Chronic Migraines

Do you suffer from chronic headaches? We’re not just talking migraines here; we are talking about headaches of any shape or fashion. Chronic migraines get all the hype in the news and media but the good old daily headaches which never go away get little coverage. How many types of headaches do you think there are? This number depends highly on the source.

If you have been reading along, you know about the recent diagnoses of fibromyalgia. While that has been a bit of a life changing notification, it has also helped to explain a few things. Suffering from chronic headaches my entire adult life (from age 18) has been a rollercoaster. They have ranged from premenstrual to sinus, tension and stress to caffeine, and the most severe migraine and thunderclap headaches.

The worst were the chronic, daily, never ending, and all over pain headaches. They were there when the alarm went off, and when my head hit the pillow. These headaches went on from the time I was over 18 until May of this year (2016). With all of the other headaches, there was an end, a time when they would stop. I could breathe a little easier knowing there was relief in sight, but with this ongoing daily headache, there was no reprieve. Yes, over the 32 years I did learn to cope with it, but it was always there. Regardless of the medication, it was never affected.

When wondering if it was going to end, I often felt at a loss. The addition of any of the other headaches I suffered from, to a daily headache, made life extremely unmanageable. After Jessica (first daughter) was born, I developed PMS headaches.  They were a tension migraine, with a sinus problem! It was not enough that when anyone said “PMS” in our house, it was like sounding the air raid sirens. There I was again wondering if it would end, and everyone else in the house had run to hide.

The chronic migraines came into my life at about age 24. I did not know what to do! At that time I had no idea I was suffering from bipolar, and the constant headaches made the depression terrible. The doctors tried giving me everything in their little black bag from narcotics to antidepressants to muscle relaxers, and nothing helped the migraines. The antidepressants made things worse. It was like being a guinea pig who was at the doctor’s disposal.

I will delve into the other headaches in a later article, so fast forward to this May (2016). May marked a new lease on life. After dealing with a complicated history of headaches, seeing doctor, neurologist and pain management, someone said: “It is time to do something different.” The neurologist wrote a referral for botox and sent it to the primary care doctor. The current neurologist did not administer Botox in his office, so a doctor change was necessary. At the next visit to the PCM, we went through the process of finding someone I could trust.

The first Botox treatment I received was in May. It was an unforgettable day because it was the last time I experienced a migraine. It was all I could do to get to the office that day. When I walked into the treatment room, the nurse immediately showed her empathy and offered to give me a shot of Toradol to ease the pain. When I explained to her that it had not worked in the past, she urged me to give it a try because any relief would be better than none. She was right, what was one more shot going to matter.

As expected the Toradol did nothing for my migraine. After the procedure, I had a mammogram appointment across the street. Knowing that if I rescheduled it, it would be a month before another one would open up. I went ahead and kept it. The staff was very efficient, but the 15 minutes that I was in the waiting room felt like an eternity. I headed home after the appointment and spent the rest of the day in the bed.

Like magic, the migraine was gone like magic the next morning.

I would love to hear your stories about headaches, success or failure. Please share them with me.

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