Worsening Migraines

by Anonymous
(Tonawanda, NY)

Disabling Migraine

Disabling Migraine

I have migraines but lately they have been almost everyday (which is not normal for me) I take daily meds and medicaton at the onset. Neither seem to work.

Any idea what could be causing these headaches to increase? Some days I can't get out of bed cause it hurts so bad. I am so frustrated. HELP.....


Without any more information it is a little difficult to say what is causing the headaches to get worse. Headaches that are increasing in frequency and pain is a bit of a neurological "flag" from our point of view, so I would recommend an MRI or CT of the brain to begin with.

I see you are in our neck of the woods so to speak! Please feel free to call and make an appointment with one of us in the Headache Center at Dent Neurologic. Phone number is 250-2000. We can offer you different treatments, including infusions to break the headaches and perhaps even botox for migraine which is showing very good results in our headache center.

We have two physicians, Dr. Mechtler and Dr. Kang and 5 PA's/NP's. Any of us would be happy to see you.

If the headache is truly unbearable you could also consider an urgent care center.

Good Luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Diagnose My Headache

by Emily C
(Birmingham, AL)

I am a 25yr old female and I'm a hairstylist in Birmingham, AL. I have experienced headaches and fatigue for as long as I can remember. I have been to many specialists and still haven't resolved the issue.

I was led to believe that my headaches were a result of allergies so I've been taking an antihistamine and decongestant everyday now for the last 2-3yrs. They helped but still didn't fix the problem. Let me tell you about my headaches.
- They usually start dull and get worse as the day goes on.
- some days I don't have them at all ( those are rare )
- pain usually starts in left side of forehead (sharp pain then dull pain like a heart beat) when severe both sides of forehead and shooting pain under eye, cheek, and jaw pain.
- always with nasal congestion in one or both sides of nose
- a mild headache will make me a little lightheaded, fatigued, and a little nauseous.
- a severe headache (usually at the end of the work day) will make me dizzy, exhausted feeling, extreme nausea, blurry vision. I'll feel like I have the flu or i am motion sick) this is where light and sound will make it feel worse. 
- to make them tolerable I will wear an eye mask and lay in dark silence. If I have an appetite, eating sometimes helps.
- things that trigger them or worsens them are: 1.) change in weather (like a thunderstorm or change in temperature) or when the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold.  2.) perfumes, cleaning products, gasoline, air fresheners (anything with a strong smell) 3.) cigarette smoke
4.) loud repetitive noise.
- I thought I had allergies and that was what was triggering these headaches but recently had an allergy test and found out I'm not allergic to anything.
-So is it sinus related or migraines? I have a Sinus CT scan on Monday to find out
- This is what I know. They are not caused by a side effect from a prescription medication (got off all those), I do not have fibromyalgia ( treatment for that didn't help), and the newest and most shocking to me is that they are not caused by an allergic reaction. (I have no known allergies)
-The headaches, dull or severe, pretty much affect me everyday. They are affecting my quality of life. I have to make myself keep going everyday even though i feel bad. I don't want everyday to be me just trying to pretend like I'm fine until I can get home and close my eyes but with or without the fatigue and headache, my life has to go on. Please help



Hi Emily

You have pretty much described a classic case of migraines. The light, noise and many different odors bother you. Strong perfume, cigarettes, etc are all known triggers of migraines.

It is extremely common for migraineurs to have a sense of dysequilibrium (feeling "off" or drunk) with their headaches and sometimes even without them.

At least 75% of new patients who come to see me think they have "sinus". If the CT of the sinuses is clear, it is not coming from the sinuses.

I think you might be wasting money on the over the counter medications and the decongestant in particular will make migraines worse. These medications over time actually irritate the brain, the migraines start getting more frequent (transformational migraine) and more severe and then the patient moves into chronic daily headache.

Don't be surprised that if you stop the OTC meds, your headaches will be a bit worse for several days. You might want to talk to your doctor before doing this.

There are several board certified headache specialists in Alabama. Here is a list of headache specialists by state. I would advise that you see one to get on the right track and get the proper treatment.

Good luck!

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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4 to 5 headaches a week

by jerri tuttle
(crossville, tn)

Is there anything I can do for my frequent headaches? How do I know if they are migraines? They started about 6 months ago and are right above my eyes. I smoke and when I get the headaches I can't even stand to smell or smoke cigarettes.

I wear glasses and I just got a new prescription about the time the headaches started.

The only thing that makes them go away is goody powders (and ya I know they aren't good to take every day) or I just have to go to sleep. I'm in school and at a computer all day but I take breaks and the headaches usually don't hit until about 4pm.

I have no insurance and can't afford to go to the doctor about them. I have lots of neck and upper back pain. I'm 22 years old and feel like I'm 80 most of the time no energy to play with my son because of the headaches. If I do have energy I spend it cleaning house. Please help!



Hi Jerri,

The most common cause of headache, no matter whether tension or migraines is stress. If you are spending the day hunched over a computer, not exercising and stressed about work and school then you could be causing the headaches this way. It sounds like you are burning the candle at both ends so to speak. Neck pain in a 22 year old is usually spasming due to deconditioning, so again exercise is a great way to relieve this.

I am going to hit you about the smoking! Nicotine binds to nerve tissue and binds in the brain. It "excites" the brain over time causing headache. It also makes existing headaches worse. Besides...what you spend on the cigarettes could pay for the doctor visit so no excuses. Try to cut the smoking in half at least.

Goodys Powders (for other readers..aspirin powder) over time leads to analgesic rebound headaches so the aspirin is fueling the headache. Stopping this may settle things down significantly, just don't substitute something else like tylenol or excedrin.

There is no way to give you a firm diagnosis so at this point, yes you should see your doctor. There are many options for treatment of headaches that are generic and not expensive.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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18 years of migraine headaches

by Teresa Silva
(Laredo, Texas)

If I could have a dollar for all I and my medical insurance have paid to hospitals, doctors, exams, labs., etc., in trying to find cause and cure for my headaches, today I'd be a millionaire!

The headache (right side of head only) first appeared in 1991 at the age of 43..I never had headaches before. Since then, when I get them, which has been every year, they can last up to 3-4 months each year... a bit less at times. The Lord had mercy on me for a whole year and a half before these past months! Presently, I've been ailing for 7 weeks.

During these 18 years, I have tried all type of meds to no avail. This time, I began taking over the counter, prescribed headache meds and Buspirone as I cannot take the intense pain as when I was younger. Even my dental mouth guard which keeps me from clenching is not helping ease the pain.

Doctors...gosh, embarrassed to see any more. Had a spinal MRI taken for spine specialist three years ago...nothing wrong was found with my spine. The last neurologist I saw told me my "no name" condition had no cure and would most likely last into my 70's (I think that was a kind way of avoiding to say I had to die to be freed of this condition).

I admit there are multiple triggers and I can identify with some that apply to my condition. Yet that does not diminish the intense pain nor the torture of sleep deprivation during these times. Like many sufferers, I cannot lie down during a severe onset...the pain is worse.
Wish I could offer someone a glimpse of some cure. Sadly, all my 4 children inherited the headaches. I pray a cure will soon be found and they won't have to suffer as long as I have.
If anyone has new information on this subject, please let me know.



Hi Teresa,

I will assume you have also had an MRI of the brain and that too was normal.

It is a little difficult to say what is happening. A right sided headache could be many different things including migraine, cluster headache or paroxsysmal hemicrainia. Without any other symptoms I really can't tell.

I think is is important that you get to see a board certified headache specialist. There is an excellent one in Dallas, Dr. John Krutz. He has a full service clinic with infusion available and IV steriod might help.

Good luck..
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C


Thank you so much for your response and information. Just to know someone cares and takes the time to help is very consoling. You've been there and know this situation gets old.
I will consider that Dr. in Dallas .
Blessings to you and yours,
Teresa Silva


No problem Teresa...hope you feel better soon..

Mary Kay

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