Sunday, May 31, 2015

What a Headache!

It is very late and I have been roused from my near slumber by a sequoia sized headache--unfortunately not too uncommon in this part of the woods. And I was just thinking yesterday how happy I was to have gone 2 weeks without a headache. I spoke thought too soon.

For a while I had headaches everyday for weeks on end.  I think that was nearly 2 months ago now? It was when I hit my face on my surfboard and broke my nose.  Doc said I probably got a concussion and that the headaches would lessen over time.  They did. Until tonight. Frustrating. More frustrating still is that headaches and I have a long long history. About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Cluster headaches or Migraine headaches. My doctors could never decisively tell me nor fix me.

Over the years I have tried a lot of different remedies. My go to is Excedrin.  That often at least dulls it enough that I can function. I don't like to get stuck on it for long though because it causes terrible withdrawal headaches when quitting it.  It's the caffeine. I wean myself off by taking two aspirin and a Tylenol which is equivalent to the Excedrin minus the caffeine. These two are also drugs however (duh) and also cause withdrawal headaches. Other basic over the counters that I have tried in various combinations include: Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium, Claritin, Sudafed.

I have also gone the prescription med route with shots, pills and nasal inhalers. Some were preventatives and others were to be taken at onset. I got really good at recognizing the signs of the onset of a headache: a squeezing feeling across the bridge of my nose, a little buzzing feeling in my ear, a tickle at a certain spot on the back of my throat, a shot of pain in my eye, a burning feeling on the side of my face, sudden extreme fatigue.  All or some or one, never sure which; always on the lookout. The prescriptions never did much more than make me sick or itchy.

Exercise and diet have assisted in a quasi recovery. When I am taking good care of myself I usually have fewer or shorter headaches. Raw Onion is a big no-no; gives me a headache every time. Too much sugar or chocolate or bread can push me over. No amount of any kind of food can get rid of my headache but sometimes, when I'm lucky, a couple big glasses of water can do the trick.

I've tried many kinds of vitamins as both preventative and at onset. No definitive evidence in my trials. I've heard that mega doses of Vitamin C at the onset of a headache can cure it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I've gotten similar results with hot packs, ice packs, sleep, activity, dark rooms, meditation, hot showers, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, acupressure, and yoga. The problem I think is that I am getting different types of headaches and they all feel so similar. Tension headaches, migraines, glycemic headchaches, neurological (cluster) headaches, allergy headaches, dehydration headaches, anxiety headaches. There are so many different types with just minor differences between them in symptoms but huge differences between them in treatment.

Tonight I have tried my aspirin and tylenol cocktail, water, vitamin C, a hot pack, a cold pack, stretching and acupressure. Since it hurts too much to sleep I will just distract myself with work until I am so tired I can't help but fall asleep. I think this is an anxiety headache and the only thing that will make it better is finishing the costumes for the play. Just a few more days to go.

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