Friday, October 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 Lynette, Community Member, asks

Q: 16 year old with daily headaches

16 year old daughter having headaches for around the past year and a half.  thought sinus related at first, but CT was normal.  Got off Ibuprofen and swithced to tylenol which doesn't do much for the headache.  Suffered first migraine before Thanksgiving and ended up in the ER; head CT normal.... got shot of Imitrex and toradol. helped a bit with the migraine but headache still continues..... seems to be located on forehead area. She hates to take any meds because she doesn't want to be told she is "over-medicating, which is what we were told initially.  Missing lots of school..........any ideas??

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Answers (5)
Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
1/ 6/10 3:55pm

Hi Lynette,

 

If your daughter is taking certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications, or abortive meds such as triptans or any kind of pain med more than two days a week, a big part of her problem may well be medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this. If she is in an MOH situation, nothing she takes is going work, neither prescription nor "natural" medications nor over-the-counter. If that's the case, she  needs to work with her doctor to stop the medications causing the problem.

 

What does your daughter's doctor say about all this? If her doctor isn't able to help her, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If she needs help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

 

Has she every kept a Migraine diary? Trigger identification and management is an important part of Migraine management and preventing Migraines. Your daughter may have some triggers that can be avoided, thus preventing Migraines brought on by those triggers. Does she know what any of her triggers are? When working to identify triggers one of the best tools is a good Migraine diary. She can read more about this and download a free diary workbook in our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary.

 

I hope this helps,

Nancy

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Lynette, Community Member
1/ 7/10 11:57am

Have an appointment with a neurologist next week.  She wasn't taking any meds for over a month but still continued to have the headache pressure which is located along the forehead area (hence we thought it was the sinuses).  Her primary doctor has had her do a number of things from change to only tylenol (doesn't have such a rebound effect??), to taking a combo of ibuprofen/tylenol for a series of days to see what would happen to the pain.  She felt like she was in a daze.......her first migraine was right before thanksgiving.....

 

all testing has come back normal...........blood pressure, thryoid, CBC, CTs

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Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
1/ 8/10 10:26am

Hi Lynette,

 

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an analegsic pain reliever that can cause medication overuse headache --MOH or rebound -- in suspectible patients. It can also cause MOH when you take it for other conditions. The article Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires has important updated information in it including the International Classification of Headache Disorders, Second Edition (ICHD-II) listings in it so people can actually see the various types of Migraine/headache that may be caused by overuse  of certain medications.

 

Does your daughter have any ringing in her ears or a "whooshing" sound when she lays down at night? Can she hear her heart beating at night before she goes to sleep? Odd questions I know,  but ask her and let me know ok? How about when she coughs or laughs - pressure worse? Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension IIH (formerly known as PTC) is a condition where either we don't absorb it well enough or produce too much cerebriospinal fluid. Lots of doctors think this is a rare condition, but from some of the Migraine specialists Teri and I have spoken with, it may not be as rare as some claim. You can find more information about this in the article:  Pseudotumor Cerebri (IIH) - The Basics.

 

I hope this helps,

Nancy

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Lynette, Community Member
1/15/10 8:39am

Saw the neurologist yesterday and he says that they are tension headaches and gave her 500mg. nasprosyn to take.  2xs daily for 5 days, then no nore than 3 per week and recheck in February.  We'll see what happens..............made her sick to her stomach this morning so she needs to eas more than a bowl of cereal before taking.

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Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
1/18/10 9:53am

Hi

 

Well, glad your daughter saw the doctor. Not to be nag, but if you have read this article, Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires, would you do me a favor and read it? We have important new information about medication overuse headache (MOH) I'd like you and your daughter to see. Your daughter may be in a MOH cycle and the new meds may be adding to it.

 

See the thing is a neurologist may not be an expert in Migraine disease and headache disorders. I'm sure he is a fine doctor, but treats so many other conditions like MS, stroke, epilepsy and Parkinsons it is hard for him to be an expert in one area. A Migraine specialist is an expert who treats one condition - ours - Migraines and headaches. You can think of it like this - when a pipe under the kitchen sink breaks you call an expert, the plumber, to fix it. You could call a handyman to fix it, then he can paint your living room, caulk the tub and so on. But the plumber only fixes one thing - plumbing issues because he is the expert in that area. Your daughter may need an expert now to help her thought this period.  It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

 

Let me know what you think, ok?

Nancy 

 

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Laura, Community Member
2/16/10 11:29am

I am a mother of a 16 year old girl who is going through the same exact thing as your daughter.  It felt as if I was reading something I would have written myself!  My daughter has been suffering since June2009.  We have seen 2 neurlogists, her regular dr. about 5 times, they finally gave up on her.  We've tried acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy & numerous medications!!!  Nothing has worked yet.  I am considering taking her to a clinic in Michigan or the Diamond Clinic in Chicago, but it has to wait until she is out of school....if she makes it to the end of the year.  She has missed so many days of school due to this, it's rediculous.  I think she is at around 40 days for the year so far.  Please keep us updated on your daughters' condition & I will too.  I know for me, as a mother, it is killing me to know that I can not fix this problem!!! I am sure you feel the same way! 

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Nebula, Community Member
1/ 6/10 9:20am

I think you should try to find a headache specialist or neurologist at this point

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Jacqueline, Community Member
1/ 6/10 5:56pm

I am a fifteen year old girl, going to be sixteen in two months. I am going through the exact same thing except I am a little further on in the process. I really do recommend the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. People travel all over the world to visit there because they know exactly what to do. They specialize in this area, so everyone who goes there becomes very educated. It will really help your daughter.

 

First you should find out what her triggers are.

Is it around her menstrual cycle? Or is it after she eats a certain type of food like chocolate, or cheese? Is her thyroid acting up? Does she have low blood pressure. All of these are answered at the Diamond Headache Clinic. My friend had gone to headache places and neurologists from all over the world, but he finally chose the Diamond Headache Clinic and, after having a daily chronic headache for THREE years, it was gone in four days. FOUR DAYS! Don't let the migraines get any worse, because it will really start affecting her social life, and her school work/life. Prevent it while you can.

 

You can also try acupuncture, chiropractors, massages, etc.

Drink lots of water.

Hope I at least helped a little!

 

 

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Lynette, Community Member
1/ 7/10 11:58am

Thanks for the reply.........

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karen, Community Member
1/20/10 2:45pm

I had a headache just above the forehead (frontal lobe area) for the first time last? week and it was weird.  I've not determined the exact cause but believe it had something to do with using an antihistamine in combination with other meds or situations.  Finally it went away when I took more of the antihistamine!

 

Is she using antihistamines? I always would get a migraine if I forgot to take Claritin (3hrs or so after when I should), so I changed to another type of antihistamine, a generic antihistamine, hydroxzineZyrtec may be similar, as an OTC antihistamine.

 

With this headache, I first tried my other headache remedies, such as caffeine or a portion of my migraine med - neither helped.  Then I realized that I had not taken my antihistamine.  While this happened before with hydroxzine, I had never before experienced a headache. But this situation may have been different.  I was at the end of my cycle, when women often can get a headache. And maybe the timing was bad to forget to take this type of antihistamine.

 

It is very important to keep a food diary.  That's how I discovered I get headaches from alcoholic drinks, gluten(wheat, rye, oats, barley), annatto (a natural food coloring), caramel coloring and flavoring, etc.  Those often started between the eyes or the area of the forehead, and my sinus doctor assumed it was an allergy issue.  She sent me to an allergist, which did not test for food allergies!  I didn't know better at the time.  Headaches continued because I kept eating gluten, my worst enemy.

 

When I was getting headaches EVERY day, it was because I was using headache remedies every day - the rebound effect.  A neurologist pointed that out to me. 

 

Still, none of the doctors determined my cause and I figured it out after tracking food and activities, etc.  None of them advised me to keep a food diary either.  If you start a food diary, start eating only the most natual foods for a couple of weeks - NOTHING processed (no soups, no sandwich meats).  Then, add new items each day, etc.

 

I've learned that the female cycle makes me more susceptible to the food reactions, and maybe the antihistamines too.  I found the week prior to my cycle, first day, last day and then another day in mid-month easily triggered headaches/migraines with certain foods and situations.  Tracking every thing will give you clues to your situation.  There isn't an easy answer.

 

I was surprised to read that the neurologist you saw determined it was a tension headache in one meeting and suggested more headache medications!  Most people I know that ever had tension headaches, including myself, usually have tight muscles at the back of the head.  The headache can go up and across the top of the head to the front, but it usually starts at the back.  That can happen from poor posture or sleeping positions, not only stress. Others have told me their tension headaches are in the sides/temple area.  These can ease up on their own if the situation that causes it goes away.  In stress-related tension headaches, I went to a massage therapist for a couple of times.  The advice about seeking someone other than a neurologist is good advice.  Headache specialists are not easy to find.

I hope your daughter feels better soon.

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karkar2013, Community Member
2/14/11 8:11pm

im 16 and im having the same problem, i've been to so much places just like your daugther but nothing has helped we had mri done a couple days ago and we should be getting results back not to long from know. but maybe the mri would be a good thing to start at

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By Lynette, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/07/14, First Published: 01/05/10