Migraine Triggers

Back when I was first diagnosed in Western Australia the GP put me on a mixture on Tramodol, ibuprofen and Paracetamol to dull the migraine pain to a level where I could kinda work.

Then the Western Australia neurologist put me onto doxepin an antidepressant which had a several unpleasant side-effects including changing my personality and doping me for 12 hours of the day, but again I could kinda get through my day’s work.

Now I’m in NSW the Canberra consultant neurologist has me on Topomax and Isoptin. These actually do reduce the daily pain more effectively than the Tramodol/ibuprofen/Paracetamol mix and the Doxepin without any of the Doxepin’s deadening side-effects.

However the Topomax and the Isoptin impair my higher brain function. As each day progresses I lose the ability to string together sentences, find the words I need, do any form of mental arithmetic, or any form of multi-tasking.  These medications appear to have also taken my ability to block out external noises.  I cannot “tune out” the background around me.  I cannot write these blog posts or any email if there is conversation or a radio on; if there is any form of noise in the surroundings.

I suspect this may be why my migraines have been triggering so easily in the last couple of months.  A few days ago, while bringing washing in off the line, a boy was continually tunelessly whistling at a high-pitch for a number of minutes. The pain made my knees buckle.  Mum had to sift through all the background noises to figure out what had affected me.  This kid apparently does this so much that everyone else has just tuned him out years ago.  I hadn’t encountered him before and apparently my suggestion to remove his larynx wasn’t considered an appropriate or rational response.

It is the incident that got me thinking down this path. I have a follow-up visit with the consultant neurologist at the end of the month.  If the Botox injection hasn’t worked by then, I will mention this theory and see if there is a change of medication he can suggest.

Any thoughts?

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3 Responses to Migraine Triggers

  1. Rosanne says:

    Two instant thoughts. Ear plugs are an effective way of tuning out a lot of noise and still being able to hear some of what is going on around you. Ear defenders are good if you need to filter everything out. The high pitched noises are a complete bitch – they are the ones that make me lose the plot on bad days. A screaming child is a good example.

    Topomax is known to remove the ability to connect thoughts and is actually listed as a side effect.

    As I said before, ask about melatonin to help with the sleep quality and ask about using Valium as a muscle relaxant as this is one of the few things I have found that works when the muscle tension causes the pain.

  2. Mel says:

    I asked about ear plugs while in Perth. I even spoke to the audio and hearing centre and all reports were the same: the specific high-pitch range of sounds I need to tune-out (children’s screams, power tools buzzing etc) is the most difficult to tune out so I would effectly need to block out ALL sound; wear complete noise-cancelling headphones. Big, expensive pieces of equipment. And frankly, I don’t want to cancel out all noise. That ould just freak me out more.

    The sleep isn’t that bad – I’ve been usually averaging 4-6 hours. Last night was an aberation that I am desperately hoping not to repeat.

    Valium and most conventional “sleeping tablets” don’t work on me for some reason. I’m OK getting to sleep and I’ve trained myself most of the time to shut up my brain to get back to sleep, but if there is outside noise or pain that is when I cannot get back to sleep.

    Thanks for the ideas though. I do need outside perspectives on this!

  3. kay jones says:

    All this makes me wonder whether you shouldn’t be taken off all drugs for a couple of weeks to establish exasctly what you do need drugs for. All drugs have side effects and sometimes they tend to react against one another and you get into a stage where you are taking drugs to counteract the side effects of another drug etc.etc.

    I take Migril for my migraines. However, if I take them too often then they can actually cause the migraines they are designed to cure, if you see my point. I’m not sure I’m explaining this clearly, but I’m sure you get the gist of it.

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