Sunday, 15 April 2012

Day 1214

Just yesterday I spoke to someone over the phone and asked him how he was. “Just a bit of a headache today”, was his answer. Needless to say, all kinds of thoughts flashed through my head. I could not bring myself to say “Oh, sorry to hear”, as one would normally do. I just brushed it aside muttering some sort of a “I understand” under my breath. I find it impossible to empathise with people who have ‘a bit of a headache’ – if only they knew.

I must admit I have become more and more secretive about the Headache. When It started I told virtually everyone about It, hoping that someone along the way would have an acquaintance with a similar story and know about a miraculous cure; but as time has gone by, I have not dared tell any new friends. The only people who currently know about It are those whom I had originally told.

In my mind there is a stark division: the before and after It started - those who knew me already, and those whom have only known me with a headache (much to their ignorance). I sometimes wonder if they would think of me any differently if they had met me before.

As a reader of this blog rightly suggested, having our headaches has undoubtedly led us all to explore different paths in life. In a way, there are many new and different areas that I have looked into to find a cure. I have learned and assimilated so much new information that I would certainly not have acquired otherwise; but I can’t help thinking how much better my daily life would be without this witch of a Headache, without having to open my eyes every single morning and have the side of my head pressing in – a wonderful reminder that it is always there.


  1. I know exactly what you mean - I have virtually no sympathy for those who get the occasional headache. I don't like being like that, especially when people don't realize who they're talking to. It's hard to have sympathy when you've had this much pain for so long.

    I'm kind of going through the same thing as you described - I wish I never would have told some people about my headaches but more so about my having epilepsy. People tend to treat you differently when they expect you to act all weird. At least having headaches is one thing - people who don't really know me, yet know I have epilepsy tend to treat me as if I were mentally retarded. Yes, I suppose I act a little bit strange to others, and I'm a bit goofy at times but I'm also smarter than a lot of people, and no one really deserves to be treated this way.

  2. Hi, I too suffer from constant headache. Just stumbled upon your site after searching for "wormwood" and "headache" via google. Going on two years now. Blogging has never been an interest of mine and I don't know how to email, if it's even an option. Hence, this comment. If you like, we can communicate further about this terrible "thing" we have. Believe me, I know.

  3. Chris Kresser's latest podcast talks about diet and chronic migraines worth checking out.

  4. Just found your site as well. I lost count of my own headache around day 1,716. I've tried everything from toxin cleanses to chinese medicine (which about the only thing i've seen mild results from) to naturopaths to MDs and neurologists to no avail. Thank you for keeping this blog. You're not alone.

  5. Hello, I came across your blog some time ago and have read a post here and there. Let me frame what I am about to say, because it could very easily be taken the wrong way, and I need you to know that I am simply offering an idea...

    Firstly, I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, so I have the tendency to focus on symptoms. I have also come a long way with the way I deal with things, and have learnt a hell of a lot along the way. Secondly, I haven't read your blog in full, so I don't know even a glimpse of what you've been through. And thirdly, someone may have said this to you already and you either took it the wrong way, or simply dismissed it. Or it may never have been said before - like I said, I haven't read your blog in full, so I don't know.

    But here goes...

    I have had chronic heartburn everyday for 9 months straight, and then one day it stopped. I have had unbearably aching shoulders and neck every day for 2 months straight, and then one day it stopped. And I have had a headache everyday for 4 months straight, and then one day it stopped. I won't even go into the multitude of other symptoms I've had for months or years at a time.

    Every single one of these things has had one thing in common: they start as a minor feeling - one which grabs my attention - and I begin to focus on it. I focus on it, and then focus on it some more. And then I Google it for answers, and I go and see a doctor or a naturopath or a homeopath or a kinesiologist, etc., etc., etc. All the while, this thing which started out as a minor 'feeling' grows bigger and more established. So I keep hunting for answers until one day, I realise that maybe there just isn't anything wrong except that this 'feeling' has ALL of my attention, and therefore ALL of my energy is being used to keep it alive.

    In each and every single instance (and there have been lots!), I begin to get relief from the symptoms within days (or sometimes weeks, if it's been something really longstanding) of realising that maybe there just isn't anything wrong. So every time I think about it, or begin to worry, or do anything that might possibly fuel the fire, I just say to myself, 'there is nothing wrong with me', take a deep breath and distract myself with something else.

    I don't like to use the phrase 'it's all in your head', because people have said it to me and it's not helpful. But I am simply offering a suggestion that perhaps if you let this thing go, then it will go. Try telling yourself that there's nothing wrong until you actually believe it, and maybe in time your body will catch up with your mind. It has worked for me on so many occasions with so many longstanding symptoms. And at the end of the day, you appear to have tried everything else - atleast this doesn't cost you anything.

    Why not?

  6. Stumbled on your blog, and while I can't say I've ever experienced a headache for more than a few days at a time, I can talk about some of the things that I have been going through and how I've been slowly finding relief. I've had several health issues that have appeared since my mid-to-late 20s including chronic headaches, backaches, tiredness. In addition, I was diagnosed with bad cholesterol scores. Finally, I started suffering from IBS which was very draining. The IBS really made all my other symptoms even worse. None of my symptoms were things I couldn't live with, but they were starting to add up, and impacting my quality of life and mood. I was already starting to miss days at work, wasn't sleeping well, and weekends were spent resting rather than enjoying life. I had gone from really healthy and active to not ever wanting to leave the house.

    My doctors have all been completely useless, so I've done a ton of research (books, Internet, alternative medicine), and come up with therapies that seem to work. My wife has been a huge encouragement and without her and my faith, I'm not sure where I'd have ended up.

    Since this site is about headaches -- for my headaches, nothing helps like massages, stretching, etc. which I learned from a chiropractic visit. This is because my headaches seem to be specifically caused by pressure on the nerves in my neck and inflammation in that area (and probably related to muscle weakness, etc.). However, this relief just kept the headaches at bay -- that is, they were always lurking until I took an anti-inflammatory which would buy me days or weeks until the next round. The only semi-permanent fix I found was to start taking magnesium supplements. Recently this has meant drinking "Cal-Mag-Zinc" which works really well.

    Next, I set out to deal with the other problems and figure out why I was always weak, tired, and what was causing the C-M-Z deficiency. Niacin was first, and it worked really well for energy and mood, but the IBS just got worse. I started juicing vegetables to get more vegetables than I could by eating. I started taking standard probiotics. I got a good bit of relief. I was tested for celiac, which fortunately came back negative, but I noticed that sugars and grains were causing a lot of discomfort and were making my symptoms worse. If I was completely off grains and sugars for a few days, only eating vegetables and meats, I was much better. I resolved to eat more of these and less of everything else, but this still wasn't a solution.

    Finally, I found the wonder probiotic yeast saccharomyces boulardii. I started taking this and almost immediately I felt like a new person. It's still early, but my IBS symptoms have all but disappeared. I still try to avoid too many sugars and carbs, but I can eat them again without flareups. I am still taking lots of anti-oxidants like C, E, and ALA. I am still taking occasional C-M-Z for aches and pains, and krill oil for the EHA/DHA. But, I feel like all the symptoms were related, and for once, the cause could be under control, rather than just the symptoms. At some point, I hope the gut inflammation dies down and to be able to get most of my nutrients from diet rather than from all the supplements I've required.

    I hope that my cholesterol will look better soon, as I believe that the inflammation and bile issues related to the IBS may have been contributing factors. The krill oil should also be helping.

    I realize our symptoms aren't the same, and so your treatment may not be, but I just want to offer encouragement that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep seeking, keep positive, and don't give up!

  7. I've read your blog and feel your pain. Literally. For at least 7 years I've suffered from chronic tension headache, dizziness, floating, nausea, various head pains and fatigue. I went to a Relax The Back store and the guy said my symptoms sound like what a local doctor specializes in. It's chiropractic under the name The Blair Method. After tests and X-Rays the doctor said it appeared my Atlas Vertebra was out of position because of trauma. I've had more than my share of head injuries.

    Anyway, he pushed it back into position and immediately the dizziness, floating, and feeling like I’m about to feint stopped 80-ish percent. He also told me the lift I was told to wear in my right shoe twenty years ago is wrong because my legs are not a different length.

    Imagine all the damage I've been doing all these years running and lifting weights. Rehab will be for a good number of months but at least I think and hope I'm on the right track. I'm hoping the head pressure eventually goes away so I can wear my glasses on the inside of my ears. This probably isn’t the cause of most conditions like mine but thankfully for me it seems like I found my answer.

    I know this sounds like an ad but I had the work done on Saturday and I finally feel like there's hope. If you have a question on what I've gone through you can write me (Emerson) at

  8. To the person above me, yes...that does sound exactly like hypochondria. I'm pretty sure there's a HUGE difference between someone like you thinking you have all these illnesses and aches all the time, to someone having this one pain.
    It is people like YOU that make everything us others go through seem less serious. People who have hypochondria have no place comparing their 'pains' with those of us who really have them. It truly is "all in your head" or emotions or whatever, but you yourself said you were a hypochondriac. Telling others who are in serious pain to maybe stop trying to treat it or telling themself nothing is wrong is ridiculous and possibly dangerous. I search for possible reasons for my 2.5 year headache because I'm only 23 and I'm miserable because of my headache. At times I wish I had a tumor so I could stop taking meds for it and just die to escape the pain. But with my chronic headache, there's no chance of it literally killing me, so of course I will always search for a way to make it go away.

    I have spent every single day pretending and acting like there is nothing wrong with me, because I do not want everyone to always be worried about me. But if I simply stop searching for answers or 'telling myself there's nothing wrong' then it could make everything a thousand times worse.

    NOT EVERYONE IS A HYPOCHONDRIAC and people like you cause others to dismiss how much pain we are in just because a headache is an 'easy to fake' thing. Shame on you for even suggesting it.

  9. Has anyone here heard of or tried water fasting?

    Apparently it can work wonders. There are miracle stories of this curing all kinds of pain and disease. Research it.

  10. Has anyone ever tried water fasting for chronic headache?

  11. Whether you tell close friends or family is a personal choice. I also used to tell everyone in case someone had a clue to help me, but at 5.5 years in, I dont discuss it with anyone now. As much as I've tried to explain it, they just cant ever understand and their comments just frustrate me.
    But, what I did want to suggest to some of you is not to use your full name when blogging/posting about it online. Remember that these days in the final round for a job they often google your name. A headache stretching over years is the last thing I'd want them to find. Create a seperate account which you only use for medical related posts.

  12. I've had my headache for about three years now, and same as you, I don't talk about it as much anymore. Or at least I don't tell everyone. It's partially because its better managed now, and it's partially because I learned... Everyone is suddenly a headache expert when you have a headache, and nobody has a fucking clue.

    Oh, you're going to tell me to take excedrin? For a headache I've had for 8 months? You think I didn't think to try a drug called 'the headache medicine' on day two?

    The diagnosis I eventually landed on was hemicrania continua. This was after it being called cluster headaches, CPH, SUNCT, trigeminal neuralgia, and being told by a few doctors to just 'exercise and drink less caffeine and it will all go away.'

    Three years. I passed the three year mark a week ago. It's mostly under control with a combination of seizure meds and anti-inflammatories, but I wake up every morning with a headache that most people will never understand. So I just choose silence.

    I'm still reading through your blog, I hope you've found some relief.