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Old 06-11-2010, 07:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Manhattan, NY
Headaches that won't go away

I've had a headache for about 2 weeks now. I can't take ibuprofen as that puts me right in the ER after 2 hours and then hospitalized for a week with pancreatitis.

I take some acetaminophen and that dulls it a little bit, but for the most part it's still there. I take them pretty regularly if I remember, but lots of times I don't remember.

My question is do I have a migraine?

From what other friends describe as migraines I don't think that I have them because I'm not as debilitated as they are. Let me make it known though I have an extreme tolerance for pain. I probably could play the guy in Little Shop of Horrors because it's not that painful to me after the initial onset. I've come to back to work after having a root canal or wisdom teeth pulled out.

I recently had an MRI done so there's no chance of tumors, but work is for sure stressful at this point in time, which is probably the source of the stress causing the headaches.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I read somewhere recently that a low magnesium intake (and especially a magnesium deficiency) can cause migraines. Also, magnesium has been known to help with stress.

Low magnesium is a common thing in North America, as the best sources of the mineral are fish, seeds, legumes, and green leafy vegetables. These aren't usually mainstays in the average North American diet. What's more is that an imbalance of calcium and magnesium can cause problems too. Americans get a lot of calcium through fortified dairy products.

Have a look at the U.S. recommended intake for magnesium and then have a look at your diet. Are you getting enough? I don't think most Americans are.
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 06-11-2010 at 08:02 AM..
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have problems with both migraines and tension headaches. What makes migraines different is my sensitivity to light and sound. When I have a migraine, or one is coming on, I start feeling a bit like I did mushrooms (tracers and visual disturbances, also known as an aura) but without the giggles. I immediately pop some Excedrin, chug some water, draw the curtains, and crawl into bed.

I used to have severe tension headaches on a regular basis; they were largely the result of bad posture and stress. After some PT to strengthen my neck muscles and lots of yoga, they've largely dissipated. My tack for dealing with them is to 1) do some yoga and stretch out (I have tight hamstrings that pull on my lower back, which pulls on the rest of my back, which pulls on my neck), 2) get a massage from my honey, and 3) drink some Tension Tamer tea from Celestial Seasonings.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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could it be tension headaches? Have you tried a mild muscle relaxer or deep muscle massage, even acupuncture might help. I find when I start getting tension headaches they will persist for days and at times radiate down my arm. The more stretching I do the more, well the more I realize just how much stress headaches can make me hurt, and that it is time for a beer and a vacation. Do you drink enough water? (just shots in the dark but worth questioning) Have you had all the obligatory blood work-up to rule out anything metabolic? Don't settle for consistent pain, it make you sick-er...... of living that is. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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its not a migraine.

trust me on this one, a full blown migraine will have you in bed, with the lights out not wanting to talk to anyone. it really is that debilitating

if painkillers arent an option, the only way to get rid of a dull headache is sleep or sex..or both. works for me.
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Last edited by dlish; 06-11-2010 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That is true--orgasm helps, no matter how it's achieved.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: With All Your Base
I get clusters. The longest one lasted 4 years with no relief for more than 12 hours at a time.

What kicked it? A combination of massage, accupuncture, accupressure, diet changes, and stretching. I don't know what kind of headache that you're having since migraines are usually blood-flow related, if I remember correctly. But here's what we did for mine.

Massage: full body x3 for a week. Then upper back x3 for a week, then head and neck x2 for a week. I have fibro, so I was pretty locked up. I hear that massage can help some migraines and it's definitely good for tension, cluster, and other muscle and blood flow related.

Acupuncture and accupressure: I just met with a neighbor who did one session of needles (110, actually... totally awesome!) and showed me where I can stick little magnets or use pressure when I have a headache. It works sometimes.

Diet: They made me kick caffeine, lower my salt, increase fruits and veg (especially bananas), and very lean meats only. I had to decrease white and simple sugars, no splenda, etc. It made a difference and I dropped 20 lbs.

Stretching: It keeps the circulation going and releases tense muscles so no matter what kind of headache it is, it'll help with recovery and prevention most of the time. But don't roll your head backwards, this is too hard on some pathways. Just gentle stretches of the neck, head, and upper body. If you're too tight, try dumping some regular, cheap white rice (uncooked, NOT minute rice) into a clean tube sock (about 1/2 full) and tie or sew it off close to the top. Stick it in the microwave in 30 second increments, remove and shake around to avoid hot spots, until it's hot but not enough to burn you. Drape around the back of your neck for no more than a few minutes at a time to avoid overheating, then stretch. Really watch that temperature before putting it on your skin. It's a moist heat so it helps with any muscle issue.

Snowy's Tension Tamer tea also is a good suggestion. If it's sinus related, the hot beverages are awesome. I also use Boiron's arnica montana homeopathic rubs and little bally things which help with muscle tension. If it lasts too long, you'll want to see someone more definitively. And check ingredients. If you have had issues in the past with pancreatitus, etc, you'll want to be careful... but you know this. Good luck. I was always able to work through mine but it sucked horribly. Migraines are apparently pretty debilitating.

edit: ha. you didn't ask for remedies, did you? my bad. doesn't sound like a migraine, though.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle, WA
Doesn't sound like a migraine.. I've only had one once or twice and it's incredible searing pain from light and sound.. like to the point where I had to shove a towel in the door jam and bottom of the door because the little light coming in the cracks made my head feel like it was being split by an axe.

I've found that low-dose caffeine helps with headaches, interestingly enough. It's a diuretic, which means you need to keep drinking water. It's also a vasoconstrictor; not good for people with high blood pressure, but helps to relieve the pressure inside your skull.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, it's not a migraine. Like Dlish said.

I had a buddy who used to get migraines and he turned into a chair-throwing vampire if you disturbed him by talking or letting light in the room.
Whatever you can carry.

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Old 06-11-2010, 08:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Must.... resist.... can't... stop... myself...

I doubt you have a migraine, I've had one and I curled up in a ball under my sheets in a dark room for hours hoping the demons playing football inside my head would go away.

I say stress is just kicking your ass. I'm not good with handling stress, so i couldn't tell you how to help your stress level.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
I get migranes... they suck, but usually they go away with sleep and/or meds.

The only kind of headache I get that does not go away is caused by allergies. The first time this happened, I didn't know it was allergies because I had never had them before... at all. Then, one day, I got a piercing headache that felt different from a migrane but still hurt like hell. I tried all the usual things, and nothing helped. My mother suggested I try some strong decongestants, just in case it was allergies, and my week long headache was gone within an hour. Now I take an over the counter antihystamine/decongestant daily to prevent this... especially this time of year, and as you are in NY, we are in the same geographic area, and the pollen here this year has been awful.

I'm not saying I'm sure, of course, but it could be allergies.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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sinus infection, maybe?

problem with a tooth?

also have had migraines, they really kick my ass
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Ohio!
I had a headache for three weeks once. It was caused by whiplash from falling off a horse. I couldn't sleep, one side of my face was hypersensitive, the other side of my face was numb, and my balance was getting bad. It was miserable.

One visit to the chiropractor released the headache and got me sleeping again. A few more visits kept that dull ache from coming back after a long day.

A chiropractor might be worth a try!
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Eastern Canada
Like most things migraines vary in intensity... there are mild migraines, but are generally not diagnosed as such because they do not put you flat on your back for days on end. But the same visual disturbances/aura that precedes the pain and sensitivity to light is there, only to a lesser extent. That is usually the case with my migraines, although I get the full-blown, can't stand light, can't eat, just want to die ones as well.

There are also pseudo-migraines, or sympathetic migraines, which mimic the the aura/visual sensitivity, but are a tension headache caused by a build up of muscle tension in the neck that induces the visual disturbances in the optic nerve (a particularly sensitive sympathetic nerve) and causes nagging, low level (or not so low level) constant, long term headaches. Treatment for those can be as simple as a neck massage.

The reasons for headaches are myriad, and often may be difficult to diagnose. If this has been going on for 2 weeks, I think you should consider seeing a doctor, and if you don't get quick relief, don't accept a first diagnose that "it's all in your head".
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
Ayashe's Avatar
TMJ, stress, sinus issues, allergies, the list goes on.

The suggestion of Magnesium is actually a good one. It is used often in the hospital when a patient's history of drug abuse is questionable. I was getting frequent headaches and migraines and personally tried a Vitamin B-Complex and Magnesium with considerable relief.

Vitamin B may prevent migraines

Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: resul... [Cephalalgia. 1996] - PubMed result

When I notice frequent headaches, I generally opt for a sinus rinse personally. All it really takes is a soft bulb syringe, salt and some opt to use baking soda as well. A neti pot is more convenient. A lot of people are hesitant to pour water in their nose but I can tell you that it is cheap and really can work if allergies/pollutants are inflaming your sinuses.

*8 ounces of warm water
*1/2 to 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt
*A pinch of baking soda, or more, as needed.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Go to your doctor and tell him you've got a killer headache and need something stronger than acetaminophen.

Hopefully he'll give you Vicodin.

That stuff is pretty amazing, when I was getting over a case of Viral Meningitis, it destroyed the pain, and when I had oral surgery, it also took all the pain in my mouth away.

It's pretty impressive stuff. If you can get your hands on some, I'd advise it.

Unless you're looking to avoid the more medicine path, Vicodin will probably cure your pain.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
ring's Avatar
Location: ❤
It's doctor time.

As others have stated, its cause could be many things.

I will add a few more:

Being chronically dehydrated.

It's doctor time. (nag push nag)
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:25 AM   #18 (permalink)
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have you checked your blood pressure? I went thru this and found out my bp was pretty high. Soon as they put me on bp meds the headaches went away immediately.
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