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Debilitating Chronic Headaches - What Can I Do?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have always been prone to getting headaches.  Mostly they have been migraines and related to my menstrual cycle.  Sometimes I'd have them a few times a month and then go for months without one.  However, for almost 2 years now I have been having a different sort of headache that starts at the nape of my neck and works its way up both sides of my head, around my ears and across my temples to my forehead.  They are worse than any migraine I ever had.  In fact, I dare to say its the worst pain I have ever felt.  I'd rather be in transition labor for the whole day then to have to experience one of these headaches for a whole day.  It put me out of commission.  I have to take meds that I'd rather not have to take, and that leave me dragging the next day.  It is all I can do to lift my head without screaming and/or throwing up. 

I had one of these again yesterday, and the whole day I was wishing I'd have a seizure or something that would be severe enough for me to go to the hospital and get tests done.  I'd be willing to get very sick if it meant a possibility of getting to the bottom of this and making these headaches go away.  Dealing with this is exhausting me, and I don't know where to go from here.

My doctor gives me tension headache meds (Cephadyn) which I take only as needed and not as often as it says to for fear that I'll build up a tolerance to it.  She did a CT scan and it was normal.  We also talked about it being my female hormones, but I'm not so sure its totally related anymore. 

The headaches are intense pressure in my skull along with a feeling like someone is trying to break my head apart.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to go next?  I can't take it anymore, and I need relief.

post #2 of 7

Have you tried chiropractic? Accupuncture? Cranial massage/physical therapy?

 

Food allergy/senstivity testing? (After almost a year of weird headaches, I got food testing with ALCAT and found out I was sensative to the yellow dye in my multi vitamin and the aspartame/saccarin in the 'light' foods I was eating. Go figure....no more headaches after I eliminated those from my diet)

 

 

post #3 of 7

Hi there, I am so sorry you are dealing with such awful migraines! Sadly, I can relate. 

Have you tried essential oils such as lavender and peppermint? They have never worked for me but some people swear by them. Mine seem hormonal too, but I have not done a test for allergies. 

I use imitrex when it gets bad, but would rather not. Plus, since I have started using the meds, I seem to get more and more headaches. Hmmm.

 

Anyways, hopefully someone will have some good info on this. 

Flightgoddess, that is so interesting that the allergies eliminated your migraine! And maybe there is hope.

post #4 of 7

Have you seen a headache specialist? They are often well versed on all kinds of treatments including massage, bio feedback, allergy testing, avoiding triggers, managing pain, and more exotic treatments like botox. They do not dismiss more alternative treatments often because they have seen them work for some of their patients.

 

I do find that the more medicine one takes, the more headaches it can cause-kind of a rebound effect.

 

Have you kept a log of everything you eat/do and when you get headaches? That can often help you spot a pattern and is good info for the specialist as well.

 

Sever headaches are agonizing and I wish you the best.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flightgoddess View Post

Have you tried chiropractic? Accupuncture? Cranial massage/physical therapy?

 

Food allergy/senstivity testing? (After almost a year of weird headaches, I got food testing with ALCAT and found out I was sensative to the yellow dye in my multi vitamin and the aspartame/saccarin in the 'light' foods I was eating. Go figure....no more headaches after I eliminated those from my diet)

 

 



Yes, I've tried all of these things.  Except cranial massage/physcial therapy.  My chiropractor, my MD, and my ND seem to be at a loss.  Though I do know that I have a leak in my blood brain barrier apparently and poor GABA reception.  My DC says that my neck is extremely tight as is my shoulders and upper back.  She's tried to work with it, but it isn't getting any better.

I'm starting to think anxiety is the culprit, but I have nothing to be anxious about.  Not sure. 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

Have you seen a headache specialist? They are often well versed on all kinds of treatments including massage, bio feedback, allergy testing, avoiding triggers, managing pain, and more exotic treatments like botox. They do not dismiss more alternative treatments often because they have seen them work for some of their patients.

 

I do find that the more medicine one takes, the more headaches it can cause-kind of a rebound effect.

 

Have you kept a log of everything you eat/do and when you get headaches? That can often help you spot a pattern and is good info for the specialist as well.

 

Sever headaches are agonizing and I wish you the best.



I didn't know there were headache specialists!  I'll look into that.

 

post #6 of 7

Since your regular doctors can't seem to find out what's going on, it might be time to see a neurosurgeon. That might seem scary - but it doesn't mean there's anything terrible going on. They just specialize in the head/brain and can likely help you get to bottom of what's causing these migraines for you and help you get some relief. Have you had your eyes/vision checked recently? I didn't see that mentioned above, and that can often be the cause of migraines, so you may want to see an opthamologist (not optometrist - regular eye doctor) before trying to see a neurosurgeon.

 

I sympathize - I've gone through periods of debilitating headaches as well, as they can really bring your life to a screeching halt. Something that at least helped me get the pain to a functional level was ice packs on my head and neck - if you haven't given that a try, it might be worth a shot. And cutting all caffeine out of diet too, if you haven't done that already. 

 

Good luck - I hope you feel better soon! 

post #7 of 7
I would definitely see a neurologist that works with a lot of headache patients. It sounds like you've tried everything that you can on your own. I had no clue that rigid muscles in my neck were irritating my occipital nerves and causing migraines. Getting injections in the occiput of solumedrol and lidocaine is very effective for reducing headaches in my case.
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