Migraine cycles every 10 days

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Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:17 pm

I've got 44 years of chronic migraines and the last 3 or 4 years my control of triggers has gotten better and my supplement use seems to be working. I've gone from 18 days a month lost to migraine and now it's a migraine every 10 days. Truly a migraine exactly 10 days apart now for 3 years. Does anyone else have a cycle like this or do you have any thoughts on what could be causing the 10 day cycle? I can not break this 10 day cycle. I'm 64, female, in shape, plenty of sleep, retired, unstressed, rigid diet control, etc. any and all thoughts, suggestions will be appreciated.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Seaine on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:03 pm

What do you take and what triggers do you avoid?
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:54 am

Hi Seaine - Starting 5 to 6 years ago I gave up on headache clinics, neurologists etc and began reading and experimenting. An extreme low fat diet (less than 20 g per day) resulted in fewer migraines. The COQ10 gell helped reduce migraines again. And then I started with all the other supplements that might work. Gave up dairy, coffee, wheat etc. Currently still low fat and dairy free. Low soy diet.

Drugs are amitriptyline 50 mg, Florinef 1/2 tablet and Acebutotol. I've tried preventative drugs and nothing worked. I stopped all the drugs except Amitriptyline about 5 years ago. So any new drug within the last 5 years I haven't tried. Zomig the only thing effective for pain. Supplement I found effective for migraine COQ10 300 mg gel. Supplements I take and they may or may not be effective: Petadolex 2 gel per day, Melatonion 5 mg, Riboflavin Vit B2 400 mg, Resveratrol 250 mg, 5-HTP 200 mg, Magnesium taurate, Msagnesium oil (topical, back of neck), Norton fish oil omega 6,3,9, Vitamin C, Glucosamine chondroitin & MSM, Vit D3 200 iu per day, Vitamin E, Milk thistle 150 mg, Probiotic complex 1 per day. With all the supplements I eventually got my migraines down to one every 10 days. The Petadolex I will probably stop taking as I began that about a year ago hoping to break the 10 day cycle and it didn't. It's just too expensive.

In 2012 I took a copy of a study about acupuncture off the net and walked into a traditional chinese acupuncturist in Chicago and said I want this. My presenting issue was migraine and I eventually got a translator to make sure she understood my background etc. I did twice a week acupuncture for 3 months and my migraines stopped completely after the 3rd week of acupuncture. I stopped acupuncture after 3 months (money & travel involved) and my migraines did not return for a month. So I had the first 4 month freedom from migraines in 44 years. No pain at all in my head. No funny visual stuff. No sensation at all in my head. When they came back, the first few weeks were migraines all over the map. Irregular in timing, irregular in part of head affected, irregular in intensity and then they eventually settled back to my every 10 day cycle.

If I had money, ($120 a week) and if I lived in Chicago (I'm 4 hours away in rural Iowa) I would do acupuncture for the rest of my life. Chinese acupuncture really hurts but it hurts for 20 minutes rather than the 2 days of migraine so it works for me. I have tried cheaper acupuncturists (new age, chiropractors, no pain practitioners) and it did not prevent migraine.

Do you have any thoughts on the 10 day cycle?

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Migrainegirl on Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:51 pm

For what it is worth, I also take a lot of supplements including many of those you list. I discovered that my headaches increased with the omega -3. You might try dropping that for a month to see if it helps.

The 10 day cycle itself is hard to diagnose. Many people get them in weird cycles for no discernible reason.
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Seaine on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:03 pm

Who knows, doctors know next to nothing about migraines so it could be some internal hormone or brain function that causes your 10 day cycle. My migraines are generally on a 24 hour cycle. I usually get the migraine at around the same time every day. Throughout the month it will slowly change times - it's not an exact 24 hour cycle, it's a little less. So you're doing well on a 10 day cycle. I'm going to experiment more with diet and I'll try coQ-10 as well.
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:13 pm

Thank you for comments. It is so much easier talking with people that know migraine. I am planning to start decreasing my supplements by dropping one thing at a time for 3 months. every time I read a university study its a 3 month study so that's become my norm for experimenting. I'm looking for ways to cut costs and maybe go back to acupuncture. I was hoping acupuncture for 3 months would retrain my brain or lose the old pain pathways. It was a gamble that didn't work. I wish you both the best of luck with this fight.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Platypus on Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:16 am

You might try dropping the Vitamin C. Citrus is a known migraine trigger. I'm not sure if it's because of the vitamin C or something else in citrus fruits.
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 am

Ah, citrus, of course. Yes, I avoid citrus but Vit c has been an innocent in my diet for years. Platypus that is a great suggestion. If I can figure out which pill is c I'll start that this morning. Thank you.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Mini on Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:45 am

Well spotted about Vit C.

I am not sure what is in it either, somehow I doubt if it is actually anything like a natural citrus in the mass produced pill, but one thing is certain Vit C definitely triggers M for me so I have long stopped using it.

I do use many other vitamins and supplements, but I cannot use B complex when it contains yeast extracts, I can smell it in fact. Some B complex do not contain it so not I only use the one which don't. Yeast extract is a strong M trigger for me as well (like Marmite in UK for example).

Also a note of caution about diary free diet. It is vital that women no matter what age, are careful about excluding all diary from their diets, since calcium is one supplement that is very difficult for body to absorb, except in it's natural dietary form.

Osteoporosis is a real danger as we get older, causing thinning of the bones and breakages which can cause all sorts of disabilities as we get older, especially now when our lifespan is much longer we shall need healthy bones if we are to be able to live healthy and independent lives as we get older.

Once the damage to the bone takes place nothing can be done, so prevention of osteoporosis by eating plenty of food which is rich in calcium, is the only way.

I have noticed that it is not the diary foods in general, but only specific diary products, that cause M like fermented cheese, sour cream or sour yoghurts for example. It is the process of fermentation that seems to be causing the problem and is a trigger for me.

Talking about triggers I wanted to ask if anyone noticed if tomatoes are trigger for anyone, since I noticed lately that my M is more frequent and I am eating more tomatoes as we are having very hot weather lately, so I wonder if there is a connection.
So it is best to try them one at the time, rather then excluding all diary from your diet.
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:29 am

Thanks for comments Mimi. You are right to be concerned about bones. Im hoping physical fitness and love of veggies will compensate. My theory is that I get every migraine type and in some way, every migraine trigger. I don't think dairy, by itself, is a trigger. I think it's dairy combined with something else. My philosophy of migraine is that everything we do and eat is a potential trigger, at some time. I've read that gastric bypass surgery cuts down on M frequency. So, at one point in this cycle of M every 10 days, I cut my diet to less than 1000 calories a day. I'm 5' 6" and 140 lbs. the low calorie got me to a cycle of 16 days instead of 10 days. 6 extra days migraine free and low calorie experiment was not worth it. I can totally eliminate migraines with 2x a week acupuncture from traditional, trained in china, acupuncturist. But money issue makes that not a life long choice. I'm dependent on a person rather than drug and drug is cheaper. I'm striving for independence and a long life. An idea I picked up reading comments on this site is that control might be better the fewer ingredients we consume. And since I've got a 10 day cycle to work with, I'm going to try that. It makes sense because triggers can pile on top of each other and eventually overload. So I have to sit down and come up with a minimal list of foods and experiment. I wish you all lots of luck in our common struggle. And, it feels very good talking with you.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  dcook60 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:32 pm

cassie, could you kindly break up your long blocks of print this way:  hit enter twice, after every couple of sentences.  that way, more of us could read your interesting posts.

you are so fortunate that acupuncture worked wonders for you.  too bad it's so expensive.  (it did nothing for me; tried it several times).  

my diet is also very restricted.  in the 'for what it's worth' department, i've found that i can eat ZERO food chemicals.  even if none are listed on ingredient labels, sometimes the processing of the pure food item makes hyper-sensitive me, hideously migrainey.

through these many years, i've taken truckloads of vitamins and supplements of every stripe; one by one i have figured out that they are all doing me more harm than good.  it's the PROCESSING, i guess.  my diet is varied and as good as i can get it, with mostly real, non-processed everything. i do take a safe kind of vitamin D in the winter, but that's about it.  

the current issue of "reader's digest" has an enlightening article about supplements, if one is inclined to read another point of view.  my personal opinion is that we have been royally duped about the need for extra vitamins, except for specific obvious needs.  

i would be far worse without doing the dietary changes, of which the MSG thing was the most ubiquitous.  hardly anyone knows that there are at least 40-50 OTHER NAMES for this godawful substance.  

i've also got a lot of years of this monster disease, but i was older than you when they started.  i probably had lyme disease, which caused a cascade of physical problems, and at the time lyme hadn't even been invented yet!! but of course, the lyme ticks didn't know this, did they?

dianne, 44 years and still kicking at 73.  my doctor says i'm in fine shape, other than my head........
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Mini on Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:05 pm

Cassiej, I agree with you on many points, especially that it is worth watching our triggers. Even if it saves us just one or two M a month, this will be a day "won", and we need as many of those as we can.

I also believe we all react differently to the same triggers.
I have even noticed that over the years I have developed new triggers/sensitivities and some of the old triggers do not bother me as much, as they did in the past.

So if we want more of those precious pain free days, we need to observe our bodies constantly, and watch how we react to the food we eat, as well as to the environmental factors (chemicals, light, noise, weather etc).

control might be better the fewer ingredients we consume.
I am not sure that I can agree that simply eating less and reducing calories (if we are otherwise not overeating, or overweight) will in itself reduce M. This might happen, but I wonder if it can be sustained as a long term strategy? It is not very practical, or healthy to eat 1000 cal a day.

I think this might be true if in the past our diet was very unhealthy and we go from eating say processed foods to some cleansing diet, and therefore need to detox the system, but like in your case your diet is already healthy I am not sure such serious calorie reduction are beneficial in the long run.

I do believe that we need a healthy balance diet, which contains all food groups in moderation, so we will need less supplements - in this I also agree with Diane - and more natural organic foods.

Diane has lots of experience and common sense in her approach to M, and it is always a pleasure to read her posts.

I think you are on the right track too Cassiej, just make sure that you are not too hard on yourself. It is all right to relax at times, too. We are only human after all.
Good luck and keep us posted it is nice to have you here with us.
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Experimenting with Migraines

Post  Cassiej on Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:56 pm

Thanks Mini, and Dcook60.  Finding this site has been a great experience.  

For me, life with M is always experimenting.  So this 10 day cycle I've gone off all animal protein.  Just to see what happens.  It's all a mystery.  

The first time, second and third time I tried acupuncture it didn't work.  I had A with migraines and A without a migraine but only for a few weeks but no changes.  This would have been in the 80s and 90s.  I don't remember the A being very painful.  This time, I went in with a copy of a study done in Taiwan comparing A with Topamax as a preventative.  The study listed specific sites for the needles and I showed my Acupuncturist that study and said I want this!  And, I did it twice a week which is I think the reason it worked.  And, as language on both sides was a problem, I asked for someone to translate and we communicated via email.  So I was sure she understood what was happening to me, what I wanted etc.  I would site the study here but not sure how to do that.  Any suggestions Dcook? lol

In my younger days, it would have been considered bad narcissism to be so aware of every little twitch and sensation in my body.  Now it's essential to be constantly alert to all sensations and try to make connections.  

Another question for the group.  I've read in the discussions of people reporting 3 migraines a day.  How can you tell beginning and ending etc.  A migraine for me has a few days of something beginning in my head, a bad throbbing day, a sick throwing up night with throbbing head and another bad sick day.  The throbbing is damped down by scratching my head over and over.  But it's still there.  Do some migraines start and end in a short period of time?  I have ice pick jabs all the time, but that's a jab and its over.  Hours later another jab.  And its over.  Maybe the triggers have to do with the type of migraine.  So Acupuncture works for me with my type of migraine, but won't work for anyone else.  Sound right?  Not enough common denominators between us?    

Thanks for allowing me to rant a bit.  Off to fix supper.  Take care everyone and have a pain free night.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  dcook60 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:41 pm

quickie answer now, i must get something to eat.  went to a 60th birthday party in a park, and there was NOTHING i could eat except melon and strawberries.  so i'm starving.  there were 3 or 4 smokers there and the smoke drifted over to me quite often, though i kept trying to get away.  drat those smokers! long long ago i used to be one.......before the migraines hit, i had quit and now i can smell those people way before i ever see who it is that's smoking.

as for the 3 migraines/day question, it seems to me that those must be what's known as ice-pick headaches, or else clusters.   everyone's scenario is different, though.  my killer kind (which, thankfully, i get only every few months now that i have the triptans to depend upon) last for 40 hours start to finish.  they follow a pretty predictable pattern.  i have no warning (a prodome) and for years and years they would be full-blown and wake me at 4 a.m.

then there's the 12 hours of barfing, and the thinking i'm gonna die, and then being afraid i won't die.  

after the pain is gone, i have a few hours of weakness and kind of staggering around.  my brain doesn't work so well at that time, either.  but then the following day i feel as good as i ever feel.   it's like a purging has taken place for my entire being.  which, of course, it has, with no food and barely any fluid.

i feel very fortunate to have found an understanding primary doc.  i, too, feel that neuros are mostly useless, just throwing drugs at a person without much real interest in "just" a headache.  more later, dianne
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Seaine on Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:45 pm

I do sometimes get 2 migraines per day. This is only possible because of my triptans. Without taking a triptan, my migraine would last for 24-48 hours of contast pain and then throwing up. But now that I have Imitrex, I take it as soon as the migraine comes on and then it's gone within 2 hours. Sometimes, I'll wake up with a migraine and take it. Then in the evening I'll get another migraine and need to take it again. The Imitrex is only in your system for around 8 hours so once it wears off, I'm vulnerable to possibly getting another one. I don't consider it the same migraine because I had hours of no pain or symptoms inbetween.
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:55 am

Thanks Seaine.  I understand. It's a different way of counting.

If I take zomig at the beginning of my migraine and it works, I'll often have a day without pain, then the next day, a migraine again. I have counted that as one migraine because of either rebound, or, not getting enough of the Zomig in my system the first time. Even the day without pain after taking Zomig I'm still sick, stiff painful neck, nausea, etc.  I use the nasal spray and what with shaky hands and not being able to find my nose when I hurt so much some of the Zomig is on my face rather than all in my nose.  Also, my last batch of Zomig has an expiration date of November 2013 and that may not be as potent as it once was.  So that skipped day of no pain I count as Zomig rebound or not enough Zomig but really the same migraine.  That's my 3 day migraine.  

I also count it as 3 days because day one is the build up to the migraine, day 2 the migraine, day 3 the shaky recovery done best alone and in the dark.  Day one and three no pounding but still a sickness caused by the migraine.  

And, the ice pick jabs I don't count.  Yes, I can have several of those a day but by the time I get my hand to my head to rub the spot, or pick myself up off the floor if it was hard enough (LOL) the pain is gone.  I'll take that migraine as long as I live with no complaints.  And yes, I know they are more related to strokes.  But still, I'd rather ice picks than the other.

And Monday, tomorrow, I'm due to have another migraine.  I took Alieve last night as I could feel the tightness and movement within my head.  Not a migraine but something is happening in my brain.  And this time, it's in the left side, back, rather than front left side.  

It's wonderful having people that know what I'm talking about.  Thanks again.

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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  dcook60 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:18 am

i just wanted to clear up one thing i said in haste, re: multiple migraines per day.  i understand that, seaine, you can get more than one per day (lucky you!?)

in my case, the triptans have never completely taken away the pain, but it usually gradually fades away, unless i need another one in two hours (often).  the horrible ones i wake up with have always been a total waste of triptans.  unless one takes the drug pretty much at the beginning, for me it's useless.  maybe not so for others.  

the really bad part of this disease is that we all react so differently, not only to the drugs, but to the triggers (if identified) and to everything else.  no wonder the doctors want to throw up their hands and blame it on the victims.  they are doing the best they know how, which isn't very good, when there are so many causes of head pain.  unfortunately.  dianne
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Re: Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Seaine on Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:34 pm

Cassiej wrote:So, at one point in this cycle of M every 10 days, I cut my diet to less than 1000 calories a day.  I'm 5' 6" and 140 lbs.  the low calorie got me to a cycle of 16 days instead of 10 days.

Cassie, I have not tried this sort of diet myself yet but something you said caught my eye.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the ketogenic diet, which has been used to treat severe epilepsy that could not be controlled by medication. It could possibly help in other neurological conditions, especially one like migraine that has some similarities to epilepsy. I've been looking up a lot about it, and it seems just as hard/easy as any elimination diet that we try so I figured why not try it.

Basically, it's a modified Atkins diet. You don't eat carbs or sugars, and instead you eat foods high in fat and you eat some protein as well. Many people do this diet, or a diet essentially the same as this one, to lose weight. The idea behind it is that your body normally uses glucose for energy, but it doesn't need glucose specifically. If you cut out glucose, your body instead burns fat for energy, which has different effects on it. A coworker of mine recently started it and has lost 20lbs in a month or two. Anyways, someone with a condition like us would have to be more strict and it might be helpful to ask a doctor or dietician who's knowledgable about it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#!po=10.8696

I came across that article, and if you go to page 3 you will read about why they think the ketogenic diet helps. Although it's a lot of big words and pretty indepth, there is a sentence or two on that page stating that caloric restriction reduces the fluctuation of blood glucose levels in your body throughout the day, which apparently has been shown to help in some neurological conditions.

Anyways, it's kind of a non sequitor but when you said how you reduced your calories and had fewer migraines, it made me think of this.
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Migraine cycles every 10 days

Post  Cassiej on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:54 pm

Thanks Seaine - I've been experimenting more and more with diet. I appreciate the article. I may have to print it out for my family to convince them I'm not becoming an anorexic grandmother. LOL. I do remember once in my late 30s, I think, when I was so busy and overwhelmed with family and work and divorce and Life that my weight dropped down to 120 lbs from my normal 130. I was thin. And I remember realizing one day, my migraines weren't as frequent. This was back in the day of Drs prescribing as much Midrin as I wanted. I looked at the bottle and realized it hadn't been refilled in ages. Eventually the migraines did return. I didn't have time then, or the internet back then, to research and figure things out.

I am slowly dropping foods from my diet trying to find additional triggers. I've been dairy free for a few months, extreme low fat for years, and now dropping animal protein. I don't really like meat so that's easy. I can't eat fat - I always respond with a migraine in about 2 days. Migraine from eggs will hit my eyes within an hour.

And the problem is we all respond to different triggers.

Thanks again for the article.

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