Author Topic: Medicines for headache  (Read 728 times)


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Medicines for headache
« on: June 28, 2019, 12:58:16 am »
I had a RS surgery to get rid of my 13 mm AN, 6 months ago. Right after the surgery, I got severe headache after taping down steroid. It was like nerve pain on all over my face and scalp, except back of my head. I'm not a doctor but I thought it is due to increased brain pressure with steroid stopped, and rehap doctor prescriped Nortriptyline to control the pain, and surgeon suggested high dosage of NSAID. I took both, and headache was gone after a few weeks. Probaboy caffein helped.

I came back to my work, and it was fine for 1~2 months. I had a buisiness travel and couldn't sleep due to too much work and jet lag. I had a few pints of beers everyday. After the travel I caught a cold and coughing for a week, which eventually triggered the headache. Every coughing I felt pain on back of my head. It was like increasing brain pressure, which was same with the feeling when you cough right after surgery.

Anyway the headache was triggered. It was not like the headache I had during recovery. This was more like muscle pain or squeezing my head, though it is same that I can't stay without medicine. I started taking Advil again because it did work at the first time, and asked rehap doctor and she gave me a prescription for Nortriptyline again. It was March 2019. Also, because coughing really made the pain bad and triggered severe headache, I took all possible medicines to stop the god damn coughing. Coughing was stopped, and the headache didn't get worse, but I still have similar level of headache so far. I have been taking Advil, Tylenol, and Nortriptyline for more than three months but the headcache didn't go away.

rehap doctor now suggests to try Gabapentin, however I doubt about it because my headache is not like nerve pain but something else. The headache get worse after shower with warm/hot water, or when I sit on chair for extended time. When I stand up from sit, I feels very weird feeling that something is pulling down back of my head, and headache get worse.

Regarding the Nortriptyline, I don't think it helped, but its side effect really affect my performance. I'm a physicist with a PhD. I really need concentration during day time, but the Nortriptyline really degrade my performance. I'm like an ADHD patient with lack of concentration, and feel sleepy everyday, so I'm having nap everyday. I always feel fatigue and wake up late in morning, which makes me feel bad for being late to work. I've never had this in my life. One day, I waked up at 6 pm that is 3 hours earlier than other days, and I had my concentration back during work, I thought it might be a good sign that I'm getting improved, but eventually that was because I missed Nortriptyline yesterday. Then I really doubt abouttaking these medicines, and I'm thinking about reling on NSAID or acetaminophen for long term, though it has been three months already.

Does anyone have similar experience? Any advices would be very appreciated.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 01:06:35 am by gbkim86 »
06/23/2018 - Diagnosed left, intracanalicular, 12.2 x 7.5 x 6.5
12/18/2018 - GTR by RS mircosurgery (Redwood City, CA)


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Re: Medicines for headache
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 02:49:02 pm »
It does sound like nerve pain.  Sounds a lot like what I've been dealing with also.  I've tried so many different things--even had nerve decompression surgery with removal of the plate, cushioning of an artery was rubbing on the plate, removal of a keloid nodule along the incisional scar, and cutting and ablation of the nerve.  The surgery worked well for about 2 weeks, but the pain came back.  Gabepentin did nothing for me. I even tried 3 different forms of medical marijuana (vape, pills, and drops).  I tried nerve block shots and they didn't help at all.  It was recommended that I try nerve block shots again.    They didn't work the first time, so I wasn't holding out hope that it would work the second time.  Well, because the first batch of shots didn't do anything, he used that as diagnostic tool and gave me shots along a different route.  Amazing!  I had the nerve block shots about 9 days ago.  Monday-Tues-Wed-Thurs--no pain at all during the night and slept all night.  This was the best response of anything since Oct. 2018 (one month post surgery).  Friday night the pain broke through and I was so disheartened.  But, I focused on the fact that I had 4 wonderful nights previously --painfree and wonderful sleep.  Then, Sat-Sun-Mon were great again--wonderful painfree nights of sleep.  So, if you try nerve blocks and they don't work, please don't discount them.  Go back and try one more time.  Even if I only get 2 weeks of painfree nights--it will have been worth it.  Also, the doctor put me on Tegretol for 3 weeks--small dose before bed and he recommended 5 mg. of melatonin before bed.  keep fighting until someone listens.  I felt as though the surgeon and his staff thought I was exaggerating the pain level.  I recorded one of the pain episodes and emailed to them.  Within 24 hours of them receiving the video, they had me scheduled for nerve decompression surgery.  Keep fighting and hounding your surgeons until they take you seriously.  I sympathize with you because the pain in unbearable.  At one point, mine was so bad I almost smashed my head through a glass slider.


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Re: Medicines for headache
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 03:17:15 pm »
Sorry to hear what you are all going through. I have had only few, I would say they are like a HAT OF PAIN - and usually in the middle of the night they wake me up.

Advil / Tylenol have helped for those few.

I cannot imagine what you are going through if these are the same thing. MANY thoughts of support.
5/17/18: 2.7 x 2.2 x 2.1cm
8/12/18 right retrosigmoid craniotomy @UNC
8/15/18: 1.0 x 0.4 x 0.4 cm
3/04/19: 1.0 x 0.8 x 0.5 cm
4/23/19 Cyber Knife treatment


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Re: Medicines for headache
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2019, 08:25:03 pm »
Hi GB,
I am 9 years post op and still have this problem. I take a lot of Advil.
I tried Tylenol, Gabapentin, and so many more medications that didn't help.
I tend to get these types of headaches (swelling and pulling feeling) from changes in barometric pressure, elevation changes, and if I sleep flat (without a wedge pillow).
In addition to the medications, I have tried nerve block injections, botox, and lymph drainage massage.
The things that work best for me are the lymph drainage massage and Advil. I can't recommend the lymph drainage message enough, the focus of the massage is the head, neck, and spine. I thought it was a joke the first time (you barely feel anything) but it was the fastest and most dramatic relief I have had yet.
The massages were a part of my physical therapy, I went 3 times a week for a few months. I don't have access to therapy anymore so I still get the headaches. My therapist showed my husband the technique so he helps me with it when he can. I have also learned a DIY version that I do often but neither are effective as the therapy session with a trained therapist, this is why I still take a lot of Advil. The Advil helps to keep the swelling down.
I hope you find a treatment that works for you.
AN 3 cm left side (1.7 cm @ diagnosis 5 mo. prior - MRI didn't show all)  Surgical removal 7/12/10, CSF leak - surgical repair 7/26/10