Limitations

Migraine vertigo head spins.png

My doctor is pretty adamant I should work from home or, at the very least, in town. Due to, yes, the vertigo. Which seems to have a bit of a mileage meter on it. Ten minutes of drive time and I am fine. Over that and it is pushing it and will generally trigger mild, moderate to severe vertigo. The more I do it, the worse it gets. One of the reasons I had to go on leave was it was getting to the point bouts were severe and I couldn’t, in fact, drive to get to work.

This is a problem for me. I tried to do as she said. I looked and looked and looked some more. I applied. And nada came of it.

It is a pickle since there isn’t actually any way to treat the vertigo. It is vestibular migraines and that is that. I have tried preventatives in the past but my response record to preventatives is pretty nill. Botox is working well for me though, just not for vertigo. Just for intensity of pain really. And neck pain.

I am short on time for a solution though. There may simply not be a viable one.

5 of the worst migraine symptoms

Migraine.jpg

What are the Worst migraine symptoms aside from the pain, which we can all agree is the damn worst migraine symptom? I am not going to bother putting that on the list… it is a fact. So let us just put Pain as number 1, the worst of the worst. But what other symptoms would make the list? Here is my thinking…

  1. Nausea/vommiting- I wouldn’t put mild nausea on the list at all. I would put extreme nausea on the list. The sort that makes you chomp on anti-nausea pills like they are candy just so you can contemplate eating a fraction of the food you should be. Still being nauseated. And hoping that food actually stays down long enough to digest. Because you know once you start throwing up you will just keep on doing it until there is literally nothing left and maybe even after that. That sort of nausea. And not just a day of it but a lot of it. A lot of nausea. Yeah, that makes the list.Nausea
  2. Diarrhea- This along with number 1 is sort of what I like to call a ‘sick migraine’ because no matter the pain level I am literally incapable of leaving the house… and the vicinity of the bathroom area. This can be severe. The sort that makes you violently ill to the point you are shaking and dizzy and cannot stand anymore. As in need electrolytes stat. No one talks about it. But it happens. One of the worst migraine symptoms. People end up in the ER because of it. Completely and utterly dehydrated.
  3. Vertigo- Mild vertigo is a little disorientating. Moderate to severe vertigo on the other hand limits movement to making it impossible. You can get sudden drop attacks and fall into walls or just plan fall. Down the stairs, as I did recently. You cannot drive with it and that also triggers it. Any motion triggers it. Plane, train, boat or amusement park ride. Add subtitle text(3)
  4. Brainfog/Confusion- These are separate things but both are equally problematic in the real world. As in, literally, as soon as you step foot outside of your house these become a real problem. It can be very frustrating to think through this haze. And freaky when confusion sets in. This is on the list because of how it makes absolutely everything ten times harder than it is. Some examples are forgetting my address and phone number. But others are worse than that. BrainfogA common migraine attack prodrome symptom.
  5. Auras- Auras run a spectrum. Does it bother me when my face tingles? Not at all. When I am driving and I lose my capacity to see though that is a little more problematic. I was once stuck at work (more than once) for an hour waiting for an intense aura to finish so I could get back to closing. I was blinded by it. I also have persistent migraine auras so when I will be blinded by an intense bout is a random stroke of fate and not dependent on the migraine. It is always there, to some extent and just flares up randomly. Also, of course, before a migraine. So visual auras… can be a major problem. Now think of others. I have lost my hearing. I have had aphasia. I have had complete facial recognition issues. Think of people who get paralysis or motor weakness abruptly. I have had objects appear distorted or moving when they are not. Here is a list here of potential auras. And another set of auras that cause people significant problems are Alice in Wonderland auras. So auras can be a massive issue. And the world melted and streaked with color. She saw faces that were indistinct and ripples in the air.Long story short... she ran for a triptan.

Clearly a vertigo trigger

Add subtitle text(4)

I have migraine associated vertigo (vestibular migraines). I have had them for five years there abouts. But there is an obvious trigger for the vertigo when I have a migraine, which is every day.

Motion. All sorts of motion. From elevators to boats.

And cars.

So driving lately has been triggering a lot of vertigo. Not while driving, but after. Mild at first. Then usually a sudden drop attack. Then getting progressively worse as the day or night goes on. Other symptoms can be a high-pitched tinnitus and muffled hearing. Obvious unsteadiness. Constant sensation of motion.

Anyway, clearly, this is becoming an issue. At its worst, I did have vertigo when driving. This was prior to my long term leave. One reason I knew I couldn’t commute to work. So obviously this is an indication I should not be driving if every single time I do it is trigger day long vertigo and drop attacks. From 20-40 minutes of driving. Today it was a 20 minute drive to my psychologist and then 20 home. And it has been getting quite bad, with 2 drop attacks and a lot of lurching from the sudden dizziness.

Without driving and no motion trigger at all I have a sort of constant but very mild pulsing sense of motion.

Anyway, I asked my doctor about it and there is literally nothing to be done about it. Other than the preventatives I have already tried and recommended by the neuro.

The plummet of Doom

kurk-wall

I can’t believe I get to use that gif again so quickly in reference to vertigo but here we are. Here we are.

So I fell down the stairs due to a vertigo attack. A drop attack in fact. Dropped me. Down the stairs. You know, the sort where you suddenly have no ground to stand on and the world just gets all disorientating and you lurch or fall to the side? Either catching yourself, slamming into a wall or falling. Well, I was on the stairs so disorientation, lurch, and Plummet of Doom. I sort of was aware of the bumpity-bump down part but not actually falling. As in, I am not sure how I fell or landed but I sure as hell remember the painful slide down.

add-subtitle-text3

I have had mild vertigo for some time now. Not bad at all since I have not been driving. It is making everything bouncy. The ground is spongy and bouncy. Chairs seem like they are moving. I seem like I am moving. When I am trying to sleep the bed seems like it is falling and not and falling and now. You know… mild. But sudden drop attacks are unpredictable. And worsening of vertigo is as well, although much more predictable with a motion trigger or some migraines.

tumblr_inline_n0y7313psc1rwclmn

Bound to happen on the stairs eventually. Hell it happened while driving once. When I was commuting a distance so obviously the vertigo was worse. I was driving home and sudden spinning sensation and dropping lurch, over and over. If I didn’t control the vehicle calmly, I could have swerved off the road. As it was, during, you can’t perceive or see so no idea what was going on around me or if I was going straight. Worst experience ever. And once of the reasons I applied for disability from work and the chronic pain and all associated symptoms… but the vertigo was insane. When I returned to work, because they took me off long term, I started to have the same issues with the commute. Sporadic spinning spells at work. Drop attacks at work. I went on leave, or am trying to, because of lack of my ability to perform through pain, cope with work, concentrate, mood and so forth but, yeah, vertigo is an issue for sure. Once it begins from a motion trigger like that it would have just gotten more consistent. It was getting bad enough.

So this tumble was yesterday and I am feeling it today for sure. The left ankle is sprained, bruised rib and arm and my tailbone hurts like hell. All because my brain cannot tell up from down.

The peanutbutter sandwich

When the nausea is so bad and persistent you wonder if you can survive on bread and peanut butter_.png

So the nausea is horrific. Persistent for over a year now. Relentless. I take zofran all day. I take Gravol all day. And I am still nauseated. Still, have no appetite.

First meal of the day is dinner. I eat a small fraction and can’t eat more. Just can’t the nausea gets to me.

But in the evening late at night. With all my meds in me, I feel I can eat.

A peanut butter and butter sandwich. It sits well.  It has protein and fat. So that is something.

It has been the only thing I can eat well, eat the whole thing for one, sits well, don’t throw it up.

And it makes me wonder. Can you survive on only peanut butter and butter sandwiches?

Of course not. It is idiotic.

I just can’t eat. I have no appetite. I start eating and I get full right away and nauseated and more nauseated. I give up before I Upchuck.

Sometimes I mix it up. Peanut butter AND jam. I know. Crazy.

The peanut and butter sandwich is saving me from just plain starving.

This has to be figured out soon. This nausea is hellish.

If we go to a restaurant is like what do you want? How about a 1/4 of this dish here? can you do that? Because I can’t barely fricken eat.

But thanks to the peanut butter and butter sandwich I am not starving. Can’t be getting all the vitamins and minerals I need. I do have vitamins though I am taking.

Tinnitus: The bells they toll for you

MjAxMy1hNTgwZjM1MWFkNTU0MDMz.png

Tinnitus “TIN-uh-tus” or “tin-NY-tus” is the worse sound in the world. My volume has been quite loud lately but, apparently, I have no control over the volume. Tinnitus is simply the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. The bells, the Bells!! It isn’t a condition itself but rather a symptom of another condition. Such as, hearing loss. Or, migraines. Or, hell, could be a build-up of wax in your ears. 10-15% of people have experienced tinnitus before.

You can hear; clicking, buzzing, ringing, roaring and hissing. Low pitch, high pitch. Constant, periodic. So loud it interferes with other sounds, or so quiet you only notice it when it is quiet around you.

One cause, by the way, is loud noise exposure. My Step-father has this kind. I had read a study specific to this kind that said melatonin helps with this very specific kind. And he finds it works, when he takes it regularly.

I have chronic tinnitus. But I have TMJ as well and chronically it isn’t that loud or noticeable. Now with a migraine it tends to get louder and a much higher pitched. With the streak of bad migraines lately it is been quite loud. I usually listen to the radio at night to distract myself from this sound in order to sleep. And it is far louder than that lately. I am astonished I do manage any sleep, to be honest.

With migraine with aura, tinnitus can be an auditory aura. For example, when I say it gets louder and higher in pitch it tends to be in my aura stage. But then you want to make sure it isn’t Meniere’s Disease, and if you get hearing loss, this is something to look into.

Yet.

If you get vertigo and dizziness with your tinnitus as I sometimes do you could also get, as I do, Vestibular Migraines (used to be called Migraine Associated Vertigo or MAV).

Yet.

It can occur in the Headache phase of a migraine.

If a specific cause of the tinnitus is identified, treatment may be available to relieve it. For example, if TMJ dysfunction is the cause, a dentist may be able to relieve symptoms by realigning the jaw or adjusting the bite with dental work. If an infection is the cause, successful treatment of the infection may reduce or eliminate the tinnitus.

Many cases of tinnitus have no identifiable cause, however, and thus are more difficult to treat. Although a person’s tolerance of tinnitus tends to increase with time,19 severe cases can be disturbing for many years. In such chronic cases, a variety of treatment approaches are available, including medication, dietary adjustments, counseling, and devices that help mask the sound or desensitize a person to it. Not every treatment works for every person. Vestibular.org

 

Painsomnia and insomnia

the-migraine-manual

Two triggers are very well known to me because I have fibromyalgia. Sleep deprivation and oversleeping. Both are horrible triggers. Both are predictable triggers. The main issue with fibromyalgia is that it comes with full blown insomnia and sleep dysfunction as part of the game plan, so getting sleep and restorative sleep is, well, near impossible. This is a migraine trigger. Then, well, if you are like me years of chronic migraines and FM leads to depression which causes over-sleeping and This is a migraine trigger. It seems lose one way and lose the other way. Lose and then also lose.

Continue reading “Painsomnia and insomnia”

A positive treatment turn out for MAV

Add subtitle text(3)

Here is a post about MAV (Vestibular migraines) I made.

I fell going up the stairs today. I had felt a little wobbly and dizzy. Off-kilter as it was. Then just started with the internal vertigo and somehow ended up planted forward on my hands and knees. I got up and began to go up and slammed into the wall, which likely accounts for how I fell to begin with… as soon as you get that falling to the side sensation your body ‘compensates’ poorly by flinging you in some random direction which usually makes the whole situation worse. Needless the say I was rather carefully holding the wall on the remainder of the climb.

This is the best imagine I have seen to show a person what it feels like to walk with vertigo. When you get a drop attack… the ground feels like it is gone beneath on leg and you just fall in that direction. And this is sort of the mild version of that type of vertigo… the ground feels like moosh. Like every step you take your feet are sinking into the ground just a little, or a lot, and the ground is shifting a bit as you do. So it is very unstable. And you can lurch and stagger but either way, you are careful when you walk. And it is common for me to get this also when lying down so I feel this dropping sensation in a constant pulse… drop, stable, drop, stable. Drives me nuts and impossible to sleep like that.
 

Continue reading “A positive treatment turn out for MAV”

The Nausea and vomiting

 

Nausea

It has not been a fun couple of days for me. Migraine wise it has been around an 8. And the nausea was rolling and rolling. My cat tossed up on the floor. And when I tried to clean it up… well I rushed to the bathroom and threw up. Three times before I managed to finish the task. Needless to say my stomach was ‘unsettled’. And that stayed into this morning where the nausea continued with the migraine. More vomiting. Zofran a medication for anti-nausea simply not cutting it. I went into work 2 hours late, which made me feel cruddy. And then three up three times while actually at work, but not as much, if that means anything.

The last six months my nausea has been insane. To the point of being really unable to eat and fighting to keep things down. No appetite. Losing weight. And it disturbed my doctor so she ran tests but they came up fine so one can only conclude a severe bout of migraines that happened to have severe nausea. That tapered off though so it isn’t as bad now. But it could be. We can get horrible nausea and vomiting with any migraine. With every migraine. We simply do not know.

When I was younger I had this quite severely as well. it was quite common. I would get violently sick. Lose everything in my stomach and just keep vomiting until I was gagging. But it meant medications like triptans and anti-nausea meds had no chance at working. So that is when they changed me over to the melting triptans. Give them a chance to do something before the vomiting kicked in. Eventually after some years this became less of a symptom and in kicked the diarrhea instead… not exactly an awesome trade.

It seems cyclical with symptoms. Rising and falling and just messing with us. A co-worker asked, due to my missing work due to all this getting sick business… if I should even Be working. As I am Already part time. I don’t even know. I really don’t. I try so damn hard but I can’t prevent violent nausea and vomiting. Or vertigo. Or 9 level pain. Or blinding auras.

I can say, this is one of the worst symptoms. It is so vile. I loathe getting sick so much. I hate that the nausea itself completely steals my appetite such that when I start to eat… yeah, don’t even want it anymore. Food becomes this necessity and not a pleasure. I have been drinking meal replacements at lunch because I know I am not eating enough so a liquid diet is better than nothing.

In-between photophobia

studies have shown migraineurs can have photosensitivity between migraine attacks.

This isn’t a new study but these particular studies have fascinated me so I thought I would write about them again on this blog so that people who have not heard about them have the chance.

We all know light sensitivity is a migraine symptom. But it turns out it can be, to a degree, a symptom between attacks in some migraineurs.

 inBackground Migraine attacks manifest with hypersensitivities to light, sound, touch and odor. Some people with migraine have photosensitivity between migraine attacks, suggesting persistent alterations in the integrity of brain regions that process light. Although functional neuroimaging studies have shown visual stimulus induced “hyperactivation” of visual cortex regions in migraineurs between attacks, whether photosensitivity is associated with alterations in brain structure is unknown.

Methods Levels of photosensitivity were evaluated using the Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire in 48 interictal migraineurs and 48 healthy controls. Vertex-by-vertex measurements of cortical thickness were assessed in 28 people with episodic migraine who had interictal photosensitivity (mean age = 35.0 years, SD = 12.1) and 20 episodic migraine patients without symptoms of interictal photosensitivity (mean age = 36.0 years, SD = 11.4) using a general linear model design.

Results Migraineurs have greater levels of interictal photosensitivity relative to healthy controls. Relative to migraineurs without interictal photosensitivity, migraineurs with interictal photosensitivity have thicker cortex in several brain areas including the right lingual, isthmus cingulate and pericalcarine regions, and the left precentral, postcentral and supramarginal regions.

Conclusion Episodic migraineurs with interictal photosensitivity have greater cortical thickness in the right parietal-occipital and left fronto-parietal regions, suggesting that persistent light sensitivity is associated with underlying structural alterations. Sage Journals

 

What is interesting to look at in that last part of the quote is the conclusion where it goes over the structural changes the person with interictal photosensitivity in the structure of the brain. More and more studies are looking at the brain structure and migraines and seeing a migraine brain and structural changes occurring. It is fascinating research.