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Strange Pattern
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Strange Pattern

I frequently get migraines. Sometimes very early in the morning they wake me up, sometimes they suddenly start during the day. They're fairly random. However, there is one common symptom that goes along with the majority of the headaches/migraines I get. Any time my temperature drops below 97.5 (the common temp is 97.3) I always get a migraine. Along with this comes nausea, diarrhea, hot flashes, extreme fatigue, etc. I usually battle these headaches with advil migraine or tylenol 8hr. I switch between the two so as to not become immune to either. Sometimes those work, but when they don't.. I throw on layers of clothes and cover up in bed. If i can get my temp back up to the mid 98's, the headache disappears.

Strange huh?

It seems as though there's an "easy" fix. But every time I get a migraine the symptoms that appear with it seem much worse than the last time. I feel MORE sick, MORE tired, etc. than the last time it happened. The last one I had (yesterday) knocked me out so bad; I was randomly falling asleep for 5-15min at a time. In the middle of doing something too. I used to think that weight was the main cause for my terrible symptoms.. but I have lost 40 lbs, changed my diet to eating healthy/more natural foods and still am terrorized by these; and they don't seem to be getting better.

Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who has noticed this strange connection!

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8 Comments Post a Comment
Hi Steph,

First I just want to let you know that I am not a doctor and I am not a medical professional of any kind. I am just a fellow migraine sufferer like yourself. Everything I know if from personal experience and from what my own doctors have told me. Before acting on any advice I give you, please double check information with your doctor.

I have never noticed a temperature connection myself... although any change/stress can trigger a migraine really, so it seems very possible to me that a change in temperature could trigger a migraine.

Have you seen either a doctor or a neurologist about your migraines? It is very important to see a neurologist about your migraines. Migraines, if they have already been diagnoses as migraines by another doctor or if they are obviously migraines because of family history or symptoms, are almost always migraines, although sometimes very rarely they can be another disease or disorder and a neurologist can diagnosis what type of specific type of headache you are suffering from. If you are not suffering from migraines, then it is important to get the proper treatment for what you are suffering from... without proper treatment a disease or disorder can get worse over time. So, I just want to make sure that you have been diagnosed by a neurologist.

It is very good that you are treating these acute attacks and that when you treat these attacks the treatment is effective. If you leave a migraine untreated then the migraines will get worse over time. Normally I would suggest this as a possibility for your migraines getting worse, but you are treating your acute attacks and your treatment is effective.

Normally I suggest triptans as the most effective method for controlling acute attacks, but you are having success with the advil migraine and the tylenol so there may not be a reason to switch to a triptan at the moment. If your migraines ever become frequent (more than once a week) or if you find that you ever need to take multiple over-the-counter pain tablets in one day, it would be wise to switch to a triptan medication as over-the-counter pain medications when used frequently will cause rebound headaches and cause your migraines to become worse.

The one thing I would like to ask you though is if all of your symptoms are relieved after taking the advil migraine or tylenol? It is important that all of your migraine symptoms are relieved because a migraine is not just a headache. Migraines are a genetic neurological disease and the headache is only one part of a migraine attack. If the advil migraine or tylenol is only working to relieve the headache aspect of your migraine attack then maybe switching to a triptan would be a wise choice after all. Because every time a migraine goes untreated (and that means that it the migraine is completely stopped and all of the symptoms are relieved), there is a chance that the attacks will become more frequent and more severe with time. Triptans can only be prescribed by a doctor. Fast acting triptans are best in my opinion, such as orally disintegrating tablets (Maxalt-MLT or Zomig-ZMT) or nasal sprays (Zomig Nasal Spray or Imitrex Nasal Spray).

As for diet... diet does play a huge role in migraines, you are very right. But, it is not only about a healthy diet, although a healthy diet is very important, you are right. Trigger avoidance is another major part of diet when it comes to migraines. Many things we eat, even food items that usually are found in a normal healthy diet, can trigger migraines. The following are food items that are very common migraine triggers: cheese, chocolate, red wine, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, MSG and sulfites. Although, it is also important to keep a migraine diary or tracker to track such possible triggers as these might not cause migraines for you at all and cutting them out, if you enjoy them, is a useless activity if they do not cause your migraines (well, except for the MSG, caffeine and red wine which have all been proven pretty conclusive in scientific studies to trigger migraines... so those are safe to cut out for sure, the rest of them are pretty individual and if they don't trigger migraines, go ahead and keep eating them). Medhelp has a Migraine Tracker that you might find helpful to use in tracking your migraines in order to find possible triggers and patterns.

Hope some of that information might be of some help. Let me know if you end up seeing a neurologist or if you find out any more information. Good luck! :)
Thank you for your reply.

The migraines first appeared with my first pregnancy. I was told it was migraines and they would go away after the pregnancy and was prescribed a pain reliever (not specifically for migraines) of 800 mg of something..., and told to go home. It never helped and I hated how "woozy" the pain relievers made me feel.

Since then the migraines continued. Tylenol 8hr or advil migraine do help, but usually take the "edge" off. The headache still lingers for at least 24hrs. With my daughter's pregnancy a new 'symptom' developed: low blood pressure. Now normally this wouldn't be a big deal. However, they had to monitor my blood pressure and gave me a pill to take to try to keep it in 'normal' range. I do not know if this would be any part of the migraines but I thought it was strange that this low blood pressure is still an issue 2yrs after the end of that pregnancy. If it gets to the point of being "too low" (I can feel it happening) I normally can consume something salty and it helps.

I have always paid close attention to my body. I have regular cycles, no serious illnesses, and have never noticed a particular food/drink that is causing these. I have cut out caffeine before and that only brought on much worse migraines. I recently had one of those thorough blood tests done as well. Everything was in 'normal' range.

I would absolutely love to discuss this with a neurologist. However, I no longer have health insurance and have no idea how I could ever see one. We have "low cost" health clinics here but they only treat symptoms and rush ppl out the door with prescription in hand. They never try to find the cause.

Back in May I had a very strange "attack". I had a sudden and severe onset of muscle pain and joint stiffness. I was literally bed-ridden for days. Every movement I made, I cried out in agony. After three days of that I was finally able to get up and be seen at this 'low cost' clinic. They tested me for the flu (negative) and gave me a prescription for 800mg motrin and said "sleep it off". That attack lasted for more than a week. Of course, along with it was a constant migraine.

Also, in (i believe it was) June.. I had a severe migraine with vomiting, diarrhea, etc. etc. However, it got so bad that I felt very strange tingling and numbness in my arms and legs. I looked down at them to find that my wrists had turned in and fingers straight and stiff. Almost as if I was paralyzed. My feet/toes did the same. There was no feeling and I could not move them no matter how hard I tried. I screamed for my husband and he tried to get my hands to open, but couldn't. After what seemed to be about 3 minutes it began to subside. Feeling and movement returned. My husband said I was going into shock? I've never heard of that and how could I come out of it so fast?

I fear that something is very wrong.. at age 25 I shouldn't be having these strange things happening to me. I am healthy otherwise! I am so fearful of another one of those "attacks" happening again. I thought I was dying, that my body was shutting down. It's to the point where if I do become sick due to a migraine.. my husband acts as though I'm making it up and just lazy... because it happens so frequently. "You're always sick" I hate hearing that line and having little control.

I'm so lost.
Hi Steph,

I am sorry to hear about your health insurance problem Although, I can hopefully tell you a way around this problem.

You are having very severe neurological symptoms during some of these attacks. The numbness you described during one of your migraine attacks was probably not shock if it happened at the same time as a migraine. Severe neurological symptoms can accompany migraines, such as numbness and temporary paralysis. A migraine can at times mimic a stroke. Lots of people here on the forum have stroke-like symptoms with their migraines. But, whenever you have any new symptoms that are stroke-like you should take that very seriously and get to an emergency department right away.

Even without health insurance, most cities will have free public access hospitals for emergency situations such as strokes, heart attacks and other serious emergency conditions. I know the line-ups at these hospitals can be long, but if you go in with very serious symptoms they will usually treat your symptoms very seriously. If you go in with any neurological symptoms + head pain you WILL be seen by a neurologist, it will be the neurologist that works in the emergency department... but that is enough.

I want you to know that the emergency department will not think you are making it up or acting lazy at all if you go in with symptoms like tingling or numbness or not being able to move a limb, especially if you have a severe headache at the same time... those are all signs of stroke or possible severe neurological symptoms. Like I said before, migraine symptoms often look like stroke symptoms so you probably don't have to worry... but the HOSPITAL will worry and take your situation VERY seriously, especially at first, and that is good for you because you will get proper care.

As for what you will get out of the neurologist in the emergency department... well, they probably won't tell you a lot but you will find out if do have migraines or if you have something else. If it is migraines then it will just take time to learn how to control them and to find things that work.

You ask about being curious about the root cause of migraines. Well, migraines are a genetic neurological disease that you are born with. Think of it like other genetic disease that people are born with like diabetes or epilepsy. Let's take epilepsy for example... some people are born with epilepsy and most of the time they're fine, but sometimes they get an epileptic attack where they will have seizures because of slightly unusual brain activity, and someone who is born with epilepsy might not get their first epileptic attack until their in their teens or their 20s or even later in life, so they might not know they had epilepsy until they got their first attack, but they still always had it. It's the same with migraines, you're born with migraines but you won't know it until you have your first migraine attack.

This is what happens during a migraine attack: neurons in your brain stem temporarily stop working like they should which causes some pain, nausea and light sensitivity; pain signals also get sent to your trigeminal nerve system because of misfiring neurons, which have begun misfiring due to the temporarily dysfunctional cells in your brain stem; something called cortical spreading depression happens in the brain which is what causes the aura of the migraine as well as contributes to the pain of the migraine; serotonin levels drop in the brain prior to a migraine; blood vessels constrict prior to the migraine which could be caused by the dip in serotonin levels, the constriction of the blood vessels could also be caused by the cortical spreading depression; then, due to the blood vessels constricting, they consequently dilate after constricting and the dilating blood vessels contribute to the headache portion of the migraine.

You mentioned low-cost clinics. I think that maybe treating the symptoms and getting a prescription from a low-cost clinic might be a place to start right now. Just go in and let them know you think you have migraines. Treating the symptoms would provide you with relief at this point. And since the cause of migraines (genetics) can't be cured at this point, treating the symptoms isn't that bad of a solution if you are suffering. Write down all your symptoms prior to the appointment, write down that you think you have migraines, and write down to ask if triptans might be an appropriate medication to use and if not what would be an appropriate medication to use for the acute treatment of migraines... that way if the doctor you are seeing is acting rushed, everything is written down and they won't be able to miss anything.

I hope maybe some of that might have been helpful. I am 26, close to your age... I have very bad migraines too... It can happen at any age, even much younger... don't worry, you're not alone! I know these migraines are very scary right now, my migraines scare me when they are bad too, but you will find a way to get them under control and they will become less severe and less frequent with time.
Thank you for your response. Lots of good information!

So, next time I have a migraine with other strange symptoms I guess I'll just go into the emergency room. That seems like the best way. The clinic is terrible, the way the look at you... treat you.. I cannot stand it there.

Should I go with any migraine? Or only for one that shows weird symptoms?
I sometimes get either a low-grade fever, or have my temperature drop below normal when I'm stressed or sick, tired, etc., so I know that it can happen. Unlike you, I've never found that raising my temperature will help the migraines go away, but I suppose it might work. I know a lot of people find ice packs helpful, so I assume the reverse would also work.
Hi Steph,

With a migraine, you should only go to the emergency department if it is what the emergency department would consider an emergency situation, and an emergency situation would be like those unusual symptoms you had that your husband mistook for shock but were actually neurological symptoms.  

Other emergency situations would include:

- A sudden severe headache that is more severe than any headache you have ever had before.
- A headache that has lasted for more than 72 hours without any pain-free time
- A severe headache that you feel puts you at risk to yourself because you cannot control the pain... basically, if you have tried home-treatment and waited for it to work and it hasn't worked and you can't stand the pain and you are still in severe pain and you just can't take the pain anymore or you feel that the pain is putting you at risk for any sort of suicidal thoughts or behaviours, then get to the emergency department right away.
- A headache along with confusion
- A headache along with fainting (becoming unconscious)
- A headache along with sudden vision change (that is different from your regular aura if you get a visual aura with your migraines)
- A headache with difficulty speaking (other people might tell you that you weren't making any sense) or not being able to understand what other people are saying to you
- A headache with a seizure
I also often am awakened by migraines, and have the hot/cold thing, fighting with covers. :)  It is not fun.  There are some migraines called "alarm clock" migraines because you wake up with them.  

However, I really agree you should see a neurologist.  Having worked at many clinics/hospitals, and insurance co.  I know your situation is difficult you can ask if they have any community care programs--call the insurance dept. where ever you decide to go.  Also ask if they know of any other state programs you would qualify for.  Often they will help you with the bill.

Best wishes
Waking up with headaches could be signs of sleep apnea. Throughout the nite ur brain is not getting enough oxygen, and therefore causing the pounding by morning. Look online for more info about this condition.

Being overweight can cause this. Get the sleep study done. The results and treatment for this is life altering in a fantastic way.
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