Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Day 86 - Headache Specialist

"There are several different types of headache. The main types are:

* Tension headaches (also called stress headaches, muscular headaches) - a mild to moderate headache that may last minutes or days and tends to recur. The pain is fairly constant and felt in both sides of the head and neck as a pressure or tension. Most importantly, exercise doesn't make it worse and there are no additional symptoms such as nausea.

* Migraine (see
Day 4 - Migraine post.) - symptoms can be variable, and there are several different types of migraine , but this is usually a moderate to severe one-sided headache that pulsates or throbs. Importantly, it gets worse with activity and there are additional symptoms, particularly nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and an increased sensitivity to noise, light or smells. Some people experience an aura (symptoms such as flashing lights) before the headache.

* Cluster headaches - frequent, short-lived (less than an hour), one-sided headaches across the temple or around the eye and occurring once or more a day, and often disrupting sleep. Headaches recur for several weeks then subside, although another cluster may develop months later.

* Chronic daily headaches - these may be of any of the above types, and occur for at least 15 days a month for at least three months.

Headaches are generally divided into either primary (not related to another disorder) or secondary (caused by other things such as head injuries, high blood pressure or a brain tumour). With secondary headaches, it's essential to treat the underlying cause as this may prove fatal."*


This afternoon I went to see one of the best neurologists in the UK, who has been ‘a full time headache specialist for the last 12 years’, according to his website.

I described my headache to him in depth, emphasizing that I have already ruled out the possibility of the pain being related to my eyes, my sinuses, tropical diseases, low blood pressure, etc. etc.

As I recounted all the details, the doctor took notes, and explained that at the end of the session he would write a complete description of my symptoms, thereafter sending a copy to myself and to my GP with details of what medication I should take.

The doctor asked me where the pain is centred. I pointed to a specific location on my right temple. What I found very bizarre was that he did not reach out to touch the part of my head which is causing the pain. He immediately jotted down ‘right side temple headache’.

He advised taking steroid or botox injections to alleviate the symptoms.

“Botox?” I asked inquisitively. “But that’s for women who have plastic surgery”, I said. He explained that recent studies in the U.S. have demonstrated that women who suffer from headaches and who have undergone plastic surgery are no longer afflicted with headaches post surgery. As such, doctors now prescribe botox for headaches and migraines.

He thereafter told me that I will always have to carry drugs on me and take them whenever I feel the headache coming on (I guess I didn’t make myself clear when I explained that the headache doesn’t ‘come on’ - it is always there).

Needless to say, I will not be taking neither botox, nor steroids. As I believe I have a secondary headache, I need to find the underlying cause of the pain as opposed to temporarily concealing it with harmful drugs.

Once again, I am back at square one, this time £160 shorter.


  1. Hi, Im loving your Blog. Not loving the amount of pain you are in. I can so relate. Im in the Uk and its day 600 or so. Ive been to many idiot Neuro's lol lol. Sadly, I can't find a decent one willing to think out of the box persay. I feel like Im the only one on this tiny island that has headpain every hour. Its relentless and enduring. I would be interesting in knowing if you went to London at all. I believe there is The Headache Group Queen Square. I totally understand if you are keeping your Blog Anon. I will be reading more when I can. Not sure if you get blurry eye syndrome and double vision or ghosting. I do, sadly. Peace: Miss Boo

  2. Yes, most of the 'specialists' I saw were in London. I can't remember the name of the guy I talk about in this post but I can find out if you want? I also went to Queen's Square where I saw a much more sensible guy who said to just wait and see what path the headache would naturally take.. and I have so far, and it's been better. I can highly recommend the kinesiologist too who I have talked about in various posts, if you would like his contact details?

  3. Sadly, for me, I went through a Headache and Rehabilitation Program and it did not help. I am sure it helps "some" people, but the so-called headache specialists basically just gave up on finding out WHY I have a 24/7 headache with 6-10 pain level. The laugh-able headache program was just trying to teach me how to "think away my pain" and "learn to deal with it." I am so disappointed that the "experts" just blow people off when they cannot find the cause or, at least, a way to lower the pain so that one can exist. Now I just do not know what to do at all.