A Constant Headache, Literally

I think now’s a good time to explain a bit about these headaches I’ve been getting for the past couple years.

I get them to some degree every single day – so in other words I haven’t had a day without a headache for a long, long time. This has been a major challenge to live with. The pain they cause can be so consuming and make it so hard to function. They are virtually unresponsive to every medication or remedy that I try; heat bags, massages, lying down, sitting up, hot showers – none of them help. The only thing that I find will ever touch these headaches are 2 Tylenol 3s and some muscle relaxers. Even those things often won’t work and when they do they offer very moderate to minimal relief.

The headaches are hard to pin to a specific category. Sometimes they are clearly migraine headaches – unilateral, throbbing, nausea – but my more usual headaches are a bit of a mix between a tension, migraine and cluster headache. It feels like my skull is too full at times, like it’s being crushed or pressed on. Sometimes it throbs to the point where I can’t stand up without it putting me in agony. It can radiate into my temples and eyes and can make me very sensitive to light and sound. For the most part it is always to some degree in the base of my skull right above my neck, this part of the headache is the constant. They also affect my jaw; the worse my headache gets the more my jaw pops and cracks. I know TMJ can cause headaches but I’m not sure what or even if there’s a connection in my case.

Sometimes the headaches are so extreme that I find myself wishing that I didn’t exist. I just sit there rocking back and forth or fidgeting, trying to escape from it. But when they get that bad there is no escaping. If it’s a fairly bad headache and I’m tired I find covering my head with heat bags and laying down on my stomach to be comforting. It may not help the pain but the heat is still soothing and distracting. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be able to fall asleep like this and wake up feeling a bit better. Other times I’ll wake up in even more pain.

I think overall this is one of if not the most disruptive aspects of my disorder. It keeps me from doing much and makes me feel pretty useless. I’m always looking for input from those who suffer from headaches; what type of headache? What, if anything helps it? What makes it worse?

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