For those unlucky enough to inherit chronic headaches, where the meds do not work all that well and the headaches are frequent, life can be very rough. Personally, family/spouses/friends often do not want to hear about it, and have little empathy(altho there are some all-star spouses and family members around..they are angels). Headache folks lose relationships, cancel events, and sometimes end up very lonely due to the pain.
School suffers, as many with chronic headache would have become professionsals or advanced further, but due to the headaches they make compromises and struggle getting through. It is amazing that anyone with 24/7 pain gets thru college, let alone an advanced degree.
Jobs are lost due to the pain, as missed hours and days at work add up, co-workers offer little sympathy, and it all just becomes too much. My hat is off to those who muddle and plow thru.
The doctors and medical offices are a hassle..costly, sometimes uncaring, often lacking knowledge and understanding. The ER is bright, noisy, expensive…and often gives the impression they want the person OUT of there, not to come back.
The treatments sometimes work, at other times do not, often are inadequate. Outside of meds, everyone says to reduce stress and do yoga/biofeedback, and those are good ideas, but hardly adequate to address the severe headache situation. In my studies, only about half of the chronic headache people achieve any meaningful long-term relief from the preventive(prophylactic) drugs; for the other 50%, either the drugs do not work, or wear out(tolerance). The abortives(as needed meds) may work, but people often have to overuse these, as the headaches are frequent; then, when going to a doctor or clinic, the poor patient is told “aha, you are the cause of your headaches, you are overusing the meds!” which the headache sufferer replies: “well, nothing else helps, should I choose only 2 days a week to function well, and anyway I just started taking this drug this year, I have had headaches for 25 years!”. When one of my long-time headache patients ends up with another opinion in a major clinic, or a neurologist, most of the time I recieve a letter starting with”..this patient has MOH, medication overuse headache”..It is an easy way out, to blame the patient, when the fact is that we do not have adequate treatments for many sufferers.
SO, what is a headache person to do??..Don’t blame yourself, it is not your fault…..keep plugging away, try to find a doctor that understands and cares, and is willing to try other approaches, don’t give up. Ever.

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