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Monday, January 31, 2011

Rebounding

Many of you have heard me mention my frequent headaches before. A little over two weeks ago, I went to the neurologist for my six-month check on my migraines. While my migraines have gotten significantly better since he started me on Topamax as a preventative six months ago, I've still been suffering from nagging daily headaches, which I really didn't think should be the case if I was taking a headache preventative twice a day.

When I mentioned this to him, he was like, "What do you mean by daily?" Um, exactly what I said. Daily. "So how many times a week would you say you have to take medication for 'daily' headaches?" Um, again, daily.

So it turns out that's not normal. Which probably any of you could have told me.

After looking into my medical history further and testing some things, my neurologist (who I am really coming to love, because he's actually Fixing Things) determined that I am suffering from rebound headaches, most likely as a result of all the painkillers I had to take during my pregnancy with Liam.

So what is a rebound headache? Well, it really, really sucks. For more information, you can visit this very helpful website. The gist of it is that your body gets so used to having painkillers that it forms kind of an addiction. So you wake up feeling fine, but after a few hours, your body is like, "Hey, where are my painkillers?!" and develops a beast of a headache until you give in and take the painkillers that its craving. Every single day. And the kicker is that those painkillers then become utterly inefficient. Down the road, people can end up taking like 12 Advil a day and still having headaches, and even devloping chronic migraines, which means migraines 15 or more days a month, with medication utterly unable to touch them. So obviously, this is something you want to nip in the bud.

The problem, of course, is that there's really no way to get over it except to just quit cold turkey and not take painkillers anymore. Which means that I have had a helluva headache every day for the past two weeks. Thus my absence from the blog, as my head has been kind of pounding out of my skull after doing my reading for school and I haven't wanted any more reading/writing than strictly necessary.

The bad news is that I did a lot of whimpering that first week. The good news is that I think I'm over the hump and am feeling much better. The headaches did go into one medication-necessitating migraine last week, but they were manageable the rest of the time.

On the migraine front, I had heard so many good things about magnesium as a preventative that I had been hoping to switch to that instead of Topamax, but the neurologist says that magnesium alone basically won't do anything for someone suffering from rebound headaches. But he agreed that it's very helpful as a supplement and added a low dose of that to my regime. As I said, I've been feeling a lot better, although it's too soon to really say if that's due to the mag or just because I'm starting to shake the rebound headaches.

Anyway, it's nice to actually be seeing some progress health-wise. I'm hoping the good news holds for the next few days, as we've got major snowstorms moving in and storms of any kind are usually a migraine trigger for me. I guess this will be my chance to see if the magnesium works, right? Keep your fingers crossed!

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