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Old 08-07-2005, 11:15 AM   #1
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cden4 HB User
New Daily Persistent Headache

I have had a constant dull headache for 2 years and 4 months now. I have been seeing doctors ever since I got it, and recently it has been diagnosed as a New Daily Persistent Headache.

Symptoms
- Constant mild dull pain across entire head (tension-like, squeezing, etc)
- Intensity of pain is 3-4 out of 10
- Sensitivity to light
- Plugged ears (varies in degree)
- Pain seems "focused" over forehead
- Pain also behind eyes, nose, jaw
- Neck muscles are tight as well
- Seems worse in morning
- Pain is there 24/7 and has never gone away

Here is some history about it (in chronological order):
- It started suddenly approx. 1 month before graduating from college.
- Initially treated as sinus infection with nasal spray and antibiotics. Then treated as migraine with Depakote. No effect in either case.
- Diagnosed by another doctor as tension headache
- Saw neurologist, optomotrist, opthomologist who all found nothing wrong
- Dentist said I am probably clenching/grinding and made nightguard, which brought the intensity down. He also presciped Nortriptyline, which had no effect.
- Within past year have been seeing TMJ specialist who made day and night guards. They seem to help a little, but not much.
- Have being doing physical therapy once a week. He releases the neck muscles, but they don't stay released. We've also done exercises to improve movement -- range of neck movement and motion while walking went from very rigid and stiff to very relaxed with excellent range. None of this has made a dent in the headache though.
- Took a yoga/breathing/relaxation course about a month ago. So far no effect on headache from doing these exercises on a regular basis.
- Recently tried acupuncture. Noticed no effect, although it was only one session. I may go back for more sessions.
- Food allergy was suggested by a few people. I tried no dairy for a few days, but there was no effect. I am considering getting tested for all allergies just to see.

The last visit to the TMJ specialist -- actually the Craniofacial Pain Center at Tufts Dental School -- one of the doctors diagnosed it as New Daily Persistant Headache. He prescribed Indomethacin which I have been taking for 3 days now. Since taking it, the headache actually seems worse.

I have been doing research online, and pretty much everything I read says it has an unknown cause and is resistant to treatment. This certainly seems like what I have. It also seems to be that it goes away for most people as quickly as it started, for no apparent reason, but can last from 2 years up to an indefinite amount of time.

Does anyone else have a headache like this? Have you found anything that helps it or makes it go away?

I'm really reaching a point of total frustration, as I spend more time and money to try to figure this out with little to no success. I am still young (23) and having a constant headache with no end in sight is really a rather depressing proposition.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Last edited by cden4; 08-07-2005 at 11:40 AM.

 
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Old 08-07-2005, 11:27 AM   #2
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Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

Try taking some migraine things out of your diet...especially things like hot dogs and common lunch meats...those preservatives daily could keep your headache around if those have anything to do with it.

It sounds to me like you have some sort of allergy because it sounds like it's in your sinuses judging by the locations of your pain/ache. I'm surprised you haven't already gone to an allergist, but I'd say do this right away. I'd be surprised if this doesn't shed light on your problem. I'd bet there's something in your daily routine, either in the air and/or in your diet keeping this there.

 
Old 08-09-2005, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

Your symptoms sound EXACTLY like mine. I haven't found anything either that has taken them away. This weekend I went floating down a river and it was very relaxing and thinking about it right now, I did not have my headache. I do now though, so maybe it's everyday stress. WHOKNOWS!! What part the the country are you from? I am on the W. coast...maybe that has something to do with it???

 
Old 08-09-2005, 01:16 PM   #4
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Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

I'm on the East Coast here, Boston to be exact.

It is encouraging to hear that there is someone with the same problem, but of course it's not so great that neither of us have a solution!

I definitely feel like I am clenching my teeth at night, and the nightguard really does not stop me from doing that. It mostly just protects my teeth from damage. My jaw muscles have felt more sore than usual lately, and accordingly my headache feels worse. Have you (or anyone else) used an NTI device, which fits over your front teeth only, and prevents the clenching muscles from being able to tense? I am going to ask the doctor about it next time I go in for a visit. (The one I have now is just flat and covers all the upper teeth.)

I'm not sure that clenching is the root of the headahce, but it would certainly make sense. When I wake up in the morning, I definitely catch myself with my teeth together, grinding around or just clenching. I am a pretty stressful person, even though I don't always show it. And it would make sense that I started clenching right before college ended, since that is pretty much THE most stressful time in my life so far. Also, my father clenched his teeth for years and did not know it, and he also had headaches (although not a constant one like I have). One day in his 40s, he just stopped clenching. I've been trying to look for an outlet for my stress, like physical activity (exercising, biking, etc) but so far it hasn't helped a whole lot. I just have a hard time thinking stress is the root of all this. It SEEMS like there's something else going on, but maybe I'm overanalyzing it.

 
Old 08-09-2005, 04:09 PM   #5
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Mz Migraine HB UserMz Migraine HB User
Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

Quote:
Originally Posted by cden4
I'm on the East Coast here, Boston to be exact.

It is encouraging to hear that there is someone with the same problem, but of course it's not so great that neither of us have a solution!

I definitely feel like I am clenching my teeth at night, and the nightguard really does not stop me from doing that. It mostly just protects my teeth from damage. My jaw muscles have felt more sore than usual lately, and accordingly my headache feels worse. Have you (or anyone else) used an NTI device, which fits over your front teeth only, and prevents the clenching muscles from being able to tense? I am going to ask the doctor about it next time I go in for a visit. (The one I have now is just flat and covers all the upper teeth.)

I'm not sure that clenching is the root of the headahce, but it would certainly make sense. When I wake up in the morning, I definitely catch myself with my teeth together, grinding around or just clenching. I am a pretty stressful person, even though I don't always show it. And it would make sense that I started clenching right before college ended, since that is pretty much THE most stressful time in my life so far. Also, my father clenched his teeth for years and did not know it, and he also had headaches (although not a constant one like I have). One day in his 40s, he just stopped clenching. I've been trying to look for an outlet for my stress, like physical activity (exercising, biking, etc) but so far it hasn't helped a whole lot. I just have a hard time thinking stress is the root of all this. It SEEMS like there's something else going on, but maybe I'm overanalyzing it.
You sound like you have the classic symptoms of TMJ especially with the teeth grinding. Suggest you inform your TMJ doctor about the headache med not working and/or making them worse so that he/she can prescribe something different.

Also, suggest that you crosspost in the TMJ Forum:

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/forumdisplay.php?f=123

A wealth of info in there regarding your condition & your symptons.


Good luck

 
Old 08-09-2005, 04:16 PM   #6
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Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

TMJ sounds possible, although you said that you've seen a TMJ specialist. I'd get a second opinion on TMJ because it does seem possible. Do you get any crackling or pain in your ears when you chew or yawn??

I would definitely look into going to an allergist if TMJ is not found to be the issue.

 
Old 08-11-2005, 09:12 AM   #7
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cden4 HB User
Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

I don't get any crackling but I guess I do have a little pain in the ears. The muscles in front of my ears often feel sore (where my jaw hinges), and when I press there it feels tender. I think the big question is whether TMJ or clenching is the cause of the headache or if there is something else that has triggered these things?

I'm planning to try biofeedback and go to an allergist within the next few weeks. I also just visited the TMJ doctor again, and upon my suggestion he changed my nighttime appliance from a flat design to a NTI-style, where only my front teeth will touch at night. I'm going to try that out and see how it goes.

 
Old 08-16-2005, 04:21 PM   #8
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Sowul HB User
Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

I'm going through something very similar and was also diagnosed w/ New Persistent Daily Headache ( occipital neuralgia and transferred migraine also).

Have you ever had Mono? There are a few viruses out there that are linked to NPDH and that might be a clue that that is what you have. Right now I'm taking Topomax, Prednizone, and Frova as treatment. I"ve also been through a battery of tests and doctors to treat and rule everything out. Dentists, TMJ specialists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncture, two neuros, and a shrink. Nothing has seemed to take the edge of the pain. I'm also young like you...22 year old female college student.

Best of luck to ya. Let me know if you find anything out about NPDAs or if anything works for ya.

 
Old 08-16-2005, 04:48 PM   #9
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Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

my daughter suffers like you guys do. she is having surgery with a tmj expert. he thinks the problem of clenching/grinding teeth in the night might also be triggering the headaches. in some cases they have to break the jaw and reset it. but he said that it is 15% chance of getting worse, 15% chance of complete cure and the rest is same or a little better. what i want to know is do your doctors and medical people treat you like your just out for rx's. and do you have a slight fever when you get these migraines? she does. but no infections show up anywhere.

 
Old 08-16-2005, 05:36 PM   #10
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Sowul HB User
Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

I've spent the last 8 months arguing w/ my doctors about RXs actually. But it's kind of opposite. They want me to take RXs and I don't. They finally won last month since I'm getting desperate to live with this 24 hour headache. I've never had a fever w/ my headache...however, I also don't have any jaw problems whatsoever... so it's strictly a migraine/NPDH/occipital thing. (whatever they decide the problem of the week is I guess...I wonder sometimes if doctors really know what their talking about???)

 
Old 08-16-2005, 08:04 PM   #11
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cden4 HB User
Re: New Daily Persistent Headache

To answer some of both of your questions...

No I have never had mono. I was reading that there may be a connection between NDPH and the Epstein Barr virus (which causes mono).

No fevers with my headache either.

Yeah I am not a big fan of prescriptions either. I try them when they are prescibed to me, but none of them ever help. If anything, they sometimes make me feel worse with the side effects. So right now all I am taking is Aleve occasionally when it feels worse. It seems to take the edge off at least a little bit.

 
Old 08-16-2005, 08:17 PM   #12
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Jbanksies HB User
Please Read

Hi- I just read your posting and I totally agree with Nathan's reply. I'm 24 years old and I have had a history of headaches since I was in middle school. It seemed like I mostly experienced tension headaches, which were characterized by a tightening over the forehead/fogginess/numbness. After high school, my headaches seemed to occur more frequently, and I noticed that I seemed to feel increasingly tired a lot of the time. After I had graduated I noticed that I was experiencing this same mild/moderate "head pain" on a regular basis. Finally after working for a couple of years, I developed daily headaches which ranged from mild/moderate to severe migraine. I was also experiencing daily neck and shoulder pain/stiffness. The neck pain got so bad that I could feel it radiating down my arm. I constantly had knots in my upper trapezius muscles and no doctor could figure it out. As I said, I was also experiencing all types of headaches. I had a daily headache which consisted of pressure and terrible burning in the nose region. I also had a constant tight feeling around my forehead. When I would get real bad (which prob happened three times a week), I would get either terrible throbbing pain up the back of my skull, accompanied by a burning on the top of my head. My worst headache, which I later found out was a "lower half migraine" was when I felt sinus pressure" around the upper right side of my face and nose. It would feel as thought that whole side was tremendously blocked for what could be a half a day to two days. This was the ultimate worst feeling.
Anyways- I am sorry to make this sooo long, but the point is to show that ALL of these symptoms, including neck pain, as well as ear pressure/blockage are all part of the "migraine mechanism". After I read a book, titled Heal Your Headache: The 1 2 3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain, by David Buccholz, I realized that all of my pain was DIRECTLY associated with the food I was consuming on a daily basis. Simple "healthy" foods such as beans, avocado, bananas, diet soda, fresh bread, smoked turkey/ham (any type of coldcuts), uncooked onions, citrus fruit...and the list goes on...of course, the most popular causes of migraine include cheese, chocolate, coffee, wine/beer...ect...
After I read this book, I followed the migraine diet detailed and after a week or two (I was very strict) ALL of my pain went away. The book explains that it is not a food allergy, but rather a food intolerance...and eating certain foods in combination with other factors can lower your threshold and cause a headache.
So, finally...I HIGHLY recommend that you read this book. I went to specialist after to specialist and also went to physical therapy for three months. The funny part is that phys therapy would loosen my muscles, but then I would go eat Mexcican food loaded with cheese, beans, sour cream, ect and just continue the cycle of what seemed like endless headaches. For you information, I also grind my teeth and I went to the Craniofacial Center at Tufts...they fitted me for a mouth guard and tried various medications but nothing really helped, because this was not the true root of the problem. Anyhow- please read this book, because for $15-20 dollars it will save your life...I can't tell you how much I spent foolishly for months on medications, therapies and doctors visits. Good luck!!

-Jen

 
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