Headache-Adviser.com

Headaches Rule My Life

by Nikki

I had a concussion about a year ago. I had headaches for a while as a side effect but they stopped. Now for maybe the past month or so I've been getting headaches almost every day and despite taking medicine, sometimes they don't go away. Sometimes I'll wake up with a headache. I've been trying to drink more water to see if it helps but it really hasn't. Can my past concussion be the cause of these headaches?

Nikki

Answer:

Hi Nikki,

While head injuries can contribute to a headache profile, generally it is multiple injuries that do this. It is a little unusual for someone to move into daily headaches long after only one concussion. If you have had previous concussions then it could happen and we call this post traumatic headache. Many times patients tell me "these headaches rule my life"!



At this point I would advise that you speak to your doctor if you are having a headache every day that is refractory to medication. Without more information it is difficult to say what is going on. Give the doctor a call.

Good luck
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Headaches

by Kim
(Illinois, USA)

Migraine depression

Migraine depression

I'm sorry this is so long, but I'm 21, female, 5'9, 130 lbs and have a 12 year history of headaches and migraine.

I started getting migraine when I was 9 years old and am now 21 with no change other than that the nausea and severe sensitivity to light and sound have worn off. I've been on and off different medications and have occasionally gone to the ER to get the shot in my butt. My parents aren't too fond of that because it's expensive; but it's either that or drive a knife into my skull. I get them about once a week, varying in severity and how early i get an OTC drug in my system (if I get it early enough, it can kill the migraine before it gets out of control).

Along with these, I get tension headaches that I call pressure headaches because it feels as if something is squeezing my skull from all sides, but there is no pain in my face. Then another headache sounds like the occipital or cervicogenic headache but besides the intense pain at the base of my skull in one tight knot, there is pain on my cheek bone, my temple, and on the brow ridge directly above my skull: exactly like the picture of the Trigeminal Neuralgia but at the jaw rather than by the mouth and I don't have the symptoms of trigeminal, just the pain points.

I keep careful track of my headaches, mainly what kind and on what day. I also used to get a headache where a nerve in my right temple would throb, you could feel it pulsing out of the side of my head. But that went away.

This past month of March, 2009, I calculated 14 total headaches of all three kinds, migraine, tension, and the above the eye, back of the neck one. I also noticed that the eye/neck headache started this month with 9 of the total 14. And not one occurred, december - february. (I live in Illinois). So could the weather change have something to do with this specific headache.

Basically, I'm exhausted of them, they inhibit my social, academic, and work life. I just about inhale Tylenol, Excedrin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Head-On helps (I HIGHLY recommend this stuff) a lot of the time as does a heating pad, but this can NOT go on every other day.

I've seen many doctors (no specialists), they give me a drug to try and send me on my way. I then either build up a resistance to it, it doesn't work, or it renders me incapacitated anyway. I went to a chiropractor to have my neck adjusted once a week for 5 months with no change in the number of headaches. I know stress is a trigger, school stresses me out, but I can't exactly quit. The number of headaches significantly decreases in summer.

I suffer from severe anxiety and depression but it is under control with a high dosage of Paxil. I also have issues with being tired all of the time, I can sleep for days if allowed to, but have again been tested for everything under the sun. There's nothing wrong with me.

Do you have any insight into any of this. I'm sorry it's so long but there's no simple summary.

Thank you so much for reading this,
This is a wonderful website.

Sincerely,

Kim

Answer:

Hi Kim,

It sounds like you are just like many patients I see all day long. In fact I met two today with almost the same problems!

Like many chronic headache sufferers, you do have several types of headaches going on. The first one is pretty easy to pick out..it is related to all the OTC medications you are using and is known as analgesic rebound headache syndrome. Although non-addictive, many people can't stop because of the severe rebound pain. Ask your doctor for a short course of steroid (medrol dose pak) to break this.

Head pain from the back of the neck will fuel more headaches and actually trigger migraines. This is called cervicogenic headache.

Anxiety and stress do indeed fuel headaches and are best managed with treatment for the anxiety and learning coping skills for stress.

Take heart..I don't think you are quite the severe case that YOU think you are. I would highly recommend that you seek out a good headache specialist. You are in Illinois..one of the best headache centers in the US is the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago.

If this is out of your area for insurance purposes, ask your doctor to write a letter to the insurance company demonstrating medical necessity as there are no headache centers in your area.

Start by following the lifestyle recommendations on my website, including vitamin therapy. Good luck!

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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unstoppable headache

by tiffany felix
(bronx,NY)

Hello my name is tiffany. i am 27yrs old and i have an uncontrollable headache that's been persistent for over a year.



It first started once a day and it just never goes away. Ive been to the hospital numerous of times but they don't do anything at all just give me medication and send me on my merry way.

I also know its not migraine because light and sound doesn't bother me at all. The pain is very sharp and is only in the front of my head and eyes area my vision goes blurry when they are really bad and i forget things a lot often now i know what i want to say i just forget. I hope you can help me with some type of information because now i'm getting really scared.

Answer:

Hi Tiffany,

It is a little difficult to say what type of headache you are having.

I am not sure if you have a primary care or not but I would advise that you start there. Frequent trips to the Emergency room for this is really not helping.

The closest headache center is Montefiore Hospital Headache Center. If your primary care cannot figure it out you can always see a specialist there.

Good luck..
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Types Of Headache

by Pauline
( Halifax England)

Hi

I seem to have three types of migraine - the first is zigzag lights on one side and difficulty in seeing clearly - lasts about an hour and is followed by mild headache.

The second usually starts at night with a headache often at the back of the neck and I have difficulty in keeping my balance, feel very muggy and can feel as if I am getting a bad cold or sinus - which I am not. Sometimes the dizziness is severe and there is always nausea. This one often seems often weather related and can last for days.

The final is very occasional and it is as if there is a camera shutter in my eyes that switches on and off so I see in glimpses. Usually lasts about 30 minutes. My doctor says all three are probably migraine and has suggested that as the headaches are comparatively minor and the eye problems don't last long, to ignore them. However i do find it hard to work with the general wooziness and dizziness and wonder if you could suggest anything.

Thanks'

Pauline

Answer

Hello Pauline,

Your doctor is right, you are getting what sounds like migraine. And you are right, you have three different types.

The first one sounds like migraine with aura. You have classic symptoms for this. If the headache is bothersome, try a low dose of an anti-inflammatory like motrin to treat it.

The second headache sounds migrainous since it is triggered by the weather. You have similar weather patterns that we have here in Buffalo NY believe it or not! Barometric pressure changes are a well known trigger for migraine, but I would have someone examine your neck to see if spasms or arthritis is contributing to the problem. The dizziness you refer to is probably vertigo which is associated with migraine. In this case, a low dose (10mg) of amitriptyline for a few months may settle things down and ease spasms in the neck. It also treats migraine..take it two hours before bed. Ask your doctor about this.

Barometric pressure headaches also seem to respond to magnesium. I advise 600-800mg per day to my patients and you have to give it a good 90 days to see the full effect.

I am assuming the "muggy" feeling you have is a sense of confusion which is common during headache. I like that word..may start using it myself!

Finally the third type sounds very much like ocular migraine. All you get is the aura and no headache. We don't treat these and don't worry about them unless the aura is over 60 minutes. If that starts happening tell your doctor as he/she may order some different tests.

Good luck!

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Chronic Headache Worsened

by Dawn
(Pittsburgh)

Hi my name is Dawn. I have had chronic daily migraines for eight years.

Two years ago, I developed interstitial cystitis and was put on long acting opioids for pain. They put me on methadone and my headaches went away for three months. I experienced too many side effects from the methadone and decided to wean off of it.

Now my headaches are worse than ever! Is this methadone withdrawal pain sensitization? Will the headaches get better with time as my body gets rid of residual methadone or is this the headache disorder itself? I am so frustrated that I can't get control of this head pain! Please help!

Answer

Hi Dawn,

So sorry that your headaches have come back! While opioids and methadone can take headaches away, unfortunately as you have discovered, once they are stopped the headaches may return.

You don't say what other medications you have tried so I will assume you have been on many others. The question is, have you been seen by a headache specialist? Not just a neurologist, but a true specialist. This is now a board certification sub-specialty in neurology.

You are lucky as UPMC does have a headache center. It is run by Dr. Konecki. They do a pretty good job there so you might want to give them a call.

If they cannot help you one of the best centers is in Philadelphia, the Jefferson Headache Center within Jefferson Hospital. This one has a bit of a wait..six months or so but they can put patients in the hospital for treatment. If this is not available through UPMC, then your insurance might pay for it (you have your doctor document inpatient headache services not available in the Pgh area).

With chronic daily migraine you really do need a specialist, infusion treatments and possibly multiple therapies combined together for several months. They can be controlled however, as I do this all the time.

Take a look at your lifestyle in relation to your headaches and try to make changes. Avoid over the counter drugs for these headaches as it only makes them worse.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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New onset of head pain

by SD
(cape town, south africa)

Please help.
In hospital recovering from the complications from a case of the mumps.
I cannot lie down and sleep due to due to severe pain at the left base of my skull and excruciating left temple and left eyebrow pains.
Doc prescribed physio but it's getting worse!!!
Pain occurs when lying on my back or when sitting on the bed. Eases up after 10mins of walking and starts back up when I lie down. Don't
Tried lying on left and right side but no relief. The problem actually skipped to the right for a night.
Three days and it's getting worse.
Regards,
SD

Answer

Hi,

Since the mumps is a viral infection it is possible that you are having a post-viral meningimus or irritation of the meninges which line the brain. Although a bit rare, I have seen a few cases.

I have also seen viral infections provoke migraines which is more common.

It sounds like you are having neck pain which is why the doctor prescribed therapy.

I would ask to have a neurologist see you if there is one available. At the very least, a course of steroid such as prednisone may ease the pain, in addition to a pain killer.

Good luck..
Mary Kay

Comments:

Thank you Mary Kay!
Another physician called in yesterday to assist with my case suspects the same as you do. The anti-inflammatory he prescribed yesterday (Brufen) did help. The pain hadn't gone away but the severity is now completely lessened enough for me to get a good stretch of sleep.
I really appreciate the advice!! I wish I found your site on day one of my ordeal. I could have alerted my original doctors :-).
Regards and a big thank you,
SD

Answer:

Good..I am glad you are feeling better..low dose steroid might completely blow the pain away. Hope you are out of the hospital soon.
Mary Kay

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strong permanant headache

by tarek elaraby
(cairo,egypt)

headache high blood pressure

headache high blood pressure

Strong permanent headache for 30 years

recently i am suffering from high blood pressure 150/80 ,high cholesterol. and i am treated by co-tareg and libitor.

i suffer from this headache a lot as it lasts for more than 3 days but not that normal headache. it's much stronger and it always starts from the beginning of my neck.i wish i would know the real reason of this headache through you.

Tarek

Answer:

Hi Tarek,

It is a little difficult to say what is causing this headache. With a long history of hypertension it could be a high blood pressure headache. As your blood pressure goes up and down, it could cause fluctuating headaches.

Many times patients tell me that their migraines will start at the base of the neck and move forward to cause a migraine.

At this point, if your doctor is not able to treat the headaches, I would recommend that you see a neurologist to get the answer and appropriate treatment.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C


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