neck and shoulder since neck and shoulder were pretty badly sprained. MRi was done both of the neck and also on the brain both normal.

Seemed to be getting better. 2 weeks after the accident, I lost almost all vision in left eye - later diagnosed as ocular migraine that started due to the post-traumatic injury. Eye is recovering but always feels heavy but now I have a migraine and not sure that if I stop Imitrex whether the headache will return!!! Doc puts me on predisolone and Imitrex but the Imitrex makes me jittery and so tired!!! Not good when you are running after kids.

Now he wants to take Lamictal XR but I am so nervous about just popping pills. Did research on it and found out that it an epilepsy medication that has been given to migraine sufferers? Any advise would be really appreciated.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Update on what has happened:
The migraine was actually not a migraine, I went in to UCLA and got an MRA which looks at the blood vessels. I went it on Wednesday at 3pm to a vascular surgeon and was dumfounded with what he told me:
a. Due to the ski fall I had dissected a large portion of the left carotid artery. There was a big tear and a clot had formed on top of the tear.
b. A chunk of that clot probably broke off, traveled up into the brain and created the so-called "migraine" symptoms loss of vision, shakiness and numbness in the right side of the body namely arms and legs
c. I had symptoms of a transient attack aka mini stroke like symptoms. He asked me a simple question" Did any doctor examine or listen to your neck ? NO If they had they would have caught the problem right then and there.
I was admitted immediately at UCLA where I underwent a battery of tests. The tear occured near an area which is too high up in the neck and they were thinking of possibly stenting (like heart stents) and undergoing immediate surgery which probably would have been fatal. The final conclusion is that they are going to put me on medications for 6 months and let the body heal itself. What worked in my favor is that apparently my internal circulation was very strong and therefore did not let the stroke actually happen.
But the scary part is that if I had waited I got have had permanent damage from a massive stroke. I am only 39!

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I have suffered with migraines for most of my life and I had similar side effects as you with Imitrex although it was effective for me in relieving pain. I now take Maxalt which is in the same class of drugs but I have no side effects with it. My doc actually prescribed it because of the lack of side effects in most users. Hope this helps.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

If the MRI was done right away, there could have been a slow bleed in the brain causing issues. Another MRI might be needed. Also I have had something called "migraine equivalents" and it was just like I had a stroke on my left side that would go away. That seemed like a TIA (transient ischemic attack) to me..but doc said no way. However I ended up having a stroke because it probably was a TIA or at least a warning for a stroke,,,not that it is happening to you. Just to warn you that you may need a second, or even third, opinion. Don't wait around for this. In this case time equals viable brain matter. God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

ive had migraines since I was 10!!!! (thats almost 21 years now!!! hard to believe)

1) the one medication ive found to work in preventing them now is Topamax. I couldn't live without it now. it originally worked for siezures but is great with preventing migraines. might decrease your appetite a little in the beginning (i lost some weight) but nothing drastic. it DEF prevents my migraines!!!!!

2) no pain meds really work for me once a migrain starts EXCEPT excedrin migraine. funny how all those prescriptions with big price tags are designed for this but the over the counter stuff works the best.

3. my neuro recently gave me Cambia to take with the onset and it does work for those BAD ones where I don't want the caffiene of Excedrin Migraine but need a good pain killer without being knocked out.

so my advice would be:

seek a preventitive if you seem to get them a lot.
keep a couple bottles of excedrin migraine around (house, purse, car) bc it DOES work wonders!!!!! (take with coffee or soda)
inquire about cambia (no side effects that i noticed)



answers from Atlanta on

Hi P.,

Even though the MRI showed everything was fine, it is possible there is a subluxation in your spine. Simply put, your nerves aren't firing right because something is twisted or pinched. An upper cervical chiropractor can remedy that. If you're not familiar with chiropractic, it is simply a way to keep the nerve interference from causing issues that injure your health. If you don't have one, you can go to www.upcspine.com and find one in your area. Interview them as you would a medical doctor. They are usually very good at explaining what they do so it will make sense...

My husband took imitrex and I have taken prednisone in my life and chiropractic is so much more effective without the long term, awful, side effects.

Hope this helps.




answers from San Diego on

If you haven't seen a neurologist who specializes in headache pain, I would suggest one. I had a terrific neurologist that helped me get through. I was on meds for over a year, but gradually tapered off. I've used anti seizure type meds as well as Topamax (that worked the best for me too). I would suggest a neurologist that is a headache specialist. Try going to the National Headache Foundation's website. You can do a physician search there.

Sometimes we need medicines, and ones that seem odd to treat migraines, but that is because some causes are why certain meds aren't understood. I suffered with migraines for over 10 years. I've tried lots of meds, some work, some don't, and it's very individual. A headache specialist will have a plethera of options for you, so if you aren't comfortable with one medication, there are many others to try.

Also, try magnesium supplements (this can be very helpful for migraines) and acupuncture + massage can be greatly helpful, as for some, chiropractic or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy). Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Honey... these aren't normal migraines. You've had a brain injury. PLEASE follow your neurologist's orders to the letter. Do NOT play around when it comes to your brain. Don't question strangers... question doctors who specialize in head trauma.


To know: IGNORE what meds are labeled as "for" (Viagra, for a famous example was a heart med. Only because of it's *incredible* success "off label" did the drug company find that spending the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to "relabel".) Here's how drugs work... companies spend billions developing, testing, certifying them. Unlike most things, marketing is just a drop in the bucket where meds are concerned. If, in the R&D process, a company develops a drug that works for both depression and as an antipsychotic... they look at what patents they already own. If the already own a bestselling antidepressant, they get it certified (labeled) as an antipsychotic. Now the drug could be a lousy antipsychotic, but a better antidepressant than prozac - but if the company already owns prozac - they get it labeled as an antipsychotic. Same token, Psychiatrists will notice that while Rx'ing the drug as an antipsychotic that it doesn't work that well BUT it works great as an antidepressant. So they start Rx'ing it as an antidepressant. OR they may find it is the BEST antipsychotic in the world when paired with a 2nd drug. If that combo becomes standard AND the same drug company owns the rights to both, they may even start pressing pills that are standard doses of both drugs. But WAIT... in the whole process of patients using it... the drug ALSO is found to work on incontinence. Guess what? That "antipsychotic" will now also be prescribed as:
- an antipsychotic
- an antidepressant
- for patients with bladder problems

Why don't drug companies add the other "off label" things onto the label? They have no need to. Word gets out through word of mouth, medical publications, conferences, and their own drug reps. There is absolutely NO need for the drug company to spend another couple hundred million to add 2 more "uses". It already gets used for them, because docs spend a LOT of time reading up on meds, because new discoveries (good and bad) are made every day. As a matter of fact, lists go out weekly as to what's going on with meds in every specialty. It's so complex (thousands of meds) that there is NO way that a single doctor can stay caught up on every med in every specialty. So neurologists stay caught up on meds in their field, cardiologists on meds in theirs, urologists in theirs, psychiatrists in theirs, thoracic surgeons in theirs, anesthesiologists in theirs, OB/GYNs in theirs... the list goes on... and general practitioners leave the detail work to the specialists and just pay attention to the whole sweeping picture (kinda like how we the public don't know every minute of every bit of news in Washington, because reporters pick the most newsworthy to print/broadcast).



answers from Oklahoma City on

My FIL takes Midol for his migraines and they go away within minutes.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi! I'm so sorry about your pain- I know how you feel, I have had a migraine for over 2 years straight now, it's a constant pain 24 hours a day. My migraine and I just celebrated our 2 year anniversary right after Christmas lol =(. I have seen neurologists, surgeons, chiropractors, pain specialists and all have ran many tests. I would get another MRI done. My surgeon ordered one and not two weeks later my neurologist ordered the same thing just to make sure.
I have sadly been a "pill popper" for about a year and a half (don't get me wrong If I can suffer through the pain daily then I don't take them- I'm a single mom and being doped up all the time is not okay in my opinion) - and I have tried everything! I've been on the anti-seizure medicines and for me sadly they did not work. I've heard great success stories from other sufferers but some meds don't work for everyone. My chiropractor is against meds and tries to help other ways. I would definately get second or third opinions for this. If it's something that can be treated and then go away it's better to know sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to fix if at all. I had a few cheerleading accidents and well just bad genes, but my neck is now curved in the opposite direction, I have spinal stenosis and a cyst on my spinal cord- sadly if we had caught some of these problems in highschool and college when the cheer accidents occured, I probably wouldn't be as bad as I am now- with no cure in sight as occording to the surgeons I'm too young for reconstructive neck surgery. Please see as many doctors as possible!
Raceagainstpain.com is an interactive website for chronic pain sufferers (Boston Scientifics pain site) and there are a lot of people who are willing to talk and share experiences- a lot of who were fine until an accident such as yours. You can also search pain specialists and nuerologists in your area on that site. You might want to check it out!
As for pain meds now, I'm starting to have allergic reactions to them since I've been on them so long, I have already stopped morphine, tramadol, oxycotin, vicodin, 3 anti seizure meds, and a few others. I am taking Norco but that still doesn't take the pain away just dulls it to about a 6-7 on pain scale so I can function- so at this point if I don't HAVE to have it I just suffer through the pain. Be careful with over the counter drugs too, I use to take so many that now I have stomach issues as well- it's a never ending battle lol.
Good luck with the pills and the doctors, please don't wait to be seen! Every minute counts when it comes to neck/ spinal cord injuries and your brain! If you need any help searching for doctors or just a friend to talk to you, please email me!
Take care and best of luck,



answers from San Diego on

Go see a chiropractor. Spine health is about total body health, not just your back. EVERYTHING is linked to your nervous system, thus your spine and brain. Most chiropractors also practice holistic medicine or have colleagues who do and they can refer you. You do not need to be on all these prescription drugs which only mask the problem instead of heal. Holisitic medicine will deal with the problem, not the symptoms. Your migraine is a symptom of your problem. I know, I have been where you are and my chiropractor (who also happens to be a holistic doctor) helped me and I am pain free and healed.



answers from Portland on

As a fellow migrain sufferer, I'm so sorry for your pain! I'm assuming the medication you are taking is specific to your injury? I take Maxalt and it works wonders...taken at onset of migrain. Doesn't make me loopy and I don't take it unless I need to. Maybe ask your doctor about a less invasive alternative than daily pills? I was also on a seizure med for the same reason and even though I only took it once per day, I felt drunk all the time. My roommate at the time called me 'rummy' as a nick name! Just let your doctor know your concerns and ask about options.

Best wishes:)

Edit* Also check out Dr. Oz's website. He recently did a show on headaches of every kind and (sorry excedrine migrain users!) he warned against taking it due to rebound headaches and cluster headaches...I guess it can cause a cycle?





answers from Redding on

My son and I both get migraines and the thing that works for us when we feel one coming on is a good strong cup of coffee.
Caffeine is one of the ingredients in Excedrin and it works for us if we catch it soon enough.
I take a seizure medication for nerve damage caused by shingles. I don't know if it helps with migraines or not since that's not what I take it for. But, my migraines aren't nearly as bad as they used to be.
You might need further work up since yours seem to be injury related.
Have you tried coffee?
I know it sounds strange, but that's what I give my young son and it keeps his migraines at bay. He doesn't jump around like crazy or anything. It actually puts him to sleep and stops his head ache. IF we catch it early enough.

Best wishes.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have been on every known migraine medication beginning in 1997 -- it's really just a matter of finding the right 'cocktail' that works for you. You're lucky, they know the cause so they can begin to narrow the field. Epilepsy drugs are very common cross over meds for migraines - just double check the side effects - as with any medication! Don't worry about what the original use of a medication is - so many medications have multiple uses - Botox shots for migraines are amazing and the base of skull will be wrinkle free! Really, trust your neurologist, that is why you go to them. If you don't then find a new one. I take a daily pill to manage my migraines and headaches and then I have 2 different PRN medications depending on the severity of the migraine - that's pretty standard. Good luck! Second and third opinions are never a bad thing ....



answers from Eugene on

I had a artery dissection causing a stroke 6 years ago. I had double vision for 3 months and have had migraine ever since. Sounds like a head injury similar to you. My doc has tried several med over the years. The best I have found is Topamax. Any thing was an mild form of antidepressant mad me feel awful. I also take oxycodone when I get one, this sometimes knock them out before they get too bad. If it doesn't work I use a wash cloth on my forehead and the back of my neck. This relieves the pain so I can rest. As long as I don't move the pain is gone, but as soon as I get up it will be back. The wash clothes allow me to sleep off the headaches. It seems every 6 months to a year my doc changes my meds because something new has come along and the others has stopped working. Topamax I have been on the longest. They are also looking into as a weight loss drug, food just doesn't taste the same.



answers from Los Angeles on

I will email you personally later (hopefully tomorrow), but I want to really caution you from taking these drugs the doc is prescribing....especially the Lamictal! It's used primarily as an antidepressant!
Lamictal is a drug too that for some people once you stop you can never go back on it....not something you want to be dependent on, then try to get off, and discover you can't take it anymore.
I have had vertigo for several years (chronic dizziness) and both neurologists I saw wanted me to try all kinds of crazy drugs, and they ended up messing up my brain and mental health really bad! Be really really careful, a lot of neurologists are totally brainwashed by the pharmaceutical companies and they will have you popping pills left and right and destroying your health.
I am with the people who are suggesting chiropractic and acupuncture. But I would also be careful with any neck adjustments from the chiro for a while....you may make your problem worse. You need to heal, you've had a terrible injury.
I know of a great chiro. I also am curious if the neuro you are seeing is Dr. Mehta? I know he practices in different places, and he is a major pill popper and uses his patients as "guinea pigs" for his research theories. I am SO bummed he was ever my doctor!


answers from Dallas on

You need to get a thorough check out immediately by a good neurologist. If you don't have confidence in the doctor find another one.
It once took me 6 months and 3 doctors to find the source of a problem, but if I hadn't persevered, I would be dead.
Unfortunately, after going through that and knowing better, I didn't get a 2nd opinion last Feb and now have to have 1/3 of my lung removed.
You have to be your own advocate.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions