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Migraine - start while sleeping
An_205062 posted:
Hello all,
If I get a migraine attack, 99% of the time it starts while I'm asleep. It almost always seems to start in the early hours of the morning and the pain wakes me up somewhere in the very early am usually between 5am and 7am. When I go to sleep the night before there are no warning signs that in the morning I will have one. Its the same routine, I wake up with mild head pain but its enough to stir me out of sleep. Once I stand up and move is when it starts to get more intense. Within 30 minutes I am into full blown migraine attack. Mine end up radiating into my jaw and neck as well as head. First thing I do is down my meds (relpax 40mg, phenergan for nausea, and naproxen). I'm lucky if I can keep the pills down long enough for the replax to start working. Most of the time, I start vomiting before the meds kick in and end up having to do another round of meds. Lying down always makes it worse, so its best that I sit up with an ice pack and just try to do breathing exercises to somewhat control the nausea until I can absorb the meds enough. If and when the meds work, I usually am able to fall back to sleep because the pherergan makes me really sleepy. I've ended up in the ER on a couple occasions becuase I just cannot break the cycle on my own, and the pain is too much too bear. I"m sure you all know that feeling of willing to do almost anything just to make the pain ease.
I am just wondering if there are any others like me who's migraines start in their sleep. I have yet to really find anyone like me. And if there is anyone, have you figured out any possible explanations as to why ours start this way. Is there something we are doing while we sleep to cause this, or something we can change to help eliminate them?
jfanning1 responded:
You're not alone. Mine are almost exactly the same. Over the last 10 years, the frequency of my migraines has decreased, but the intensity has increased. Now, they nearly always start when I'm asleep, generally between 2am and 4am. The only other difference is that my pain is focused behind my right eye. The nausea usually kicks in within 15 minutes of waking up. Even after the attack is over (about 2-3 hours for me), I don't feel "right" the entire next day.
evelynhightower responded:
I've had migraines most of my life, since i was about 14 or 15, i am now 53 years old, female, and the last three years or so i have been waking up to horrible headaches that start at the nape of my neck and radiate throughout my head. Lying down in any position makes it worse, so i get up, put ice on my neck and sit up or try to walk around if i can. I do have issues in my spine from a childhood injury and do regular deep-tissue massage and chiropractic adjustments, as well as preventative meds. i take Inderal and Elavil and Meloxicam daily, and Maxalt when a migraine occurs, but more and more, the Maxalt doesn't help these types of headaches.

I feel like you do, perfectly fine before bedtime, and almost dread going to sleep because i wake up with these so often. I have recently undergone treatment with a TMJ specialist because i was grinding my teeth at night, and the tension seems to result from tightness in neck and upper shoulders. Have you thought about TMJ? it can cause terrible headaches, and if you are grinding or otherwise unknowingly contracting muscles, that may be the cause. After a year of wearing a splint during the day and a nighttime guard, and no improvement, i quit seeing the TMJ dr. I still struggle, just this week had a bad one where i was off for 2 1/2 days of work and an ER visit, so i'm not where i want to be by any means either.
puffally responded:
AllMe3 responded:

I HATE these kind of migraines. I usually get them if I have been partcularly active that day like going to an amusement park or a concert. They for me tend to be pretty severe!

Your not alone!
jck54 replied to evelynhightower's response:
I do have TMJ. I forgot to include this with my story. But I never really thought that the two were really linked in any way. Because I've had migraines almost my entire life but didn't start getting TMJ symptoms until a couple years ago. I too have a night splint, one that's specially made for me by a specialist. Since i've been wearing it, (about a year and a half) I've noticed some ease of jaw pain but maybe almost an increase in migraines now that I think about it. I never really considered that the splint could be making my headaches worse. This is something to think about. Thanks everyone.
carpetcrawler5 responded:
You probably are having neck problems as a trigger. Try supporting your neck at night, you can buy special pillows for this. Otherwise you may be grinding your teeth while you sleep, or you could have sleep apnea where your brain dosn't get enough oxygen while you're alseep.

Also the body dilates blood vessels at night to get more oxygen.
djkmi replied to jfanning1's response:
You might research Cluster Headaches. Your symptoms and night time start times sound familiar. I was diagnosed with Cluster headaches a few years ago.
ppjjluv2camp responded:
This is my first time at this site. I'm desperate with my migraines. My migraines come also 99% of the time while I'm asleep. Mine wake me up between 3 and 6 am. I too take relpax 40 mg and lay back down with ice on my head. If it's really bad, I get nausea but don't vomit. I fall back to sleep in a short time.
If I get a migraine that doesn't go away during the day, I usually can not sleep that night. It must be something in the Relpax. It's not often that I need a 2nd relpax, but lately, they are getting worse and worse. I'm getting anywhere from 4 to 7 a week and yes I work full time, a stressful job. I still go to work and work my way through the day, sometimes with much difficulty. I start with a chiro 1 1/2 weeks ago, but so far, no change.
I have alot of soreness in my neck and upper back, maybe from stress or posture. My Dr. gives me prednisone for almost a month to break the migraine cycle, but I hate doing that and avoid as much as I can.
I do have a right sinus problem that I've had 3 surgeries, that have been somewhat successful. There are times that I get such a migraine on the right side, that I feel like someone threw a brick against that right side of my face and the pain is awful.
I am now going to look into reseach about sleep apnea to see if that is a possiblity in causing migraines always when I'm sleeping. I am a female, 50 yrs of age. I am really desperate to find the cause of these migraines....
carpetcrawler5 replied to ppjjluv2camp's response:
It sounds like neck and back stiffness could be causing your headaches. You could get a steroid shot in the back of your neck about once a year. Also try using a TENS unit on your neck.

You might want to try Amitriptyline as something to help you sleep and maybe as a preventative.
beachbum1953 responded:
I too get night time migraines. Mine start after 45 min. to an hr. aand a half after falling asleep. It starts as just a bad headache that wakes me up. After getting up to take some meds it becomes full blown. I also need to sit up and hold a cold wash cloth on my head and practice breathing exercises to help deal with the pain. The pain is always behind my left eye and left forehead area. Sometimes it may go away after 30 min. or other times it can last 2 hrs. The pain is awful. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can do to break this cycle. I have had these twice before but they would go on for 2 to 3wks and then disappear. It has been about 4 weeks this time and I am exhausted. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
vbee423 responded:
Everything you wrote describes me to the T! Not sure what it is that ends up working since I basically try everything but I do down Maxalt, BAC tablets, and advil cold and sinus.That combo plus a compress, some neck messaging and a warm shower kicks me out of it.. but usually after some time with agonozing pain and screams to go to the ER
vbee423 replied to jfanning1's response:
The pain radiates over my left eye as well. And just as well as you feel, that throughout the next day, something remains and you want to be careful not to trigger it. I get the same feeling
Dawnlyn replied to vbee423's response:
I also have these migraines as well. I have been able to link these migraines and muscles stiffness to inflammation. I currently suffer from Lupus and I can also link these migrain oonset to my flare ups. It is the most painful thing I have ever felt and I do deal with a great deal of pain at times. I now take a very small dose of blood pressure medicines which seems to hold off the migraines but last night it came back with vengence. I had to actually take a migrain pill which I have NEVER had to take before. interesting enough, I took in a great deal of surgar over the holiday weekend and my lupus has been flaired up since. You may want to look at what your food intake is and isolate it that way. Goodluck
Linnyloo1982 responded:
I know that I sometimes grit my teeth during nightmares but other than that I'm mystified. As far as nausea try Ondansetron (zofran). It's sublingual and works in a couple minutes. Phenergan is a joke. I can't keep it down. You can't vomit sublingual. I also take maxalt mlt for migraine with aura. It's also sublingual. I too can't keep pills down. If you figure it out lemme know. I don't have sleep apnea. Or tmj.

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