chronic headaches--any advice?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by jbrain, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi All,
    a little background here...when I started going through menopause back in 2001 (I was 47) I started having migraine headaches and my dr. thought they were due to the fluctuating estrogen. So, I started on hormone replacement for that plus the hourly hot flashes that were driving me mad, etc. I also had a prescription for Maxalt to help with the headaches.

    Okay, everything was managable. But in the past year or so I have had longer bouts with the headaches--like 2 or 3 days. But, still, managable. Now, I have been dealing with a headache since last Wednesday.

    I also have some herniated disks in my neck and I am wondering if the headaches are from that--the headache seems to be centered in my neck though it spreads all the way to my temples. Mostly it is one-sided like in a migraine and also the only medication that helps is my Maxalt. But you aren't supposed to be taking that every day and also you only get 10 of them in a prescription. Also, the headache is coming back after the Maxalt wears off.

    I have an appointment. this afternoon with my doctor but wondered if anyone here has had any experience similar to this or any suggestions? I am so tired of this headache!!!!


    P.S. My youngest dtr gets what I would call "true" migraines--with the aura, throwing up, etc. This is nothing like that, I feel kind of bad even calling it a migraine when I know how awful those can be.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm glad you're seeing your doctor. The headache could be related to your disks.

    I get monthly migraines related to hormone fluctuations around my period. They last 48 hours and are one-sided. No amount of Ibuprofen or sleep relieves them. I was given Axert (similar to Maxalt), but was taking too many in a month. So my doctor put me on a combo of Amitriptyline and Topamax, which has worked well to relieve my migraines.

    I hope you get some answers from your doctor this afternoon. Hang in there.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im getting daily headaches but I dont think they are migraines. I have had migraines and these arent like that. These are truly annoying and painful but no auras or throwing up.

    Mine are always in one exact place too. On the left side right behind my ear and starting about two fingers up. That whole side of my head back there hurts. Sometimes I wake up with the headache and sometimes it starts about mid afternoon. Nothing seems to make it go away. Im supposed to go get an eye exam and see if that helps before they try something else.
  4. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I see my dr. in an hour. I am so miserable now. I feel nauseous and my head hurts so bad. I hope she can make it better, I feel so scared to be in so much pain and no relief in sight. I took another Maxalt but it doesn't seem to be helping anymore.
    Thanks for being here...
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so sorry.
    Honestly, Imitrex always worked better for me than Maxalt.
    There is a new medication out called Treximet that works well...but its just Imitrex and Motrin. But studies show the ingredients in these medications together work very very well.

    If it continues to be a huge problem, consider a small dosage of Topamax is a super preventative....just has some bad side effects at higher dosages.

    Consider taking co q 10 daily, as well as b vitamins and calcium/magneisum. Get some rest, explore relaxation techniques, gentle exercise, avoid junk food and over the counter pain relievers. Don't let stress get out of hand in your life.

    Have your hormone's tested...some say progesterone is particularly helpful.

    I'm so very sorry...I know how horribly painful and debilitating these things can be. I've had these problems for years...have made headway doing the above.
  6. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Thanks, Nomad. I will mention these drugs to my dr. if she doesn't bring them up. Thanks, SW and Janet, too, for your posts. At least I am not really "alone."
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Treximet is imitrex and naproxen sodium, or aleve. It is supposed to be the next great thang, but I am allergic to naproxen - which my doctor constantly forgets. She even told me that "if you just try it then you will see it helps SOOO much".


    They only came out with treximet because imitrex was available in generic.

    For your headache you probably will get a shot of toradol. A wonderful NSAID that is excellent at dealing with severe pain. You cannot take it orally for more than 2-3 days at a time because it can do severe damage to your stomach if taken orally. It is so good a pain reliever that people developed very serious gastric bleeding with-o knowing they were having any problems that way at all. This is why it is most commonly given as a shot at the doctor's office.

    The good news is it generally won't make you loopy, though they may not want you to drive after the shot.

    You need to ask the doctor about preventative medication. There are quite a few types of medications that can help with this. BEta Blockers, which lower your blood pressure, continue to be the cheapest preventative. At one point I took atenolol and it was less than $3 per MONTH. Tricyclic AD's are also an option. Topomax is the hot drug for this because it is so blinkin' expensive and it can contribute to weight loss in some patients.

    You doctor should be able to help with this. There are many kinds of migraines, so don't talk down your pain simply because it doesn't show up the same way someone else.

    I hope you feel better soon.
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Guys,
    I am back from the dr. armed with some new medications. Don't worry, Susie, I didn't downplay it, in fact I burst into tears when the dr. walked in the examining room! Although, I was feeling some better by then, the Maxalt had finally kicked in.

    She is having me try Imitrex (thinks my body may have gotten too used to the Maxalt) but says there are others to try if that one doesn't work. I am also having a course of Prednisone to try to break the cycle (anti-inflammatory) and she prescribed Fiorinal for pain as well. I have a muscle relaxant too--my shoulder and neck muscles are really tight. So, I am going to take some medications and try to chill out now. I feel pretty good right now but as soon as the headache rears its ugly head I will try the Imitrex.

    You guys are so good to me, it really did help to know you were out there, plus you always have great advice!

    Thanks so much,
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    If you don't get quick relief from your doctor, I would go to a headache specialist ASAP.

    My daughter has had a 2 year severe headache or migraine, whatever. She's been to a regular neurologist during this time but we just got a new one after an ER/hospital stay. He gave us the name of a pedi headache specialist. After watching his video, I have learned that the quicker you get the headache stopped, the easier it will be to manage. There are apparently things they can try in the ER to get it stopped. They tried 2 treatments on my daughter that didn't help, but I have since read about more. I'm thinking for adults, they might do more.

    Since your neck is involved, maybe a chiropractor could help, too.