Constant headache following TIA?

Health Professional

Full Question:

had a TIA (mini stroke) and while I was coming out of that event I could feel a headache that felt like a elephant was standing on my head.   To this day, it has been over 5 years, the headache has never left.   I have tried all kinds of medication TOPAMAX being the worst!, and non conventional medicine.   I have been unable to get any relief.   The headache is never below a 4 on the headache scale when I wake in the morning and increases as the day goes on.   On my worst days I have a 10.5 and am totally knocked off my feet by the time it hits a 8.   I had to retire...retirement allows me flexibility as far as my day goes (I can lay down at any time) but my living is so limited  and there is not room for being spontaneous. Help!   Is there anything out there that can help.   Has anyone else been going through this and was able to get relief without being turned into a mummy on the medication? TJ.


Dear TJ;

It's time to cut to the chase and see a headache specialist. If you need help finding one, there's a link below to our listing of patient recommended specialists.

It's easy to feel as if your headache goes beyond a 10 on the 0 - 10 pain scale, but please don't rank your pain above a 10. The scale is a tool that doctors use and take seriously. Doctors will take you more seriously if you stay within the scale.

Are you taking pain medications for this headache? If you're taking medications more than two or three days a week, they could be making matters worse by causing medication overuse headache, aka rebound. If you're in a rebound cycle, preventive medications will not work. See _Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires _ for more information.

Yes, there are still things out there that can help. It's a matter of finding a doctor and having the patience to work with that doctor to find what works for you without "turning you into a mummy." Take a look at Migraine preventive medications: too many options to give up!

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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.

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