The Vestibular Migraine Recovery Plan That Ended My Daily Dizziness
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Most people consider migraine to be a terrible headache that lasts a couple of hours and then the person recovers and feels better. But, thats far from the reality of what its like living with migraine disease. Migraine is actually a neurological condition that along with intense head pain causes the brain to have an inappropriate response to stimuli also called triggers. Stimuli include lights, sounds, scents, hormones, weather, sleep disturbances, stress, dehydration, chemicals in foods and in the environment and so much more. These factors are easily ignored by those without migraine, but for those with migraine, it can feel like an assault to our senses and create debilitating symptoms. Migraine brains love consistency, so basically any change can trigger an attack in a hyper-responsive migraine brain. Stay with me as I take you through a bit more about vestibular migraine and then share with you the detailed plan I follow for vestibular migraine recovery.
** This is not medical advice or a substitute for medical advice. The purpose of this article is to share information and my personal experience. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your own treatment plan.
Headaches Behind The Eye Or Ocular Migraines
Its important not to confuse ocular migraines with generalised headaches behind the eye. Ocular migraines happen as a result of reduced blood flow to the eye, due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels, and usually occur in just one eye.
On the other hand, headaches behind the eyes are usually a symptom of traditional headache-type migraines, which can be caused by a number of conditions and external stimuli. Sensitivity to bright light , some prescription medications or simply staring at digital screens for too long can all lead to migraines and headaches behind the eyes.
Can I Have A Visual Migraine Without A Headache
Definitely. It is actually very common to have a visual migraine without any headache. The medical term for this is acephalgic migraine, which literally means migraine symptoms without headache. Except for the absence of a headache, the visual symptoms in acephalgic migraine are identical to the episodes that accompany a classic migraine aura.
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Navigating The Recovery Period
I know Im not alone in navigating this recovery period. I know Im not alone in experiencing the aftermath that follows an intense migraine. Does this description resonate with you? What does your recovery look like? Share the details of your aftermath in the comment section below so we can learn from one another and remember that were not alone.
Ocular Migraines Treatment And Medication
Optical migraines are challenging to treat as they occur for a very short time and usually go away within an hour. It is necessary to consult a doctor who will recommend the medications according to the frequency of the migraines as the treatment usually focuses on preventing and reducing the symptoms.
Your doctor might suggest mediations that include:
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen for occasional ocular migraine
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine
In certain cases, the medication used for treating epilepsy has also proved helpful with an ocular migraine.
If you are performing tasks that require a clear vision when an ocular migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until it passes. Even if you are driving, pull off the road and wait for your vision to return to normal before moving forward.
What Medications Can Cause Ocular Migraines
While this article does not include an exhaustive list, common systemic medications that cause ocular side effects include: bisphosphonates cyclosporine and tacrolimus minocycline hydroxychloroquine ethambutol topiramate tamsulosin amiodarone anticholinergics erectile dysfunction drugs blood pressure
Left Feeling Unclean And Untidy
Im unclean. I havent showered for more days than I can count. I havent had the energy required to stand up and raise my hands over my head in order to wash my hair. My hair follicles ache to the point that I feel as though Ive been scalped. My sheets need to be changed from how many times I got sick while I was in bed. Im too weak to do laundry.
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Diet Nutrition & Lifestyle Choices
Evidence is beginning to support the idea that migraine headaches are associated with mitochondria dysfunction. Supplements such as riboflavin , coenzyme Q10, magnesium3, niacin, carnitine, and lipoic acid, which support mitochondrial function, have been shown to help alleviate migraine headaches.2
- Be sure to also read our lifestyle recommendations for migraine headaches.
- See our essential visionwellness tips for this eye condition.
- Stress. Manage stress meditate, take cool walks in the morning, do yoga whatever works well for you.
- Computer. Avoid long hours on the computer and take frequent breaks.
- Exercise regularly, at least 3x weekly. Exercise reduces the amount of pain from migraines although it does not directlystop migraines by itself.
- Pay attention to what you eat in the event that the ocular migraines are tied to an allergy.
- Sleep routine. Wake up at the same time each morning, and get plenty of sleep at night
- Finally, acupuncture is worth considering.
Drive With Caution Or Not At All
Common sense will tell you that if you have ocular migraine symptoms while driving, pull over and stop the car.
Make sure you have a mobile or cell phone with you to call someone to come and get you.
You can always get the car later. Or call a taxi so you can get home and rest. Resting for at least 15 minutes might help – try lying down in the back seat and covering your eyes for complete darkness.
Do not attempt to operate machinery or drive while experiencing an ocular migraine.
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Ocular Migraines And Aura
There are two types of migraines that are referred to as ocular migraines. Some people refer to migraines with auras as ocular migraines.
Some people experience an aura approximately 10 to 30 minutes before a migraine sets in. Aura symptoms can include:
- numbness or tingling in the hands or face
- feeling mentally foggy or fuzzy
- disrupted sense of touch, taste, or smell
- seeing blind spots, shimmering spots, flashing lights, or zig-zag lines
Not all people with migraines will experience auras.
Ocular migraines may also refer to eye-related migraines that come with visual disturbances that may or may not come with a headache pain. These are known as ophthalmic migraines. Ocular migraines can include some or all of the aura symptoms listed above. Ocular migraines are typically the result of migraine activity in the visual cortex of the brain.
Treatment Of Migraine With Aura
When you get treated for migraine with aura, the main goal is to prevent and manage pain.
Your doctor may suggest to prevent migraine with aura, including:
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide monoclonal antibodies
Your doctor may also suggest you take or riboflavin to prevent migraine with aura.
To stop a migraine with aura once it has started, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers such as , , or a combination of and .
Your doctor may also suggest prescription drugs called triptans and ergotamines. If the pain is severe, you may need to get treatment in an emergency room with medications you take through an IV.
If you are vomiting, your doctor may recommend anti-nausea drugs.
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Complications Of Ocular Migraine
Any problems in vision should immediately be reported to a physician. The symptoms of ocular migraine should be investigated fully in order to determine that there is no other disease or condition present.
People who experience ocular migraines may be at risk for permanent vision loss. Patients should follow up with their physician on a regular basis and discuss any changes in their symptoms or their headaches.
- Doyle, E., Vote, B. J., Casswell, A. G. . Retinal migraine: caught in the act Br J Ophthalmol. 88, 301302. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2003.021808 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772006/
- Gan KD, Mouradian MS, Weis E, Lewis JR. . Transient monocular visual loss and retinal migraine. CMAJ.6 173, 1441-1442.
- Grosberg, B. M., Solomon, S., Lipton, R. B. . Retinal migraine. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 9, 268-271.
- International Headache Society. Retinal migraine. Retrieved from: https://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/01.04.00_migraine.html
How To Get Rid Of A Visual Migraine
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How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines
It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines do not require any medications. Frequent aerobic exercise is an excellent example of an effective way to improve headaches. Other strategies may include better sleep habits, stress reduction, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.
Is An Eye Migraine A Normal Migraine
Same Triggers, Same Causes and Same Treatment
Eye migraine has the same triggers as classical migraine: fatigue, skipping meals, caffeine withdrawal, stress and certain foods can trigger a migraine.
They have the same causes as a typical migraine: the chemical reactions cause cortical spreading depression that effects the electrical impulses in your brain, hormones get released, and the blood vessels spasm.
At your earliest warning signal you need to take action. If you wait for the pain phase to kick in, its too late. Then the hangover comes later.
Getting your timing right when treating an acute attack is crucial.
For mild to moderate migraines you might be able to reduce your symptoms by using or natural alternatives. Over the counter medications like ibuprofen aka Advil or Motrin or acetaminophen aka Tylenol might work well.
For severe migraines it might be best to consider using abortive medications from the family ofs, specifically designed to target migraines. Aleve if you can take it, is a combination of ibuprofen and naproxen. They are not considered for people with a history of heart attacks, strokes or any other vascular disease.
If you get migraines regularly you might want to consider a good prevention strategy or seek a more natural approach. But long term management may be required.
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So how do you treat your eye migraine symptoms so they dont progress to full blown migraine attack?
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Symptoms Of Retinal Migraine
The symptoms of retinal migraine may include:
- partial or total loss of vision in 1 eye this usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes before vision gradually returns
- headache this may happen before, during or after the vision attack
It’s unusual for an episode of vision loss to last longer than an hour. The same eye is affected every time in almost all cases.
Vision may slowly become blurred or dimmed, or there may be flashes of light. Some people see a mosaic-like pattern of blank spots , which enlarge to cause total loss of vision.
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Headaches Behind The Eye In People Over 40
In particular, people over the age of 40 may begin experiencing headaches behind the eyes more frequently as they get older due to a condition called presbyopia. As the eyes age, it can become more difficult for them to focus on objects up-close, causing them to squint and strain in order to see more clearly. This strain can lead to feelings of pain behind the eyes, alongside soreness and redness.
With other common conditions such as blurry vision, digital eye strain, and difficulty seeing up-close, its best to have your eyesight checked by an optician if youre concerned.
What Can I Do To Manage Ocular Migraines
- Rest in a dark, quiet room. This will keep your symptoms from getting worse. Do not look at a computer screen. Sleep may help relieve any headache pain.
- Apply ice if you have headache pain. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your head. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
- Apply heat if you have pain or muscle spasms. Use a small towel dampened with warm water or a heating pad, or sit in a warm bath. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours. You may alternate heat and ice.
- Keep a symptom record. Write down when your ocular migraines start and stop. Include your symptoms and what you were doing when it began. Record what you ate or drank for 24 hours before the migraine started. Keep track of what you did to treat your migraine and if it worked. Bring the symptom record with you to visits with your healthcare provider.
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What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
The exact cause of an ocular migraine can be difficult to pinpoint. But it’s believed they occur for the same things that cause migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches have a genetic basis, and some studies say that up to 70% of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine.
According to the World Health Organization , migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.
Studies have shown changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras . But exactly why this happens remains unclear.
Common migraine “triggers” that can cause a person to have a migraine attack include:
Stress and lack of sleep also can trigger an ocular migraine or visual migraine.
What Are The Dangers Associated With Ocular Migraines
Migraine with aura does confer a slightly increased risk of stroke early in life, but even that risk remains low. There is controversy as to whether women with migraine with aura should take estrogen-containing oral contraceptives due to additive stroke risk, although this is still under study.Kevin Weber is a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
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About Dr Donald Mccormack
As an ophthalmologist, Dr. McCormack diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems, and performs a wide range of clinical procedures and more complicated eye surgeries. He has special interests in treatments for dry eyes and glaucoma and has been a principal investigator in numerous clinical research trials for these conditions.
- For an appointment, call
This article is not intended to substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician.
What Are The Red Flags That My Visual Symptoms Are Not Due To Migraine
The typical symptoms of a visual migraine are positive, meaning that there is something shimmering or sparkling that is disrupting the vision. Migraines are less likely to cause negative symptoms of pure visual darkness. An episode of visual darkness typically requires additional evaluation for other conditions, including a mini-stroke .
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