7/9/07 #9 - Nearly daily headaches 10 years. Just medicate and be on my way?

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    I am 25 and have been having headache almost daily for the last 10 years. I started with the family doctor and sinus medications. After leaving him puzzled I then moved on to the Neurologist. He tried several preventive medications, I can't remember them all but the most recent was Pamelor, which worked well at first then lost its effectiveness, and migraine medications, Midrin, Maxalt, Axert, etc.

    After I began "seeing" things (shadows moving) he did a EEG and found nothing abnormal, his final "diagnosis" was that some people just have headaches. Now I have developed, I guess, a haze in my left eye. It is not always apparent and doesn't really affect my vision except for it looks/feels like I have something in my eye. I don't often have noticeable signs of sinus problems except for the occasional runny nose. I would not call them classic migraines b/c I only have a severe headache no sensitivities. I've ready about clusters and that is more what they are like they move around and the pain changes, but I would say that 2 out of 5 headaches are centered over my left eye brow about thumb size pain. I have kept a diary of daily activities, food, places and people. Nothing adds up. The only thing that really works anymore is sleep, but if I don't sleep long enough I wake up and it's worse. I can't just run home from work and take a nap when need be.

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    Without any other symptoms, I that I'm picking up on, I just am out of ideas. One more wrench I've been told that since its not an immediate family member it does matter but my paternal grandfather died of brain tumor only symptoms were headaches until he started having seizures. I'm sure my headaches are way beyond that, if it were a tumor something more would have shown up by now but I can't get anyone to do any tests. They expect me to just medicate the pain and be on my way. Is that the answer just take something to stop the pain but never get an solution to the pain, that means I may not have to live the rest of my life on meds. Thank you, Patricia.

     

    Answer:

    Dear Patricia;

    Eye symptoms are common with headaches and Migraines, but don't always have to be present. Medications can lose effectiveness at times, or the pattern can become harder to treat successfully. In 90% of cases, "sinus" headaches are really another expression of a migrainous process, and most migraines are not “classic” with auras. Only 15-20% fall in this category. A poor sleep pattern, if made better, can help migraines to be less frequent or severe. The brain tumor issue in your paternal grandfather likely is not a major factor, but an MRI or CT of the brain can be reassuring if it is negative.

     

    Medications are not poison; they are biochemical tools. Migraines are not “just headaches;” they’re a manifestation of a neurological disease that we cannot, at this time, cure. Some patients do require daily medications to prevent Migraines – not to treat the pain, but to prevent the pain. Yes, some for the rest of their lives. I can’t help but wonder if you would be so reluctant about medications if you had a different disease. A sensitive headache expert should be sought to manage your long-standing problem. There’s a link to our directory of patient recommended specialists below.

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    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

    If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our listing of patient recommended specialists.


    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert. If you have a question for this section of our site, please click HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. No questions will be answered privately.

     

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Published On: July 07, 2007