Friday, July 19, 2013


I tend to have a high tolerance for pain.  Mainly, it's because I've suffered with headaches my entire life.  Rarely does a day go by when I don't have a headache at some point.  I've learned to deal with it and suffer through the pain.  Most of the time a pain reliever helps; sometimes nothing does.  I've have taken numerous medicines throughout my life to try and prevent having headaches, but nothing has ever been effective.  Some have had bad aide effects, such as when a doctor prescribed Elavil (amitriptyline).  It gave me night terrors.  Another was Ativan (lorazepam) is supposed to be a short term drug; usually its recommended that someone should not for longer than 3-6 months.  If used for long periods of time, it causes severe depression.  I was a teenager when I took this drug and was on it for over a year.  Some of the severe side effects include confusion, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;.  Not only did it not help my headaches, but it also caused severe depression.  Combine the side effects of Ativan and a teenager confused about his sexuality, and you have a dangerous mix.  It was during this time that I attempted suicide.  I was 16 at the time.  

I'm writing this because I was thinking last night of my problems with headaches.  Sinus headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines all have afflicted me through my life.  What I take for my headaches depends on what type it is.  Sometimes nothing helps. Medicine may lessen the pain, but not make it go away.  Beginning Wednesday night before I went to bed, my head began to hurt.  I took something and went to sleep.  I woke with a headache the next morning, and I knew it would be a bad one.  It was one of those that hurt all over, especially behind my eyes and the back of my head.  This was also a headache that came with nausea, photophobia, phonophobia, and lightheadedness.  Thankfully, these types of headaches, which is generally a mixture of migraine and tension headaches, only happen 2-3 days out of a year.  However, when they do occur, they are quite incapacitating.  I stayed in bed most of the day yesterday and took the strongest pain medicine I had.  It barely fazed it. My headache finally seemed to ease some last night as I went to bed, but came back with a vengeance around 4:30 am.  I'm hoping that it gets better as the day goes on.

HRH, my cat, gave me some comfort.  She has been lying down beside me and keeps patting my head with her paw.  After 15 years, she knows when I have a headache.  I'm sure there is a mixture of genetic, physical, and psychological reasons for my headaches.  I've had them for as long as I can remember.  Maybe one day, they will either stop or they will find some kind of preventive measure that works.  I hope each of you are some of the blessed people who never suffer from headaches, and if you do suffer from headaches, I hope that it is infrequently.  I assume that most people who have some type of chronic condition learns to deal with it in the best way they can, as I have learned to deal with my headaches.


gp said...

FWIW: my sister gets migraine headaches. She thinks that caffeine helps her to avoid getting them and also to lessen their effects when she does get one. I have no idea if there's any science behind it or if it's just the placebo effect for her, but just wanted to mention it. Hope you're feeling better.

Jay M. said...

Wow, Joe. I think I'd go bonkers if I had to deal with that kind of misery. It's interesting that there are all kinds of severe medical conditions we can treat, but things in the head just seem to leave us cold. And in your case, hurting. I hope the docs do find something that helps.

Peace <3

naturgesetz said...

How nice of HRH to help as much as she can.

Sorry I don't have any remedies to suggest.

What headaches I've had have been mild in comparison to what you've suffered, so I can only have a slight idea of what you're going through. I certainly hope it clears up soon, if it hasn't already. And good luck on finding a preventive/palliative.

David Jeffreys said...

There is some science to caffeine helping headaches, especially vascular headaches. Some headaches are vasoconstrictive, and caffeine helps to dilate the vessels, but this usually only works at the ONSET of a headaches. There used to be an Rx named Fiorinal (don't know if it is still around) for headaches that had caffeine as one of its ingredients.

Amanda said...

Sorry to hear you suffer from such horrible headaches! I will send you positive, healing vibes. Medical advances sometimes can be slow but hopefully we'll get there. Have you tried going to a Reiki healer? Take care and I hope you get to feeling better.

Anonymous said...

I feel some of your pain. I also get migraines when under stress and when coming out of a period of stress. On rare occasions one is so severe that I am blinded by aura and visual distortion for several hours. At times like those I creep through my home feeling around until I make it to the bathroom for the inevitable upchucking.

Like you, light and sound intensify the pain. Bright light is also a trigger and I never leave home, even on overcast days, without sun glasses.

My sinus and migraine headaches have been coming on about once every two weeks this year. Not as frequent as yours but still intense. Imitrex and a dark, cool, quiet bedroom in the basement help.

Read Oliver Sack's "Migraine" for more insight.

I wish now that being gay, intellectual, Christian and Southern were all that we had in common.

fan of casey said...


Sorry to hear you are not feeling better -- would a cold or warm compress provide any temporary relief?

Stew Adams said...

Sorry to hear of this affliction. Having grown up the son of a doctor, and now associated with funerals, I've been around that sort of thing my entire life. There is never a cure all and each person is unique.
My experience tells me that from your description, you may have multiple pinched nerves. I don't pretend to know about your physical make up but often weight issues and poor sleeping habits contribute to this as well as overall structure of your stance (posture).
A chiropractor might be a huge help for you. But know that this did not happen over night and will not fix itself quickly. A combination of muscle relaxers as well as manipulation of the spine, I feel would be a great help to you. But again, I don't know all of the specifics and have not examined you myself. I'm only going on what you wrote.
Also a neurologist may want to check for week arteries to ensure your safety from aneurysms if you have insurance that covers MRI's. I've seen patients go to sleep with a headache and never wake up.
Aside from all of that, a good Cat-scan (or cuddle) is highly recommended.