I stumbled across this website and wonder if you can help me understand my situation and perhaps offer guidance. I have been in a number of accidents in which I was struck from behind. Also, I was in a motorcycle wreck where I was thrown from the bike and after rolling, landed face first; resulting in a concussion. Two months after this accident a rehab doc informed me that my tests indicated I had previously received a fracture on the left side of C2. I do not recall ever having chronic or severe headaches until after the first accident. Through the next several years I tried all I think of including seeing a dentist for TMJ. I have not ever been free of significant pain since the first wreck. I have been diagnosed by a neurologist as having a rare type of migraine with aura. My headaches originate in the left occipital ridge area. My aura is diarrhea which comes on in an urgent manner. I have pooped on myself far too often as a result of this. The neurologist says she has heard of this; that it's somewhat unusual. I have not ever heard of anyone else having this affect. I am in recovery with 25 yrs. clean therefore I have chosen to minimize med's. and have tried all the typical naturopathic solutions for the headaches. My pain Management doc tells me I have chosen the hardest way because I am so reluctant to take the med's. I have thus far gotten the most relief from radio ablation- ? ; she has done these procedures probably around 1-1/2 dozen times. Nerve blocks have had a limited and short lived affect. Massage helps briefly. Med wise, the typical migraine med's have had minimal relief and haven't been much worthwhile. Much more effective is Flexeril which can offer relief. However at times if I've taken say 3 in a day, and the headache is still prevalent and the stomach is going crazy, I will give in and take a Zanaflex. The Zanaflex knocks me out and often doesn't help. I understand that this may imply the tension headache. I really don't think so for a number of reasons. The diarrhea and stomach doesn't usually go along with tension. Also, when the pain is rebounding and particularly bad the left side of my neck "locks" it is so tight. I consider myself a bit of a pro at relaxation techniques and I'm telling you, nothing helps. I deal with these on average 4-6 times per week. I would particularly appreciate clarification of the diarrhea situation and where it fits into the picture.
Diarrhea can certainly accompany or precede migraines and other headaches. Zanaflex can be a good choice, but doses have to be kept under where they cause drowsiness. Many times it will help a poor sleep pattern. Flexeril is somewhat dated but can slow down gut function. Diarrhea of course has effective treatment. Your pattern of headaches is not unusual after whiplash and traumatic brain injuries. Seeking out a headache expert is the best bet. Remember, medications are not poison, but rather, biochemical tools to control symptoms with. Like many people, I sense you are afraid of medications. These fears have to be discussed honestly with your physician.
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.
Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Published On: July 23, 2007