Friday, February 5, 2021

The Latest

I saw my neurologist yesterday at the Headache Clinic. She asked me a lot of questions about my pain and did an exam. She said that she did not believe it was shingles but was inflammation of my occipital nerve. These are nerves that run up the back of your head and are one of the primary nerves involved with migraines. She believes that when I had the abscessed tooth a couple of months ago and the subsequent root canal, it aggravated my occipital nerve causing a trigger migraine.


She told me that this could take months to clear up, but there were things they could do to improve the condition. She began by prescribing to me a six-day course of a Medrol Dosepak (methylprednisolone). I've taken this before. It's not a pleasant treatment because it causes me to shake uncontrollably, but it is usually effective. However, I could not start the first dose until this morning before I eat breakfast. 


In the meantime, she gave me an occipital nerve block, i.e., injections of lidocaine in the back of my head. Almost immediately, the back of my head was numb. She told me that this should stop the pain for about four days giving the steroids time to work. Sadly, the pain came back within a few hours.


I sent her a message through their online portal to let her know that the pain was back. She told me that nerve blocks are not always successful and to put ice on it for twenty minutes every hour. She also said not to give up on the nerve block just yet; it could still provide some relief. The ice pack did help some and eased the pain for a time. If the nerve block does eventually help, then she can give me another one in two weeks, then once a month until this clears up. I'll be going on March 8 for my next Botox injections, so that might also help.


I am praying that the Medrol Dosepak helps, even if I have to suffer through the shakes. The treatment for this whole thing is not pleasant, so I hope it works. The administration of the nerve block was very painful, and we shall see how my body reacts to the steroids this time. Hopefully, it won't be as bad as the last time I had this treatment. I don't usually say this, but please keep me in your prayers. This pain is not only wearing on me physically but mentally as well. I feel like it will never end, and I am destined for chronic pain for the rest of my life.


Jeremy Ryan said...

Hi Joe ... I've been following your latest migraine adventure and do hope that it comes to a conclusion soon. I can only imagine that if I was in your shoes I would not only want to be out of pain but also spend the bulk of my time sleeping or trying to sleep.

I have no doubt that the pain is as intense as you describe it, but the problem with pain is that no one can see it regardless of its location. I'm certainly not a doctor or medical professional, nor do I play one on TV. However, I don't understand why they aren't giving you some type of narcotic to help with the pain, maybe there is one that were just not aware of. I am not big on pills but I would be demanding something for pain control in addition to the treatment of whatever is causing this.

As for the medrol dose pack I like them but I too suffer side effects one of which is hot flashes. Sounds funny I know because I'm a guy just like you but I get why women hate them.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Were all pulling for you!

Joe said...

Jeremy, there’s actually a reason why they have not given me a narcotic. With chronic migraines such as mine, pain killers medication can actually cause more pain then they relieve. It’s sound odd but it’s true. The strongest pain medicine my neurologist will let me take is Anaprox (550 mg naproxen sodium), and I’m only allowed to take it a few times a week. Narcotics and other pain relievers may help the pain immediately, but they often do not last long and end up causing more pain through what’s called medication headaches. It becomes a very viscous cycle.

There is good news though, I took the first dose of the Medrol Dosepak this morning, and I am already seeing improvement. Hopefully, this will continue and ultimately end this migraine.

Thank you for your concern.

Anonymous said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers!!!!

Anonymous said...

Delighted to learn from your reply to Jeremy's comment, that the Medrol Dospak is working so far, even if - as I suppose - its side effects are dour. Please keep us all updated, Roderick

Anonymous said...


I don't say this often either. You are in my prayers. May the Guardian Angel of Medrol smile upon you. Let there be no shaking or discomfort...only relief.

naturgesetz said...

May God's healing presence be with you.

Maybe there's a ray of hope in the suggestion that this migraine is a reaction to the dental work. If that's true, it means that the Botox was working, which gives good grounds for thinking that the Botox will work in the future.

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Nikki said...

Praying for you--my daughter suffers from migraines so I know what you're going through.