Friday, 20 September 2013

The Pain in Your Head - Joan Lennon


There's back pain, of course, and RSI in wrists and shoulders and elbows, but those aside, my guess is that most writers suffer from headaches.  I used to get migraines.  Then I started getting tension headaches.  Now I get a ghastly amalgam of both.  Along with the pain and nausea, I cry, feel suffocating unfocused guilt, and am unable to make decisions.  The headaches wake me up in the early hours of the morning and last from 8 to 12 to 24 hours.  I'm not going to talk about the ones that last longer than that.

I take co-codamol and rizatripin, lie in a dark room and, if I can get my act together, listen to Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach.  I'm sure there are other things I could/should do, but I can never remember what they are.  If my children are about, they bring me cups of tea and whisper around the door from time to time, "Are you dead?"  Even with such finely-tuned nursing, having a killer headache can make you feel very alone.

Well, you're not.  And here's a chance to get it out of that darkened room and into the open.  Tell me about your headaches, and what you do about them.  Your pain is my pain.  Well, actually, no, you can keep your pain, but I promise you a sympathetic hearing.  And pooling resources on how to better weather the storms inside our skulls just might help.

I'm listening.






Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.

12 comments:

catdownunder said...

Yowls of sympathy! I am not sure that helps much but I really do sympathise.
And can you find that point just behind your ear lobes and massage it gently? It may not completely clear the headache but it can assist sometimes.

Vanessa Harbour said...

I use the same drugs as you but I also use the epilepsy drug epilem which has controlled the extreme migraines I used to get. The other thing I use is the Migraine Kool & Soothe. It really does seem to reduce the intense pain. I am suffering from a lot of migraines again so can feel your pain

Heather Dyer said...

I get extreme migraines too, every six weeks. My last one was 40 hours and I'm completely bedridden throughout. They're such a curse. Nobody seems to be able to do anything about them - but I do find that if I recognize the symptoms early enough, I massage the back of my neck where all the tendons seem to have swollen up - and drink lucozade or some such isotonic drink, take an anti-inflammatory prescription painkiller like naproxen, and do some stretching and deep breathing. Don't know if it does any good really - it's hard to say. I think that built-up tension or repressed energy of any form can exacerbate migraines - I've been charting them for years but using a new diary recently in which I noticed that the last two fell on the new moon!! I'm eagerly awaiting the next new moon now, to see if I can form a hypothesis! Good luck - apparently they do disappear with age. A mixed blessing.

Heather Dyer said...

P.S. They do say that if someone can get you to A&E, they will give you morphine and put you on a drip which does apparently ease the pain...

Richard said...

Regular chiropractic and staying hydrated keeps mine away. Although recently I find that any soft drink except Irn Bru starts one.

Sue Purkiss said...

My headaches have lessened, but a few years ago, when I was regularly getting ones that would last several days and for which the only alleviation seemed to be sleep, I went to the doctor, and he prescribed 10mg of Amitryptolline (can never remember how to spell it) daily, as a preventative. It worked, and I still take it if I start getting headachey again. I've never come across anybody else who takes it for this reason (it's also used in much bigger doses for depression and , I think, for bed-wetting!)

However, my headaches were apparently a mixture of types, and though they were very unpleasant and debilitating, they weren't as bad as some of yours sound. Worth a thought, though.

sensibilia said...

Sympathy to all those suffering. I found two remedies for my debilitating headaches.

One was a mouthguard. (Also called a gumshield by dentists). Apparently I was grinding my teeth, and the mouthguard stopped me doing it. The dentist said that the grinding was tensing up the muscles in my jaw and neck.

The other remedy was finally coming out the other side of the menopause. I think many of the worst headaches were caused by hormonal upheavals.

Joan Lennon said...

Thanks for sharing experiences and ameliorations - here's to the Not So Good Ship Headache and all who sail in her!

(For some reason the link to Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach isn't very highlighted, but if you hover over the word Bach you can find a good youtube recording.)

Kate said...

Please try a woolly hat! My mother has migraine and she finds that the warmth really helps (along with Codis). On the rare occasions I've had a mild one, I take to my bed, curtains drawn, dark glasses and a woolly hat on! For that film-star look, you know ...

Heather Dyer said...

Also - Oliver Sacks also gets them, and has written an interesting account of them with lots of case studies. It's called 'Migraine'.

Joan Lennon said...

Many thanks for all your comments - I now have this lovely image of someone in a woolly hat, massaging themselves, drinking lucozade through a mouthguard, with a cold pack on their foreheads, classical music wafting through their headphones, several sorts of pills in their hand, rolling up to A&E and asking for morphine ...

Headache - beat that!

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Heavy duty deep tissue massage helps me a lot. Not a relaxing experience but is really helping with tense muscles in my neck and head. Hope you're feeling betterx