Posted by: LIELLA | 2009-02-21

24/7 Severe Migraines

I have had migraines since i can remember. i go to sleep with it and wake up with it. I have tried everything with my GP from Epileptic pills, migrills,grand-pa,topamax everything (all descriped by my GP except the grandpa). He made an appointment for me at a neuroligist i can only go in april due to her being so busy.what else can i do to prevent these pounding migraines until then? i need to survive for a few more months before i can see the neuroligist.please help me what medication can i take in the meanwhile. nothing of the above medications helped. the migrill makes me so sick. i get migraines so bad i cant bow forward,i see lights, i cant speak,cant laugh,and throw up most of the time it makes me so nautious. as well as i get this severe pain in my back like a nerve or a mucsle clenching into my ribs. on the left hand side on my back. as well as when i lie down sometimes at night everything seems to take a speed. everything sounds and looks as if it is fast forwarded.speech,breathing everything goes super fast through my eyes and brains. please help i am 25 years old. Female. Had it since i was 16 or 17 years of age. Does anything look famuliour to you?
Riana Bylsma

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Liella,

One of the main problems with taking painkillers for headaches is that it often leads to Medication Overuse Headache (MOH). MOH is a problem that occurs in headache sufferers who have to take painkillers on a regular basis - the headaches become more frequent and more severe! Because of this, the patient increases the dosage and takes the drugs more often, and a vicious circle is set up, making the headaches worse and worse. This can happen with any of the painkillers, but is far more likely to occur when the medication contains more than one drug, and especially if it contains caffeine or codeine. When the three are combined in one pill, there is an even greater likelihood of MOH developing. The worst culprit is a substance called ergotamine, which is sometimes included in the “migraine kits” commonly available from pharmacies. Please examine the box or insert of the medications you use, and check what they contain. And remember - MOH can also occur with prescription headache medication.

The answer therefore is not to rely on medication or painkillers! The correct way to deal with the problem is to have a proper diagnosis of the causes of the headache. If the causes are treated, the headaches no longer occur, and it is no longer necessary to rely on potentially harmful “rescue” medication.

If you see a neurologist you will just be given the same medications that your GP has prescribed, as that is how neurologists treat migraine. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which includes a neurological examination. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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