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  #1  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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Desperate: need doctor to treat migraine

Hi all,

This is a desperate plea for help. I have suffered from migraines for over 25 years. Their frequency has increased gradually and I now have an attack about every 3 days. I have reached the limit of medication I'm allowed to take.

Normally, I would seek a doctor who I would visit maybe once a month to get some treatment program going. The problem is that finding such a doctor is difficult even when living somewhere. But: we are travelling, so I can't establish a long-term relationship with a doctor in the usual sense.

We are in Penang, about to cross to Indonesia, a proper third-world country. I'm considering abandoning our trip, if I can't get treatment.



What I need is a doctor who can continue to advise me via email. I know this sounds ridiculous. But, the only physical contact I ever had was to have my blood pressure taken, which is always normal. The rest is just talking, then taking a prescription to the chemist.

Can anybody help me, so we don't have to abandon our trip?

Regards,
Peter.
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  #2  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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I can't help with your specific request I'm afraid only offer some advice which may or may not be of use to you.

For a very long time Mrs jethro suffered from very bad tension headaches that at their worse could not be alievated with over the counter pain killers, even those containing codene. She then visited a sports injury therapist (part physio, part massause, part personal trainer) for treatment to a back injury. Low and behold the therapist took one look at her and said you suffer from tension headaches your neck muscles look like an old rope. By applying gentre pressure to Mrs J's neck she brought on a stabbing headache and then with some gentle massage she took it away again again. Upshot was after a set of deep massage sessions to neck/shoulders/back no more headaches. A streching routing and occasional massage sessions continue to keep them away.

I know that migranes are completely different to headaches but I think that a deep neck/shoulder/back massage might help in case you have some tension issue that is increasing the frequency of your attacks.

Hope you find some relief soon
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  #3  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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Thanks for sharing that success story and I'm very happy that this worked for your wife. I've been in a similar situation and had my neck 'fixed'. Made no difference... Migraines seem to come from a wiring fault in the brain, similar to epilepsy. At least that's my theory.

Cheers,
Peter.
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  #4  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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Beddhist

There are two medical people who regularly post on the Thorn Tree, 'Nutraxfornerves' and 'Qwovadis' ... I've had some excellent advice from them & Nutrax in particular is a gem looking up websites & nearby specialists for people online; she's also excellent in giving medical advice

Health - Thorn Tree travel forum - Lonely Planet

Put a post up on there ... don't give up hope!

Kira
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  #5  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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Thanks Kira, I'm going there right now.

Cheers,
Peter.
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  #6  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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I have had migraine most of my life.

I can feel a slight stiffness in my neck for a while before the attack starts, if I can cancel the neck-problem the attack will not come (this is not stress related). At this level it normally helps with Kataflam.

If it doesn’t work (seldom) I can often cure it with Imigran nose-spray (not the tablets, tablets normally don’t work under an attack)

If it goes too far (probably your level) I visit I visit a chiropractor who is a migraine-specialist, but it’s not that easy when traveling. Sometimes she has to use anesthesia to solve it.

As Jethro suggests deep massage might work and I would have tried it first, do it multiple times.
There is another trick I have tried when traveling, but it’s not completely safe and should be avoided.
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  #7  
Old 3 Apr 2009
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I feel for you mate

Beddhist,

first off I am not an md... I am a migraine sufferer. I have had them all my life. And like you can have them on a disgustingly regular basis. the causation of migraines vary tremendously (too many to list).. The usual physiological mechanism ( a very basic guide) is a increase in blood pressure to the brain (localised increase) then a sudden drop. this is what causes the "tunnelling of vision/ blindness" that proceeds (often) the pain then the drop causes the stabbing pains of the headache.. then the body jumps back and forth trying to get things right. NOW this is not true for all types of migraines but many. If you can try to map out your symptom path way, this could help the MD sort a DX.


I think the best bet is to try and figure out what your trigger is and try to avoid it (if you have one).. So one of the best things to do is try and determine what you are/were doing prior to an attack (up to 48 hours). This may help you come up with a avoidance strategy. For example I have a genetic condition that means my eyes are extremely sensitive to sunlight (UVA/B) which is exacerbated by having very light blue eyes. I ended up having to wear sunglasses all the time (once upon a time prescription ones ugly as sin too.. but now high end name brands are as good if not better) this has lessened the frequency (a lot) but not stopped them as I can not avoid the sun totally, and many other lights produce a UV wave.

A mate of mine turned out have a problem with alcohol.. if he drank 2 days later he had a class 10 migraine, he went tea total and has not had one since. An other mate (female this time) found out that it was progesterone related, got on a oestrogen pill (birth control) and has reduced the frequency massively. A third (also female) it was spinach (believe it or not). MSG and other food additives are big causer as well.As much as i hate to say it coffee (caffine) is a well known trigger..(but luckly not for me). Avoid dyhydration as much as possible.

I personally have found that the only drugs that help are a 600-1000mg dose of ibuprofen (this is a clinical dose WELL above that of over the counter recommendations, so talk to you MD first). Ibuprofen vaso-dilates the blood vessels making the fluctuations in BP less (as a dilated vessel cant reach the same level of constriction). Paracetamol can make things worse (this is a blood thinner and can cause the fluctuation in BP to be exaggerated) and although codeine helps a lot however the side-effects are not worth it (to me- besides the regularity of the intake means I try and stay away from non NSAIDS). ASA (aspirin) is no good at all. Unfortuneately this is all based on my pathology so it could be very differnt for you. Like I said I am not an MD (I am a boffin), so take all this with a grain of salt

Good luck mate
Xander
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  #8  
Old 4 Apr 2009
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Thanks for sharing your pain. But, I didn't want to start a migraine support group on HUBB!

What I need is preventative medication and for that I need a doc long-term. I will have to make a decision in a couple of days...

Cheers,
Peter.
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  #9  
Old 5 Apr 2009
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Migraine

Beddhist,

I had almost identical pattern, migranous attacks escalating to every three days. Like you sought doctors advice etc etc etc.. was constantly taking "Imigran recovery"

I had a stroke in December (I'm 45) and ended up being seen by a neurologist who enquired about my migraines. He sent me for an eccho-cardiogram as there were no obvious cause for a stroke at my age/health.

They found I had a hole in my heart. (PFO)

Was seen by leading surgeon who confirmed the link between PFO and migraine/stroke.

Had the heart surgery 5 weeks ago and not had so much as a twinge , let alone a migranous attack..

Your migraine is a symptom of something wrong, get yourself to a CARDIOLOGIST and request they check for PFO. Seeking constant medical advice by email is not your answer.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 6 Apr 2009
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May not help but riped this off the web.

According to migraine experts, the most common triggers for migraine headaches include stress, lack of sleep, and skipping meals. Other triggers include weather or altitude changes, pollution, smells, any sort of sleep problems, and other senses, like lighting. Foods that include aspartame or MSG (monosodium glutamate) also have been identified as triggers to migraines. Another large trigger is smoking, as it constricts already small blood vessels.

Experts say that prevention is the easiest way to deal with a migraine. This means identifying your own pattern of migraine headaches and triggers. Some experts prescribe or recommend non-migraine medications daily in order to prevent migraine headaches. Doctors also state there is a distinct "window of opportunity" in which migraines are starting and can be most easily treated, without them running their course. This timeframe is limited to the first hour of the headache. However, experts admit most migraine sufferers do not want to bring on the unspeakable and convince themselves that they are only having a tension headache.

Once a migraine has started, several types of medication can be used to treat them. Over the counter medications, such as Tylenol or Advil, have helped some migraines while still others utilize other anti-inflammatory agents to treat migraines. These medications focus on helping the body deal with the pain of a migraine. New medications called triptans provide the treatment of the blood vessels, which essentially helps to stop the migraine at its root cause. Such medications include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and naratriptan. However, the triptan classification does not help with ocular migraines and could intensify the vision problems leading to vision loss.

However, some migraine sufferers do not feel comfortable always relying on medications to prevent or treat migraines. Doctors suggest, and highly encourage, patients to stay on a consistent schedule for meals and sleeping; disturbances with those daily events could lead to more stress and/or migraines themselves. Others encourage utilizing supplements such as magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10. However, they stress that correct dosages should be maintained for at least three months before its intended effects can be perceived. Doctors suggest 500 mg of magnesium, 400 of riboflavin (B-12), and 150 mg of coenzyme Q10. Other types of herbs have anecdotal evidence of assistance in preventative measures; those include butterbur or feverfew. Doctors do warn that there are limited enforcement procedures of herbs; one brand could be more potent than another, so doctors suggest caution and using a reputable brand name. Still other migraine sufferers use acupuncture to relieve migraine pressure and Botox, as its primary usage is paralysis of muscles. Studies are being done to support the anecdotal evidence suggested by Botox promoters. Doctors feel that ocular migraine patients could find sunglasses, either simple or prescription, based on which wavelengths they seem to be having difficulties with.


things you can eat that may help Peppermint, Cayenne pepper think most hot peppers, Ginger, Fish.

dont eat Cheese, Alcohol non-fresh meats and hydrolyzed protein, soup mixes, Soy beans things made with soy tofo, soya sauce, broad bean pods, nuts, Yeast, watch out for dropping or raising caffeine levels (that one will set mine off)

sory I cant help more.
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  #11  
Old 6 Apr 2009
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May not help but riped this off the web.

According to migraine experts, the most common triggers for migraine headaches include stress, lack of sleep, and skipping meals. Other triggers include weather or altitude changes, pollution, smells, any sort of sleep problems, and other senses, like lighting. Foods that include aspartame or MSG (monosodium glutamate) also have been identified as triggers to migraines. Another large trigger is smoking, as it constricts already small blood vessels.

Experts say that prevention is the easiest way to deal with a migraine. This means identifying your own pattern of migraine headaches and triggers. Some experts prescribe or recommend non-migraine medications daily in order to prevent migraine headaches. Doctors also state there is a distinct "window of opportunity" in which migraines are starting and can be most easily treated, without them running their course. This timeframe is limited to the first hour of the headache. However, experts admit most migraine sufferers do not want to bring on the unspeakable and convince themselves that they are only having a tension headache.

Once a migraine has started, several types of medication can be used to treat them. Over the counter medications, such as Tylenol or Advil, have helped some migraines while still others utilize other anti-inflammatory agents to treat migraines. These medications focus on helping the body deal with the pain of a migraine. New medications called triptans provide the treatment of the blood vessels, which essentially helps to stop the migraine at its root cause. Such medications include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and naratriptan. However, the triptan classification does not help with ocular migraines and could intensify the vision problems leading to vision loss.

However, some migraine sufferers do not feel comfortable always relying on medications to prevent or treat migraines. Doctors suggest, and highly encourage, patients to stay on a consistent schedule for meals and sleeping; disturbances with those daily events could lead to more stress and/or migraines themselves. Others encourage utilizing supplements such as magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10. However, they stress that correct dosages should be maintained for at least three months before its intended effects can be perceived. Doctors suggest 500 mg of magnesium, 400 of riboflavin (B-12), and 150 mg of coenzyme Q10. Other types of herbs have anecdotal evidence of assistance in preventative measures; those include butterbur or feverfew. Doctors do warn that there are limited enforcement procedures of herbs; one brand could be more potent than another, so doctors suggest caution and using a reputable brand name. Still other migraine sufferers use acupuncture to relieve migraine pressure and Botox, as its primary usage is paralysis of muscles. Studies are being done to support the anecdotal evidence suggested by Botox promoters. Doctors feel that ocular migraine patients could find sunglasses, either simple or prescription, based on which wavelengths they seem to be having difficulties with.


things you can eat that may help Peppermint, Cayenne pepper think most hot peppers, Ginger, Fish.

dont eat Cheese, Alcohol non-fresh meats meat and hydrolyzed protein, s soup mixes, Soy beans things made with soy tofo soya sauce, broad bean pods, nuts Yeast watch out for dropping or raising caffeine levels (that one will set mine off)

sory I cant help more.
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  #12  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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Thumbs up

Thanks for all your advice. I saw a neurologist at a local hospital and he agreed to follow up the prophylactic treatment via email, within limits, of course.

That stroke thingy is worrying and I wasn't aware that migraines can be a symptom of another thing going wrong. I hope you have recovered completely from your surgery. I'm a little older than you, so I take my chances for now and have a complete checkup when we get to NZ.

Cheers,
Peter,
(about to cross to Sumatra)
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  #13  
Old 24 Apr 2009
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Getting rid of a migraine is one of life's simplest things. Not recognized by the medical community of course, but effective nonetheless. Every morning take a Feverfew tablet. Better yet, when you get home, plant some in your backyard and eat a sprig or two for breakfast. The next thing that will help in your case since you are on the road, is to find a source of serratiopeptidase and take it twice a day. If the drugstore doesn't have any, go to a pet store. It is used there to clean out the arteries of show dogs and horses so they don't develop high blood pressure. If you have a friend who can mail a bottle of fevefew to you, it is found in any health food store or even wal-mart.

joe
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  #14  
Old 24 Apr 2009
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This may sound silly, but how much water do you drink per day? Head aches (different from chronic migraine I know) are often caused by dehydration, and existing migraine can get a lot worse. Add to that stress and not enough sleep and it gets hairy.

Until you get to see a doctor, you could try these things and see if there is a difference. In tropical climate, with exercise on the bike, force yourself to drink ~5 litres of water per day, more if you consume dehydrating fluids (alcohol, tea, coffee!), and make sure you get a good nights sleep. Nutrition should also be looked into, as mentioned above. Maybe it doesnt solve the problem, but at least takes away some multipliers of it, easy enough to try anyways.
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  #15  
Old 25 Apr 2009
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There are many different kinds of headaches and you can't generalise.
Just to set the record right:
I can get migraine but have learned to control it with aspirin. Ibuprofen and stuff like that doesn't work.

I had my heart scanned resently(for another reason) and there was Nothing wrong.

I have exerted myself on my bicycle in the tropics, close to heatstroke, drinking 3-4 liters of water a day, but DON'T get any migraine of that. At home I live on tea solely, without any negative effects.

I can eat Cheese, soup mixes, Soy beans things made with soy tofo, soya sauce, broad bean pods, nuts, without problems.

If it was so easy to avoid as some of you say, by just eating a few twigs every day, I'm sure someone would make some approved medicine with the active ingredients as it would make him a millionaire in one day, just by selling the patent.

Hope your contact can help you continue your trip.
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