I am 3 years post-op and still dealing with chronic (never gone) head pain. It varies from "barely there" to "worst pain of my life". It started maybe 2 weeks post-op. One interesting thing to note for me is I developed a CSF leak about 10 months ago (didn't realize it was CSF till recently). I'm hoping that getting the CSF leak patched will help with my head pain.
I've been on countless drugs as prescribed by the Headache Clinic at UCSF, none of which helped IMO.
I do get migraines (as frequently as 3 or 4 times per week in the first year and a half following surgery). Typically rizatriptan helps short-circuit my migraines, giving me relief after just an hour or so.
As for over the counter meds:
- The best was ibuprofen, though it only lasts 4-5 hours and the pain really comes rushing back when it wears off.
- Next best is naproxen, which I still take 1-2 times per day and lasts longer (~8 hours) with more of a "fading" feeling of pain coming back.
- Acetaminophen never seems to help at all
- Aspirin never seems to help either
Oxycontin should be the most effective but can cause dependency and rebound headaches (though the Doctor at UCSF Headache Clinic claimed naproxen can also cause rebound headache soooo
Last thing that may be worth looking into when you run out of oxycontin (or maybe even before that) is something called kratom
. Kratom is a leaf that is dried & powdered, and it has alkaloids that partially
bind to opioid receptors. "Partially" is important because it means that (1) it's not as effective as true opioids, (2) it's not as dangerous as true opioids, and (3) it's much easier to stop taking that true opioids (in fact many people who have become dependent on opioids use kratom to help them quit).
People take kratom either as a tea (it's damn bitter tho) or as capsules. I prefer capsules because of the bitterness, however one thing to note is that you need to take it on an empty stomach -- totally empty
-- or it doesn't work. I don't understand why. Here's where I buy my kratom: http://kratomcaps.com/
I do not take kratom every day because I don't want to become dependent on it. But when my pain is medium to medium-high, then I'll take some and it will really knock my pain back down to mild.