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    night time migraines
    ellsworth52 posted:
    I had my first migraine when I was 16 - with aura. But that was my only migraine with aura. I have 2-4 migraines each and every week - but without auras or any warning signs. They only come on in the night while I am sleeping - anywhere from 1 - 4 am. I wake up with such excruciating pain, I take Zomig, 2 Excedrin, and put an ice pack on my head. This gets the migraine under control in about 2 hours. I always feel exhausted the remainder of the day. This has been the norm for me for over 40 years. I thought I saw (somewhere) an article about night time migraines, but now I can't find it. Anyone?
    Andie_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi Ellsworth,

    Have you spoken to your doctor about your migraines or had any sort of diagnosis?

    My mom used to get migraines like this. They would awaken her from sleep at the same time every night. Her doctor called them "alarm clock" headaches. I've also heard the name "hypnic headaches" to describe them.

    We never knew what caused them, but there are medications your doctor can prescribe to help. I believe she was also told to work on a more regular sleep routine (no TV before bed, go to bed at the same time every night, eat dinner earlier, etc).

    Sorry there's not much more I can offer you. I couldn't find an article from WebMD, but perhaps Dr. Collins may chime in with some insight.

    Good luck!
    ellsworth52 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Thanks Andie - my doctor calls them "acute chronic migraines" but he has no insight as to why they come on only at night. I don't drink alcohol or eat sugar because they are triggers for me. I take beta blockers at night and use Zomig to abort. I have been prescribed many different meds (Topomax, etc.) but I really don't like the side effects. Hoping one day they will have answers and more targeted meds.
    yukonok responded:
    I'm a 55 yr old female w/chronic migraine (w/o auro) & get 20-25 per month for the last 7-8 years and have had migraine since age 7. I routinely waken w/migraine between 1:00 - 5:00 am, but also can get them during the day...after getting rid of one that came on while sleeping. I've worn a bite splint for TMJ for last 20 years, but it makes no difference. I typically do not go to bed worrying/stressed, but 5 nights out of 7...I waken with a migraine. I am very fatigued after most migraines (I call it a migraine hangover) and believe this is part of the migraine cycle. I injected imitrex when it was the only triptan on the market/before pill form and later took the pill form. Of the several triptans I've tried, including Imitrex, Zomig works the best, but at the higher dose for me(5 mg). Ask your doctor for a sample of Zomig. One weird side effect of triptan drugs (especially Zomig) is that they cause very frequent urination (every 15 minutes for about 2 1/2 hrs, totally clear like water). Neither my nuero or family physician have heard of this side effect and they expressed no concern. I just endure it because it's worth it to get rid of the migraine, although somewhat embarrasing at work when I repeatedly have to leave meetings.
    ellsworth52 replied to yukonok's response:
    I already take Zomig (5 mg. - I can take it up to 4 times a day, every two hours) and I find it to be the only triptan that works to abort my migraines, though it takes about two hours to do this. This is because my migraines always come on in the middle of the night and I am taking the Zomig when my migraine is at it's worst. If I could "catch" my migraines at the very beginning, I'm sure I could get rid of it quicker. I know what you mean when you say "migraine hangover"; I always feel completely drained after a migraine, usually for one day afterwards. I do not have any side effects from the Zomig. I don't know how you can work with your number of migraines. Does the Zomig work faster for you? I do not work outside the home because of my migraines and other medical conditions. I volunteer instead.
    migrainegirl04 responded:
    Im sure that you have spoken to a doctor since you have tryed diffrent RX's. Has anyone ever ruled out occipital neuralgia? Just a thought. There are only a few doctors out there treating it but it might be worth looking into. I had migraines for about 12 years any finally got them under control about a year ago when I was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia. I have currently been treated by my doctor and am now living free of migraines about 98% of the time. If you want to know any of the details of my experience more than happy to help just email me I hope that this helps. Good Luck!
    migrainegirl04 replied to yukonok's response:
    OMG you poor thing. This is how I used be. Have you ever been diagnosed with occipital neuralgia? there is a surgery that has been being done for years if in fact this is what is wronge. I would love to help get you some information if you would like it because you must be miserable. Email me at if you would like. Suffering like that does not make since if there is something out there that can help you.
    carpetcrawler5 responded:
    Drink coffee right away when you start getting a mig. Try this: put your alarm on every 2 hours while you're sleeping, and try to catch one of your headaches starting.

    Also get a pillow that supports your neck while you're sleeping.

    While you sleep, your blood vessels dilate to get more oxygen.

    Hope this helps.
    ellsworth52 replied to carpetcrawler5's response:
    I sometimes take 2 Excedrin with my Zomig - it helps the meds work better but the side effect of keeping me awake isn't always worth it. I'm afraid drinking coffee would have the same effect. I do have a great pillow for sleeping for the very reason you suggested. I'm always looking for something new to try though, so thank you.
    mymygraine replied to ellsworth52's response:
    Excedrin has a lot of caffeine in it, as does coffee and tea. I don't drink anything with caffeine, or even eat chocolate for the same reason.

    Caffeine is a primary contributor to "rebound" headaches which are the headaches that start after your medication has taken away the first headache. The more caffeine you have, the more rebound headaches you will have, which is why it is a good idea to wean yourself off caffeine. Do it slowly, and be prepared to have a few whopper headaches before your body gets used to the lack of caffeine. None of the triptan drugs work for me and I have had a headache every day of my life since I was 19. I am now depleted physically, emotionally, and do not have much of a life because of this.

    I have never heard of occipital neuralgia, but will get some info on it. My current diagnosis is fibromyalgia headaches, but we are still struggling to find a medication that will keep me out of the migraine cycle. I get 4-5 a week these days, but some weeks I actually have a few days of relief.

    Try getting rid of caffeine, it really helps. Another quick tip is to put your feet in a small tub of as hot water as you can tolerate for 10-15 min. and keep it hot. The theory behind this is that the hot water will pull the blood to your feet, and away from your head. I have gotten some short relief from this - doesn't last, but in a pinch, it helps.
    yukonok replied to ellsworth52's response:
    ellsworth 52 - I'm single and have no choice but to work. I always have Zomig on me at all times and routinely take it at work, and always as the HA begins. I use vacation and sick leave hours to leave work early or come in late due to migraines and have to work twice as hard to keep up w/my work tasks. Co-workers often see me with very dark sunglasses on in the office. I have to "act energetic/happy" when I actually am extremely tired from migraine fatigue. If I had a choice, I'd not simply adds more stress to my life to have to fake wellness when I'm sick. I received botox injections two days ago...waiting to see if I get fewer HA or less severe if not fewer! All other preventives have failed (dozens of meds) - so this is hopefully the magic bullet.
    yukonok replied to migrainegirl04's response:
    migrainegirl - thanks for offering information on a condition that some may have without knowing it. To become informed, I clicked on the link for info on the condition you speak of, on the Web MD site, for "occipital neuralgi"a (at the bottom of this screen page) and found the following excerpt, included in the info. I get relief quickly from migraine medication (Zomig) which indicates I do suffer from chronic migraine, not the neuralgia you have. Here's the article excerpt (see link at bottom of this screen pg. titled, "More From WebMD Related to this Discussion".

    For treatment to work, it is very important that you receive an accurate diagnosis. For example, if you have occipital neuralgia and are prescribed migraine medication , you may not get relief.
    Sillly1 responded:
    I have been put on a preventive that is not actually for migraines but they are finding out that it does help. It is called Gabapentin. It worked fantastic for me until my sister died and my stress level went nuts for awhile. It is starting to work again as I am dealing with her death and the stress level is down somewhat. I have suffered from migraines w/o aura since I was 21 and the last year has been the worst being that I was having 4-5 per week, going and getting shots, etc. My doctor put me back on butalbital and we have found that is the only thing with the gabapentin that works for me. I have tried all the other meds and to no avail. The gabapentin is taken daily. I don't know if this will help you or not but I sure hope so. Take care and I hope you get those migraines under control.
    Sillly1 replied to Sillly1's response:
    I also forgot to put that my migraines come on basically like yours do in the middle of the night. Occasionally I will get one during the day, but not as often as at night. There are times I don't even want to go to bed. Anyways just wanted to add that.
    ellsworth52 replied to migrainegirl04's response:
    Upon reading the info on occipital neuralgia, I can see I do not have this. Thank you.

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