Headaches, medication overuse, how do I stop?

(16 Posts)
youvegottobekidding Sat 26-Oct-19 15:19:30

I am a long time sufferer of migraines. I’m on Amitriptyline & Topiramate as preventative measures & have been for around 10 years. I have seen both a dr at a migraine clinic & a consultant at the hospital & have tried different tablets and Botox to no long term success.

I was on evorel patches as well to see if it helped even out hornmones, before, during & just after menstruation. But that didn’t work out either. I have naproxen & naratriptan as painkillers to take when a migraine strikes. Until recently it was happening around the day I was due on.

For a while now, I know I have felt really stressed, at home and work. I’ve felt quite low. For the last few weeks I have had constant migraine. The naproxen hasn’t touched it. I try my hardest not to take anything as I know if I take too many tablets, it can cause rebound headaches. However, i have had to take something just to be able to get through the day without my head pounding. I’ve found the only tablet to help is anadin extra. On the bad really bad days, like it’s getting every other day I’ve had to take a triptan.

I saw my gp the other day & I told her about the anadin extra so she prescribed me just aspirin to try. I’ve tried it but it doesn’t touch the headaches. I think now I’m caught up in rebound headaches, where I’ve been taking tablets everyday & now I’m ending up with headaches everyday. I feel sick too. Getting the headaches everyday is making me feel even more miserable.

The thought of not taking any painkillers for the next few days is just unbearable, yet I think it has to be done. Luckily I have a few days off work. DH is home also so he can help with the kids. I just want to hibernate & sleep until the withdrawal is over. I know the stress is contributing to the headaches but I don’t know how else I can deal with that until I can get the headaches to go.

OP’s posts: |
FrecklesFreckles Sat 26-Oct-19 16:06:29

I suffer from horrible migraines too and have also fallen into the cycle of medication overuse headaches before and found the only way to stop it was to just come off all painkillers all together which was very difficult as doing something you know will cause you migraines is not easy. I found that after 7 days the migraine and sickness began to ease. It took me around 2 weeks to feel slightly more normal but I have heard it can take several weeks to come back from medication overuse headaches.
If your withdrawals are really bad I think your GP can prescribe something else to take to help with the pain and in some cases people need to detox in hospital.
I really can sympathise, migraines are horrible things and can make life so miserable.
Perhaps try to stop the pain killers and see how you go. If it's too painful maybe speak to your GP.

1busybee Sat 26-Oct-19 16:10:12

Have you asked a masseur or physio to look at your neck? I know it sounds weird but if you are stressed etc the top of your neck near your skull can get really tight and give awful sicky headaches. I find I get migraines at this time of the month and a massage really helps ease it and my symptoms where tablets haven’t helped.

Girliefriendlikespuppies Sat 26-Oct-19 16:25:35

I think I get this as well, I tend to get awful hormonal headaches and the only thing that touches the pain is co codomol. I try and only take when I have to but recently I have gone from 2-3 headaches a month to 2-3 headaches a week!!

I find caffeine helps sometimes as well but is a probably not helping in the long run.

I also rub Vicks vapour rub on my forehead and back of my neck which weirdly helps!

Walnutwhipster Sat 26-Oct-19 16:27:27

Canadian Extra will fuck your stomach.

youvegottobekidding Sat 26-Oct-19 17:03:39

Thanks for the replies. Will try not to take any more painkillers and try to get appt with my gp this week if it gets really bad. I use the forehead stick & some Deep Heat neck & shoulder rub which would usually provide some relief but as my headaches have become stronger & everyday, only the anadin seems to be helping. My gp has told me I am iron deficient (zero ferritin levels) but I can’t tolerate the tablets so awaiting appt for an iron infusion, but this looks unlikely to be anytime soon. My gp says the lack of iron is probably contributing towards my headaches.

OP’s posts: |
triballeader Sun 27-Oct-19 10:11:27

As your under the hospital for your migraine it is worth calling them and asking for an urgent appointment. Mine will always see me if my stupid chronic migriane tries to pull something weird out of its nasty little selection box. Occasionally migraines can move from occasional [1-2 per month] into a more chronic form [15+ days per month] and that really does need a different management approach.
If you suspect rebound headache invest in some cold packs you can keep in the freezer as they can help notch the pain down a little. Some have found Red Tiger balm helpful but always test before using near your face.
In honesty it sound like you are having a miserable time and I hope a Dr or consultant is able to give you some hope on managing this soon.


milliefiori Sun 27-Oct-19 10:14:35

OP, for iron, take liquid Feroglobin from Boots, or more expensive but a tiny bit tastier, liquid Floradix. Much quicker to absirb than iron tablets. No nausea, no constipation.

Sorry if this isn;t helpful, but in case it's worth trying anything and everything, try making a tisane with feverfew leaves. It's a really brilliant headache reliever for normal headaches, so it can;t do any harm.

Agree with PP that massage could help too incase any secondary pain comes from the inevitable muscular tension caused by the migraine.

milliefiori Sun 27-Oct-19 10:15:50

Also (sorry if I'm stating the obvious) do you drink small amounts of room temperature water every hour. That will also help prevent any secondary headaches caused by dehydration.

Sadiesnakes Sun 27-Oct-19 10:26:49

You can also request iron injections, they hurt like a mf and leave big brown patches on your skin but they top up your iron without the nasty effects of tablet form.

stirling Sun 27-Oct-19 13:16:10

I had daily headaches for two whole years and it destroyed me. I was told I had medication overuse, took naproxen, Nurofen, codien, amitriptaline etc to no avail. Just got worse. Spent thousands of pounds on private neurologists, mattresses, chiropractor, osteopath, masseurs... Pillows! Herbal rubbish supplements from amazon.
In the end one of these things shifted them, I never know exactly which one :

Juicing carrots. Organic, daily two glasses, more if I'd been crying.
Saw a competent physio who gently pulled on my neck, nothing invasive like those idiotic osteopaths who crack away!
Stopped all supplements under the advice of a good nutritionist.
Bought a soft latex pillow that was shaped and cheaper than all that tempura stuff..
Had weekly regular counselling and grieved a traumatic event I'd not quite gotten over.

Wish you well. Juice carrots at the very least

youvegottobekidding Sun 27-Oct-19 15:31:54

Thank you for these further replies.

I am not seeing the consultant at the hospital anymore, I think I exhausted all his resources!

Clutching at straws, we changed our mattress in the last few months, I’ve changed pillows (although haven’t spent £££ on them) I have increased my water intake over the last few days.

Will try the cold packs, I use to put a wet tea towel in the freezer years ago & put that on my forehead so I’ll give that a go again. Haven’t taken any painkillers today and my head is achey, it’s becoming worse as the day goes on. I’m due on this week as well so it’s going to be a frigging nightmare unless I delay my period. Just wondering I usually rub in that deep heat stuff in my shoulders, would a cold pack be better or freeze spray?

OP’s posts: |
youvegottobekidding Sun 27-Oct-19 15:32:56

Stirling, will definitely give juicing carrots a go.

OP’s posts: |
stirling Mon 28-Oct-19 11:28:12

Another thing that's really good is the migracap which you keep in the fridge. It doesn't get rid of the headache but it helps comfort and reduce some pain

elisestewart Tue 25-Feb-20 17:11:21

I'm a little late to this thread and to Mumsnet in general actually, but I am absolutely desperate in relation to support when it comes to my migraines. I came across this thread and wondered if anyone can give me some much needed advice/moral support? smile

Since having my 2 children (2 and half and 1), my priorities have changed and can no longer take my self off to my bed and disappear for 2 days. I have also just returned to work and this added dimension of anxiety is really hard.

I have been on Amitriptyline and Propranolol for many years, however over the last 5 years the migraines have been creeping back.

The doctor started me on Topirimate a month ago and since I have seen little to no improvement and if anything they have been worse. I have kept a diary and have suffered headaches daily for 3 weeks and
had 3 migraines.

Just so you know my migraines are without aura and involves head pain and vomiting for at least 24 hours.

I also suffer dreadfully with medication overuse headaches and this is something I am really struggling to manage with work and kids. I take Sumatriptans and have just tried Forvatriptan which didn't seem to change anything.

Do you guys have children/work? How do you manage? How do you manage with daily medication overuse?

I hope to hear from you soon?

Bubbles2002 Tue 25-Feb-20 17:17:06

Just wanted to give you some hope. I suffered migraines for years, but for the last few months before Christmas I was getting them daily. Like you I had tried lots of preventative medication and nothing worked. Then I had a blood test and I was so anaemic I needed a blood transfusion and since then I have been taking my iron regularly and I haven't had a single migraine. So fingers crossed your migraines will get better when you get your iron infusion.

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