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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Chronic Tension Headaches- no cure in sight

 NightlyMime - Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:29 pm


I am a 22 year old female currently experiencing chronic painful tension headaches. These headaches have been occurring for 3-4 months. When I went to my PCP for this problem he advised me to continue to take naproxen 2x daily and prescribed me Firocet and Treximet. The Fiorocet knocks me out, so while helpful, does little to calm my headaches until I can take it at bedtime and Treximet (like Imitrex) does little to eliminate my occasional migraines, and also makes my heart race and makes me very dizzy.

Both my Psychiatrist and Psychologist agree I will benefit very little from therapy if I am constantly experiencing this pain. I am uncomfortable and exhausted from the constant pain.

As for my medical history, I have been diagnosed with MDD and Panic disorder w/o agoraphobia. I am currently taking Cymbalta 60mg, Klonopin 0.5 tid, clonidine 0.1 bid., and fiorocet PRN every six hours. I do not believe the medications are causing these headaches.

I have had a CT in the past year that came up normal.
My mother has a history of migraines.
and at age 12 I had a skull fracture with some amnesia due to a car accident,

My current blood pressure ranges between 142/90 to 140/110 when I am stress and drops back to normal when am calm.

I give all this information in hopes of possible getting answer. This pain has severly affected my quality of life.

Amanda Baker, Psy B.S.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:35 pm

User avatar Hi Amanda --

First, have your headaches been diagnosed as tension type? The reason I ask is that I get the impression they are a little more severe and intrusive than normal tension headaches and since you've been given Treximet (normally used for migraines) wonder if they may be histamine/cluster headaches instead. The treatment is usually drawn from the same group of medications as for migraine, but the mechanism of pain is somewhat different, and drugs like Treximet are less likey to be helpful and can have some pretty unpleasant side effects. While the Fioricet has the unfortunate sedative effect, Fiornal plain might well work adequately during the day, and since you tolerate Fioricet well (other than sedation) you should be okay with the non-opiated form in daytime. Also, you take Klonopin, which would of course act symbiotically with Fioricet to make you drowsy, but with plain Fioricet during the day the two might well balance each other out in terms of sedation and be helpful in terms of awareness and especially the work involved in productive psychotherapy, not to mention quality of life.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up with us here as needed. Good luck to you with this.
 hpierce - Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:24 am

I'm not a dr so i am assuming that they are tension headaches. I suffered tension headaches for last 3 years. Mine were related to muscular problems around neck and shoulders. The thing that worked for me was acupuncture, no im not some green/herbal health person, this was the last thing on a long list of things i have tried. I realised mine was muscular related when i found swimming helped but was a temp fix. Acupunture worked to repair the damages muscles and after abotu 12 months treatment i do not get any tension headaches anymore :)

Hope this is of some help or at least gives you another option to try.

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