My Story: Headaches and Treatments That Have Helped
Updated: Mar 7, 2021
If you've been following along to my story, you'll know that I suffer from strong, painful debilitating daily headaches.
Depending on what doctor I see (Primary Care Physician, Rhuemetologist, neurologist, ER Doc) they all have a different opinion on what kind of headache I have.
I've been told I have migraine headaches, tension headaches, TMJ headaches, new daily persistent headaches, and Lupus headaches.
As a patient in an intense amount of pain, I don't really care what you call it, I just want the pain to go away!
Have you ever felt like that?
With that being said, depending on what type of headache you have, different treatment options may help.
I want to outline some of the various treatment options that have been given to me, through both the traditional medicine route and alternative options that may help.
I just want to state (if I haven't already) that there is no one single treatment that works for every person.
With that in mind, I want to offer as many possible solutions to you, so that you can take an active role in your health care (and hopefully be feeling better!)
Migraines effect approximately 1 billion people worldwide.
It's not surprising with those numbers that there are a slew of different medications available to help treat migraines.
Here is a list of medication classifications that may be used to treat or prevent migraines:
Calcium channel blockers
Botulinum toxin type A (Botox)
If you want to see sub-types of these medication classifications list, visit this article by Healthline.
Now with that being said, Lupus headaches may or may not be migraines.
I have been told by some doctors that my headaches sound like tension headaches and/or TMJ.
Tension headaches and TMJ headaches are caused by muscles being overused and contracting which cause pain.
When I was told I had these types of headaches, the doctor added a low dose of amitriptyline to my daily routine.
Amitriptyline is classified as an anti-depressant, in low doses it has been found to be an effective pain reliever.
My personal recommendation for tension headaches is to release the tension (duh!) not hard to guess that one eh?
For me I did this in various ways, which included:
Simple head and neck stretched several times a day
Using a foam roller
Using a back massager (or tennis ball)
I was able to relieve TMJ pain by:
Getting a massage that focused on shoulder, neck, jaw and cranial sacral massage; this included an internal massage of the TMJ joint.
Simple TMJ massage on myself.
In addition to the items listed above, I have also found relief with these alternative healing techniques.
Acupuncture can be used to help alleviate headache pain. A traditional medicine approach looks at healing the body as a whole, and not just the symptom. Your acupuncturist may ask you questions about tension, pain (other than your headaches), may look at your tongue, feel your heartbeat, and feel your organs through a stomach massage. These techniques help the therapist to treat your qi. Qi is a term used to express the body's fluid energy.
Mindfulness can be used to help manage pain. More and more doctors are claiming that mindfulness and breathing techniques can assist with managing chronic pain, headaches included. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, if you are new to it, I suggest finding an app, video or playlist to help you get into it.
Bi-lateral tapping can be used in conjunction with mindfulness to help relieve chronic pain. While I was first introduced to bi-lateral tapping to help process and relieve PTSD symptoms after trauma. I found it so effective that I use it often to help relieve pain.
Cannabis has been shown to have many healing properties including (but not limited to) relaxation and pain relief. In my opinion, both of these are needed when trying to battle any chronic pain, especially headaches. While I personally have not used cannabis for my headaches, I know some individuals who have used it successfully to manage chronic headaches.
There is no one size fits all solution for severe headaches that accompany Lupus (or Sjogren's).
If you are suffering from headaches I suggest you first talk to your doctor about treatment options.
If traditional western medicine isn't able to provide relief, I recommend you find a functional doctor who bridges the gap between western and eastern medicine.
I hope that sharing my story and coping techniques will help you manage and cope with your illness.
Wishing you Health and Happiness,
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If you are newly diagnosed with Sjogren's be sure to check out my webpage here.
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