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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a problem with migraine headaches that tend to come in spates and can leave me feeling very 'woozy' for as long as 24 hours. (I know some people get it worse than that - they have my sympathy!)
When I've had a migraine in the last day or so, I find it very uncomfortable playing sax (tenor or especially soprano) as the vibrations and the higher-pitched notes just 'hurt my brain' - literally! So far, my only solution is to stop playing for a day or two but I just wondered if anyone else has the same problem or can suggest possible remedies?
 

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I'm glad my wife doesn't play sax as nothing really sorts her migraines, but mine are more manageable - and anyway, I treat other people's for a living. Here's my heirarchy of things to do:
1 simple painkillers used as early as possible (before the nausea sets in) - for me Ibuprofen works (across the counter 400mg 3 times daily is the max, but it's actually pretty OK to use 600mg for occasional migraine if you don't get bellyache or asthma. Or paracetamol.
2 If the hedaches are only occasional and severe, prescription drugs like Sumatriptan can be gig-saving. Hooray for the NHS because privately they cost a bomb.
3 If they're frequent, preventive drugs like beta-blockers are worthwhile but it's a pain to take stuff regularly unless you're crippled with them.
4 If none of that works there's a specialist I know in London...

Avoiding triggers can be helpful, and they can be legion but you'll probably know your own. Occasionally it's obviously coffee (or Red Bull/Coke) or alcohol, or the foods with tyramine like cheese, chocolate, marmite or those pickled herrings you eat before gigs... My dad's were always the morning after gigs, which gave me a very warped idea of what Sunday mornings were for in childhood.
 

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Here in the US I've seen an over-the-counter quick-acting remedy (for acute symptoms) that contains only a liquid blend of ginger and feverfew extracts. My wife has fairly regular migraine attacks (once every 6 weeks or so, with the perceived zigzag light patterns and very real nausea), and knows what's in store later that day if the morning seems unusually bright outside. Not sure what the trigger is, but she is able to ease some of her misery if she takes Ibuprofen early on. I have no clue about migraines other than what I've seen happen to her, and to our daughter, who experiences the more-debilitating type that comes around only once/twice a year. Previously I had just assumed migraine was a fancy word for headache.

The jury is out on whether feverfew herbal extract alone has helped at all as a preventative. My wife took that regularly (a capsule a day) for several years and the frequency/intensity of her attacks didn't really seem to abate any.

On an aside, I buy the ginger/honey tea packets at our local Asian foods market and have convinced myself it's my panacea for every ailment I have (particularly my imagined ones....).
 

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i get migraines so bad i cant see, its like fireworks infront of my eyes and looknig at anything i find makes it last longer, and even the migraine has worn off there are still lasting effects left over from it,
good to hear some remedies,
 

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potiphar said:
I'm glad my wife doesn't play sax as nothing really sorts her migraines, but mine are more manageable - and anyway, I treat other people's for a living. Here's my heirarchy of things to do:
1 simple painkillers used as early as possible (before the nausea sets in) - for me Ibuprofen works (across the counter 400mg 3 times daily is the max, but it's actually pretty OK to use 600mg for occasional migraine if you don't get bellyache or asthma. Or paracetamol.
2 If the hedaches are only occasional and severe, prescription drugs like Sumatriptan can be gig-saving. Hooray for the NHS because privately they cost a bomb.
3 If they're frequent, preventive drugs like beta-blockers are worthwhile but it's a pain to take stuff regularly unless you're crippled with them.
4 If none of that works there's a specialist I know in London...

Avoiding triggers can be helpful, and they can be legion but you'll probably know your own. Occasionally it's obviously coffee (or Red Bull/Coke) or alcohol, or the foods with tyramine like cheese, chocolate, marmite or those pickled herrings you eat before gigs... My dad's were always the morning after gigs, which gave me a very warped idea of what Sunday mornings were for in childhood.
This is great advice. I get 'auras' and it's 600mg Ibuprofen immediately, followed by 200mg about four hours later.

If I'm not in time, I have to go to a dark room in between attacks of nausea.

When I have a migraine, I wish it was a hangover because I would feel better.;)
 

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I get headaches from:
-sitting in a class for a long time (especially if it's warm and bright)
-looking out of the window in the morning
-getting up late

I have very occasionally a heavy migraine. Painkillers don't work. Only remedy: a dark room, no sound. For about a whole day.
 

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I think feverfew is essentially a herbal non-steroidal - ibuprofen with petals. The two main problems with herbal remedies is firstly that vegetable products can vary widely in the amount of active ingredient, and secondly that the reason they don't have side effects or interactions is because the manufacturers aren't obliged to do any research to find them (at least in UK, I don't know about the US).
 

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Hammertime said:
I have very occasionally a heavy migraine. Painkillers don't work. Only remedy: a dark room, no sound. For about a whole day.
I used to treat my infrequent migraines very much the same until they became so frequent I went to the doc and was prescribed maxalt. Worked well. Then I think I figured out what the triggers were:

Optical stress - experienced due to studying during finals and a lack of sleep
Overall stress - due to any lack of sleep for a week during work, new babies at home, etc
Dehydration - due to not taking the time for fluid intake during stressful work situations or physical activity in which I don't replenish body fluids well enough
Allergies - I have seasonal allergies. Any combination of the above combined with a sinus headache can set off a migraine. (Sinus headaches and subsequent migraine controlled with sudafed and ibuprofen. Seasonal allergies controlled by prescription antihistamines.)

I've been able to control the frequency of the migraines by controlling the stress, managing the allergies, and consciously tracking the amount of fluids I intake on a daily basis. In the past 10 years, most of the maxalt I've been prescribed have date expired before I used them up.

Prior to getting a handle on the migraines, I couldn't imagine trying to get enough quality shedding done with frequent migraines.
 

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By all means support your favourite Pharmaceutical company. :D

If that doesn't solve the problem (vs the symptom) here's something to consider. I'll say it although I know almost no one is going to do it - meditation.

My ex had excruciating migraines most of her life which often left her absolutely debilitated. I saw her go through this for years. No need to go into detail for those of you who know about this.

At any rate, she had gone to doctors, taken all sorts of pharmaceuticals and then she started meditating (for more general reasons). She is now an advanced meditator in Transcendental Meditation and over the last two or three years her migraines have gradually been reduced to seldom and mild. Something to think about.
 

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Fortunately I only get them occasionally now. Years ago I had a myelogram that went awry and left me with severe migraines for three to four years straight. Never had a one before the procedure. I think I may have tried every possible medication out there and the only relief I found was to take 4 to 5 10mg Vicodins. They would basically knock me out for 6 to 8 hours. Most times I'd awaken without the headache.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Many thanks for all these ideas and remedies! I had no idea that my question would trigger(!) so much debate. I use Migraleve (mainly paracetamol with some other good stuff added apparently - they work anyway). I take those as soon as I feel a migraine coming on and they do relieve things to some extent. I'll try some of the other remedies suggested. As far as the sax goes, I'm lucky I don't do gigs (still learning), so laying off playing for a day or so is no problem.
Many thanks again!
Aardvark
 

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Aardvark said:
I had no idea that my question would trigger(!) so much debate.
As if it's not painfully (oops, no pun intended :) ) obvious, no shortage of opinions on this forum, regardless of the topic! :D

Cheers, and good luck!
 
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