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Managing headaches

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When I had my release from the hospital I asked my doctor how long the headaches would last and she said 4-6 weeks from the initial hemorrhage. Well it's ten weeks and I am in bed on oxycodone with yet another horrendous headache. I am a teacher and it's spring break so I have the luxury today of doing that.

Any tips for these things? I am still getting two horrible headaches a week on a 7-8 scale, with 2-4 most othe days. I've had two headache free days. I try to stay hydrated, keep the lights down, wear sunglasses indoors and out on bad days. OTC medication doesn't touch it. I've taken two 5/500 oxycodone today and maybe it shaves a point off but doesn't make it go away. On days I teach, I can't take anything. They frown upon stoned teachers at school. The nerve!

Before SAH I rarely had headaches. Today's is almost as bad as the one I had the day of the sah (or what it settled into after the first 20 min or so). It's back of my head like a giant hand is pressing hard from the occipital to about halfway around, bisecting the head from ear to ear.

I did have an MRI and MRA today and that sure didn't help, but that was over five hours ago.

Just wanted to start a thread to refer back to. How long am I going to suffer, and any tips for dealing with them outside of drugs?

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So sorry,

I am almost 6 1/2 months and just went 9 days in a row without headaches then I added swim and yoga (& headaches!). They are not nearly as severe but I do not ever push myself when I am having one as hard as I use to. I am taking my blood pressure and when I have a headache it is high. I always had LOW blood pressure until 6 months prior. I need to go to Dr. & see about that. I am still disappointed that they do not think my fatigue and mental loss 6 months prior to SAH had anything to do with the SAH. SO I do not think they really know what to tell us. I am glad you had test done and maybe they can give you some answers. I LOVE my neurosurgeon as he sees me within an hour of my test and gives me results. No one ever mentioned to me of ever having any headaches,side effects or any problems, I came home with no information what so ever. I thought I would be fine in weeks. I am sorry you are still suffering with the headaches. I had an allergic reaction (rash and itching) to my Norco 750's the other night ( 2nd time) I feel screwed as I can't take any codeine. ERRRRR. My stomach gets very upset with medications even tylenol.

My biggest problem besides spelling & reading is memory loss right now.

Hope you feel better! How did you get your cute dogs photo posted on your post like that??? SO cute! I will have to go look at your photos in profile. M

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Hi Teechur!

I'm sure you already know about rebound headaches? I think you mentioned on-going morphine based pain relief? You take something to help the pain & find out that it could be making it worse :roll:

I still have headaches/head pains nearly 4 years later. I stopped all medication when I learned about rebound headaches, it didn't help! I have constant pain, most days at a low level but the pain score increases if I am tired or stressed....When I was still working the headache (high score) was unrelenting on a daily basis. I do not take any other meds that could cause it or the fatigue to continue so I accept that it is just always going to be there......sigh......

I believe that there are other meds for this, I used a beta blocker and a low dose of amitriptelene, an anti depressant that at a very low level stops the pain receptor in your brain??? both stopped the headaches, I didn't like the side effects from either drug. Maybe you could discuss this with your neuro team? If you find something that works, please share!!!

Good luck

Michelle x

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Hi Teech,

I'm going to have to agree with GG, again :). I have had headaches every day for 8 months since SAH. Never went away. Anywhere from 4-8. I drink alot of water and rest. But that doesnt mean you'll have them forever too.

My doctor told me they'd go away in 1-2 months. But I went back to work after 2 months and so came the headaches. mine are brought on by fatigue. Since I work 35 hours a week, the fatigue wont be going away anytime soon. I'm sure lots of people on here have suggestions.

I've heard that neurotin or elavil are antidep that can get rid of headaches. May have to try them soon. As of now headaches are a part of my life. But they have gotten better. Good luck with them, I'm sure your doctor has several options.


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I was having rebound headaches big time ( around the 4 month mark) and they severity of them got much better when I went off my daily pain meds. I only took migraine or seizure medication 3 weeks because I had a new set of annoying symptoms. I will get headaches which do get worse when I do too much but not nearly as awful as it was. I would score them now at 6 - daily little background ones are about a 3. When I was still on daily pain medications they were about an 8. I woke up every morning with a temple headache until recently and those were about a 7 but eased as I moved about after an hour up.

Massage has helped a great deal. I have always gotten a montly massage with the fibro but now I go every 2 weeks - I went weekly for about 6 weeks when I was weaning off meds. I think it made a big difference. I have always gone to the same girl who knows me well. It helps with the tightness in my neck for one thing which in turns helps my head. I love water aroebics but I find the noise/ class overwhelming at times and I spend a great deal of time holding my head. I enjoy the perfect coolish temp of water on my aching body. Also in my one evening a week yoga class I am surprised how simple stretches are making my spine crack and pop. Basically breathing, laying on my back. It is like the stress leaving my body..

I was suggested to take Neurotin ( Gabepetin) but I was already on that for the fibro a few years ago- and it gave me once again another set of side effects or is affects? That I was not tolerating. I BELIEVE in my heart that the nerve pain we all feel is similar to the nerve pain family from fibro- I take cymbalta 60 mg and was told I can double my dose but I am afraid to. I do not know if that matters but Cymbalta is an anti depressant and treats nerve pain. I was on elavil for the fibro maybe 10 years ago. That is one of the earlier anti depressant/ chronic pain medications that help with the seratonin. I thnk those drugs have a place for SAH recovery I am not knocking the pain pills or muscle relaxers but I think it is not treating the main problem. I hoard pain medication :) even though it now makes me break out in a bad itchy rash......what to do what to do? I need something without codiene (SP) & something the improves memory!

Edited by MaryB
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I hoard pain medication too, Mary, because I also get these symptoms very similar to pancreatitis (or the equivalent of my pancreas exploding) left over from a surgery in 2003. They happen every 4-6 weeks, and maybe once every two months it's SO bad that I have to have a pain pill or go to the hospital. For that reason, I stay away from taking the pills unless I really reALLY need them!

I have Gabapentin because I was on it when I first got out of the hospital, but it messes with my vision something fierce, and gives me more ticks. I was using it alongside the morphine when Iw as taking that because morphine can bring on the pancreatic spasms above, and gabapentin counteracted that. Hated to do that, so I've really limited the number of times I take it. I know I've mentioned morphine, but I've taken it maybe twice a week on a really bad week, so I don't think I'm dealing with rebound.

I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow; generally do get them every month due to my running. I'm going to have her work on my neck and upper body.

Has anyone tried ice and does it help? Moist heat helps a LITTLE, but not enough to do it often. A friend who had an SAH got an ice cap and she said she practically lived in it when she first got out of the hospital. I keep thinking they are going to go away so I haven't purchased one. Plus I have to admit, I LOATHE being cold!

I am getting muscle release in the neck twice a week from my PT and that helps in a limited way. It loosens the muscles, and will reduce the pain to some extent but doesn't take it away. It really feels like pressure inside my head.

I'm going on hour 10 of this current bad headache. I hit one period where it went down to about a 2 with pulsing up to 4, but now it's back at a 6 or 7. Nothing has helped and it's very depressing to think about going back to work full time (high school teacher) plus night fitness classes (I'm also a personal trainer and run my own business) next week. I can get through the workouts because it's an hour and I can just moderate, not participate...but 7.5 hours at work teaching is another thing. Some days it's great, some days it's "meh" but at least once a week it's "Get me out of here my head is going to explode." The fluorescent lights make it much worse, so I keep them off in my classroom and on those days don't even wander down to the office.

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Anadin liquid capsules used to work for me I would only need two on a headache day and it would go and not return. That was brill but now my Dr as put me off them saying well you shouldn't take them just in case it is a bleed. Thanks Dr lol. Anyway my neurosurgeon said I can still take them but please if you want to try them check with your Dr first. Jess.xxx

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I’m two and a bit years post SAH and headaches were a daily problem until recently. I would take between 4-6 paracetamols every day.

I have noticed that the headaches have reduced in pregnancy; but I don’t think that the reduction in headaches is necessarily a hormonal thing.

Prior to pregnancy, a common criticism by family members and friends was that I was pushing myself too much. I was very focused on my voluntary work and despite suffering with chronic insomnia, would drag myself into work after sometimes two-three hours sleep. My commitments at work were so important to me, that family had to visit my home very regularly to help with chores, because I couldn’t cope. It’s as if any spare energy I had was invested into my work routine and there was very little spare for anything else, not even social visits.

In pregnancy, I have been unable to push myself to the same extent due to a level of fatigue very reminiscent of the first few months post SAH. As a result of not being able to do much; my headaches have reduced.

Possibly, through taking extra care of myself, through drinking more water and a better diet, (which wasn’t bad anyway,) I wonder whether all this has nevertheless helped.

It’s swings and roundabouts though, although my headaches have reduced, I am not able to live very independently and have to ask for assistance lots, i.e. even a trip to the GP surgery 6 miles away can be demanding and family members / partner help out with travel.

It’s ok being like this in pregnancy, but it would not provide the best quality of life otherwise, because although not technically housebound, I am not able to travel too far alone.

I do think that a slower pace of life at present has helped with my headaches; but it’s a difficult balancing act when previously I would equate a busy life with a meaningful one. Perhaps I need to take stock of things in future. I live in the countryside now (since January just gone,) in a village of only 600 people. So, perhaps a slower pace of life beckons and hopefully fewer headaches.

In the early days post SAH, I think headaches are an inevitable symptom because the brain is healing, so maybe rest alone wouldn’t necessarily stop them. At my stage in recovery, I am wondering whether there is a correlation between doing too much and headaches.

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Something else that helps me is dark chocolate if I eat just a piece before bed I wake up next morning headache free but I expect a Dr would not tell you that cause they just like to hand out pills and chocolate is bad for us apparently lol. Jess.xxx

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I cannot take codiene as it gave me rash ...so now on paracetamols and if I panic over pain in head I

try and keep calm...!!! and as we all say ...drink water !

But I must admit I do like the sound of Jess'es remedy.....dark choc..my fav hmmmmm darn it I want some now ..lol

Hope you all feel pain free soon (Win says with choocolate all around face....slurp yum mmmm)


WinB143 xxxx

Edited by Winb143
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