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21 January 2009

cold fingers and toes!

Until I read the much-talked-about The Migraine Brain, I hadn't realized that lots of migraineurs report frequently having cold hands and feet. I've often joked that from October to May my extremities are ice-cold, figuring it had something to do with my height, my circulation, my lack of exercise, and/or my tendency to feel faint rather easily. That being said, I never really thought of it as something "real"; I figured instead it was just one of those bothersome things about being skinny and lanky. Whatev.

But now I wonder if there might be something I can do to warm up! Even with socks on, my toes are frigid; when I go to hug the kids I babysit for, they shriek in delight as they run away from me, thinking I was trying to trick them by putting icy fingers on their skin. I've read a bit about Raynaud's Phenomenon, but I'm not sure if that is what plagues migraineurs or if there's something else going on all together.

In the meantime, I'll wear my hat and gloves outside even when others look at me like I'm a bit crazy. (I get cold even when it's in the 60s!)

Anyone else have cold hands and feet more often than so-called "regular" folks?


Emily said...

yes - completely yes. My husband is often shocked when my fingers or toes touch him, because they get so cold. I have no idea why - I always thought it was bad circulation, too.

Migraine Chick said...

I have the cold feet, too!

Anonymous said...

I do! I do! I often wear two pairs of socks and a pair of slippers, and at night, I sleep with fleece socks over my regular ones. And my hands are always cold. Especially my right hand; don't know if that's something unique to me or if anybody else has that. (I'm right handed, so it puzzles me that it's the hand that's always iciest.)


Mary Carol said...

I ain't saying nothin'.

Parin Stormlaughter said...

Oh yes, I get cold hands, cold feet--then end of my nose gets so cold it doesn't feel like living flesh! :p

Right before a Migraine attack, my peripheral circulation really does weird things. My face turns pure white and my lips turn blue.

Wonder if that has anything to do with this??

themigrainegirl said...

In the fall, winter, and early spring, I go to bed with my long pajama pants tucked into thick socks. Almost every evening nowadays (this is a pattern that just began in the last year or so), I end up ripping off my socks (and sometimes my pj pants) because I'm so warm. In the morning, my feet are cold again. As they are now. Brrrrr.

Anonymous said...

Cold feet and hands here too! I walk around the house with wool socks and warm slippers from September to June! My hands are always tucked in my sleeves too.

I thought it was just an odd thing that happened me. It must have something to do with migraines.

Stay warm!!

Ellen Schnakenberg said...

Hi Janet, Your post inspired me to post more information about Raynaud's and Migraine on my WEGO Health blog last night. I do have fairly serious Raynaud's issues. Not as bad as some, but bad enough that my Migraine treatments and preventives have been seriously limited. A fellow "Frosty" has been working on another article I hope will be out soon. I'll let you know...

Camille said...

OMG, I am online searching right now for causes and cures. I had Gastric Bypass surgery 2 years ago and ever since losing 140lbs, from Nov or so thru spring my fingers sometimes feel like they are going to fall off. Same with my feet. I often find myself putting my (mittened) hads under my armpits to warm them even if just for a moment. I was wondering if it had something to do with my weight loss, like vitamin dif., or poor circulation, or just that I am so skinny now....Anyone have any suggestions.....??? If I find any I will post!
It's just nice to see others suffer from ICE FINGERS also and that I'm not a freak...lol

camille said...

Me again...I just read this on Preventions website...maybe this will help some of us...

"My toes and fingertips are always freezing. Should I be concerned?" --Via e-mail

Probably not. Cold hands and feet are fairly common and, in certain cases, a sign of good health. People whose blood pressure is low but healthy often have concentrated blood flow in the torso, leaving their extremities chilly, indoors and out.

If icy hands and feet are your only gripe, up your activity level and drink at least eight glasses of water a day to increase circulation and warmth, says Steve Rosenbaum, MD, medical director of general internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Clinic.

If you experience hair or memory loss, too, however, you may have hypothyroidism; numbness or tingling could signal a vitamin B12 deficiency. A simple blood test can detect either, and both are treatable. But, if frostiness is paired with pain, burning, or drastic whitening of fingers or toes, it could be an indication of peripheral vascular disease (spasm of the arteries), which is more serious; you should see your doctor ASAP.

themigrainegirl said...

Thanks for reposting that info, Camille! I doubt most of us have anything to worry about--it's more a nuisance than anything else. I have been told that I have low (healthily low, not dangerously low) blood pressure--maybe that's part of the reason!

John said...

Like some of your other commenters, I found your blog by entering "migraine feet" into a search.

I have always had quite cold feet and hands. I had never had migraine though.

This year, I started to get anxiety headaches followed very soon after by what presented itself as Gout.

I have been told now by doctors that it is just bad chilblains. i dont believe this, as it had gone on for over two months and I can still hardly walk.

I'm very interested to hear that these two conditions may be connected. Something friends with no mrdical experience have been suggesting all along

miallie said...

I get very cold fingers and toes, and was diagnosed with raynauds phenomenon. I also suffer from migraines, though not on and meds from the doctor as i've found when i get the early symptoms i can usually stop it from getting any further by taking an over the counter painkiller called 'syndol' which has a combined muscle relaxent and seems to do the job in warding the rest of an attack off.
'Ginko bi-loba' (a Plant extract) is very good for circulation and is widely used for raynauds, I dunno if there's any contraindications with prescribed migraine meds, so check that out if you wanna give it a try- it takes a couple of months to kick in but i think it's helped me!

Anonymous said...

...a lot of peoples symptoms seem to point to Polycythemia Vera.

cold toes and fingers
blueish color
check it out.

Anonymous said...

Try this product for cold hands, endorsed by the Raynauds and Scleroderma Association


Tony said...

Hi, I just came across the blog and because I'm a Raynauds sufferer I had tried all sorts of aids for cold fingers and was not satisfied until I found a UK product called Heattbands which from July is now available in the US. I work with a company called Vantage Medical www.vantagemd.com and they have imported HeatBands, information on which can be found on www.heatbandsusa.com
Also I quit smoking and that helped as well

Antagony said...

Yesss, can barely type right now. Migraines since I was a child, corpse hands and feet. Anemia tends to make the circulation worse. I find my extremities cannot warm themselves up, like all cold blooded creatures, they must find outside warmth... even in summer. Interesting, I did not connect these two things either. Thank you.

themigrainegirl said...

My yoga teacher is also cold-natured and has repeatedly told me and another friend to "keep the core warm." When I'm sitting on the couch reading, I often have a heating pad on my back or abdomen, set on low. This keeps my extremities warmer since my body's not needing to put as much effort into keeping my heart and other organs warm and active. (This is also why vests help those of us with cold hands and feet.)

hello! said...

I know this comment was from awhile ago, but I also had EXTREMELY cold toes and fingers for the longest time (I am a chronic migraineur as well) and I experienced something that really helped.
I went through biofeedback training for about 1/2 a year, and that training was essentially to relax myself enough to get my hand temperature up. I had to moniter temperature of my fingers a couple of times a day, and now I can get the temperature of my fingers up 10 degree warmer within 5 minutes.
If anyone is interested, I can give you some more information about where I did the training. No more cold fingers and toes!

themigrainegirl said...

Hello!, thank you for your feedback on biofeedback (har har har). I'm so happy something worked for you. Once it gets cool out again and my fingers and toes get freezing, I will have to hit you up for advice if my yoga and vests and heating pads aren't doing the job. I appreciate your reading the blog!

Anonymous said...

I too have suffered from cold feet and hands for years and years...and think it it due to poor circulation...and it absolutely directly corresponds with my energy and balance levels.

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