migraines getting much worse - should i be worried?

I have been getting migraines an and off for about 25 years but sometimes going for years without any. In the last 5 years i have been getting them more frequently and they are getting worse. They are more painful and i have gone from just feeling sick to actually being sick.

To the point that last night i was close to calling an ambulance it was so bad.

I felt like it could not get more painful and if i moved my head something would 'pop'. My neck went all stiff as well, which is new.

It might sound melodramatic but i was really frightened and thought (probably stupidly) that i could have a stroke.

I have never taken anything for migraines, I tried a few things years ago but nothing worked and i feel so sick that i struggle to swallow anything anyway. In the past i have always felt that as long as i can get to my bed as soon as i know one is coming, the best i can do is just sleep through as much of it as possible.

But the last two i have had have just been spectacular and scary. I wonder if the fact i have had shingles (neck) in the last year and that i am of an age (50) where hormonal changes are occurring might be a factor.

Any advice gratefully received.

10 Replies

  • Do you have any other health problems or autoimmune disease or other family members.. and were they bad as a teenager only to go away again?

    Mary F x

  • not really, the only other thing is the shingles but that is only in that last 12/18 months. No one in my immediate family has them but i understand my great grandmother did.

    i didn't start getting them until my early 20s, had them for a few years, in fact i went through a period of having one every friday when i came home from work... and then they went away.

  • Sounds horrible, our family migraines come from Hughes Syndrome. I hope you can get them sorted, I went to this charity.. and they were pretty helpful with one of my children. Best of luck Mary F x

  • My migraines are triggered by tension/relaxation. I used to get them like clockwork every Sunday evening, when I started dreading going to my awful job, and then every Friday afternoon when I was looking forward to the weekend.

    Have you ever tried sumatriptan injections? They are self administered. It sucks giving yourself injections, but that way you don't barf up the medication.

    Also, I used to wait too long before taking my meds. They work a lot better if you take them as soon as possible.

  • I had my first migraine aged 19, and then nothing until 25. Then they came with a vengeance in my mid-thirties when I developed chronic shoulder, neck & facial pain. I probably had some mild ones in my twenties, thinking about it. I have had periods of relative quiet when they're infrequent and not bad, and periods where they've happened a lot and been awful.

    Have you been back to a doctor about the changes in your symptoms? All the GPS I've seen have said I should go back if things get worse. I think the reason mine aren't so much of a problem at the moment is that they're under control with botox, so definitely worth a trip to the doctor to try and get things sorted a bit.

    Oh, and I get neck pain too with migraine. A couple of times, during a bad attack I have convinced myself that I've got a brain tumour and will die immediately. I have had brain scans so know this is rubbish. It's normal to feel frightened. Pain can make you think such things, getting it checked out can reassure you.

    I have learned from the chronic pain that what has worked for ages can stop working and you have to re-think your strategies for managing the problem every now & again.

  • Thanks for the replies - I guess a visit to the doctor is in order. I haven't even spoken to a doctor about migraines for many years and treatments may have improved :)

  • If I were you, I would go back to my GP and get assessed for referral.

  • My migraine changed about a year ago and I started to find myself passed out and it was impossible to get to my feet for 1------3 hours, I did read a few posts about others who "faint" during an attack so that put my mind at ease to a certain degree.

    I did follow the advice on this forum to go get it checked out ( it is too late in 3 months time when you have a catastrophic brain incident and they say "why did you not see me when these symptoms started),

    I do have to say the neuro guy I was referred made it obvious that i was wasting his precious time and spoke frequently about my age --------------- BUT I had piece of mind because he did various neuro checks ( i assume this was so he could refer to these in the letter back to my GP!)

    So my tuppence worth is " go to the doc", get it checked and either come away relieved or congratulating yourself for nipping some thing in the bud.

  • Have you ever tried Imitrex injections? Giving yourself an injection is not fun, but at least you don't vomit it up.

    I used to wait too long before taking my medication because it was so expensive -- I was trying to save it. Now it is generic, and I don't wait. The results are much better the sooner you take it.

    I went through years where I had several a week. Very severe. Pain beyond description and they lasted usually 24 -48 hours.

    I have been having them for over thirty years. The good news is that they are finally winding down. The bad news is I am 54 and wasted many good years in bed suffering.

  • I was diagnosed with migraine 5-6 years ago and since diagnosis they have become increasingly worse. When I look back I can say I had my first migraine at age 18-19 but then nothing for years. I feel that a neck injury 17 years ago which has never recovered probably doesn't help and it really doesn't sound dramatic that you have seriously thought about calling an ambulance, my husband has had to call an ambulance for me now on 3 occasions in the past 3 years and on 2 of those occasions I have been injected with morphine as nothing else worked. when you are in extreme pain for several hours (or days as I have experienced) you imagine all sorts of things. All we really want is pain relief and reassurance in these circumstances. I take max melt medication as like you I get very sick, these are wafers and therefore less likely to be rejected when feeling unwell. I strongly recommend that you see your gp and consider medication. I wish you well.

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