Reader’s Mail: Treating Chronic Daily Headache, Fibromyalgia and More

Q. I have had chronic daily headaches and migraines with aura for years. I also have fibromyalgia, TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) disorder and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). All of these involve chronic pain. I take Relpax® for the migraines, which helps a lot with the aura and works okay for the headache. I also take Cymbalta® for depression, but haven’t noticed any pain relief from it. The only other medication I seem to tolerate is Advil®. Since I have a headache “24-7”, with no beginning or ending, I never really know what causes it. How many pain relievers (like Advil) do you have to take to get a rebound headache? I never take more than two a day, but I wonder if taking them for several days makes my headache worse. I want to do anything I can to prevent an already difficult situation from getting worse. Continue Reading


Throbbing Pain: Pulsations Arise from the Head, not the Heart

The throbbing quality of migraine pain many not result from changes in blood vessels as previously thought, but rather from brain waves.

Experts have long believed that the throbbing quality of pain is related to arterial pulsations and the rhythm of the heart. However, a team of researchers has shed new light on the “vascular” idea, which dates back to the days of Aristotle. Continue Reading


Coexisting Migraine and Tension-Type Headaches

Some patients will describe a daily, chronic tension-type headache as well as a recurrent hard or “sick” migraine-like headache. This combination of tension-type and migraine headaches, previously known as the mixed headache syndrome, is now identified as coexisting migraine and tension-type headaches. Other terms used for it include: transformed migraine, chronic migraine and chronic daily headache. Continue Reading


Early Morning Awakening Headache

Cluster, migraine and tension-type headaches may produce a headache that awakens an individual in the early morning hours (usually after 4 AM), or is present upon awakening. Those individuals with chronic tension-type headache are most likely to be awakened in the early morning hours due to headache. This headache also tends to be at its worst severity at that time of day. A variety of causes may account for this early-morning pattern to the headaches. Continue Reading