Headaches are back -- are they from my pain meds???

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cogito
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 6/28/2012 1:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

As previously posted, over the past few months, I started to get daily headaches that seemed to correlate with the use of hydrocodone for BT. By the start of June, I stopped using hydrocodone and my headaches dissipated over about a week.

2 weeks ago, my PM switched me from Ultram ER (which I was using for years) to 20mg oxycontin, and 5-10mg oxycodone for BT pain.

After my appointment, I titrated out of the ultram and to the oxycontin. It seemed to be going very well. Then, on Monday afternoon, I took 7.5mg of oxycodone for BT pain -- a fairly routine dose, typical with the oxycodone doses I've taken in the past few years.

But, it totally knocked me out. I couldn't keep my eyes open and had to lay in bed for a few hours.

I decided to take my second dose of oxycontin around 9pm (my PM told me to start with just one pill a day and then move on to two if I wanted -- which I finally tried that day). So, Monday was the first day I actually took 2 12hr pills in the same day -- and that's along with the BT 7.5mg. For me 47.5mg of oxycodone in a day is immense. But I was no longer taking my Ultram by that point and the oxyconin was suppose to replace that.

Monday night, I didn't sleep, as the oxyconin kept me awake (odd, since the BT oxycodone made me sleepy in the afternoon).

On Tuesday, I took my oxycontin at 9am and late afternoon, only used 2.5mg for BT, trying to find the most minimal of doses as I had a mild headache. That's all I took that day, other than ibuprofen and xanax that night, to make sure I would sleep.

Today, I took my oxycontin a bit late, as I slept in (10:30ish). However, I didn't take any BT meds all day and just stayed in bed and used mostly ice (heat for a bit).

Nevertheless, by mid-afternoon, I was getting a headache, which became terrible by evening. At 9pm, I took my second oxycontin, wondering if the variance in dosing is the problem. By about 10pm, my headache finally diminished, and is now only very slight.

My wife wants me to call my PM, but I think that is premature. He's likely to move me to yet another medication but I don't yet know what the cause is. Since I went for a bit over 2 weeks without headaches, even though I was taking Ultram then Oxyconin, (with some oxycodone for BT), I'm not convinced it is the opioids per se. It might be quantity/variation in quantity, etc..

A few more points: I've been using opioids for 8yrs, I never had frequent headaches until this year, I had a CT scan of my head last year after a period of vertigo, no changes in diet, I drink 2-4 liters of water per day, and as of today, have discontinued my supplements (B, D, coQ10, omega 3).


So, what the hell is going on? Does this sound like the opioids? If so, any ideas of what to do? My wife dreads the idea, and I have some pressing deadlines coming up, but I think I might need to take an opioid holiday for at least a week and see if the headaches resolve.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds:20mg Oxycontin daily, Oxycodone 5-10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 6/28/2012 2:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Cogito...

Trust me, I know about not sleeping, due to the oxycontin. I gotta figure my own situation out...

There's a variety of things this "could" be... but given everything you said... my best guess is that it's from not being on a regular schedule w/ your medications.

I have to rotate the oral meds around for any of the them to work for me... so I'm back on the oxys for now - and, out of all of the opiods... I find that I have to take these on schedule... or I feel it.

When you first said that you were starting on the oxycontin.... but were going to try to keep your dose down to 1x per day... my first thought was that your body would rebel in some way during the other 12 hours. I don't know the "right" words to use for this... but - in my experience and knowing the experiences of others here on the board... the "down cycle" of the oxy meds can be more intense than other meds (such as morphine). So your body is almost in a "withdrawal" state until you get that next dose in.

I can only tell you what I would do... and, before I would do an opiod holiday... I'd try a good week of taking your meds consistently. Take the morning dose at the same time each morning... and same for the night dose. You can use the BT as needed.... and just see how you do w/ that. If you find no resolve w/ the HA situation... then maybe it is something else.

Ahhh, the joys of CP and meds.... Sorry you are going through this and hope you can figure out what's going on.
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

Health/Pain Issues - too many to list; feel free to ask

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 6/28/2012 2:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Cogito,

One last thought.... because headaches/migraines are a part of my life.... I find that if I take 2 Excedrin at the very start of a headache... I can ward off 80% of them.... and it often works better than the narcotic meds. You don't want to take too much Excedrin, as it can cause rebound HAs... but it's something you might want to consider using while you find out what is causing this for you.

Just keep in mind that Excedrin does have caffeine in it if you are sensitive to this... and if it affects your sleep.

Take good care.... keep us updated.
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

Health/Pain Issues - too many to list; feel free to ask

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 6/28/2012 10:04 AM (GMT -6)   

 

          Morning Cogito!

     I know there is not much of a Euphoric effect for many of us on these med's,...however I do find myself straining for complete understanding of a sentance when I read it...and may actually read it twice before a full getting the jest of what I'm reading.

   I also often find myself telling my wife and myself for that matter,...that I'm still mentally sharp, and that the med's have little effect on my cognitive skills. However, the truth is, that I do struggle a bit, and often seem to strain my thinking, especially while reading the internet.

    I know you do a lot of writing,... and I'm wondering if you are straining a bit more mentally, since you started taking the higher doses, and are not aware of it? It might be contributing to your increased headache's. It's just a thought! rolleyes ..but of course you know, my thinking can be a bit skewed at times! eyes

   SE wink


Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"If you trust Google more than your doctor then maybe it's time to switch doctors"

Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 6/28/2012 9:12:12 AM (GMT-6)


alsoinpain
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 353
   Posted 6/28/2012 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cogito, could it be stress? I just realized that for me, I've been pretty sick this week and have been having major headaches. But i just realized that while i may have a bug, this week at work has been pure heck and I've been throwing up by the time the afternoon hits.

Didn't mean to hijack your thread though and i hope you feel better soon and figure out what the headaches are coming from. 8-)
My DX: fairly advanced, moderate to severe degenerative disk disease at L3-L4 , L4-L5 with endplate sclerosis and osteophyte formation and moderate facet osteoarthropathy. There is a transitional left lumbosacral segment with articulation of the transitional segment and the sacrum, also known as Bertolotti syndrome. There are degenerative changes at C5-C6 with disk space narrowing and spurring.

cogito
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 6/28/2012 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

Thanks for the input. My wife convinced me this morning to take an oxycontin and as Momto8kids suggested, it may be worth trying oxycontin every 12hrs. Perhaps with a steady state of opioids rather than swings, the headaches will go away. But that means no BT meds until I get some answers.

SE's thoughts about mental strain are well taken. I have a lot of projects right now and am making little progress. I may be pushing myself too hard and thus causing stress and perhaps my headaches. Even just eyestrain may be part of the equation.

Over the next week, if I do stick to my plan to take only the oxycontin and no BT meds, we'll see what happens.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds:20mg Oxycontin daily, Oxycodone 5-10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 6/28/2012 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Good luck Cogito - let us know how the week goes.

Take care -Tina
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

Health/Pain Issues - too many to list; feel free to ask

Lindaloo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 6/28/2012 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cognito,

Just thought I would throw my two cents in, for what it's worth.

I have had headaches in my life and I have even suffered through migraines during my hormonal years. But one thing that I know for sure is that Oxycontin and other 12 hour, long lasting similar medications give me a whopping headache.

As for oxcodone, I take it every 4 hours. The doctor thought at two different times, that I should try the long acting meds, that I would get a better pain response and not take as many pills during the day. Well, I tried it and it was miserable. I will only stay with the oxycodone which DOES NOT give ME a headache. Thank God!

As for SE's comments, he may be right on target too. You could have stress headaches as well. You will have to be your own detective and try all the different ways to go, my friend. And I wish you all the luck in the world. Please let us know how you do!

God bless you.

Lindaloo
Moderator in Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Forums.

Believe in yourself. Be kind to fellow humans and animals. Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.

And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help. I will be there.


Linda

cogito
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 6/28/2012 11:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Linda.

It seems that my situation is the reverse of yours -- I don't think that the ER meds are giving me headaches, but the IRs are (or may be). I took my second oxycontin of the day at 8pm, more than three hours ago, and don't have a headache (maybe one that is very slight, but not a problem). I've also been able to get a bit of writing done this evening.

Regarding stress, not only am I under a lot of pressure right now, in a battle between my work and my pain, also because of my scoliosis, my left shoulder is a bit higher than than my right and the muscles on the left, through my back and up my neck get VERY tight over the day. So, muscle tightness may have a role to play in my headaches.

As you note, I'm going to have to investigate and hopefully will have my answers by the time I see my PM again in less than two weeks.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds:20mg Oxycontin daily, Oxycodone 5-10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).
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