Migraines & nursing - page 2

I tend to get migraines a few times a month that are really bad. Any one have any advice on dealing with a migraine when you're on a 12 hour shift?... Read More

  1. by   zcubed
    I am not a nurse, but I am a big time migraine sufferer. Have had them for over twenty years and have tried every preventative known to neurologists... I stopped for a while, but have been on Topomax 100 mg, for a while, and am not sure if it really works, but I knew the minute I took it, I could feel it in my body.

    I have worked twelve hour shifts before, too, three days on, three days off, switching from a month of night to a month of days, and that made them worse. That was about twelve years ago. Still, my sleep is horendous, I never sleep through the night, so this makes the headaches worse.

    Now I take the Imitrex nasal sprays, and and now Zomig makes one that comes in a nasal spray, so I just added that. I have the Imitrex pills, my last resort, and even though I have the injections, but never use them; they are probaby too old anyway.

    Some people find the taste of the sprays distasteful, but I feel it is a minor issue compared to the convenience to be able to quickly spay the medication and get on with my day.
  2. by   Lilycat
    I almost always get my migraines after I work my occasional evening shift. My sleep gets all mixed up. I have a young child so I usually go to bed around 8pm, as I usually work the day shift. After I work an evening, and don't get home until 1am - getting up at 6am just screws me up. I awake with a migraine that lasts all day. Fioricet, coffee don't touch it - only thing that helps it is sleep. So I just live with it until I can get to bed. So..... I dread those evenings!
  3. by   jkaee
    It's funny I just found this thread.....just last night I left work early (albeit 15 minutes early, but still....) because of a migraine. I could barely drive home.

    I am on Neurontin 250 mg QID (well, actually I take 4 of them at bedtime, it makes me too woozy to function right during the day) as a preventative measure. I had a prescription for Relpax for breakthru, which I need to get refilled. That worked on getting rid of the migraine, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to work on it. I, too, had a burning tight feeling in my throat, and just felt "off". But if a migraine is really bad, I don't care, I just need to get rid of the pain.

    As for what other posters have said, I too find it difficult to get adequate pain relief sometimes, and then feel like I'm "drug seeking" if I need to call the dr to get something. It's a big part of why I just suffer with it sometimes.

    Happy to say I feel much better today, but it REALLY sucks when you have to work with a migraine. Try to find preventative meds that work for you, and make sure that you have something for breakthru pain that you can take that won't knock you out.
  4. by   NewEnglandRN

    Glad to hear you are feeling better today.

    I have heard good things about Neurontin and Topamax. Right now, the Calan is working for me. As a nursing student, I dread the thought of getting a migraine at work. I've been getting them for about 15 years and refuse to give up my dream career of nursing (I was a Radiographer in the 90's.)

    I have only been to the ER twice in my life for the intense pain (I was also have facial paralysis.) Unfortunately, the ER nurse did "roll her eyes" at me when she heard I was there for a migraine. Sometimes I feel mean enough to wish that anyone who treats migraines experience one for a day to know what it is like Then I return to my nice self and realize I would never wish it on ANYONE.

    Take care,
    Last edit by NewEnglandRN on Apr 5, '04
  5. by   nurturing_angel
    I used to suffer with horrendous migraines all the time...and like some others here, I had a terrible time working...nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, vision disturbances....once I even had the numbness down one arm and some short term memory loss. Went to the ER and the doc there told me I was having a TIA. My family practice doc disagreed and told me that I was having a very rare and serious complication to migraine. The symptoms passed thank God! I do not go to work with migraines anymore.
    I also had the weird side effects with Imatrex...heavy legs, chest pressure, and I noticed that my sinuses had a almost crushing pressure which I have never felt with any med except Imetrex.
    Now I treat my migraines with Vicodin and Phenergan the instant I start feeling one coming on and I go to bed.....this is the only thing that works for me.
  6. by   RedSox33RN
    I'm glad to have found this thread. I've been a migraine sufferer all of my life, and just recently found out I had shingles, which has given me even more migraines. Just yesterday morning at 6am my husband had to bring me to the ER for IV fluids, Phenergan/Toradol and Demerol. They know me well there, and yes, sometimes I think they feel I'm "drug seeking", but after watching me throw up, usually change their tune.

    My neuro prescribed Topamax as a preventative, since all other preventatives have either failed or I can't take (I'm Type 1 diabetic and some preventatives would block the sensation of a low blood sugar, so I can't take them). I've tried it 3 times in the past month, but it makes me so tired and groggy that I can't even study. I feel very discombobulated(sp?).

    For one of my migraines, I start off with 800 mg of Advil, then take a Migranal nasal spray (it's DHE). I used to take Imitrex nasal spray, but they stopped working for me. Migranal usually does it, but sometimes (like recently) it doesn't. My migraines HAVE changed. Light used to bug me, but now it is sound. If the Migranal doesn't work, I do have some Demerol pills, but they take a long time to work and are not nearly as effective as IV or IM. I also have Phenergan (suppositories, and pills, for when suppositories just aren't convenient! LOL) and some Fiorinal. I hate taking so much, but as all of you know, when you have that kind of pain, if someone put a drill in your hand, you'd probably use it to relief the pain.

    Feeling like I do this very minute (I was at my doc's today and she gave me Rx's for the shingles - Valtrex - and more Phenergan and Fiorinal, plus a shot of Toradol when I was there), I don't see how I'll ever survive nursing school, especially with an hour commute each way. I just have to tell myself that I don't always feel like this, and it will pass. Hopefully this summer I can get started on the Topamax, when I don't have studying to worry about.
  7. by   seanymph

    Hang in there with the Topamax. Once I started on it, it took almost 2 months before the groggy, weird feeling subsided. I had a terrible time making it through a 12hr shift at work. Now it doesn't bother me and my migraines have decreased.
    Good luck.

  8. by   sagelola
    I'm glad to have found this thread as well. I hadn't had a migraine for 3 years, then all of a sudden in the last month I've had 4. I've tried Imitrex, but it doesn't help at all. The NP gave me Relpax (which works well for my mother), but it, too, did not touch the pain...plus it made me feel weird. The first time she gave it to me was an evening (right after having an arteriogram. When I got home (the minute I walked in the door) I got one.) The next morning after taking 2 the night before I still had the migraine. I went into the office to get something (she told me only to take 2 in 24 hours...it had been a little over 12), she told me to go home and take 2 more!! I was so upset that I started crying out in the car...which did nothing except make my head throb even harder.

    So, the following week I got another KILLER headache. Took the last Relpax I had...and went to skills testing. I'm surprised I survived that. All I wanted to do was throw up, and I couldn't even recall the info I was trying to remember. I went to the dr. office after telling them on the phone that if they were going to just send me home I wouldn't go it. I saw the PA that time, and he took pity on me and gave me a shot of Nubain. It knocked my @-- out for the night, but worked. I felt as if the NP that had seen me before thought I was there only to get some drugs. So, I know how you feel. It is very frustrating. You know, as a nurse you are told that "PAIN IS WHAT THE PATIENT SAYS IT IS" and believe me, I wouldn't be sitting in the dr. office with a migraine, knocked out for 12 hours+ if I wasn't in PAIN. I have things I HAVE to do in my life, and migraines are just getting in the way.

    Anyway, the PA gave me 3 other meds to try...Zomig, Maxalt-MLT, and Axert. Maybe one of them will work...or maybe I will be back in the office afraid they are going to think I'm only there for drugs.

    I have an appt. with a neurologist on Wed. I have to travel an hour to see her since no neurologists in town accept Medi-Cal. Her plan is to get me on a preventative med. Our insurance will be up the end of May, so I don't know what I am going to do after that....

    Nice to know there are others experiencing the SAME thing...
  9. by   Jrnalist2RNinOR
    it's so funny (not really) because I am already on Topamax for my sz's, doesnt seem to help my migraines - what a case I am - I take 300mg 2x a day, have been since I was 18 or so

    I have a hard time remembering things sometimes, more like a hard time spitting out what I want to say, like a verbal mental block - no problem writing things though - that's why I turned to journalism - I could always express myself well that way....
  10. by   nurseabc123
    Quote from Jrnalist2RNinOR
    it's so funny (not really) because I am already on Topamax for my sz's, doesnt seem to help my migraines - what a case I am - I take 300mg 2x a day, have been since I was 18 or so

    I have a hard time remembering things sometimes, more like a hard time spitting out what I want to say, like a verbal mental block - no problem writing things though - that's why I turned to journalism - I could always express myself well that way....
    I know this is an old thread.. but I know exactly what you mean -- it's like it's right on the tip of your tongue.