Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Labor Day Weekend

I have a headache, so this is a quick post. Just wanted to say I'm looking into getting a Food Intolerance Test done, even though my neurologist said he didn't think it would show anything because my headaches seem to be muscle-tension related. But I still want to try it, assuming insurance covers it, which I need to find out. I hope to have more info soon.

Have a wonderful, relaxing and headache-free Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is Bystolic helping my migraines?

Someone commented the other day on an old post I made when I first started taking Bystolic, asking if it is making a difference in my migraines. I decided to include my answer in this post so it has more visibility.

Short answer: it's complicated.

My neurologist is convinced that the Bystolic is preventing migraines. While I haven't had full-blown migraine in a while, I still have nausea and light sensitivity with some headaches. And of course, I get about 15 headaches a month, so those could be considered mini-migraines.

Other factors could tie in - I had migraines when I was on birth control pills, now I have an IUD (Mirena). I haven't been spotting as bad from it (I've had it about 2 years and had bad spotting the first year and a half). When I was on the pill though, I was in college and had an awful sleep schedule, so that could have caused my migraines - or maybe it was a combination of that and The Pill.

I just looked at my headache calendar and my last migraine was in July; before that, March, when I started the Bystolic. And before that, I had them about once or twice a month.

So maybe Bystolic is helping. I haven't had any noticeable side effects, so I don't mind taking it just to be safe!
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Quick update on the Naproxen - it's starting to upset my stomach, but I was able to get some Nexium samples, which I take once a day. I still have an upset stomach but it's not too bad.

Also, my final physical therapy appointment was last week. The therapist suggested that I take a heating pad to work for my neck/shoulders, so I did that during the week and it seemed to help. The headaches that I've had last week would come and go and never really stuck, which is awesome. She also said to do yoga. I have a yoga video, but I haven't done it recently; I did work out on the treadmill last week but that's about it. I need to make time for workouts, because exercise seems to improve my mood in additon to helping the headaches.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Naproxen - my new weapon?

In my war with headaches, I have yet another plan. Physical therapy didn't work, so I'm stopping that. I'm still on Bystolic to prevent migraines (I wish it would prevent headaches too, but I still get about 15 headaches per month). When I visited my neurologist last week, I mentioned that I take Aleve when I get headaches and that it generally works. My neurologist wrote me a prescription for Naproxen (which is also Aleve) - 250 mg twice a day for a month and a half, until I see him next.

I expressed my concern for rebound headaches and also mentioned that sometimes when I take Aleve a lot, my body seems to get used to it and it doesn't help as much. He said that he didn't think I'd have a problem and said to just try it. He did say that it could upset my stomach so he told me to take an antacid tablet with it at night (he prescribed Nexium, but my stupid insurance didn't cover it, so it would've been like 150 bucks).

The plan is to knock out my headache cycle, because right now my body is accustomed to having frequent headaches. So Naproxen, please please please win the war for me!

Naproxen Info

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dry Mouth Causes Cavities

I've never had a cavity in my life. Today, at the dentist, I found out I have THREE cavities. THREE!

Well, check out this excerpt from a previous post of mine: "My side effects from the Desipramine and Lexapro have been dry mouth (which I don't mind too much - I now have an excuse to eat lots of candy and chew gum; plus I drink a lot of water)..."

Interesting, isn't it? I don't often get to give lessons from my experiences, but here's a valuable lesson - DRY MOUTH - or perhaps the candy you eat to create saliva - CAUSES CAVITIES. Grr. To my defense I rarely drink sugary drinks, I chew sugar-free gum, and the candy I had wasn't more than I had in college, when I was convinced that I couldn't write papers and study without constantly popping the candy. So the dry mouth side effect had to have been a factor, because I had it for a while. And as every migraine or headache-sufferer knows, dry mouth is a common side effect for lots of meds.

There are saliva rinses/sprays; in fact, last time I was at the dentist, they gave me some samples, but they don't work very long. (I have a lesson, but not a solution...sorry.)

On Wednesday, I have a physical therapy appointment, a neurology appointment and then another dental appointment to get my THREE cavities fixed. That's going to be a fun-packed day for sure. Jealous?

P.S. - About the night guard - my dentist said he's heard of bad things happening with them, like someone's back teeth not touching after using one from a pharmacy; but he also said that those are rare cases. He said a custom one from the dentist is best, but expensive. He said from looking at my teeth that the grinding wasn't too bad, so I think I'll just give up the night guard. I'm still getting headaches anyway.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Neuro Non-update and Bystolic

I'm such a loser - I wrote my neurology appointment for the wrong day in my calendar, so I missed my appointment which should have been Monday. I felt so bad, and dumb...I admit that I tend to do dumb things, but I'm so used to having tons of doctor appointments that it keeping a schedule comes naturally for me. Ha. Anyways, so now they're booked 3 weeks straight, so they had to schedule a double booking, whatever that means, for next week.

Now I have to refill my Bystolic since I only have one pill left. But I think my neuro would have kept me on it either way, since I'm still not getting bad migraines, and he says it's because of the Bystolic. Speaking of which, is anyone who is reading this on the stuff? It's so new that I worry about it. I guess if it did have long-term adverse affects though, nobody would know right away. Yikes.

Oh, and I scheduled two more physical therapy sessions and I'm going to see what my neuro says about whether I should keep going or not.

I had lots of headaches in a big spurt over the weekend (and before and after...except Monday when my body gave me a nice break) but now I feel pretty good. I think it was somewhat hormonal. Even though I'm not getting periods anymore because of my IUD, I had pretty bad cramps around the same time I was getting the headaches.

Fun stuff.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nightguard, Zoloft, Physical Therapy

Oh my, where do I start?

The other night my husband heard me grinding my teeth, which I guess is one of the many destructive ways my body deals with stress. I woke up with a headache the next day. That morning at physical therapy, I told my physical therapist and she suggested buying a nightguard. My dentist hasn't said anything about my teeth related to grinding and my neurologist has given me muscle relaxers to take a night to prevent it which didn't help my headaches, but I've never tried a nightguard, so I bought this one:

It's pretty neat, and luckily I rarely have problems getting to sleep at night, so it only takes me about 3 minutes to fall asleep instead of one (no, I did not actually time this - is that even possible?). For people who have insomnia, it might take some getting used to. I have a dentist appointment coming up, so I'm going to check and make sure it's ok if I use it for a few months to see if my headaches are reduced.

Next item, Zoloft. What a disaster. My body completely rejected it. After calling my neuro and telling the nurse about my stomach issues with Zoloft, she suggested I reduce the dosage from 50 mg back down to 25 mg. After a week, it didn't help and I couldn't take getting sick anymore, so I called again. This time, my neurologist got on the phone, and he said something along the line of..."Heather, you're something else." Then he started naming other medications to see if I tried them with previous neurologists, which I had, and none worked, obviously. He said he'd think about what to do next and we'd talk about it at my next appointment mid-August. I feel like he dreads seeing me because nothing helps and I always have crappy side effects. So, right now, I'm still on 10 mg of Bystolic, which he thinks is preventing migraines (not headaches).

I'm still getting bad headaches though, and some migraine symptoms - nausea and light sensitivity. Physical therapy isn't working, and I only have one more appointment scheduled, so I'm afraid it's going to be just like the chiropractor - they'll tell me they can't help me, and that will be sad...