Chronic daily headache - need advice on taking painkillers every day?

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/3/2017 12:09 AM (GMT -6)   
I've had a headache everyday for almost 10 months now. I've tried all of the medications suggested by doctors and a neurologist as well as alternative things like botox. I'm still trying to find a solution but I've accepted that I won't be free from pain anytime soon. I had to leave my job 6 months ago and now it's got to the point where I can rarely function.

The only med I've been given that helps with the pain is tramadol . It doesn't cure the pain but reduces it enough that I can get stuff done unless it's a really bad one. When I went to see a neurologist he said not to take painkillers more than 10 days a month otherwise I would get rebound headaches and more I take them the less effective they will be. I've tried really hard to avoid taking them too much.

At this point I'm unable to function most of the time and I feel like things couldn't get any worse. It's starting to seem like taking pain relief every day is a good idea. I know it isn't but if I have a headache virtually all the time then what does it matter if it's a rebound headache or just normal headache?

Has anyone tried taking pain relief medication every day? Can I just take it every day indefinitely? I know it would be really bad for my body but my quality of life is so low without pain meds that I don't really care. I have a limited supply of tramadol from the doctor so I would need to get my hands on something else, probably cannabis.

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Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7483
   Posted 4/5/2017 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Taking narcotics is tricky, you body becomes use to it, so the dosage has to be raised and addiction sets in.

Neurologist that does pain management is a good choice.

I have chronic head pain. [see diagnosis in signature]. I am on a combo of 3 meds. Usually my pain is kept between a 3 and a 5 on the 1-10 scale. I have learned to tolerate it. Yes, I am on disability, can not work.

To reduce pain I also do the following:

Meditate for pain,[ not the 'om' chanting kind]

gentle stretching and neck/back strengthening yoga

Heat pads, kind that are heated in the microwave

Sleepy time tea

I hope this helps you.
Moderator - Depression

"...when the gift of sight is cause enough for jubilation."
Billy Collins from the poem. HIGH

DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain;Hemicrania Continua; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/5/2017 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Trina. It's reassuring to see that you have learned to tolerate the pain.

I thought that I would get used to it eventually but I'm struggling with this and I feel a bit hopeless about the future.

I never found yoga and mediation very helpful but maybe I should give it another try.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16605
   Posted 4/6/2017 10:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dave, I know some people try actual headache clinics for treatment. You may want to consider googling it & see if there happens to be one close to you.

Your neurologist comments about pain medication is on the money. Plus this war on the use of narcotics is not about street drugs at all. The CDC, NIH & DEA have set out guidelines on prescribing pain medications & it has made it a very restrictive environment. Some narcotics can cause rebound headaches, so it can be a slippery slope.

One of the old school meds used was Elavil, which is available in generic form. It does come with side effects that some people cannot tolerate. Most ended up taking it at bedtime because of the drowsiness. I hope you can find something that works. Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 332
   Posted 8/16/2017 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Dave46457 said...
Thanks, Trina. It's reassuring to see that you have learned to tolerate the pain.

I thought that I would get used to it eventually but I'm struggling with this and I feel a bit hopeless about the future.

I never found yoga and mediation very helpful but maybe I should give it another try.

You really should give another try to meditation. The meditation that is good for pain is mindfulness meditation. As Trina said it is not the " om chanting type". There are a lot of tools to learn that meditation and I would say that trying a few is a good thing. Some are not so good and some are really good. It is too bad I'm french because I would have such a good cd's to recommend.

Without the meditation I would be taking narco way above the recommendation ...
Woman 47 / diagnose with UC in 1990 at 20; migraine sufferer
French Canadian so please excuse my English. ;)

Post Edited (Chantrelle99) : 8/16/2017 4:02:21 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/16/2017 7:13 PM (GMT -6)   
One of the ways to deal with pain is to try to figure out the source - migraine and head pain are a symptom, like fever, and if you don't know the cause, it's harder to figure out what to do.
So it might be good to ask yourself some questions:
You say this started 10 months ago - was something happening at the same time that might have triggered this? Did you had headaches before?
Does the pain respond to ice? or heat?
Is there a certain time of day or activity that makes it worse?
Do foods affect it?
Is it more noticeable on one side of the head than the other, or one area in particular?

Georgia Hunter
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2132
   Posted 8/18/2017 5:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Vee721 is right on the money. Try to find the cause. It can be difficult, but you won't find it if you don't look. The neurologists I've dealt with don't seem to look for the cause but rather what to use to treat the symptoms.

Headaches can be caused by so many things, without any information, any suggestion would just be shooting blindly in the dark. I've seen patients that had been to multiple physicians with no relief get cured by listening to someone who knows how things work.

The first thing you need to do is examine what you eat and start a food log where you write down everything you eat and drink and the time you do it. In that log, write down the how you feel whether good or bad. Go back 3 days from when you felt bad and look for a specific food that could be a trigger. It may take many cycles to see a pattern, but a pattern can often be seen, especially if you have a restricted diet. If you have a restricted diet, nutritional supplementation may be necessary.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/31/2017 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello there....
I agree with some of the comments. Taking meds or whatever every day will only result in rebound headaches. Your body will get used to the meds, then kick up a fuss when you don't feed it.

I find with headaches, the best thing to do is to try to relieve your stressers. Also, apply heat & massage the bottom of the back of your skull.

Have you had an MRI of the brain? THAT might give you an indication of what is causing your terrible headaches.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/31/2017 11:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had three brain MRIs since the Cluster Headache onslaught in 2011, all with negative reports. (It's hard to believe that you can have that much agony without a tangible cause.) I know that I have been put through the mill with therapies, all without benefit until the aroma therapy. I am not a believer in home cures, but this current situation is hard to dispute. Almost three months without a CH is making a believer out of me with the aroma therapy. It is a cheap experiment you can try with nothing to lose. Worst case, your friends will think you turned into a tree hugger, or something.
Onset of Cluster Headaches in 2011 at age of 64. Preventive medications Verapamil and Lithium Carbonate. Treatment medications: Migranal, O2 and Ergotomine. Normal start at 2:30AM and last about one hour. Intensity ranges from pain level 6 to 10 with most at 8. Since June 12, 2017, have been using aroma therapy about 8 - 16 hours/day with NO headaches.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2018
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 3/8/2018 4:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dave,

I have hope for you (I think!)
I have suffered for DAILY headaches, only left sided, for 7 (!!!) YEARS. Yep, you read this right. 7 years, every day. Done all EEG< CT< MRI, wisdom teeth were taken out, had nose operation, done Botox, the whole thing!
Nobody could tell me what it is, nobody knew how to help. Had several breakdowns from the pain, have taken Ibuprofene daily. At some point I started to get depressed because I couldn't live a normal life, I couldn't even think straight, there was this cloud over my head. I have done so many things, its ridiculous.

Heres what helped me:

I changed my diet to living super healthy, cut out sugar, started working out on a regular basis. This helped. I then started to do progressive muscle relaxation. Big improvement. I started to get to know my body, I changed my surroundings and my mindset. Big improvement. I learned when to say no and how to eliminate stress. Big difference. The biggest game changer was to stop smoking. When I did this my Ibuprofene usage went down from 8-3 (220mg) per day to 1 per day.
I then went into a painklinic and spoke to doctors. I agreed to take super low dosage of amitryptilin over 2 month (you introduce slowly and reduce slowly). For some reason I was convinced that once I mange to break the cycle of daily pain, it would be a lot easier to to manage. They told me to take much higher doses but I didn't and I also only went for 2 months rather than the 6 moths suggested.
I also didn't change my diet as they recommended.
After I had broken the Pain cycle I slowly weaned myself of Amitryptilin (it a horrible drug, but it did the trick!) and only had very occasional headaches from then.
Now, when I get stressed, tense, don't take time out, I feel pulling sensations in my left shoulder and shortly after, if I don't react I will get a headache.

But I have learned to listen, so I have a headache maybe once a year now.

Remember to take time out for yourself. Learn to listen to your body. Its amazing, once you know how it works you start to appreciate it.

I know headaches are the worst to go through, I really do. But now I am grateful for those 7 years because it had taught me how my body works, and how I can listen to its needs.

If you smoke, stop it! In my case unfortunately this has brought on another disease that had been at bay for 17 years, but I am confident that I will be able to tackle this one too!

Also, be gentle with it and don't hate it. I know its hard, I have had weeks of just wanting to die because I was in so much pain, but it is here to teach you something. Listen.

Good luck!

Post Edited (PixieAdalira) : 3/8/2018 2:21:37 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2015
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 3/21/2018 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi PixieAdalira - thanks for this - this is the simplest, clearest advice I've seen yet. I usually hang out on the Fibromyalgia page but glad I came here. It's what I needed to hear today.

PS Dave - I have a really hard time meditating as well but I found a way for it to work for me. I'm a musician, so I find if I put on calming music and hum the bass line, it work for me. My point being, it doesn't have to 'look' like meditation. Find what works for you and take it from there.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2018
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/18/2018 5:27 PM (GMT -6)   
From what I understand, a migraine is a process in the brain and central nervous system that can have many effects on the body, not only a headache. The main thing is to stop it from starting, or break the cycle. I had daily migraines for more than three months. My neurologist tried topamax for at least 6 weeks to see if it works. Then nortriptilyne, which helped some. Finally nadolol did the trick. But I still get a few migraines when I “break the rules”.
The point is that it’s a neurological event, and the headache is just a symptom. There are many treatments, you just have to find which one works for you. Sorry if the writing isn’t clear... I have a low grade migraine right now
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