September 10, 2008

Bring on the drill

Here's my rule of thumb for telling the difference between a sinus headache and migraine-type headache: take a hot shower. If it's a sinus headache, you'll feel better as the hot water runs over your forehead. If it's a migraine, the heat will make it feel worse. If it's a full-blown classic migraine, of course, you'll be so busy vomiting and trying to make the room stop spinning that you will never make it into the shower.

When I get a sinus headache, I use moist heat and reiki and hot tea and salt water nasal spray. I'll take a hot shower or heat a wet washcloth in the microwave to use as a compress. The heat doesn't cure the headache, but it can make if feel a whole lot better.

When I get a migraine, I use an ice pack on the back of my neck. The coldness helps. I run hot water over my hands and feet, but not the rest of me. I take a blanket and pillow into a closet so that I can be in total darkness and silence. If I'm at a conference or in class and I need to function, I'll use caffeine as a last resort to make it tolerable.

During the last couple of weeks, my headaches have been alternating — from the pulsing sinus headache to the sickly disoriented feel of a migraine. I keep losing track of how to treat them. I can remember seeing once, in a museum somewhere, ancient skulls with holes drilled in them. Right now, I'm about ready to try that method, and let the headache out.

24 comments:

Bardiac said...

Eeep, trepaning seems a little extreme, doesn't it? And they usually didn't do the sinuses... and doing the sinuses would get extra messy, I'd think, wouldn't it?

Hope the headaches go away FAST! /comfort

Sarah Sometimes said...

sending you soothing thoughts....

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

oh, jo(e)!

Is the weather changing? Is that what brings on the migraines?

Zhoen said...

I go the prescription medication course, and an unmedicated migraine is my darkest nightmare. The drugs leave me feeling a bit odd, which beats the daylights out of the alternative.

S. said...

Migraines are rare for me but common for A. She's been doing chiropractic for them, and it has helped reduce the frequency and intensity, but it's not a remedy for being in the middle of one.

Sinus headaches I get pretty frequently--I use hot beverages and OTC drugs, which I usually avoid.

jess said...

As a fellow migraine sufferer my thoughts go out to you!

Hope you feel better soon.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I hope it's better today, jo(e).

Uncontrolled sinus headaches bring on migraines for me. If you've had it going on bad for a couple of weeks, it might be worth trying an antihistamine. Ragweed is baaaaaaad this year, it might be the trigger that's setting off your sinuses.

Addy N. said...

Oh dear- I hope you are feeling better soon! Our change to cooler, dry (not humid) weather has helped me. When it's hot & humid, I constantly feel on the verge of a migraine.

K said...

Oh, jo(e), that's terrible. Does acupuncture/pressure help at all for the migraines? I admit to being on several prophylactic migraine drugs, but I hope you don't need to do that. I hope your headaches go away soon.

Abby said...

Oh I'm so sorry. I hope you can find a way to get these under control. Migraines are AWFUL. I know exactly what you mean, for both the migraine and sinus headache. I used to think, if someone would just come and drill a hole in my head, I'm CERTAIN I would feel better. They're crazy-making.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Aieee! Are you getting Reiki!

OK, I just sent some long distance Reiki--hope it helps.

My neurologist thinks I have migraines! WOW! That's NEWS to me--Luckily for me, they are the kind I can't feel! YAY!

But they make me dizzy and they make the room spin--not fun--and nauseous--but not feel, I mean no head pain.

jodi said...

I'd rather have the sinus headaches. Hope that you are feeling better this evening.

Rana said...

Oh, I'm so sorry.

I know you've seen doctors about the migraines, but you might want to see an ear-nose-throat person (or an allergist) about the sinus part of it. If they haven't responded to your usual treatments by now, they probably need something a bit more specialized or powerful.

I hope you feel better soon.

joanna said...

I usually get one big horrible migraine in October and find that the pain goes away with ibuprofin and coca-cola, administered every four hours. I hope you feel better--
alternating headaches sounds miserable.

Bitty said...

(((HUG)))

I have nothing else to offer.

kathy a. said...

(o)

Sue said...

So sorry to hear this jo(e). I recently discovered that my three years of Chronic Daily Headache/Migraine (depending on which doc you asked) were actually neither.

My headaches were never neurological at all. They were musculoskeltal and myofascial in nature. Trigger Point Injections (google it - they've been around since the mid 1940s) and some trigger point physio have resolved THREE YEARS of agony.

Worth looking into...

Brigindo said...

I don't get sinus headaches but you've described a migraine perfectly...sickly disoriented feeling and a strong desire to drill a hole into your head. I've never needed to shower for a diagnosis.

Hope you feel better soon.

Sue said...

I forgot to mention that both docs were ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that their diagnosis was correct. They were both wrong. Sometimes a duck isn't a duck at all.

Just sayin'...

jo(e) said...

Thanks, everyone, for the sympathy and helpful comments. Most of the effective ways I have for dealing with headaches have come from other people who have had headaches ....

Sue, I've never even heard of that. I'm going to have to look it up.

Mike said...

I have cut out coffee and reduced my tea intake and my headaches are much better. It's annoying though, that caffeine usually helps a headache too!

Kris said...

Are you familiar with the neti pot? I've been using one since I saw Dr Oz demo it on Oprah and it's really helped my sinus headaches. For tension headaches, I did biofeedback training in the early '90s and never get tension headaches anymore. Good luck.

jo(e) said...

Kris: Yes, I have a neti pot. I've been using it twice a day all week. Sometimes it helps.

Marie said...

I'm so sorry about the duelling headaches. I am a kindred migraine sufferer, but regular massage and diet change have helped a lot. They are MUCH better now. I also take Relpax when necessary, but it makes me fuzzy.