Saturday, September 29, 2007

Schedule update

I'm such a loser. I've been keeping the same schedule all week, and then last night I stayed up until midnight and this morning slept in until almost 9. That's better than I usually do, but it still messes up my schedule. I have a slight headache right now, but I also have a cold so it may be from that. But - I didn't have a headache from Monday through Thursday! That was nice. :)

Oh I figured out how to do links, as you can tell from my last post. Turns out, I have to use HTML code to put them in because I have an Apple computer and the link button doesn't show up on it. I forgot that things are different with Apples.

Signing off to enjoy this beautiful day! I hope everyone with headaches and migraines has some relief this weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2007

News Item - How to stop a headache before it starts

Interesting article from SELF magazine on today...the first one relates to my last post. I shortened the others, but you can click on the link to get more information. I don't agree with the caffeine one, because why would you have caffeine every day if you can't skip it without getting a headache? That seems like a bad idea. I limit my caffeine intake to once a week, if that. I do just about everything else on the list though, especially the ones about drinking water all day and avoiding MSG (monosodium glutamate) - it makes me miserably sick, so I avoid it anyway.

How to stop a headache before it starts
8 drug-free tips to avoid agony and painproof your day

By Jaydine Sayer
Updated: 2:17 p.m. ET Sept 23, 2007

7 a.m.: Abide the alarm
Snoozing in for more than an hour can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, and anything that tinkers with your body’s natural rhythms may prime you for pain, says Lisa Mannix, M.D., a spokeswoman for the National Headache Foundation in Chicago. Commit to waking up (and going to bed) at the same time every day — yes, that includes weekends, too.

7:45 a.m.: Get caffeinated
10:45 a.m.: Do a posture check
11:30 a.m.: Break for H2O
12:30 p.m.: Skip the sandwich
3 p.m.: Take a time-out
6 p.m.: Slip into your sneakers
8:30 p.m.: Wind down slowly

Copyright © 2007 CondéNet. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Headache Prevention: Keeping a Routine

Over the weekend, my husband and I went on a beach retreat with our church's youth group as chaperones. It was pretty fun, but the living arrangements were not really ideal. The Christian retreat center was a block from the beach, but the buildings were dorm-style. The girls and boys each had one big room with bunk-beds and a side bathroom. About 40 people went.

So how does this relate to headaches? Well, I've decided after this weekend to make a routine and keep it (as best I can). See, over the weekend, I couldn't go to bed until everyone else decided to go to bed since the girls were loud and the lights were on. Same for getting up - there wasn't a door between the bathroom and sleeping areas, so if I showered early, I'd wake everyone up. Then there's the eating schedule...we ate at different times each day, especially when we were on the road (we ate a late dinner on the way there and a late lunch on the way back).

Needless to say, I had an awful, almost-migraine headache that kept coming and going. Some medication helped, but I'd wake up with it the next morning. I think the bunk-bed may have contributed too - not the most comfortable mattress.

I'm going to try my best to keep a consistent sleep and eating schedule: up at 7, breakfast at 9, lunch at 1, dinner at 7, bed at 11. Tuesday dinners will be earlier since I have Bible study at 7. I just got an invitation to a midnight bowling night next month; that will have to be an exception too. It's going to be really hard to stay on schedule. What if I have a 1:00 work meeting or my coworkers want to eat out at 12? What if I'm stuck in traffic and don't get home from work until 7:30? Do I have to give up MadTV on Saturday nights? I'm not sure if a few minutes would throw off the schedule, but I bet an hour or more would.

This schedule trial means I'm going to have to give up a lot and possibly be hard to get along with, but if it really reduces the occurrence of my headaches and migraines, it will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Headache Blogs

I've found several headache and migraine blogs, such as these two:
(I'm sorry; still haven't had time to figure out the link thing.) It is no surprise, because headaches are so common, and blogging is so popular. It's sad to see others are suffering like me, but it is helpful to read experiences of others and to know that I'm not the only one going through this.

Medication update: I'm taking Desipramine and Lexapro, both for depression, but they're supposed to help headaches too. My noticeable side effects are major dry mouth and loss of appetite. I'm having to force myself to eat and that's weird for me because I have a high metabolism and am used to eating a lot. I am 5'7'' and normally weigh around 115, but I was around 108 last time I saw my neurologist. I also have a rapid heart beat (around 105 beats per minute). I was on one medication once for high blood pressure (I think it was Toprol) which, of course, I was taking for headaches, and my heart rate got down to 40 beats per minute. So 105 seems high, but maybe it's not that bad.

I did some quick research on feverfew, and here's some info from WebMD:

Feverfew and migraines
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an herb that has been used for years to prevent and treat migraines. In recent scientific studies, it has shown some promise in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. However, more research is needed to confirm its benefits.
Inflammation of tissue around blood vessels in the brain is thought to play a role in headache pain and other symptoms associated with migraines. It is thought that feverfew reduces inflammation in blood vessels, which seems to decrease these symptoms. The active ingredient in feverfew is parthenolide, which acts similarly to a combination of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin, and a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation and pain.
Feverfew is available as dried leaf powder, tablet, capsule, and tea. It is important to find feverfew that has been standardized (which means you receive the same amount of active ingredient in every dose) with guaranteed potency. It can take several weeks of use for feverfew to become effective. For long-term treatment and prevention of migraines, use feverfew daily for several weeks to months or longer.
Side effects of feverfew are usually mild but can include stomach upset and allergic reaction, such as a skin rash. People who chew on the feverfew leaves sometimes develop open sores (ulcers) in the mouth. Feverfew is not recommended for use by young children or by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

I might pick up some feverfew next time I go shopping. My neurologist doesn't think it will help though, but I say it's worth a try.

I'm praying to God that my headaches go away, and I will pray for everyone else out there with pain too. They'll go away eventually, one way or another. For now I am just thankful I'm able to live my life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two words: dra - ma

It all started on Tuesday. My husband commented that our credit card bill was too high this month and told me I spend too much money. I dared him to actually total how much I spent on ME (not groceries, gas, etc.) and he came to $300...about $250 of that was medical bills/copays/prescriptions. I don't think he should have counted medical things because it's not like I WANT to spent that much on doctors instead of clothes or something fun! Ugh.

So then on Wednesday, I had my chiropractic appointment. It was my 14th visit and I had been going for about a month, so they did a re-exam and I filled out more paperwork. When I met with my chiropractor, he told me that it looked like there was nothing he could do because my type of headaches don't seem to respond to chiropractic care. I actually started crying - how embarrassing. I guess I had felt like it was something new and since they did find a problem with my neck in the x-ray, maybe it would work. But no. I'm still going to go for "adjustments" once a month and I might still get the neck pillow just to keep my neck loose and in the right position.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, I had my neurology appointment. I told my neurologist (who recommended the chiropractor) that it didn't help, and again, I started crying. He gave me samples of Lexapro, which is an anxiety/depression medicine, and said to keep taking it with the Desipramine, also for depression. He said my headaches seem to have characteristics of tension headaches, and Lexapro should help within a few weeks. I took it last night; no headache today (yet), but I think it's because I just started to get out of a 4-day headache yesterday evening.

My chiropractor recommended taking feverfew, but my neurologist said it would have little impact on my headaches and wouldn't help prevent them. I still need to find time to research feverfew.

I'm on my lunch break at my desk, and all I want to do is sleep!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cervical Pillow for headaches

©2007 Core Products International, Inc

My chiropractor has been letting me try out different pillows for neck pain and headaches. The pricey TempurPedic pillow was way too firm for me, but I think I like the one I'm trying now, called the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow. To see their Web site, click on the title to this post (I haven't figured out how to add links in the message yet, sorry!). I may end up buying one.

Unfortunately, my headaches have not changed since seeing a chiropractor (it's been a few weeks - 11 sessions). I actually had a migraine last night and this morning, but the Butalbital got rid of it (80% of it anyway). I'm so scared that I'm going to get bad migraines again like I did when I was on the birth control pill because I have had the IUD for about a year now and my headaches are getting worse. I did go to bed late (by late I mean 1 a.m.) all weekend though, so maybe it's the altered sleep schedule.

I have a neurology appointment Wednesday. Am I the only person who actually looks forward to these monthly appointments? I'm ready to try something else. If insurance covered acupuncture, that would be awesome...I've heard a lot of hype lately about it helping headaches.

More updates after my appointment.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

News Item

Heart repair may give migraine relief

By Tina Hesman Saey

Doctors soon will know whether sealing a small hole in the heart can cure a big pain in the head.

In worldwide clinical trials, researchers are closing a passageway through the heart in migraine sufferers and then waiting to see if the headaches go away or get better.

Click title to read more.