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Just wondering if any of you get headaches and if you have found a way of dealing with them without medication?

I have a headache every single day, but the severity varies. Paracetamol does nothing for them anymore so I basically spend my entire life doped up on over-the-counter ibruprofen. This is also beginning to no longer work, which is a problem as I can't take any stronger ibruprofen (have tried many and had bad and unmanageable side effects with all of them).

I also want to have a baby soon & I won't be able to take the ibruprofen then as it is dangerous to the foetus. Therefore I really need some ideas to manage this.

The headaches also make it really hard to concentrate which effects my job. I'm also currently trying to learn how to drive and therefore need to practice regularly and having a headache every single day does not make this very easy (not to mention the fact that I often can't turn my head properly in order to shoulder-check etc - I have a fear of driving & don't feel safe but the doctors just don't care).

Heat on my neck (which is where the pain comes from) helps a little but is not enough.

Has anyone ever learnt to ignore their headaches? I'm currently trying to teach myself to do this but it's not working.

By the way, don't bother suggesting physio or doctors. I've given up with those options - I've been in pain for over 10 years and don't even have a diagnosis, no-one knows what is wrong with me or can be bothered to take the time to find out. I've tried physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, remedial & sports massage and nothing works.

I'm just sick of being in this much pain - any ideas would be appreciated!


  • I've had headaches for years and was able to ignore them until I started to get vision changes. Where exactly is the pain in your head: the eye, back of head, temples? Neck and shoulder muscles refer pain in different patterns. Do you have neck or shoulder pain as well?

    If you know which muscles are causing the headaches, then you can work at home with self-massages. That's what I do to manage the pain, since I am very sensitive to medications. Trust me, I understand what you are going through! My headaches are there 24/7! PM me if you want to know more about how I massage my neck and back.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Find a headache pain management Dr. They're using Botox injections to help relax the tissues and muscles around the head and neck and it's effective for some people. A pain Management Dr. may also have trigger point injections that may help and not harmful if you're trying to get pregnant.

    Acupuncture may be helpful for relaxing the muscles. I found inferential treatments helpful for neck issues and headaches from a Chiropractor(no adjustments) or a Physiotherapist.

    Have you had an MRI of your neck or head yet or any x-rays? There's also sinus issues that cause headaches. Your GP should be referring you for these tests.

    I hope you get some relief soon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks for your comments!

    The pain is usually behind my right eye, but sometimes it's just through my whole head & I can't pin it down to one location. Yes, I have neck & shoulder pain as well, have had for ten years, but no diagnosis. The pain is usually all the way up my neck but worst at the very base of my skull. The pain is in the tops of my shoulders & the base of my neck. My husband gives me a massage as often as possible but often the only effect that has is to make my headache worse.

    I had an MRI & xray a while ago and they both came back clear. My doctor wouldn't send me to a pain specialist as he said they would just put me on opiates which I can't take if I'm trying to conceive. I've tried about ten different GPs over the last ten years and have never had one that takes me seriously or is willing to try & find out what is wrong with me.

    I now no longer believe in physiotherapists or chiropractors - I've been to about eight different physios and five different chiros and nothing any of them ever did made a difference for long than a couple of hours.

    I will look into the botox & trigger-point injections, thanks!

  • I know you said drug free but cymbalta has helped me with my headaches. It's like a miracle!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Peter BPPeter B Posts: 511
    edited 06/22/2012 - 3:17 PM
    I had the most awful headaches for over 20 years, making work and general living extremely difficult.
    Painkillers didn't do enough even on maximum dosage.
    My old GP told me it was muscle tension, and prescribed some muscle relaxants.
    Started taking them but my wife, a nurse, thought they were not a good idea because of the side effects so I stopped before any benefit showed.
    How I wish I'd kept on that treatment for a bit longer!!! Might have saved me a lot of pain and anguish.

    Tried massages-said I was too tense to work on- and eventually cortisone injections to the neck.
    Some relief. Had 9 sets over all, but in the end I wasn't getting better.
    New pain doc examined me-that was a first- and said the cause of my headaches was very tight neck and back muscles pulling down my head.
    He suggested starting a regular home exercise routine to gently stretch and relax these muscles, and to get immediate relief have remedial massage.

    Did all of that, and the remedial massage stopped the headaches immediately. I had them very frequently to begin with as I was so bad, then went to once a fortnight.
    This wasn't a cure, but a very effective treatment. If I got bad, I just had another massage.

    Then my daughter suggested I try a magnesium supplement for my muscles. This I did, and in a few weeks noticed a huge benefit.
    After a year or so I was able to discontinue the regular massages, though still have them occasionally when I overdo things.

    But the magnesium has actually cured my muscle tightness.
    My drug intake is the least it's been for ages, and I take paracetamol as my main drug, with a tramadol to top up as i need it.

    So it seems that my old GP was right all those years ago.

    My biggest downfalls were my tendency to hold stress in my muscles, and then to work mostly on computers for the rest of my working life. Worst thing ever!

    As long as I don't overdo the computer, or other shoulder work, i no longer get those headaches.
    Pain now is from neck and back joints that get stiff.

    As you seem to be aware, drugs don't cure, they just help us cope. Hopefully you too can dig down and find out just what is wrong and work on fixing it.
    Keep an open mind as medicine is still more an art than a science.

  • I can sympathise with your daily headaches.
    I was also going to suggest that massage in your neck and shoulders may help. It probably won't stop you getting them, but I find that it does help to relax the tight muscles and relieve the pain. I have been told that my headaches are caused from my neck. If your MRI scan didn't indicate a problem that could be causing yours, then I suggest that you ask to see a neurologist. Try not to rule out the medical doctors. I know they can be frustrating, but they are probably your best bet to finding out what is causing your headaches. I expect you want to get rid of them before you get pregnant and have a baby to look after.

    I hope that you will find a doctor who will listen and understand what it is like living with daily headaches and that he will follow through with you to find out what is causing them and then find a treatment that will help you.

  • Thanks everyone!

    I have also been told that the cause of my headaches is due to tight muscles in my neck & shoulders. I have been prescribed muscle relaxants but I only take them when it's particularly bad as the doctor said I won't be able to take them when I'm pregnant so I don't want to get to 'used' to taking them.

    Physiotherapy, osteo, chiro & massage do provide some slight relief, but this only last a day or so at most. I can't afford to go every week, let alone every day. It doesn't seem to cure the problem - ie if I went, I would need to go every day/week for the rest of my life. I will never be able to afford to do that (or have the time to do that). So I have given up on those options.

    I haven't heard of cymbalta, I will ask about it next time I'm at my GP. I will also ask about magnesium & whether I can take that when I'm pregnant.

  • Muscle tension is a prime cause of muscle pain, and the only treatment is to relax them.

    Try heat or ice packs on the neck and shoulders, hot baths, shoulder shrugs etc. There are many little things that you can do to get you through the day.
    Between my physio and masseuse I have collected several neck exercises that I do while in the shower, and these help prevent my headaches.

    Magnesium is simply one of the many minerals that are essential to us and are present in many foods, so it is likely that you have been ingesting it all of your life, just not enough though.
    Because of soil depletion magnesium deficiency is widespread.

    It's also an old remedy for tired muscles-have you heard of Epsom salts for feet, and in the bath?
    So it's well know for its therapeutic effect on muscles. You could try a footbath with these salts.

    I know what you are saying about the frequency of treatment that you would need. I'd love a daily massage!
    Costs about $1 a minute though.
    But, since taking magnesium, I just don't need them. Still have one occasionally as it's good to have a 'tune up.'
  • Does your head throb? Does your head feel sore? When you have one are you sensitive to bright lights or sounds?
    I am who I am!
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