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Living with Migraine

can you have tension headache and migraine at the same time?

  • By chiaragtl

    I’m not talking about tension headaches triggering migraines, or suffering from both at different times. Can you have a migraine AND a tension headache at once?
    Two days ago my neck and back of the head felt very stiff (I have a mild form of arthrosis) to the point of becoming pretty painful when I changed position. Other than the pain and tension I didn’t have any other kind of symptoms, and since I’ve been poppin’ paracetamol these days because of migraines I try not to take anything if I can help it.
    I go to bed and after a couple hours I wake up with a pain in my head so intense I cannot sleep. The odd thing is that half of my head, the back and neck still hurts like it did before, the pain is stronger, but the type of pain is the same. But the rest of my head now hurts too exactly like in a migraine. As in half of my head was imploding (tension), half exploding (migraine).I also felt sick, which points to migraine, but maybe it was just the pain?
    anyway I took 3000mgs of paracetamol divided in 3 doses, and after that and sleeping an ungodly amount of time now I’m ok.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi chiaragtl,

    I’m glad to hear you are feeling better, but would like to caution you on something if I may. If we take pain medications (like paracetamol) and/or migraine medications, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week can create something called medication overuse headache, or moh. Moh was formerly called rebound headache and can leave us having migraines that are more difficult to treat and end up in a daily cycle of pain that is hard to break. Let me share information on this topic with you; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    Having said all that, neck pain can and often is a symptom of migraine. In fact it’s more common that nausea. Many of us don’t think of neck pain as a migraine symptom, rather in terms of tension-type headache. I supposed it’s possible to have both migraine and tension-type headache at the same time, but only a doctor can diagnose us properly. Let me share information on neck pain and migraine; https://migraine.com/blog/neck-pain-and-migraine/.

    If these are new and/or different symptoms its important to contact the doctor so he can rule out anything serious.

    Let us know how you are doing,
    Nancy

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  • By chiaragtl

    Thanks for your reply. I’m doing good today and I’ve been okay in these last 3 or 4 days. 🙂

    I’m aware of rebound headaches; when I was still taking ibuprofen back in December my migraine worsened and I tried not to take anything and just sleep for a few days to the point it got even worse and I had to go to the ER.
    My doctor then put me on paracetamol 1000mgs and after a few days of the maximum dose allowed AND a change in diet it finally subsided.
    Now I don’t take it that often, and never more than 2000mgs every 24hrs, but last month it was again quite bad. I asked my doctor if I was taking too many pills, not only because of rebound headaches but because of liver toxicity and she said that for three or four months the dosage should be ok (I take periodic blood samples anyway)and that in time both the diet and an omeopatic medication she prescribed should help too so I could decrease it.
    I’m actually quite paranoid regarding taking too many pills, I trust what my doctor says, especially since she is also interested in alternative medicine and doesn’t often prescribe them.
    I also quit antidepressants,slowly, after talking with a psychiatrist, my general pratictioner, a neurologist…but now both me and my GP think that maybe I should go back to them. I didn’t know that, even if I had read about them being used for treating migraines as well, but when I was on them it wasn’t that bad. I had to take medicines for migraines maybe 4 or 5 days maximum every couple months. There is probably some other reason for them worsening, but anyway, both for that and because of the high risk for me of getting a reactive depression because of migraines being invalidating, my doctor told to see the psychiatrist again and ask him what’s right for me.

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  • By chiaragtl

    i know they are not caused by each other. I do have (had in the past) clinical depression and I now have migraines. I know they’re co-morbid. BUT, especially for someone like me, health problems can be a trigger for depression too. that’s what I meant.

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