General Question

Kairi's avatar

What Could Be The Cause?

Asked by Kairi (794points) October 7th, 2013

Last night at work, I had a migraine that lasted my entire shift (twelve hours). I took pain medication, ate food, and drank water, but it didn’t help. I was also lightheaded, chilled, faint, and nauseous. I can’t turn the lights off in the area of work that I work in because it affects the security cameras, and I couldn’t let my hair down from a ponytail because it’s against the rules to have your hair loose if it’s long (mine is to my shoulders). I would feel good enough to get up and do my walk-through, but as soon as I started walking, it would bother me to the point where I had to sit down again as soon as my walkthrough was done.

I couldn’t call out of shift because there is no one available to cover for me on Saturday night-Sunday morning shifts. After my shift, I went directly home and slept five hours until I had to be up for errands I had to run. I was fine for most of the day, just a little tired, until I had to have a ‘talk’ with my aunt and then come home. This new migraine didn’t start sinking in until a couple hours ago, after I ate dinner. I’m not nauseous or anything, but none of my pain relieving techniques seem to be helping (I’m also too full to eat more)

The only thing I can think to be the triggers are stress (yesterday, I was concerned that ordering food to be delivered for myself to my job-even though I had already developed a migraine and had no food at home to bring with me and was thus starving-would get me in trouble at work, so I was nervous about doing so, and today I was petrified because my aunt said we “needed to talk”, plus my mother had been giving me a hard time from the moment I walked in the door around 7 pm until she went to bed around 11 pm). I feel like if I go to spend the night at a friend’s house tomorrow night to just relax, then I can see if it really is stress that causes this.

These headaches have happened two nights in a row, plus a couple times the week before (on different days). When I went out of town for a few days recently, I didn’t have any problems, and I never have them when I’m out with friends or do a sleepover at one of their houses.

I honestly don’t know what to do other then go to a doctor and get an MRI or have the chiropractor adjust my spine and see if that helps.

Any ideas?

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27 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Yes on the physician. No on the chiropractor.

Sunny2's avatar

Can you get way from your mother for a few days and see if your condition gets better? Your symptoms sound like stress to me. Not being able too get away from stress can certainly bring on pain.

snowberry's avatar

I’d say it’s stress related, and your home life is causing it, or making it worse. Go to a doctor who will prescribe you medication until you can move out. For once, I actually agree with Rarebear. Don’t go to a chiropractor for this. Amazing.

Get your hair cut so you don’t have to deal with the ponytail. That’s a simple fix. My daughter noticed that long hair contributed to her migraine problem.

Also consider food triggers. The same daughter had several migraines a week until she moved to Japan. Now she gets them once a month. In Japan it’s against the law to put preservatives in food, and in the USA, they are in everything. Now we know preservatives are a no-no for her.

zander101's avatar

@Kairi I have to ask do you do security and nightshifts??

Kairi's avatar

@zander101 Yes, I do, actually. Four days a week.

Kairi's avatar

@Rarebear the doctor normally doesn’t help me in the slightest, so I’d prefer the chiropractor, but doctors can write scripts for MRI and such, so I would go with that

Kairi's avatar

@Sunny2 no they won’t let me take the car out with friends, let alone to sleep anywhere. I’m trying to rent a car tomorrow so I can escape for the night and do what I need to do

Kairi's avatar

@snowberry I look like a boy when I cut my hair short. I had it like that up until I started growing it out in 6th grade, and I hated it. I put it in a looser ponytail instead and it seems to work.

It wouldn’t surprise me if it WAS food related, honestly. I just can’t pinpoint what food it might be, since I always eat something different.

snowberry's avatar

If you put it in a loose braid first, that might help. Seriously, I wouldn’t worry about “looking like a boy” at this point. Do what’s simple, and eliminate the stressors that you can. A good short haircut designed for a woman should not make you look like a boy. And if you want, put on some lipstick. That would help as well.

drhat77's avatar

tap dancing big pharma shill
There are many different medications used to treat headaches. If the pain is just starting, there is a class of medications you could take. If you missed that window, there are different kinds of medications you can take. If you get these headaches frequently, and they are migraines, there are medications that you can take on a daily basis to prevent migraines.
Headaches are very rarely dangerous, but when they are, they can be a doozy. A doctor could help you figure that out, as well as other medical options beyond over the counter.

JLeslie's avatar

Did you take any medication? If not, at minimum if you feel one coming on take some ibuprofen. Take three (600mg) with a little food and plenty of water. Takes about 50 minutes for it to start working if it is going to.

Now about preventing. Do you consume caffeine at all? Any chance your headache is starting when you haven’t? That it is a withdrawal headache. I always say people need to choose to accept they are addicted to caffeine and take it regularly like medicine or get off it altogether. I’m not assuming this is what happened to you, just putting it out as somethng to consider.

My MIL is triggered by chocolate. Once she quit eating chocolate her migraine frequency went from twice a month, usually lasting for 2–3 days, to twice a year.

Some people say red wine is a trigger or alcohol in general.

About your ponytail. Next time maybe drop your ponytail to a low loose one. Down on your shoulders. I would assume your job would be ok with that and it might feel better.

Probably it is simply a migraine or a headache since it comes and goes, but if you have never been scanned before and the headaches are farily new I think doing an MRI or CT is probably a good idea. The doctor can also prescribe you some meds to try. But, as I said, if you don’t use OTC medicines now try that first. By the way Excedrine for headaches has caffeine in it, so if you don’t drink any caffeine in general, I think it is best not to take that one. If you do normally drink caffeine that drug might be helpful for you. Always read the label of any drug you try. Know what drug you are actually taking. Ibuprofen, acetamenophin, caffeine, aspririn, etc.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor.

Katniss's avatar

Just a thought on your hair….. What about getting a few inches cut off so it’s just a little but longer than chin length? It’ll still be feminine and you won’t have worry about pulling it back in a ponytail.

I would also keep track of your caffeine intake. When I haven’t had enough of it, my head sure lets me know.

Pooh54's avatar

I, too, suffer from migraines and have had them at the absolutely most inconvenient times. You are going to laugh but I have found a few things that help with it. First, the dr prescribed Axert. (First and formost—go to a dr to make sure there is nothing physically causing them.)When it first starts with the aura I take an Axert. Then I drink a strong cup of coffee. If I can, I go lay down in a dark, quiet room (I have a mask to block out the light as any type of lights usually make me nauseous.) for about 20 minutes – longer if I can. This is the funny part. While lying down I have an aroma sachet (lavender) that i put on my face so I can breath in the scent. I can’t tell you why but it seems to work. I have only had to take a 2nd pill once in the dozen or so years I have taken Axert. They can be triggered by stress but see a dr to make sure. Keep us informed and good luck with them. I know they really do suck.

Aster's avatar

If by chance “they” don’t find anything – which is shockingly common – I always think it’s diet. I was having sinking spells on occasion. I had to sit down or I’d fall down. Since I’ve given up beef and cows milk I’ve not had any more.

Kairi's avatar

@snowberry true. my hair is kinda short anyway, so I can’t really braid it, but it’s still too long for me to keep down.

Kairi's avatar


I can’t take medicine unless it’s liquid or very small pills (I have really bad acid reflux, so almost everything gets stuck in my throat). I drink one cup of tea a day, and I hardly get to have chocolate because there’s never any in the house. I do have a cup of hot chocolate at work, with peppermint tea in it. I don’t drink wine at all.
My hair is down to my shoulder, but I still have to put it up. I tried a low ponytail, and it seemed to help a little, but not a lot. my biggest issue is the bright lights.

Kairi's avatar

@Katniss anything longer then your ears has to be pulled back for my job.

Kairi's avatar

@Pooh54 I’ve read that lavender is supposed to help with headaches because it’s very calming. Unfortunately, at work, I can’t escape the lights unless I close my eyes, but then I’ll get in trouble for sleeping. luckily, the headaches come later at night when no one is there, so I do get to put my head down for a few minutes. I don’t normally have an aura when I have migraines. they just suddenly hit me

Kairi's avatar

update. last night, I slept at my boyfriend’s house (yes, we got back together kind of, for anyone who knows the backstory) and I didn’t have a migraine once. it’s either something in the air at work, or stress from home. (I spent the entire day with him too, so I wasn’t home to deal with stress)

snowberry's avatar

Try, whenever you can shading your eyes at work. If they ask, you could tell them the truth (that the bright lights hurts your eyes), and that no, it does not affect your performance.

snowberry's avatar

I just had an idea. It’s expensive, but it would work. Do you wear glasses? If so, you can get those transition lenses that change from clear to dark lenses in bright light. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear them all the time, and your employer shouldn’t say a thing.

JLeslie's avatar

It definitely could be an allergy to something in the work environment.

As far as the lights, bring glasses that are slightly shaded. You can get ones that look more like glasses for sight than for the sun. Keep them in your purse so you can always escape bright light when you need to. I sometimes wear sunglasses when I wake in the middle of the night because the TV is too bright after having been asleep. My husband thinks I’m nuts.

drhat77's avatar

@snowberry those don’t work inside they require UV light to activate

Pooh54's avatar

@Kairi A couple people here have severe migraines and have asked management to shut off the fluorescent lights over their desk. They said it helped for them but unfortunately I have other people near my desk that want the light on. Maybe they could help you.

Kairi's avatar

@snowberry I do have glasses, yes, and I also have the transition lenses. they don’t work indoors, though, like @drhat77 said

Kairi's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t think of that. thanks

Kairi's avatar

@Pooh54 we can’t turn them off or anything because it effects the monitoring system at the building for some reason.

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