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Hammer-to-Head Headaches

My boyfriend has been experiencing extremely intense headaches for about four years now. He has a headache at all times, but they range from 1 to 10, 1 being a dull ache he can ignore and 10 being he needs to go to the emergency room. On an average day he has about a 4 or 5. When he has an 8, 9, or 10 he can hardly function. At 8, he needs to lay down because it hurts too much to move around, at 9 he has trouble breathing and it hurts so much that he cries and has trouble seeing, and then 10 is the absolute worst and he needs to go to the emergency room because he feels like he's going to die. He's seen neurologist after neurologist and they don't know what's wrong. He's terrified it might be cancer or something of equal seriousness and I can't convince him to go back to the neurologist because they don't do anything but give him pain medication that is highly addictive and he doesn't want that. We have no idea what else to do.
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I cut out all artificial sweeteners. Those were my triggers. You MUST do this. I believe that they sensitize and dilate blood vessels to the point of creating instant sensory overload be it from light or sound or movement or just touching my head against a pillow. Things significantly improved but the headaches were still a daily thing. Then I realized that my mouthwash contained a variant of saccharin(worst of all the fake sugars) in it. I stopped using it and all symptoms finally stopped.
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Avatar universal
Hi and welcome to the Migraines & Headaches Community.

It sounds like typical migraines. They can be that severe. Mine are at times. Lets forget about pain meds for the moment. Does the Neuro not have you on any preventative meds? Topamax, Trilipix, Trileptal,  Inderal, etc? If not, you need to discuss that with the doctor. He needs to be on preventative meds. Treating migraines is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time to find out what medication or combo of medications will work.

Now, as far as pain pills....or...abortive meds. There are meds out there that specifically attack migraines. Like Fiorinal, Fioricet, Maxalt. These are not "pain pills" like Morphine, Tylenol w/Codiene, etc that are addictive and used for broken bones or surgeries. They are designed for migraines. I suggest you ask your doctor about such meds.

Remember, it takes time to find the right combo because each person is different. What works on me might not work on your hubby and vise versa. So, watch out for ppl who want to recommend a specific medication just because it works on themselves.

In the meantime, I can give you some over-the-counter tips that help me. Wouldn't hurt to try them, at least until he can get in to see the doctor.

1. There are several symptoms of migraines and what causes the pain of a migraine is the blood vessels in your brain become dilated. So, sometimes it helps it you put a bit of pressure on your head. I am sure you have already been doing this unconsciously with your hands from time to time. So, get a bandanna or a cloth headband and wrap it snugly around your head.
2. If you rub Mentholatum across your forehead and on your temples that helps relax those tense muscles. You can do this with or without the wrap, depending on if you like the heat or not.
3. Try either a cold or hot pack, whichever is more comfy to you.
4. The best OTC meds that I have found that works is Excedrin. It is a combo of Aspirin, Tylenol and Caffeine and that happens to be an excellent combo for migraines.
5. I mentioned caffeine before...well, drink coffee, Mt Dew, take Vivirin...sometimes a mega dose of caffeine will stop it in its tracks.
6. If you get nauseous or dizzy get some Meclizine from the pharmacy (the stuff behind the counter) you can take 25mg three times a day as needed. Yes it works on both.

I hope he feels better soon and pls keep us updated.
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