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  • Tension headaches for 11 years?

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    Old 06-28-2008, 12:04 PM   #1
    Rachel03's Avatar
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    Tension headaches for 11 years?

    I read a few threads where people felt relieved that others understood their headaches. I could really use that! I've had headaches for the past 11 years, since I was 12, and I've only found one other person that "feels my pain."

    My headaches are always at the base of my skull, sometimes radiating a bit higher and through my temples. It feels like a throbbing, constant pain and when I have them, I have to drop everything. I can't study, I can't concentrate, I can't do anything. Sometimes I feel nauseated. I don't see an aura, but light and sound do not help. I usually feel them coming on in the early afternoon and if I can take Excedrin or naproxen alone early enough, that will lessen the intensity. I stay away from other otc meds because they don't seem to help and only take naproxen when I can't take the night off to deal with the headache. Most of the time if I sleep it off, in the morning it's gone. But not always. If I press really, really hard on two spots on my neck, on either side of my spine, the pain will centralize to my fingers which gives my head some relief, but I can't keep that up for long. There are periods of time when they occur every day.. sometimes it will be once a week.

    I first saw a pediatrician six months after they started. It was around the same time my parents divorced, so he said they were stress induced tension headaches and recommended I see a psychiatrist. That lasted 6 months, and so did my headaches. I had a MRI and cat scan a few years ago and everything came back normal. I was prescribed a higher dose of naproxen, but it really only helps if I catch it early on. I had a head injury three years before they started, I fell on the back of my head on a playground. I met someone who had the same accident and a few years later his headaches started. He goes to a chiropractor to relieve his headaches.

    So. I guess with all that I was just wanting to see if someone else experiences the same thing. I hate trying to describe what I feel, because when you say you have a headache, most people don't understand how bad they are. How when I feel one coming on, I know I now have a few hours to finish up everything I needed to get done that night before it gets really bad.

    I'm also frustrated that these "treatments" aren't working. Will it always be like this? For the rest of my life I'll have headaches that I can only lessen? If so, that doesn't feel like a treatment at all. Isn't there something preventative that I can be doing? I've tried the headache journals and there doesn't seem to be anything linking it. It just feels like there has to be something more that I or my doctor can be doing. Rather than just be popping an increased otc drug every night.

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    Old 07-05-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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    Re: Tension headaches for 11 years?

    I too had chronic headaches for over a decade. I was told by my family doctor that they were just tension headaches and that I should take some yoga classes to manage my stress better. I carried a bottle of Excedrin wherever I went and usually needed 2 to 3 doses to get through each day. My headaches started at the back of my head right in the region where the head and neck connect to each other. The pain then continued up over the top of my head and seemed to center around my left eye. I also had a chronic, deep seated ache underneath my shoulder blades. To make a long story short, it turned out my headaches were not tension headaches at all. Instead they were really "cervicogenic" headaches and were caused by herniated disks in my neck that I didn't even know I had!

    I strongly encourage you to go to a headache specialty clinic and get some real help for your headaches. Ask them specifically if your neck could be the source of the headaches. If your neck is OK, there are still many other potential causes of your headaches. Something is wrong and it may take you several visits with more than one doctor before someone finally pinpoints what the actual problem is. I went through 3 doctors before I got my answer. Your answer is out there somewhere too! Go out and find it, and keep us posted on your progress?

    Good luck!
    Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
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    Severe DDD with multiple herniations and areas of stenosis, 16 affected disks!
    C4-5 ACDF 2006
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    Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome

    Old 07-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #3
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    Re: Tension headaches for 11 years?

    Over the counter meds DO NOT work for me. I take some strong prescriptions and they don't always work. It is possible as you said it could be the disks in my back. I know I have lower back pain because of herniated discs but I don't know if I have any problems with herniated discs in my neck. I did have an MRI so wouldn't that have shown if the discs in my neck were herniated? I will be having a Radiofrequency Neurotomy on July 18th. I sure hope it works. I know they do that for cervogenic headaches. I have been everywhere and now go to a pain management doctor who will do the neurotomy.
    To the person that said at last someone believes her headaches are so bad. I too feel that noone can understand how bad they really are.
    Take care.

    Old 07-08-2008, 12:28 PM   #4
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    Re: Tension headaches for 11 years?

    Why don't you try a pain management doctor? Like I said I have been everywhere for my DAILY 24/7 headaches. I felt like I wanted to die. Maybe just one Medial Branch Block will work for you since over the counter meds. work to lessen your headaches. Prior to pain management I went to chiropractors, psychiatrist, headache specialists, Acupuncture and others and here I am at pain management. If the Radiofrequency Neurotomy works (after 4 blocks)it will relieve my headaches for 9 months or more. Then I will have it done again. I know your pain believe me.
    Good luck.

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