Many of you have been asking me about my headaches. Unfortunately, I am still getting them nearly everyday. On Monday, I decided to see a new doctor and I am so thankful I did because she was so helpful and had so many suggestions for me. She sat with me and took the time to really learn about me and what we think might be causing the headaches. After ruling out the “big things”, since I have had two MRI’s already, we discussed how I have been managing them. I told her about the different medications other doctors have prescribed. We discussed how I went to a chiropractor, but that only seemed to work short term, and once I left, the headaches returned. I mentioned how I have been taking Excedrin or Naproxen nearly everyday. She asked me if I knew anything about “Rebound Headaches”. I did not so she told me about them. This is what I found on Webmd.com:
While over-the-counter pain-relievers are helpful in improving headache pain, they must be taken with caution because they could actually make your headache worse if they aren’t taken correctly. The overuse or misuse of pain relievers — exceeding labeling instructions (such as taking the drug three or more days per week) or not following your doctor’s advice — can cause you to “rebound” into another headache.
When the pain medication wears off, you may experience a withdrawal reaction, prompting you to take more medication, which only leads to another headache and the desire to take more medication. And so the cycle continues until you start to suffer from chronic daily headaches with more severe headache pain and more frequent headaches.
Pain reliever overuse appears to interfere with the brain centers that regulate the flow of pain messages to the nerves, worsening headache pain.
This rebound syndrome is especially dangerous if your medication contains caffeine, which is often included in many pain relievers to speed up the action of the other ingredients. While it can be beneficial, caffeine in medications, combined with consuming caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks or chocolate) from other sources, makes you more vulnerable to a rebound headache.
I think we might be on to something…
Now comes the hard part. She told me that this would be difficult but since there are still about five weeks until I return to teaching, it is the perfect time to try it. She wants me to go completely medicine free for the headaches for four to six weeks! I must have looked at her like she was insane but she stopped and sat down and gave me some other options to try.
I have always taken a lot of vitamins and supplements so first she looked over my list and told me that they were all fine and none should be causing the headaches. She told me to add magnesium and butterbur to my vitamin regimen. Apparently, I learned that deficiencies in magnesium may cause migraines. Butterbur, (which I had never even heard of), has been known to give some relief to headache sufferers. Then she began telling me about essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender have all shown to give relief when rubbed on pressure points such as the temple and on the forehead.
I left her office and went to the pharmacy immediately. They did not carry butterbur. They had the magnesium though, so I have been taking that since Monday. I was able to find butterbur and the oils today.
So it has been three days. Three days with a headache. NOT constant. They never are but I have not taken any medication for them. Today I rubbed the oils on my forehead and temples and maybe it is all in my head, (pun intended), and I did feel some relief. I am going to see how long I can go without taking any medication. Maybe I can wipe out whatever these out of my system for good. To know that I might be able to do it in a more natural way will be great too. Fingers crossed that this is finally the solution!
Tagged: butterbur and magnesium, butterbur and magnesium for migraines, essential oils for headache relief, essential oils for migraines, headache relief, headaches, hippocrates, holistic migraine relief, migraine solutions, rebound headaches, trigger headaches
I get a lot of headache relief from lavender. I use both the oil and a lotion from Trader Joe that I spike up with addl lavender and use generously. I hope it works for you too.
I will try that Marcia. I tried the lavender today, but it was so sweet, I shied away from it. Maybe I can find something a little less aromatic.
Hi Claire – I’ve been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I’ve wanted to reach out to you for sometime about your headaches. I’m Kenny’s sister Anne and I’ve been blogging about headaches and Migraines for a few years. Your new neurologist sounds like she knows more about headaches than some of your previous doctors. She is right about rebound headaches and stopping your pain relievers. Sometimes it helps to talk to others who know what you are going through. If you’d like to talk or get more information, you can get my number from Kenny or reach out to me on Facebook. There is so much good information out there which I can share with you. Good luck!
What is the name of your blog? I definitely want to check it out. The new doctor is actually not a neurologist, but a General Practioner. I think she is on to something because although I have had some sort of headache each day for this week I have been off of pain meds, they have not been anything like the ones in the past. Minimal in fact! I am so glad that you reached out and I am looking forward to reading your blog. I hope that you are feeling better too. Kenny told me about your headaches, I sympathize with anyone who has them and wish you relief!
Hi there, I am also a member of the head pounding club. I feel we are out here swimming around in this sea of information finding what we think will work and then, it’s contradiction. It seems for years that I have had some form of headache on a daily basis. When I learned about “rebounds” On 10/1/12 I came off all over the counter drugs and the withdrawal was horrible.I took a week off of work to do this. My boyfriend is a nurse who gives out pain meds for a living and it was awful for him to watch me suffer. I literally had to shut him out for the process. I told myself that I never wanted to go through that again. But guess what? I did it again. I would drink coffee , tea, take Excedrine and other over the counter Meds because I had something that I had to do and I didn’t want to tough it out. These last few months now I have been detoxing off of all scripts for aborting and preventing these headaches as well as omitting dietary substances like:MSG, Tyramine, Nitrates, Sulfites, Soy, Citrus, Lactose and the hardest one of all Caffeine( what’s left right?)I am also trying to figure out the right dosages for the vitamins I need. As the saying goes “more isn’t always better.” I just found out that I have been taking them ALL WRONG! Either the wrong kind, wrong mix or the wrong dosages. I recommend the book “The vitamin cure” by Steve Hickey PhD. I believe that there are several pieces to the puzzle that happens to be our head.There are a lot of foods out there that can either hurt us or heal us. I am also getting the book “heal your headache” by David Buchholz. You can go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5364970
Click on The link “what foods are suspected of making your head hurt” I printed and put the list on the fridge and began getting rid of everything that hurts. I hoped writing this was able to help someone in pain. Love gets us through.
Thank you, thank you!! I am going to look up these books and tips and see what works. The headaches have been so much better – not sure if it is the no meds or the magnesium I added. I can’t wait to read “heal your headache”. I really appreciate you getting in touch.