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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Migraine sufferers: To ride or not to ride?

    If you experience migraines now and then, do you head out for a ride while you are in the grip of agony ... or do you opt to stay inside and rest?


    I'm at the point now where I'm not sure it would make any difference one way or the other to my comfort level, but perhaps there are other factors to consider as well.

  2. #2
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Well, I can't say from direct experience, but from observation of my wife, who experiences severe migraines about once a month...she can barely open her eyes (sensitivity to light, not to mention sound, movement, etc.). I can't imagine her wanting to ride her bike. I can't imagine her even getting out of bed to go within 50' of her bike.

    But, if you can do it, why not? Might help, probably won't hurt (unless you're taking medications that impair your ability or something, in which case probably not a good idea).
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  3. #3
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    I very rarely experience a migraine so intense that I can't do anything. I take Zomig for mine, and usually rest till it's gone, but on occasions where I've HAD to go out, I haven't had any problem. Before I had my prescription for Zomig, I'd occasionally have migraines that lasted 8-12 hrs... there's no WAY I could stay inactive for that amount of time!
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

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    My mom had severe migraines to where she'd spend the day in bed. She started getting acupuncture for them, & no longer had them as long as she continued periodic acupuncture.

  5. #5
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    My migranes usually happen in the late evening - after I've finished doing things like riding for the day.
    Every time I have tried to increase my activity while in the grips of a migrane, it's made it worse ... I wouldn't want to ride my bike even if I could. Also - the Imitrex makes me drowsy and a little bit dizzy (more than normal, anyways ;-)), which wouldn't combine well with biking or driving.

    When I get migranes, it feels like the veins in my head are very raw ... wearing a helmet wouldn't be
    much fun. I also feel like one of my eyes is going to pop out of my head - and
    my eyes tend to tear alot, which makes vision more difficult.

    In general, migrane time is icepack, dark room, soft pillow time - not bike time - for me.

    KMW

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    I very rarely experience a migraine so intense that I can't do anything. I take Zomig for mine, and usually rest till it's gone, but on occasions where I've HAD to go out, I haven't had any problem. Before I had my prescription for Zomig, I'd occasionally have migraines that lasted 8-12 hrs... there's no WAY I could stay inactive for that amount of time!

    I was diagnosed with migraines about 18 years ago, and at that time they were happening quite frequently but I had more trouble with the aura symptoms than I did with any pain. The headaches were actually quite mild, and I often wondered what people were talking about when they talked about the pain of migraine headaches.

    I made some dietary and lifestyle changes and they went away ... some of the headaches I've had over the past 18 years may have been migraines, but if they were, they weren't bad at all.

    This time I had some pretty wild aura symptoms, and then the headache struck ... that was almost a week ago now. I can't sleep because the pain keeps me awake. Standing up, sitting down, climbing or descending stairs (any elevation change) feels like someone is banging me on the head with a baseball bat. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc. etc. make my head feel like an explosion is going off inside. It's been switching from one side to the other half blinding whichever eye is on the currently painful side (right now it's my right eye). Combing my hair in the morning feels like every strand is being ripped out.

    Lying in bed in the dark is only moderately more comfortable than getting up and doing something ... which is why I'm thinking that I might as well head out for a ride ... I can't imagine it would hurt any worse.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    It all depends on how severe they are for me.

    The really bad ones I get rarely but there is no way I could ride with one of those.

  8. #8
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    I started getting them in my 20s. When I first got them - and they were about every 6 weeks or so - I'd have to leave for home when I got the aura (or for me, the weird focus spot blindness I get before the aura) so that I could be in the dark (and preferably, asleep) when things got bad. If I didn't get there in time, I'd usually lose my breakfast.

    I went to the doctor, who gave me a couple prescriptions. One was sub-lingual (under the tongue), and it didn't work very well, and the second was a tylenol/caffeine combo, which works okay.

    Over the years, they've gotten less severe. I generally get one or two a year and if I hit it with either Excedrin migraine or Motrin migraine, I get the auras but not much pain.

    I tried to figure out if there were any dietary triggers, but never came up with any.

    There's no way I could ride, especially after the huge dose of caffeine that's in the pills I take, which makes me more than a bit jittery. I've ridden a motorcycle in the past when I was on them to get home, but it's not something I'd do by choice.

    Have you gone back to see your doctor? I know that there have been some new drugs introduced in the last five years or so.
    Eric

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  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    Have you gone back to see your doctor? I know that there have been some new drugs introduced in the last five years or so.

    Yes, I've been sent for blood work and have been sent for a CT Scan, but am waiting for that appointment.

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    This is my migraine experience. Yours may vary.

    Fortunately, before the really bad part of the migraine session hits, I get some warning. I get the visual hints (blind spot, etc) and I begin to feel a little off. If I don't do something during this "warning period" (usually about 30 minutes), I'll get to go through the rough stuff.

    I found that caffeine helps suppress the "bad" part of the session. Caffeine is one of the main ingredients of the over the counter migraine pills. I also found that caffeine has little affect if you already take in a lot of caffeine as part of your daily activity (coffee, sodas, etc). I cut out soda and coffee drinking all together.

    When I get those little warnings, if I can take an Excedrin migraine pill or chug a highly caffeinated soda, the bad part of the session never happens. I still feel kinda off and not quit myself but the bad part never happens.

    I don't think I've every gotten these "warning signs" just prior to a bike ride so have never had to decide on whether to ride or not.

  11. #11
    '05 NUEser EJ123's Avatar
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    Ibuprofen and caffine

  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    If you experience migraines now and then, do you head out for a ride while you are in the grip of agony ... or do you opt to stay inside and rest?


    I'm at the point now where I'm not sure it would make any difference one way or the other to my comfort level, but perhaps there are other factors to consider as well.
    The level of pain and the nausea or vomiting can vary so much from one person to another that it's hard to say. The temperature variations from inside to outside and riding will probably make you feel worse.
    Try a short walk outside just to see what happens first you might not have to try the bike. I'm jealous that you can even ask the question. I could never consider it. I vomit every 20 minutes for a day and a half and thinking hurts too much.

    Bottom line, no one can answer for you, you have to find out for yourself.

    The chance of your doctor finding meds that work is pretty good. I could write a book about all the migraine meds I have tried.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I was diagnosed with migraines about 18 years ago, and at that time they were happening quite frequently but I had more trouble with the aura symptoms than I did with any pain. The headaches were actually quite mild, and I often wondered what people were talking about when they talked about the pain of migraine headaches.
    Did you get a second opinion? I'm not a doctor but, if you can ride your bike during one of these episodes then it's probably not a migraine.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    Did you get a second opinion? I'm not a doctor but, if you can ride your bike during one of these episodes then it's probably not a migraine.

    I just went to see the Dr the other day, and as I mentioned above, I've been sent for blood work and have been sent for a CT Scan, but am waiting for that appointment. Whatever it is, it is not a classic migraine .... they aren't supposed to last this long. Also, I'm definitely not riding my bicycle or trainer these days.

  15. #15
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I just went to see the Dr the other day, and as I mentioned above, I've been sent for blood work and have been sent for a CT Scan, but am waiting for that appointment. Whatever it is, it is not a classic migraine .... they aren't supposed to last this long. Also, I'm definitely not riding my bicycle or trainer these days.
    I know 2 guys with migraines that go blind for a short time with the aura and the headaches are not that bad. At first I thought all migraines had suicidal pain. Now I know they don't, they vary a lot. My doctor has confirmed this too.

    Migraines can last days. Are you saying yours lasted a week so far? Sorry to hear that Machka!
    All the symptoms you describe sound like migraine symptoms to me. And I am going exactly by what my doctor said the symptoms were. Are you going to a Neurologist? That is where I got the best results. Around here there are doctors that have migraines as a sub specialty, and are quite good.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    Did you get a second opinion? I'm not a doctor but, if you can ride your bike during one of these episodes then it's probably not a migraine.
    I had that same thought, but the auras are the classic sign of a migraine.
    Eric

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  17. #17
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    My wife gets 'em. There's no way in hell she can ride a bike when they hit. She gets excrutiating pain. She's done lots of reading on the subject. Sometimes barometric pressure changes brings them on in some folks. I 'think' these are the evening migraines. Not her case. Some foods can trigger them(chocolate) but not always. They also come in waves. Caffeine helps but not always. There's a drug that she injects herself that always works but it's a nasty drug. She can feel the sensation in her feet immediately after injection. It's called Imatrex. They also come in a quick mouth dissolve pill. Not as effective but does work. I feel for y'all. They are nasty.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Well, it's been 10 days of agonizing headaches (and other symptoms) ... and over 10 days that I've been off my bicycle now.

    I'm still waiting for test results, but I suppose this could just be one wicked flu.

  19. #19
    '05 NUEser EJ123's Avatar
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    One time at six flags i went on a bazillion rides, and had the worst headache of my life. I wonder what chronic migraines would be like.

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ123
    One time at six flags i went on a bazillion rides, and had the worst headache of my life. I wonder what chronic migraines would be like.

    You would laugh at the idea of going to Six Flags, or anywhere else.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  21. #21
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    You would laugh at the idea of going to Six Flags, or anywhere else.
    And even THAT would hurt

  22. #22
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    IMO, my migraines are severe. My vision becomes so blurry I can barely navigate. The light hurts my eyes and worsens the headache. I have constriction pain across my forehead, acompanied by shocking pains through my head. My eyes feel like someone is pushing on them, that's the kind of pressure they feel. I also happen to get very nauseated and sometimes puke. So yes, I basically suffer from almost every sympton that can come with a migraine, and no biking would be the worst thing for me. Just thinking about biking or doing anything during a migraine makes me feel worse. I do have a prescription from the doctor, the pills are blue, and I'm too lazy to go see what they are. If I take two they block the symptoms for the most part or lessen the pain. As with most of my migraines I suffer for a day or two afterwards, where any strain on my body sends pain through my head.

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    And even THAT would hurt

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tippy
    This is my migraine experience. Yours may vary.


    I found that caffeine helps suppress the "bad" part of the session. Caffeine is one of the main ingredients of the over the counter migraine pills. I also found that caffeine has little affect if you already take in a lot of caffeine as part of your daily activity (coffee, sodas, etc). I cut out soda and coffee drinking all together.

    When I get those little warnings, if I can take an Excedrin migraine pill or chug a highly caffeinated soda, the bad part of the session never happens. I still feel kinda off and not quit myself but the bad part never happens.
    my experience has been very similar. Since I stopped drinking soda, I have noticed that caffeine has a bigger impact on my migraines.

  25. #25
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    I haven't had a migraine since I quit smoking almost two years ago. Not that I think they're gone but hopefully they're less frequent. I take Advil for them because I've found that if I can often get rid of them in the same time as some of the newer medications that have more side effects.

    My migraines usually take the form of a throbing pain on one side of my head, along with the usual sensitivity to light, nausea, etc. If I can lie down in a dark quiet room, apply a small amount of pressure to the area where I feel pain, use some breathing techniques to relax ( which I've discovered also lowers my heart rate) and clear my mind of all thought, I'm usually better in 90 minutes or so.

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