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#54 Treatment Ideas for Headaches -

One comment on the forum (link) really hit me and I wanted to start this blog with it – “Most docs have not treated people like us, or, if they have, they haven’t treated very many. You will need to be persistent and advocate for yourself. There is relief out there, you just need to find a doc who will work with you to find it.”

In other words, don’t give up! When it comes to headaches, keep in mind, no one-size-fits-all treatments. Just because a certain drug or treatment worked for someone, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for everybody. This list is not intended to give medical advice, but it can be useful as a starting point of conversation with the doctor.

Speaking of doctors, I found it interesting that AN patients spoke to various doctors to get headache relief. Some returned to the surgeon who removed their AN. Other patients went to neurologists, headache pain specialists, pain specialists, and their primary care physicians.

 When patients returned to the doctor who treated them with radiation they were often told the headaches were a result of the swelling caused by the radiation. The patients who had surgery were sometimes told the surgery caused collateral damage to a nerve. Basically, if the cause of the headache is known, this can help determine the pathway of treatment.

Medicinal side effects can be a problem and it can become a balancing act between effective treatments and side effects.

In no particular order, here are some of the treatments mentioned on the forum and in the Acoustic Neuroma Association booklet Headache.  You can order the booklet by calling (770) 205-8211.

  • Gabapentin is the generic of Neurontin. It is used to prevent and control seizures, but for headaches, it is used to relieve nerve pain.
  • Lyrica
  • Sumatriptan
  • Corticosteroids (prednisone, dexamethasone)
  • Lie down for 10 minutes.
  • Nerve resection or nerve block injections.
  • A good bed and good sleeping position – head faces the same position as your body, so neck will not be stretched.
  • One patient took Allegra D for congestion and it worked for her headaches.
  • Massage by a physical therapist to the neck muscles with biofeedback to learn muscle relaxation techniques. Heat application can help.
  • When a “trigger point” is identified as a source of pain, local injection of an anesthetic or steroid at the site.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Nortriptyline is given for neuropathic pain and depression.
  • Cranioplasty surgery for those patients who had a craniectomy without repair at the initial surgery. In this procedure, the opening is exposed and covered. Although dramatic improvements in reduction of headaches, the disadvantage is it requires another operation.
  • NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil
  • Tylenol
  • Botox
  • Indocin
  • Implanted neurostimulator.
  • Minimize stress.
  • Raw amber or magnet bracelets. The one who suggested this always thought these bracelets were a bunch of hooey, but she was at her wit’s end and determined to try anything. They worked for her.

The Headache booklet says, “In summary, short-term headaches that occur after acoustic neuroma surgery are common, can be severe and are difficult to treat when persistent. They have a profound impact upon the patient, and frequently produce significant disability, depression and a substantial decrease in quality of life. Although the specific causes of these headaches are not fully understood, there has been substantial progress in recent years in identifying several factors which may be involved in their development.  

. . .  an aggressive therapeutic regimen including steroids and non-steroid anti-inflammatory agents, local measures addressed to the neck muscles and psychological counseling should be instituted. If those measures fail, specialists in a multidisciplinary pain center should be consulted. By employing these treatment paradigms, some physicians have substantially reduced (but unfortunately not eliminated) the incidence and severity of headaches occurring after acoustic neuroma surgery. Tremendous advances in this area have been made in recent years, and hopefully subsequent discoveries will further reduce the impact of this devastating consequence to acoustic neuroma treatment.”

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Readers, do you want to add your experiences with headaches?

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Guiding Father, so many suffer from headaches. Please guide and direct them to a doctor willing to listen and work to find a solution that provides relief. Amen

 You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13


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