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harttn 12-09-2008 06:34 PM

Constant Headaches
 
My boyfriend has constant headaches daily. He said he has had them for the last 8 years. He just turned 30, and he played football in high school. He uses tobacco, which I read can cause headaches. He has had an MRI and CAT scan, and has seen an ear nose and throat specialist. He has herniated discs in his neck, and a type of arthritis in his neck. Is there anything else that could be causing his headaches? Doctors have ruled out all of these factors.

beth67 12-09-2008 08:55 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
What has really worked for me is cleaning up my diet. There are so many things that can trigger a headache. I got a book called Heal Your Headache by David Buccholtz ( think i spelled last name wrong). It was tough changing my diet and some bad lifestyle habits but I couldn't believe how much better I felt. Even my husband noticed the difference. He said my mood was much better. I am 41 and I've had daily headaches or migraines since I was 8. Wish my mom had this book when I was a kid. I wouldn't have missed out on so much. All the injuries in his neck could be causing them as well. For my neck pain, which can turn into a headache if I don't tend to it, I use trigger point therapy. Can't remember the exact title. The author is Claire Davies. It is a little technical and there is a lot to read to understand the muscles but I swear by it. Soon as I start to feel something in my neck and shoulders I go right to the book. Good luck.

Beth

jonstar 12-09-2008 10:46 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
This isnt what you want to hear, but very few sufferers of chronic daily headache ever find more than partial releif..... a trycyclic antidepressant such as nortriptyline, 50-75mg at bedtime, can help make the pain less severe and less frequent, ibuprofen can help control the pain, and other drugs can be tried

Given the arthritis, I would suggest an antiinflamatory drug, such as naproxen, 500mg twice a day, an antidepressant such as nortriptyline, 75mg at bedtime, and acetaminophen (Tylenol etc) as needed for pain. He should ask his doctor for a trial of these drugs to see if they help... try for 4 weeks, and see what happens, he has nothing to loose and a lot to gain.

A chirporactor night have somthing to offer, provided s/he is fully aware of the arthritis, has seen x-rays atc of his neck.

he4rtbeat 12-20-2008 08:53 AM

Re: Constant Headaches
 
he could have stress in his life that's prone to cause headaches. I mostly always get headaches after long hard days so i try to take it easy. if he's had scans and doctors haven't found anything wrong with him i don't see why you should be so worried.

chiclero 12-24-2008 11:24 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
I'm 40 and have had nearly constant headaches since I was 20. I started with various drug treatments -- amitryptiline, propranolol, etc. but nothing really worked or the side-effects were worse than the headache in some cases (weight gain and dry mouth in the case of amitryptiline).
So I gave up on medicine. Instead I focused on identifying and reducing the main causes.
For me it's:

1) caffeine (usually people get headache as withdrawal symptom -- I get it when I drink coffee -- but the alternative is to be hopelessly sleepy, so it's a delicate balance. I should kick it but I'm too chicken for cold turkey)

2) alcohol (I'm convinced it's bad, but would life even be worthwhile without a glass of whiskey every now and then? moderation is the key)

3) sleep deprivation (i got lunesta to help get to sleep at night - lying down otherwise provokes headache and keeps me up)

4) lack of regular exercise (still working on this one -- exercise at first aggravates the headache, but after a few days of exercise it starts improving things)

5) lack of neck and head massages / stretches (i keep trying to convince my wife to take a course in deep muscle massage, and offering my services as a practice dummy, but for some reason it hasn't worked yet) I'm usually cured for about a half hour after a massage, but I can't help but think that after enough of them there would be some kind of cumulative effect.

6) paying too much attention to the headaches (when I play guitar / play with my babygirl / eat icecream / do anything even remotely fun, other than moping, I feel no pain. that is, in retrospect -- if you stop to check if you're feeling pain at the time then you'll still feel it. )

I don't know anything about nutrition, but I'm sure there is an angle there too. Would be interested in what you do, Beth.

I recently found out that I too have arthritic neck joints c5/c6, and perhaps more. Haven't been able to stick with the physical therapy, but I should try again.

I also recently found out I'm low in testosterone. I tried DHEA and it seemed to help the headaches, along with cheering me up quite a bit -- not sure if via T or something else. I've not heard of a link between low T and headaches, but I wonder if there's a relationship. There does seem to be a link between low-T and depression DHEA and anti-depression, and between headaches and depression, so who knows.

beth67 12-26-2008 01:11 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
Chiclero,

For the nutrition side of headaches i avoid a lot of food triggers. In Dr. David Buchholz book Heal Your Headache, I've done a lot of what he suggests and in about two weeks it's amazing how much better I felt. MSG is a big trigger for me and I always avoided stuff that had it in it but I didn't realize that msg can be in other forms and after getting out all my favorite stuff out of the fridge and going through it I couldn't believe how many disguised msg ingredients were in them. MSG sources in foods can be hydrolyzed protien including vegetable, soy, plant and rice protein, yeast extracts and autolyzed yeast, soy protein concentrate or isolate, whey protein, carrageenen, sodium and calcium caseinate, fermented or cultured items, ultra pasteurized items, glutamic acid, malt extract, malted barley maltodextrin, broth, stock and bouillon cubes and be very wary of anything that says natural flavors or flavorings because this usually is msg. MSG is a naturally occuring substance in foods and you can even buy a bottle of it in the spice isle of the store. Usually when a product is over processed it has a source of msg. Over processing an otherwise harmless food releases the natural msg into a form that is bad for headache sufferers. I also avoid caffeine, chocolate, processed meats and fish, aged cheese, yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk, nuts, alcohol and vinegar, citrus and bananas and any dried fruit that has sulfites as a preservative, certain beans like lentils, navt, lima and broad italitan, onions (spring green onions are ok), fresh yeast risen bread (I wait 24 hours before eating fresh made bread), aspartamine and other unnatural sweeteners, and tomatoes. I love cheese and that is hard to give up. Allowable cheeses are good quality american, ricotta and cottage cheese. I found a deli meat at my market that doesn't have msg or nitrates in it. I highly recommend the Heal You Headache book. It has so much information and it's an easy read and I refer to it all the time. I even copied the pages with the things to avoid and take that to the market because it is a lot to remember. My problem is I will be really good for awhile and I start to feel good then I forget about the pain and start to slip and eat the bad stuff and then the headaches come back. Your right about the sleep thing. If I don't stay to a schedule I start to feel the headaches come back. Anyways, good luck to you. I know how you feel. I've had migraines since I was 7 years old and I wish my mom had this book. I would of had a much better childhood and early adulthood. Take care.

Beth

DougWV 12-28-2008 07:46 AM

Re: constant headaches
 
Hello everyone, I am a newbie here, actually my first post. After spending 5 hours in the ER on Christmas Day with a Migraine, I decided to check out the message boards.
Beth, I really appreciate your comments on the Book, and about changing your diet to help. I am going to try this immediately.
I am a 47 yr old guy, and I have had daily headaches since 17 yrs old, I have tried about everything, been told by many that they could cure them, tried chiropractors, Eye Dr.'s, had deviated septum surgery performed, advanced MRI's, accupuncture, oxygen, Cleveland Clinic for a week, you name it, I have most likely tried it, nothing has worked. Luckily I have a good, caring Family Doctor who tries everything she can think of. The best med's that I have found, and currently on, is Relpax. You must have good insurance though, luckily, my copay is only $50.00 for 30, I have to take 1 per day. Without insurance, 30 pills are $650.00
Most Insurance Companies will only allow you 9 pills of this per month, I had to get letter from my Doctor stating that I needed 30. Maxalt was the Med that I was on before this one, It was good, but wouldn't take most of mine away. I have tried the diet thing before, but never stuck with it, but after reading your reply, will try again, since I am really out of other options. My last Nuerosurgeon visit ruled out any possible operation, and said nothing else could be done.
I really sympathize with every person on this site, I know that I don't have it as bad as many on here do, and I really hope that I may be able to help someone with things that I have tried, or others may be able to help me.
Thank You !

beth67 12-28-2008 11:12 AM

Re: constant headaches
 
Dougwv, I'm so sorry to hear about your Christmas day Migraine. Hope your doing better. I hope you find this board useful and a good place to voice your concerns. I have been doing good until last night and this is an example of where the diet part of headaches comes in and I'm quite ashamed of myself for admitting this after my rant on good nutrition and avoiding triggers. Yesterday I made homemade chicken noodle soup with chicken not injected with mystery broth, vegetable broth without msg., and whole wheat noodles eventhough white noodles are not a trigger I was just trying to be extra healthy. The soup was delicious but I thought boy a real cheddar cheese sandwich would be yummy with this. I have been feeling good and I think the memory of pain was leaving me so I went ahead and had the real cheddar cheese sandwich with the real mayonainse with the mystery ingredient "natural flavorings" which I should know better could be msg and wouldn't you know it a few hours later I got a bad headache. Not a migraine but enough to kick me in my pants and hopefully get me back on track.

Beth

DougWV 12-28-2008 01:06 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
[QUOTE=beth67;3831143]Dougwv, I'm so sorry to hear about your Christmas day Migraine. Hope your doing better. I hope you find this board useful and a good place to voice your concerns. I have been doing good until last night and this is an example of where the diet part of headaches comes in and I'm quite ashamed of myself for admitting this after my rant on good nutrition and avoiding triggers. Yesterday I made homemade chicken noodle soup with chicken not injected with mystery broth, vegetable broth without msg., and whole wheat noodles eventhough white noodles are not a trigger I was just trying to be extra healthy. The soup was delicious but I thought boy a real cheddar cheese sandwich would be yummy with this. I have been feeling good and I think the memory of pain was leaving me so I went ahead and had the real cheddar cheese sandwich with the real mayonainse with the mystery ingredient "natural flavorings" which I should know better could be msg and wouldn't you know it a few hours later I got a bad headache. Not a migraine but enough to kick me in my pants and hopefully get me back on track.

Beth[/QUOTE]
Thank You Beth,
Yes, my migraine is gone, but back to my normal everyday nagging headaches. I just got back from my Sister's, and told her about your post, and she is helping me with a new diet strategy starting Today. To be honest, I didn't know what MSG was, but she did, she is a Nurse, so she is making a list of all possible triggers, and I am going to start a two week trial on two at a time eliminated out of my diet to try to pin point what may be contributing to these daily headaches, since all medical conditions have been ruled out in my case. Your story is inspiring, so I am hopeful ! Sorry to hear that you paid the price for that cheese sandwich ! I can hardly get by a day without saying cheese somewhere. It seems that all of the good things are triggers.
Thank You for the reply, Have a Great Day !
Doug

jonstar 12-28-2008 05:46 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
Given you have migraines seere enough to land you in the ER, you should ask your doctor about having a triptian (imitrex etc) on hand, take it along with some Advil early in the attack, then rest in a dark room until you feel better.

If oral triptains dont help, they are also avaliable as a nasal spray and even an injection which you can give your self. A usefull rescue regime to have at home and avoid a trip to the ER is 25mg suppositories of Compazine (prochlorperazine) and 100mg suppositories of Voltaren (diclofenac). One of each is used, giving powerful releif of pain and nausea.

DougWV 12-29-2008 04:31 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
Jonstar,
Thank You for the advice on the 2 meds, I have not heard of them, but will check into them. Have Dr. Appt in 2 weeks. I have tried Imitrex before and it doesn't help me. I can't take any pain relievers that contain aspirin, since I have had a bleeding stomach ulcer before due to years of taking extra strength Excedrin, nuprin, etc. to relieve the smaller headaches, so that pretty much limits me to Extra Strength Tylenol along with my Relpax. The Christmas day migraine, I headed for the ER, because I was 1 pill over the max. of 2 per 24 hrs on my migraine med., and had 8-10 Tylenol along with that during the whole day, still no relief in site, and was afraid to take anything else. I do plan on asking my Dr. about injections this time, as I have never done that. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and offer suggestions.
Thank You, Doug
P.S. Australia ! I would love to live there ! Take Care !

jonstar 12-29-2008 05:15 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
That would rule out the Voltaren (diclofenac) as it can agrivate stomach bleeding.

Excedrin Tension Headache is tylenol plus a hit of caffeine to boost its analgesic strength, it is as safe as tylenol for the stomach, and might give you more releif.

Another one to try would be Tylenol PM, not only will it help you sleep the attack off, the diphenhydramine controls the nausea of the headache.


Relaplex is a triptain in the same class as Imitrex, if you find that works better, stick wth it.

Best of luck with the specialist.

chiclero 01-20-2009 12:35 PM

Re: constant headaches
 
Beth, isn't the dietary stuff mainly for migraine / vascular headache, which from what I understand is different from chronic daily / tension headache. I have the latter and for instance have never gotten any relief from migraine-type medicines, such as sumatriptan. Or does this apply also to tension headaches?


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