Literally. Started last November and has been my near-constant companion ever since, except for a few brief weeks once or twice when it's abated for some unknown reason. But most of the time, nine days out of ten, I have a headache. I wake up with it, I have it all day long, I go to sleep with it. It's impervious to drugs. To say it's affected my life a little is an understatement. I've learned to function around it most of the time, but it's a real drain. 90% of the sick time I've taken in the last year has been because of this.
And not just your normal tension headache, but a weird, hit-with-a-hammer feeling right at the base of the skull. Have you ever seen that PBS show about how xrays seem to show that Tutankhamun was killed by a hard blow to the back of the head? Right. There. That's the spot. Ow. I feel for the guy.
Anyways, I'm a medical mystery. I've gone whining to my primary care physician a few times and been checked for everything. Here's a brief list of what we've ruled out:
Brain tumor Thyroid Alien impant Anemia Low ferritin Kidney disease Brain suckers from space Marriage Depression Vampire bats Insomnia Insanity HIV Voodoo Witch Doctors Too much exercise Not enough exercise Anxiety Stress Liver malfunction Heart murmurs-- and pretty much anything your blood or other bodily fluids can be tested for.
So. Today I went to a naturopath/chiropractor. I fear chiropractors. I fear them enough that I had to have a headache for an entire year before I'd see one, and then after a little bit of a meltdown yesterday, I decided I was desperate enough to do it. Got a referral, got an appointment the next morning, and off I went!
And surprise surprise, I loved the guy. Naturopathy is pretty cool. So far nothing has been cracked, adjusted, or realigned on my body but I just got what I think was the most thorough, thoughtful, reasonable, paying-attention-to-everything-I-said medical exam I've ever, ever received. In my whole life. He spent 90 minutes talking with me, listening to my answers, examining me, listening to me, manipulating various limbs, listening to me... you get the picture. Impressive. They even sent me off for new xrays of the bone spur I supposedly have that no one has seen on film since 1988. But most impressive - seriously, I know I'm repeating this - is just the degree of talking with and listening to me.
So we'll see. I've been prescribed several things --
- First of all, quit drinking diet soda completely. 75% of his female patients with headaches drink diet soda he says. One of them who drinks as much as me just came down with a very rare brain cancer linked to aspartame. Ok, I get it, but still bad news. I'm a total diet coke addict. Then again, I suspect there's something to this because the headaches started shortly after I got off a nutritional program during which I had no diet coke for six months and started up on it again.
- A combination of massage and physical therapy for the next month or two, starting with three appointments next week, then tapering down to fewer appointments. (Yay! Frequent massages on my insurance company's bill!)
- A visit with their chiropractor/neurologist once a week for a while. After turning various limbs in my body a hundred different ways, he determined that I am in fact experiencing some kind of chiropractic issue in my neck.
- Green tea in place of caffeine. Caffeine is less of a worry than aspartame, but still bad. Green tea is a good way to start stepping off of it. Then taper that down too.
- Further testing/medical review to ensure that there's nothing that was missed in my bloodwork and that I'm not in fact dealing with migraines.