How Not To Get Rid Of Headache

How do you get rid of headache? Not just any headache, one that lasts and lasts ... 43 days. 

Yup! That’s how long mine lasted - 43 daze! Pun intended. It was a headache and not a migraine, so my usual routine did not work.

This turned out to be the most expensive headache ever, so if you get these long headaches from hell, let me give you some tips.

How to Get Rid of Headache

My first tip is to take the most effective pain meds. Sounds right ... right? My symptoms were unusual for me, but similar to common migraine symptoms.

A few headaches turned into migraines but these are what symptoms I did not get: my eyes did not crush, my neck did not feel like it was hit by a crow bar, and there was no light sensitivity.

There were these symptoms: dull ache on left side of head, nausea, dizziness, oh the dizziness (barf gag yuck), and an ear ache.

Please note – with any unusual head pain, please see your doctor as soon as possible or go to your closest emergency room.

So I am sitting watching TV, as some of us do at night, and all of a sudden this wave of dizziness and nausea comes over me that makes me fall to the side. Boof, onto the pillow I go saying to my partner that this is horrible and to get me a bucket (good old Monty Python)!

I toss up going to the emergency room for a visit but I can't move. After about 2 hours I make it to the bedroom with bucket in hand. I throw up a few times and off to bed I go. 

Very similar to the early migraine days.

I drifted off to sleep with the room spinning. That lasted for 12 solid hours and then lightened up. As I was still holding on to walls to stay upright, I called to book into my doctor who was kind enough to squeeze me in on his lunch hour.

A Pat On The Head And "You'll Be Right"

Nausea and vomiting are common migraine symptoms.

Now, the week previous to this new sailing adventure that was going on in my head, I did have 3 nights of ear pain that kept waking me up in the middle of the night. I know nothing about ear problems.

I did go to see a general doctor, who upon seeing there was no wax causing the problem, he almost literally patted me on the head and said “just ignore it and you’ll be right.”

Such an Australian thing to say “you’ll be right!” 

I actually felt strong enough to reply “that is not the answer I was looking for, this is causing me a lot of pain and I don’t want to loose my hearing.” He then said “well it has only been a week, come back and see me in three if it still hurts.”

So it feels like pain and not being able to hear out of my ear did not warrant any concern for that doctor. Yet, it was such an alarming symptom for me. I could not hear out of my left ear, and what muffled sounds I could hear just pierced through and hurt like crazy.

This is why I tell you to “doctor shop.” Some of them just dismiss me, and I don’t want that to happen to you. Although, in hindsight it would have been cheaper.

Anyway, after this extreme dizzy episode, my expensive specialist doctor saw me in his lunch hour ($170). He listened to me, took me seriously, and then did a very nifty suction treatment in my ear, called and booked me in for an MRI ($250) and then gave me a list of places to go for a hearing test ($100).

He said to book in a soon as possible and that if these symptoms got any worse, to go to the emergency room. I was, after all, holding onto things to walk, and bumping into walls …. doing my very best not to vomit everywhere as I sailed the bumpy sea!

The Most Expensive Headache Ever!

Thankfully the MRI was clear, but the hearing test showed huge reduction in my left ear over my right – such a surprise there!

I was completely losing my hearing in the left ear, and I was terrified.

To be honest I was thinking ... “God, I can deal with the migraines, but please don’t make me deaf too. I need to hear people and be heard, it’s my thing, and it’s what I do!”

I am a counselor, just fyi. 

Hoping this was not some mean twist of fate, I did a lot of praying and then called a friend who is a nurse. She spent a whole hour explaining to me what could be happening. And that, that single conversation, relaxed me into thinking I could handle this. 

You see sometimes, all I need is the right information at the right time, and I can be more relaxed about things happening in my body. The body and its workings are a mystery to me.

I was thankful Dr. S took notice, oh and he also recommended I increase my Vitamin C dose to 9,000 milligrams a day or up to bowel tolerance. I ordered an extra stash of liposomal vitamin C from iherb and prayed it got here fast ($80). It only took two days. Yay!

I saw him again for results ($170) and because there was “nothing extraordinary” he suggested I see a local Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist ($160), who they also called and booked me in to see.

So four places in one week: doctor, radiology, hearing test, and ENT doctor. Then back to doctor for those results …… cha ching $930 so far in total!

Note to self, must find good primary care physician (MD) covered under Medicare. GP or General Practitioner they are called here in Australia.

I really did not want to add that all up to see what it cost me to get rid of headache. But I needed to know what was going on in my head. This was not my normal migraine. And I hadn't eaten anything in days, that stayed down.

What I did realize was the difference between migraine vs headache symptoms for me. I don’t recall ever getting a headache! But I get lots of migraines so here is what I noticed.

The Subtle Differences in Symptoms

Knowing my normal symptoms is really important: eyes crushing, nerve pain coming up through my neck, olfactory hallucinations, sensitivity to light, sound and nausea.

I always smell smoke.

The headache was bland, blank. I could not think coherently with the ear pain but the headache was a flat, dull, ache mostly across my forehead. So incredibly different to a migraine in hindsight.

Oh and no anxiety from the adrenaline rush.

You know that panic you feel before an attack? Well I get that. There was nothing like that, I felt quite peaceful inside the required silence. 

If you know your symptoms it will help you when you get something else. Being sick when you are already sick, sucks!

Do you know all your different symptoms? 

    Migraine

  • Throbbing Intense Pain
  • One sided – left or right
  • Eyes Crushing 
  • Neck Pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Feeling cold, shivering
  • Cold hands and feet

    Headache

  • Dull ache
  • Occasional sharp pains
  • Across Forehead
  • All over head
  • Poor cognitive function

A Happy Ending

So, we reach the end of the story, with a very happy ending. After 43 days of constant headache from the ear pain, it has gone. It took me a few weeks to realize that this was a 'normal' headache from a virus.

Taking the wrong medication is how not to get rid of headache!

There was nothing on the tests to explain the pain or hearing loss. The ENT specialist didn’t really know the diagnosis, but guessed at: Vestibular Migraine, or Vestibular Neuronitis, which are conditions I would have to manage for the rest of my life with physiotherapy. 

Finding my new balance in life, literally.

This really freaked me out, being this dizzy and nauseous forever. ARGH!!!! Perhaps I could take up sailing for real, I was trying to think positive. I did discover how to get rid of headache with the right medication and to talk more with my friends. 

Remember to ask friends, sometimes they are delighted to help.

A doctor friend of mine suggested Lysine as I had shingles a year ago, same place in my head, and within two weeks of taking that I could hear again. So who knows what really worked, but I am relieved.

I hope this article helps clarify things so you never need to suffer needlessly or as long as this. There is not always one easy way to get rid of headache.

Oh, and it seems that the body is still somewhat of a mystery even to specialists. Even the so called simple steps to get rid of headache. Note to self!!!

How To Get Rid Of Headache Effectively

1. Make a List of Symptoms and Meds Tried

Getting to the doctor to get rid of headache that lasts and lasts is my number one. But writing down your symptoms and what you have tried that has worked or has not worked before you go to the appointment is important too.

This way you can have a clear way to communicate if you are feeling too foggy to think clearly.

2. Find the Right Doctor - Doctor Shop if You Can

So to get rid of headache effectively, you must know what to take. If you want to use medications for relief, you must consult with a doctor, in my opinion. Don't self medicate.

I continued my search for a good doctor, since I have recently moved I have to doctor shop. I found two good ones: the first one prescribed Serc® (betahistine dihydrochloride 16mgs by Abbott) half a tablet, twice a day for the dizziness and nausea. That worked a treat.

I did just buy it and then reconsider. My body does not do well with chemicals. But I could not live with not eating for days at a time due to the nausea. So after much consideration I am please I decided to take it. I had good results.

The second one reassured me that we could trial something else that might help. Lyrica for example and she also recommend a rehabilitation physiotherapist to help with regaining my balance.

It pays off to doctor shop, if you can. I know in Canada and the UK for example you are assigned a physician and you pretty much have to stay with them for life. 

It is important to include what other health conditions you have as to what will help you get rid of headache.

3. Take the Right Medication to Get Rid of Headaches

Different medications work for headaches that just DO NOT WORK for migraines.

I took my migraine meds (Naramig and ibuprofen) and the dull ache did not go away.

I took Paracetamol is also known as acetaminophen (Panadol® here in Australia) and it went away quickly. I now know how to get rid of headache.

4. Experiment Safely Under Doctors Care

I am a strong supporter of natural therapies when they work. If they don’t work, it is important to find what does work for you.

Experiment and find what medications work to get rid of headache. That way, you have the medication that you know works, but you can choose alternatives and complementary therapies to see what works if you prefer a natural treatment. 

It is important to try to make your ongoing relationship with your doctor a productive one.

The book Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions says that to get the most from your doctor visits you should P.A.R.T.

"Prepare, be active, repeat, and take action." 

You can read my article on Migraine Doctors: 10 Tips to Plan Ahead.



Get Rid of Headache Source: Lorig, K. DrPH, Holman, H. MD., Sobel, D. MD., Laurent, D. MPH, Gonzalez, V. MPH, Minor, M. RPT, PhD. (2013) Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions: For Ongoing Physical and Mental Health Conditions (4th Edition).  Bull Publishing: Boulder, Colorado.

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With this new information, what one thing can you do now to reduce your attacks?