March 05, 2003

De profundis

Ugh. Migraine. Sorry guys.

Posted by Andrea Harris at March 5, 2003 07:22 PM

Do you get migraine Classic™ or Common?

I've had the Classic™ a couple of times, but I've been getting Commons lately. The most recent lasted about five days.

Excedrin Migraine, baby!

Posted by: dipnut at March 5, 2003 at 07:43 PM

I've only had the classic type (is that the one preceded by an aura?) once in my life. This may be the more common type. Or it may be a sinus headache, though those usually go away with a dose of my sinus medication and that hasn't done the trick.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 5, 2003 at 07:53 PM

Could be that pesky oak pollen. 'tis the season for that, yanno. My wife has been suffering horribly.

Or worse, you might be allergic to citrus pollen. Ugh. BTW I've got an orange tree and a grapefruit tree in my backyard; both in full bloom. Heavenly scent.

Posted by: David Perron at March 6, 2003 at 08:13 AM

No citrus trees in my direct vicinity, but there are oaks everywhere. Ugh, oak pollen.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 6, 2003 at 08:26 AM

The Classic™ is where your visual cortex starts to tingle. In the onset, that's the only symptom. There's no pain, just a very definite area of one eye's vision that's filled with shards of multicolored light. You can stare at a piece of paper and trace the outline of the blind spot. The outline is not regular; it's shaped like a Rorschach blot. After a few hours of this, vision returns, followed by a disabling pain on one side of the head.

"Aura", as I understand it, is the feeling of disconnect from reality coupled with some peculiar but very mild visual effects. The glare from a window seems to bleed out into the surrounding area; herringbone and zigzag patterns are difficult to see properly, and produce discomfort. It comes with the common migraine, along with nausea.

I've grown so used to vascular headaches that I tend to think all headaches are of this type. But lately I think the persistent headaches I get in the Spring must have an allergic component, and indeed the Excedrin doesn't seem to work as well on them.

Posted by: dipnut at March 6, 2003 at 12:43 PM

Okay then, I did have the classic migraine once. I got that shards-of-light thingie with my vision. I was walking in a mall. It was weird; it was like I was looking through a cicrular hole surrounded by broken glass. A half hour later (just about exactly) I had the stabbing pain headache. It lasted about an hour. The rest of my headaches probably have something to do with my sinuses, but I get migrainish symptoms (pain won't go away, nausea, sensitivity to light, etc.).

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 6, 2003 at 12:52 PM

My previous wife used to get the Classic on a more-or-less frequent basis. Once, accompanied (preceded) by aura that she described as severe tunnel vision.

I think it's interesting that some migraines have precursors not unlike some epileptic seizures, and that some of the medications used to treat migraines in progress are the same as those used for epilepsy (Dilantin). This could be complete horseshit, though.

My current wife also suffers from migraines; mostly the Common variety (but with occasional forays into Classic). I'm wondering what it is about me that seems to attract that sort of thing.

Posted by: David Perron at March 6, 2003 at 02:27 PM

Common migraine is often mischaracterized as sinus headache. Apparently, migraine causes inflammation of the trigeminal nerve which branches out through the forehead, cheeks and jaw, mimicking many of the symptoms of sinus infection.

I went for years believing I was having allergic reactions and sinus problems before I got a proper diagnosis of migraine. (I also get the classic kind, too, which like to crop up when I especially need to read something, like a FINAL EXAM, goddammit.)

While sinus medications may sometimes provide relief for my migraines, I've found it advisable to keep a supply of triptans for those stubborn headaches that don't respond to OTC meds.

Posted by: Julie at March 6, 2003 at 03:01 PM

I used to get migraines, from middle school up through high school. I haven't had one since - and I don't know why that is, but it's fine with me.

Epilepsy may be close - but stroke symptoms are close too. Mine were pretty severe - always on one side, starting with the auras and light sensitivity. If I didn't take the medicine right away, it would progress into nausea, tingling/numbness in one arm, and impaired speech.

In any case - just posting this to say be careful what medicine you treat them with. If they're like mine were, some of the newer medicines (shots, etc.) can cause a stroke (or so my doctor told me).

Hope you're better, Andrea.

Posted by: Demosthenes at March 6, 2003 at 04:14 PM