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  • Progressively Worsening Headaches

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    Old 09-01-2003, 07:53 PM   #1
    bandit3's Avatar
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    Post Progressively Worsening Headaches

    I suffered an overuse injury of my neck, shoulders, upper back and arms about a year and a half ago. Since then I have been working at resolving my problems related to this injury. Although I will be having arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2 weeks to correct one problem, I am finding the headaches (related to my neck) to be the most difficult problem to tolerate and cope with right now. Once they set in my headaches can last for 3 weeks or longer before reaching a mild pain level, and never seem to be completely gone. I have had extensive physical therapy, massage therapy, and more recently started regular drug therapy. When I first started to get these headaches they were occasional and 2 OTC Advil used to fully relieve them. After several months they stopped working and my doc prescribed Naproxen to be taken as needed. A few of these and using ice lots was an effective treatment at that point. Around March this too became ineffective and the headaches started lasting longer and longer without relief.

    During the past month they reached a point of severe pain where I spent 5 days within one week completely unable to function due to the pain. Even sleep was impossible because the pain would elevate to sharp stabbing pains once I started to drift off, jolting me awake. I have always been one who was opposed to taking any pain med. regularily, but at this point I went to my doc and begged him for something to make the pain stop!! Two weeks ago I started taking Fiorinal-C 1/2. This drug seems to work great as long as I take it at the first sign of my headache intensifying. I also started taking Imipramine about 6 weeks ago (started at 12.5mg, increased to 25mg and am now taking 37mg). Is anyone else taking this drug for their headaches? If so how much do you take, and do you find it helps?

    I have been diagnosed with cervicogenic and tension headaches and also have some symptoms of migraine but have not been diagnosed with this type. Most of my pain starts in the upper back part of my neck but I have pain in my entire cervical and thoracic spine as well as my shoulders. Even when my headaches are not in flare-up mode, I have a constant mild pressure and painful feeling in my entire head, neck and shoulders.
    My headaches are always bilateral with more intense pain on the right side than on the left.

    My physical therapist believes that once I have my shoulder problem corrected I should be able to do more rehab for my neck, upper back and shoulders which should help reduce my headache problem.

    Has anyone else dealt with this type of injury and the resulting headaches? All of my diagnoses have been made on physical assessment and history. The only diagnostics I had for my neck was a standard set of x-rays that did not reveal anything significant. I have not had any diagnostic testing for my headaches. Is this unusual? How were your headaches diagnosed and treated?

    Please share any experiences you may have. I find it very frustrating and confusing (even a little scary) that my headaches keep getting progressively worse despite all of the therapy I have had over the past year and a half. Seems that things should be getting better, or at least not getting worse!!

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    Old 09-02-2003, 07:28 AM   #2
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    maybe they should order an MRI for u. since ur xrays r normal. it might be u have a disc problem in ur neck. but then again it would cause numbness to ur arms if it was a disc. i don't know if u have numbness or no not.
    i had those tension headaches where they would start at the neck going up to the top of my head. they would be so painful that i couldn't sleep at all. they would make me dizzy too. i was put on firocet pills but later found out that the pills gave me a relapse. they remove the pills from me and i dont get them as often as i used to now.
    they also order an MRI and found that i had been having several small seizures. so i was put on an aspirin aday. just to prevent from me getting the big stroke they say i will get.i am in danger of still getting a stroke but hopefully not the big one cuz of the aspirin treatment i'm on. tell ur dr. to order the MRI for u. it might give u answers as to why u hurt so much.

    Old 09-02-2003, 07:44 AM   #3
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    Thanks for your reply. They don't think I have neurological signs although I do get numbness and tingling in the fingers of my right hand with certain head/neck positions. Different fingers with different positions. And it seems to happen after working on my computer a lot and exercising or sometimes for no reason at all. I have been told that it is likely caused by nerve entrapement from muscle tension.

    Sorry to hear what you've been through. Hope the aspirin therapy continues to do the job. Take care.

    Old 09-26-2003, 08:21 PM   #4
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    Sounds like my story. After two years of trying to figure it all out, I finally found something that has helped me relieve at least 90% of the pain. I purchased a hand-held infrared massager (k-mart, $29.99) and just deep massage the muscles in my neck and shoulders. I'm not's like a miracle. Try it!

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