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Skiing and migraines

(13 Posts)
Primrose123 Fri 17-Jan-14 13:13:32

I'm looking for some advice. I suffer from occasional migraines. I can't really pinpoint the trigger for my migraines, but when skiing I'm suspicious that it might be the brightness of snow in the sunshine, extreme cold or even the smell of very strong cooked cheese! (I might be clutching at straws with the cheese one!) I always wear sunglasses, even inside in a mountain restaurant as the glare from outside can really hurt my eyes, and possibly start a migraine. I have very light sensitive eyes that are so sensitive that it's too painful for the doctor or optician to shine their light into my eyes, so I think this is probably the cause.

In the last few years I have had two migraines while actually on the mountain. They occurred on separate holidays, but in the same restaurant. Each time, I took a naratriptan tablet, shut my eyes for an hour or so, and then when the visual disturbances had stopped, managed to ski back to the gondola station. It was only two runs away but it was horrible and I really don't want it to happen again.

If someone is hurt, they are picked up on a snowmobile. Is this possible with a migraine? Would it be covered by our holiday insurance or would we have to pay? I'm afraid now to venture too far from the top of the gondola station because I'm worried that I won't be able to get back if I have a migraine, and it's starting to affect our holidays. I really love skiing and don't want to give up but am getting nervous about the migraine thing.

Nevercan Fri 17-Jan-14 21:37:19

Would you be better wearing goggles which would shield your eyes even more - I think mirrored ones are good for that. Not sure if they would take you down for a migraine but you could read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance to see what it says.

Primrose123 Fri 17-Jan-14 22:19:44

Possibly, but the goggles I have are not as dark as my glasses. Perhaps it's worth me getting a darker pair. I have to be careful inside though, as the sudden glare of sun on snow through a door or window can be a problem.

I will look at my travel insurance and see if it says anything.

BNmum Sun 19-Jan-14 07:57:30

Could it also be linked to altitude? Do you go to a high resort or is the restaurant you describe at the top of the mountain?

Primrose123 Sun 19-Jan-14 12:29:16

Yes BNmum I wondered about altitude too. I don't know if that can be a factor in migraines. The resort goes up to about 2000m and the restaurant is at about 1800m I would say, so not extremely high.

BNmum Mon 20-Jan-14 16:10:51

Sometimes it can be the speed in which you reach the altitude. I don't normally suffer from migraines but have had a couple of 'episodes' when skiing. Sometimes the altitude affects my sleep, making me tired and more susceptible to headaches and often resorts that have a funicular or a fast travelling gondola have caused me some upset. I try to take my time more in these resorts, often having a drink at the top of the gondola/funicular and a sit down for abit before hitting the slopes. Not sure that's much help to you but thought I'd share my experiences in case there's some similarities.

SoYouSay Mon 20-Jan-14 16:47:20

Timely thread. Also suffered badly from headaches and poor sleep and have been told neither are uncommon at altitude. I have been advised to take a daily pre-emptive daily aspirin and am wondering about trying melatonin for the sleep.

Primrose123 Mon 20-Jan-14 23:16:39

Thanks for your comments. It's always interesting to see what affects other people, our migraines may be triggered by something we wouldn't think of.

SatsumaSatsuma Fri 24-Jan-14 17:44:30

hi. I get optical migraines and feel unwell at altitude, but have never had one skiing. you mentioned a restaurant, that made me think about lighten and food choices. do you remember what you ate?
did they have fluorescent lighting?

you are generally not covered for pre-existing conditions, ime , with insurance. dh for example has an old injury that is not covered when skiing.

I have recently discovered that emergency lights eg police, ambulance trigger mine, so I feel your pain!! if a vehicle approaches, I have to raise one hand to try to block out the flashing lights whilst seeing enough to drive!

UniS Fri 24-Jan-14 20:11:22

your insurance is unlikley to cover you for rescue as this would be a pre exsisting condition.
Better goggles might help. Do you use grey or yellow lens as standard?

pick your restaurants better? go for places that are in the shadow of the mountain or off snow front in a village rather than somewhere in eh centre of a south facing snow bowl.

wandymum Fri 07-Feb-14 11:55:26

I also get migraines but have never found them worse when skiing. For me tiredness, hunger and dehydration are huge triggers so I wonder whether when skiing you get more tired than usual and eat/drink less?

As for getting help down, I would think if you were to ask most pisteurs / lift operators /ski patrol would help you down. Probably not by snowmobile but I'm sure they'd ski down slowly with you. A very kind pisteur once skied with me all the way back to Courchevel from the other side of Meribel when I was skiing alone and broke my glasses meaning I could hardly see!

MrsRTea Fri 07-Feb-14 12:03:52

In Austria, I reckoned that the Fohn - a change in wind patterns - could be a trigger.

Primrose123 Sat 08-Feb-14 13:14:12

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Wandy Tiredness, hunger and dehydration could certainly be triggers, particularly dehydration as I get very hot when I ski! I will keep water on me and drink regularly.

My DH was with me, so he helped me get back to the gondola, but it's so hard - my vision wasn't right, nor my balance and coordination, and I felt really sick - not a good combination for skiing!

Satsuma Yes, I have to cover my eyes with flashing sirens, not good when you're driving! (Obviously I don't cover my eyes completely, I just try to block out the lights). I generally eat and drink the same things, soup, chicken and chips, sprite or hot chocolate, so I don't think it's that. I also avoid caffeine completely on holiday, in case that is a trigger. I think my migraines are triggered by bright light, I don't have any proof, but I just feel that way.

One time when I had a migraine, someone on the next table had a dish that was made with extremely strong smelly cheese, and it smelled disgusting. About 10 minutes later, my migraine started. Can a strong smell cause a migraine?

MrsRTea I've never heard of that, but I will look into it. smile

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