Community, Doctors, Patient Education, Resources, Treatment, Triggers

Ask the Expert About Headaches & Migraines: National Headache Awareness Week

A daily Q&A with headache experts is being posted each day of National Headache Awareness Week. Submitted by patients, questions cover the gamut of headache topics. Some so far: sinus headaches, sudden onset headaches, new daily persistent headache, headaches triggered by sun or sex, and burning and tingling in the back of the head.

Q&As from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are available as Word (doc) files. Many more questions are covered in past issues of NHF Head Lines, the organization’s newsletter. Read archives of readers’ mail and Ask the Pharmacist.

I’m often asked for recommendations of headache clinics or specialists, but only have experience with a few. The experts participating in this week’s Q&A are listed below with links to their clinics.

Coping, Reader Stories

Your Headache Stories, Part 3: From M

M has been through the wringer and is still searching for help.

I remember my first ‘sinus headache’ when I was maybe 11 or so . . . that’s what my mom called them. I suddenly hurt so bad I could not finish some stupid book report I was working on. So we called them sinus headaches up until I was around age 30. We both suffered and used heat compresses and rubbed our temples, etc. The ‘family pain’ — one of many, ha, ha, ha.

After many sinus infections, and debilitating painful headaches, when the mask of pain would descend over my face, sinus surgery had become my only option. The doctor told me that one of the side effects of the surgery could actually be the transformation and worsening of my migraines but I had to take the chance.

Good news is I barely have any snot anymore . . . never blow my nose, no infections. Very bad news . . . my migraines transformed and continue to transform into what I think of as another person/entity in my life. And he is definitely running the show. No one around me understands this pain in my life except for one person, who suffers also. If I did not have him, I am not sure what I would do.

I have a great neurologist. He runs a headache center in NYC, has written books, even developed an all natural pill to help migraineurs. No cure yet. I have been on Imitrex, Xanax, Valium, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Relpax, Zomig, Maxalt, magnesium drips, Botox, Percocet, hydrocodone, steriods, Zonegran, Frova, niacin, Migrelief. And currently feel just about as bad as I ever have. And pretty hopeless.

So, for now, I am sticking with the regimen of Zonegran, Maxalt, magnesium drip, and opiates as needed. This beast wears you down . . . most days I just want to get by. It has changed who I am. From energetic and outgoing to tired, pained and secluded. I only hope that I turn ‘a corner’ soon and can tackle the beast.

Other readers’ stories that have been posted are Jantha’s story and Audra’s story. If you’d like to share your story with readers (or just with me), please e-mail me.