Im a 26 year old active male and I started suffering with chronic tension type headaches shortly after moving into my first house in November 2015.
At first after a quick google I convinced myself I was suffering with sinusitis, so each and everyday I was taking painkillers mainly paracetamol and ibuprofen also various different nasals sprays.
After 2/3 weeks of no improvement I booked my first appointment with my GP who just put it down as a general headache which will subside eventually and I left with a prescription for ibuprofen even though my bathroom drawers were already stuffed full of painkillers.
So few more weeks went by and these boring/dull headaches didn’t show any signs of stopping. This is were I began to worry that it was more sinister (therefore making the whole situation and my headaches 10x worse) some days I would google myself into a mess and really couldn’t be bothered trying to get the best out of my day.
After probably 8 weeks I booked my second GP appointment who booked me in for an MRI, as I explained they had worsened, (which I now believe was from the over use of painkillers and caffiene) he also told me to get my boiler checked over for carbon monoxide so it would rule out my house was causing it, as it was a coincidence my headaches started only a few weeks since I moved in. Boiler was fine.
Fast forward 8/9 weeks of worry, pain, stress, depression I had my MRI scan.
It came back all clear. Good news, but also annoying that there was not going to be any easy way getting to the bottom of what was causing these headaches. I was prescribed amitriptyline.
I kept with my GP until trying different drugs mainly amatriptyline and propanoI until I had a breakdown in work and my family arranged for my to see a headache specialist privately, this was around the 5/6 month time.
I now began to realise that I’d have to knuckle down and try and get rid of these headaches on my own with my own research.
First specialist I seen, straight away first thing he said was to completely stop taking any painkillers/drugs and completely cut out caffiene, including decaff drinks and chocolate. As this would be interfering with the drugs working.
I came off caffeine and all my painkillers and prescription drugs for 2 weeks and it was horrendous then I had to start my amitriptyline from a fresh, bare in mind these drugs were stopping me from going to the gym regularly, making me drowsy and tired but worst of all they weren’t working.
Fast forward a year and I went to see a second specialist, I was starting to think now it’s just about making my way through a long list of strong prescription drugs to find one that would work. I didn’t want this.
I took a lot from the meeting with the second specialist and asked a lot more questions. And he gave me good information that would help me on my way, including information on a machine called cefaly, have a google and YouTube it, it helped me wonders.
So for the last 3 months I’ve been completely headache free purely by following most these steps I haven’t been taking any prescription drugs as I just didn’t like the side effects.
– Cut out the painkillers. Avoid overuse.
– absolutely no caffeine at all including de caffeinated beverages and chocolate. Coca Cola lucozade worst culprits. I often drank herbal teas and Fanta/sprite.
– Drink a minimum of 3L of water a day. Everyday. 500ml before bed also when you feel a strong headache coming on.
– Slow carbohydrates throughout the day, always start the day off with 500ml of water and a big bowl of porridge, always.
– Bananas. Eat bananas.
– Take vitamin b12 and magnesium (but be consistent keep taking them as these will take a while to get going)
– See a chiropractor. Rule out there’s nothing going on with your posture/neck muscles. (Quite commonly associated with chronicle headache)
– Food intolerances. Check your not eating foods your intolerant to, but these often come with more side effects not just headache.
– Get up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Absolutely no lie ins.
– Try and exercise regularly. Sometimes you don’t feel like it but just try.
– Stress. Easier said then done but try and stay as relaxed and stress free as you can, you need to convince yourself that your chronic headaches will go eventually whether it’s 5 weeks or 5 months because eventually they will subside.
– White tiger balm. Available on amazon fantastic stuff when headaches are becoming a bit too much it does relieve stress.
– Cefaly machine. Again another great tool for pain relief completely side effect free, costly but it’s worth it.
– Headache smoothies. Dark leafy greens, celery, ginger, lemon and pineapple and cucumber. One a day.
– Last but not least and probably most important is positive mental attitude. Be patient, if you’ve had all your checks and scans and everything is fine, and you have been diagnosed with chronic headache. They will go. Don’t let the bad days get you down. If you ever have a good day where the headaches aren’t as bad. Remember it. As when your in the middle of a bad day, tell yourself don’t worry one of those ‘good days’ is just around the corner.