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The headache that never went away: Part 1 – My buddy and me

I’ve had the My Buddy jingle stuck in my head lately. It was a catchy song played during an ad for a doll sold in the 1980’s. (As well as the gender opposite toy, Kid Sister.) Thanks to the wonders of YouTube you can watch it here:

The lyrics are:

My buddy (my buddy), my buddy (my buddy),

Wherever I go, he goes

My buddy (my buddy), my buddy (my buddy),

My buddy and me

Only I change the lyrics to:

My headache (my headache), my headache (my headache),

Wherever I go, it goes

My headache (my headache), my headache (my headache),

My headache and me

Remember that headache I had back in March? The one I thought had gone away? Well, it eased up for awhile there, but it never really went away. Which means I’ve been in pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ever since February 18th, 2008. (I still have a scar from that monster zit too.) I ran my half-marathon with my headache. I went to my book release party with my headache. I appeared on TV with my headache. I toured New York with my headache. *sing song* My headache and me!

It hasn’t been a series of headaches, just one never-ending headache that will not go away. (Like Iraq, or the presidential primary.) I’ve been doing a lot of reading on headaches, and mine is best described as a chronic tension-type headache. I feel a constant pressure or tightening around my forehead, behind my nose, and around my cheeks. Some days it’s pretty tolerable and I’m able to do the dishes and live a semblance of a normal life. Some days it’s really bad and all I can do is watch streaming movies from Netflix on my laptop in bed.

I decided not to talk about my headache here for several reasons. My medical issues seemed to be a topic to keep in the “Do not blog about” circle of my personal Venn diagram. When I did talk about the headache months ago, I got tired of people diagnosing me with everything from lupus to a dead twin in my forehead. I also wanted to have fun with my book release in May. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me and I didn’t want it to be a topic of conversation during all the talking I’ve been doing. As a natural introvert, I’ve learned how to put on a fake, extroverted exterior when the situation demands it. I’m sure many people in my life have had no idea that I’ve been constantly suffering since the end of February – except for the select few who have been kind enough to listen to my bitching and occasional crying on the telephone. Other than that, I’ve kept it between me and my neurologist. (Yes, I have a neurologist now!)

However, dealing with this headache has become such a gigantic part of my life that it’s starting to get weird not blogging about it. It’s like Godzilla has come to town, cutting a swath of destruction through my life, and I’m blogging about how nice the weather is. It’s getting to a point where it’s affecting my weight too, so I may as well come clean before the horrifying weigh-in at the end of the month. Blogging about my weight loss issues seemed to help me lose weight, so perhaps blogging about my chronic pain will help me manage that as well.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go over all the treatments I’ve tried, all the treatments that are still on the list to try, possible causes I’ve considered and all the tests I’ve taken (sadly none of which involved filling in bubbles on a Scantron sheet, which I kind of enjoy). So, please, please, PLEASE, DEAR GOD, PLEASE!!! hold off on diagnosing me with anything or recommending any treatments for me until that post tomorrow. It is a long, looooooooong, post and if I tacked it onto this entry your monitor would not have enough pixels to display it. The day after that I’ll blog about all the ways this headache is destroying the lovely life I have spent so many years building. My headache: A three-part series.

Also, from now on we can just consider this my health/fitness/chronic pain management blog, because really, they’re all linked.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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KEL • May 27, 2008 at 7:44 am

Dear Pasta Queen

I am so sorry that you have this affliction. And I am very glad you are going to a doctor, whom, I am hoping, is the best. Please take care of you!



Lisa • May 27, 2008 at 8:15 am

I know full well the therapeutic value of sharing/complaining so let fly, love. *listening*


fc • May 27, 2008 at 8:31 am

sorry to hear about it :( whenever i get sick i’m reminded of how terrible being sick is. hope you find out what’s causing it soon!


past.girl • May 27, 2008 at 8:40 am

I SO empathize! I’m just coming of a week long migraine episode and am seeing my doc about new and hopefully improved solutions this week. I’ve been reading your blog as part of the weight-loss sisterhood for a long time (I’m maintaining a 70 lb loss) and now can share in your adventures in headaches. Here’s to us both finding fast, effective, and safe relief!


Fooled • May 27, 2008 at 8:49 am

Ugh. I had a Headache. Or rather a series of headaches that came on so suddenly and so painfully that I’d be on my knees in less than a second going “Yraaaarghh!” These headaches would wake me out of a sound sleep, I’d have to pull over while driving, and most importantly the pain was so bad I was nauseas, which, oddly enough, made me have cravings for hot chocolate and soupy ice cream. These headaches turned out to be muscle spasms, which I didn’t know but I noticed that they almost always happened while I was working out. So I stopped. So in addition to the near constant stream of hot chocolate and soupy ice cream, I wasn’t exercising.

I eventually was told to go to physical therapy, which mostly worked, but dear god, those were miserable months. Plus the weighing in was no fun, either, though I was more concerned with the place behind my ears apparently being struck randomly with an ax. I feel for you, PQ. And I hope this falls under commiserating and not diagnosing.


Jen • May 27, 2008 at 8:52 am

I hope that you start to feel better soon. I have a similar problem during the peak of allergy season. I have a sinus headache for like 2 months that never really goes away. Stupid pollen.


adrienne • May 27, 2008 at 8:54 am


I’m sorry your fabulous release has had this specter lurking in the background (a la Scooby Doo). Headaches suck.

Hopefully your neurologist can convincingly play the part of “those meddlin’ kids” and unmask and banish the villain from your haunted head.

(There’s an example of a metaphor gone all wrong and taken to extremes.)

Best wishes-



Cathleen • May 27, 2008 at 8:56 am

Wow. Sorry about that.

But your book is still great!


debby • May 27, 2008 at 8:56 am

Dear PastaQueen, Man, I HATE headaches. I can’t stand to have a headache for even three hours, so I really am so sorry that you are having to live with this. Lately, I have been frustrated by what doctors CAN’T do for you (i.e. how can you say I have a neurologist and I have a headache at the same time?) Anyways, I am so sorry. Thank you for being honest and sharing, That is always helpful. I will be praying for you.

P.S. As a nurse, can I put my vote in for the ‘dead twin in the forehead’ theory? It seems like if you could cure that it would be good for another book deal, or maybe even a movie-LOL. Seriously, I have finished your book, and absolutely loved the whole thing. I especially liked how you ended it.


Rah • May 27, 2008 at 9:17 am

I like that twin-behind-the-forehead thing, too–just think, you could be known as the author of Half-Assed AND Double-Headed, your second book. Okay, I know it’s not nice to have fun at the expense of someone who feels bad. And I really am sorry–can’t imagine having a headache that long. Be gentle with yourself.


G.G. • May 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

Hang in there. Believe it will pass, and just hang in there!

I know a little bit where you’re coming from, except my albatross wasn’t a monster headache, it was the sciaitica-that-would-never-ever-go away (so sexy). Until it did, but it took awhile. The chronic stuff is hard to deal with, but you can do it!


Susan • May 27, 2008 at 9:47 am

Ugggh. Headaches suck. I get weird tension headaches in my neck and wow, let me tell you how weird it is to get a headache in a part of your body that isn’t your head. Weird, right?

I can’t imagine having a headache every day for months on end. AND not being able to get it to go away. That must be truly heinous.

I sure hope you and your neurologist figure it out and treat it soon!



Chicken Girl • May 27, 2008 at 9:57 am

Pfft, lupus? Dr. House has taught me that it’s never lupus.


Karen • May 27, 2008 at 10:04 am

Good luck with the diagnosis/treatment. I treated myself for sinus headaches for years and finally after reading headache web sites decided they were migraines. Got the right medicine and now rarely suffer with one for long – maybe a couple of hours instead of days.

By the way, my headaches were triggered by hormones – that little cycle we have – so at least one headache a month, and by barometric pressure changes – in SC we have those about every hour.


Beth • May 27, 2008 at 10:15 am

I can really sympathise. A few years ago I had “the headache that never went away” and all I could do was lie like a wrung out dishcloth on the sofa. It used to trail off every evening, so that I would get up the next day thinking it had gone, only for it to hit me after about fifteen minutes. Eventually it was diagnosed partly as high blood pressure and partly as dependence on headache pills plus migraine thrown in. Cold turkey from diet cola helped a lot, although I didn’t really believe that I was addicted to it. I forced myself to give it up after my son also had migraines and was told to lay off the caffeine and it cured him. I can’t say it went away for good, but I do have weeks and months when I don’t have it at all. I can’t believe how heroic you are being – to cope with all that and continue your life, as if you didn’t have it. The only thought in my head every day was: “I want my life back”. I’m sure you’ll get your life back soon. I’m rooting for you !


Jennifer • May 27, 2008 at 10:17 am

I am so sorry. Chronic pain is awful. I hope you feel better soon.


mrs darling • May 27, 2008 at 10:24 am

I hear ya on that diagnosing bit. It happens to me too. I live with chronic migraines and they tell me the only thing I can do is to go to pain management classes. Yeah, like I have the time! I actually had a break from them all winter and now they are back. Im beginning to think its a barametric prssure change. Thats as good of an eexcuse as any I guess.

Anyway I do hope your headache goes away. You’re right that its who you are and that its a big part of your life; thats the bad thing about headaches, they take over.


Sarah • May 27, 2008 at 10:24 am

I had totally forgotten about that jingle. Thanks– it’s now stuck in my head!

Seriously though… chronic pain anything is not good for the mind and body. It saps us of energy and drains away our will to be productive. I don’t have an epic headache but I do have a knee that will never be normal. At 31 I hurt all the time, my own personal mantra of “knee over ankle” helps keep me walking a straight (enough) line.

But even that can be hard on the days it hurts the most– it keeps me from the gym and the chronic pain makes me grumpy. Grumpy me likes to eat. Not good when you are keeping off over half of you.

I’ve learned how to manage this but it’s not easy. There are days when I just want to say screw it and chow down hoping somehow that frosting will cover up my pain. But it doesn’t. I’m sure you know that food doesn’t make your headache any better. And the stress of over eating after having accomplished so much. Well, that gives me a headache as well.

I look forward to your post tomorrow. I’m thinking of you.


Elizabeth • May 27, 2008 at 10:26 am

I’m just so sorry you are dealing with this, it sounds horrendous.

I hope you figure it out soon, chronic pain is such a bitch.


Laura • May 27, 2008 at 10:31 am

Now I have that song in my head!

I hope your head gets better :)


america • May 27, 2008 at 10:36 am

Those My Buddy dolls always freaked me out. They had that creepy kill-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night look about them.

Hope you feel better soon.


Sayre • May 27, 2008 at 10:39 am

Oh that sucks big time. I had a headache for seven and a half years… then I divorced him. Somehow, I don’t think that will work for you though.


Coyote • May 27, 2008 at 10:41 am

Sorry to hear about your headaches.


Misty • May 27, 2008 at 10:44 am

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this issue. I thought I had it bad with frequent headaches, but at least mine go away sometimes! And it DEFINITELY relates to weight loss. For many of my headaches, the chewing motion temporarily relieves the pain.


Danielle • May 27, 2008 at 10:59 am

Best wishes to you, I hope you get rid of your headaches very soon. I wouldn’t begin to offer unsolicited medical advice but I’m sure you’ll be happy and feeling healthier when you’re able to get back to your (impressive) weight loss and exercise regime asap. Good luck!


Red • May 27, 2008 at 11:05 am

To cure a headache, fill a bath tub, let three bottles of excedrin dissolve into the water, add one packet of oatmeal and 1 TSP vinegar.

Now drink!

(hope you feel better)

Maybe you should go the other way and have a “quack cure” contest.


Helen • May 27, 2008 at 11:09 am

The fact that you’ve been functioning with your headache since March falls in the same category as to why God made it so women are the child bearers. Sorry if there are any men readers who are offended by this but it’s true.


PastaQueen • May 27, 2008 at 11:12 am

No, I’ve definitely been chanting “I want my life back” a lot. I just didn’t really have a choice but to go on.


adrienne • May 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

Agreed. Wasn’t horror-movie villain Chucky modeled off the whole My Buddy phenomenon?


JEM • May 27, 2008 at 11:55 am

Ugh! I am so glad you told us but so sad you have been having to live through it. I hope something will kick its ass soon so you can go back to the lovely life you have.


housewifeheather • May 27, 2008 at 11:57 am

I hope they can get this solved so you can feel better soon. Prayer said and best wishes! My 64 year old friend has to take botox treatments for her constant migraines so of course looks fabulous. You are to young for that or you may end up looking 14 years old. lol


Rachael • May 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm

My sister had both a My Buddy doll and a Kid Sister doll. Kid sister was the girl version. She still has both of them. They are disgustingly filthy.

Hope you get some answers about your headache. I get migraines that sometimes last for days , so I know how much headaches suck, but I can’t imagine living with it for as long as you have.


ababylon • May 27, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I truly hope you feel better. Best wishes.


psychsarah • May 27, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Wow-I was read to laugh when I saw the “My Buddy” reference, since my best friend and I used to sing that song all the time (and interspersed the My Buddy and Kid Sister lyrics to make it extra snappy), but then I read of your headache! No laughing matter for sure. I’m just glad to hear you have the right physicians looking after you. Hopefully you feel better soon!! Take care!


Heather • May 27, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I hope you feel better!

And yes, some things you have to be careful when blogging about – I’m bad about that :)


K • May 27, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Oh dear, poor you. No diagnoses here, but I hope you feel better soon.

I like shading in boxes, too, though we don’t have Scantron as such over here…


Andrew is getting fit • May 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I hope you get to the bottom of it soon.

I got your book and read it. I absolutely loved it. Even though I’m a man I could relate to sooo many of the things you said.


Laura N • May 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Oh girl, I’m so sorry to hear this. BUT, I am glad you are writing about it now. What a trooper you have been. It’s amazing that you can still be so funny (dead twin in your head–OMG so hysterical) when it’s clearly not funny at all. If positive get-well vibes make any kind of difference in this world, you’re sure to be filled with vibey-goodness from all of us.


Kate • May 27, 2008 at 3:02 pm

That song is now stuck in MY head too. And I didn’t watch the video either–just as soon as you mention it, my brain dredged it up from who-knows-where, and here we go. I want to know why I can remember that kind of thing and not the name of someone I met a month ago.

Hope you can find a solution to that headache soon. Maybe it is gremlins. I hear they can be nasty and hard to get rid of.


Marla • May 27, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I am so sorry you’re going through this! But damn I really wanted to make a bunch of crazy diagnoses. I LOVE that dead twin theory.


jancd • May 27, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Sounds like it’s all in your head!

Really, I’m sorry you are suffering so. You’ve heard from me before and you may remember that I’m a huge believer in prayer. So all of your fans and you could start praying for your healing and see what happens. What could it hurt? Jan


KateH • May 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm

LOL….. so very true.


Sarah • May 27, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Damn you, now the My Buddy jingle is in my head. I’m going to give myself a headache now! :)


Laura • May 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

This never-ending headache truly puts the WHORE in horrifying! I hope that your doctor can come up with some treatments for you asap.


Sarah • May 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Oh man, that sucks. I had no idea it was still going on. I hope you feel better soon.


victoria • May 27, 2008 at 6:33 pm

I’m sorry you’re suffering. I hope it gets better soon. And thank you for posting about it here, at the risk of all sorts of unsolicited advice. It’s so helpful for your readers who are also working to lose or maintain weight to know about challenges that are relevant to your weight management.


Christina • May 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about this. I hope that you find relief soon!


Cynthia • May 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Sorry to hear the headache is still afoot. I see no reason not to blog about it if it is affecting your life and your weight maintenance. Why hold back on this topic? Rant a little, maybe it will help you feel better, at least temporarily.


CL • May 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm

I’ve been reading forever but don’t think I ever, ever commented — not even all your awesome giveaways tempt me from lurkerdom! But your headache experience — you’ve got me.

My head has hurt in exactly the manner you describe – non-stop – for over 11 years. (I’m only 22, so I guess you could say half my life.) I’m really interested to see what you have to say in your next post! I won’t throw any crazy diagnoses out there, but I can empathize with you every step of the way. I only hope that you will find more success and resolution than I have with medical treatments!

I also truly hope this is only a temporary foray into the world of living with chronic pain for you. If your pain continues, it’s not so bad — trust me. It sounds immensely perverse, but you become accustomed to it after awhile; if my head *didn’t* hurt, I’d think it wasn’t attached to my head. Eventually, it becomes a normal part of life and it’s possible to mostly blend in with the rest. Anyway, I’ll wait for part three to see if I have anything at all useful I could offer to you. I’ll cross my fingers in the meantime for you!


Shelladawn • May 27, 2008 at 7:40 pm

So sorry that you are in pain.Hope you can get it sorted.It’s a testament to you that you CHOSE to soldier on and not lie in the fetal position sobbing.(Which is what I would have done.)


Varuna • May 27, 2008 at 9:16 pm

I would like you to know, that I very much remember the “My Buddy” song.

I sing it to my beagle. “My Beagle..My Beagle..” It works out quite well and he seems to get a bit of a pick me up when I’m singing to him. Or at least his tail wags harder!

Get better.


anji • May 27, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Hey PQ. I have lived with chronic pain for five years. And, it took me almost five years to say F*** it and just start living my life, regardless of the pain. Heaven forbid you have a 5-year long headache (hehe) but – seriously, I know how hard it can be and I don’t mean just physically. It can spin you into a perpetual grumpyness, of being tired of being in pain. I can’t tell you how many days I just wanted to cry and the amount of days I really did cry myself to sleep. For the first three or four months, I could live with the pain because I had thought it would go away. Then after about six months it wasn’t getting better and I realised then this was a long-haul issue. After 9 months I was depressed as the 1930s and that lasted a long time… some days still even. But – I hope you and your doc find something to help you out… whether it’s drugs or other kind of therapies… or, maybe the earth is off kilter and only you are feeling the effects of the lopsideness of everything? Anyways – just wanted to let you know what you are going through and the feelings you are feeling, are totally normal of someone going through chronic pain. It took me four years to realise I was “normal”. Well… as normal as I’m gonna get, though Martin probably would say I’m abnormal… and maybe that’s okay too :P

Finally, thanks for coming by to visit the other day! I appreciated your comment… ciao bella!


Jackie • May 27, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I hope you feel better soon. Chronic pain is the worst. Keeping fingers crossed that your neurologist finds the cause and finds a way to cure you.


Jackie • May 27, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Feel better soon.


elissa • May 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm

I am officially blaming you for getting “My Buddy” stuck in my head for the rest of eternity.

And I’m sorry about your headache — that’s just the worst.


Adrienne • May 27, 2008 at 10:35 pm

I hope you will feel better soon, and that your medical care/diagnostic process has not been too tortuous. I’m looking forward to reading your post tomorrow – I’ve had chronic headaches too and I wonder if my doctors have failed to consider some of the things yours have looked at.

Take good care!!


BB • May 27, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Isn’t it interesting how we take our health for granted? I know how you feel having something chronic, won’t go away, not sure what it is & try as you might to forget about it–it’s always there. I hope you find relief soon!


Jenny • May 27, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I think you put the my buddy video on here so that we’d talk about that instead of your headache! :) Hope you feel better.


Mal • May 27, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Advicelessly on your side. Hoping for the best and sending good vibes your way!


Heather E • May 27, 2008 at 11:43 pm

I am still on the head transplant waiting list. I feel your pain, seriously, I feel it.


Min • May 28, 2008 at 12:24 am

I don’t have a diagnosis for you either, but I do have a suggestion :)

The never-ending head ache sounds much like a man named S. N. Goenka, who came across a form of meditation while in search of a cure for his migraines. He was rich, seeing the best doctors in multiple countries. Nothing worked. He was accepted into a meditation course when he agreed not to meditate solely for his migraines,but it actually did the trick. (That sounds weird, but if you read his book, you’ll understand why.)

I had similar issues with my knees hurting on and off for no reason. It got to where I couldn’t even walk at times. I’ve never been overweight, never been a runner, and according to several doctors there’s nothing physically wrong with me. After taking up meditation, I never had that pain again.

It’s worth looking into! I suggest reading S. N. Goenka’s “Art of Living,” which introduces you to Vipassana meditation.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck! :)


Katie • May 28, 2008 at 12:40 am

Just redelurking (fake word) to say I wish your head didn’t hurt. :(

And also to say (as a fellow child of the 80’s): Weren’t My Buddy & Kid Sister totally creepy? I didn’t even press play on the embedded video. Just hearing about those again is more than I want to deal with! (shivers)


e • May 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

I have been so inspired by your blog (I’m one of the freaky ones who read all of the posts one night) and I am so sad to hear of your headaches. I hope that you feel better soon.


jae • May 28, 2008 at 4:25 am

I was going to hit the sack right after I read your post but I can’t now. That dang “My Buddy and Me” song is now a vicious earworm. I remember a younger cousin who got a My Buddy for is birthday and we teased him something awful, just out of earshot of my Aunt. After a few hours of teasing him he hated the doll and my aunt would make him hold it for pictures. What a crybaby! Ah, we were so mean and it was fun!! Feel better soon!! ~j


Kyrsten • May 28, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I deal with chronic pain – but for my back – so I feel ya.



anji • May 28, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Ohhh, I forgot a funny My Buddy story. My eldest brother and his friend was a sadist. So, one night while watching Chucky, they strung my youngest brothers My Buddy doll up to a rigging system, and during a scary part of the movie, slowly brought it up above the TV… in the dark…. and, just at the right moment, EVERYONE saw that freaky little doll and pandamonium broke out. My buddy I think was just left over chucky dolls they couldn’t sell.

Ahhh… the good ol’ days!


Mikaely • May 29, 2008 at 10:44 am

ALL that I can say is WOW I am so sorry

Chronic pain, chronic headache- that sucks


Alison Fujito • January 13, 2009 at 8:21 am

Hi, Pasta Queen, I just discovered your site through “A Year of Crockpotting.” Congratulations on the weight loss, the book, the wonderful writing–everything!

I’m sorry to hear of the chronic headache, but wondered if anyone ever mentioned celiac disease or gluten intolerance to you? This might have actually explained the initial weight gain as well as the constant headache, as that is a common symptom.

It’s worth looking into, as food intolerance (in this case, wheat, rye, barley, and oats would be the culprit) is the EASIEST and CHEAPEST thing in the world to fix–no surgery, no meds, no “miracle products” to by, and no doctor visits unless you want them.

Just eliminate the offending food from your (already limited!) diet. Sounds horrendous, but it’s actually much easier and tastier than it sounds.

Check out any celiac website (I like http://www.celiac.com), and good luck to you.

I hope the headaches go the way of the weight and disappear forever!


Melanie • February 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I know you probably don’t want another diagnosis… but, I had a headache (the same damn headache) for 10 months, spent the night hooked up to IV demerol that didn’t touch it on several occasions, with no diagnosis. I finally saw a neurologist. I had a rare migraine disorder that only responds to ONE medication. I took 25 mg of this wonder drug 3x a day for 6 months and it went away. It went away after the first dose actually, but they kept me on the meds for a while to make sure that it was gone gone gone. Maybe read about Hemicrania Continua and see if this sounds like you.


Tabatha Wolter • March 6, 2009 at 12:07 am

Have you tried a series of deep treatment of massage? Done weekly on neck, upper back, head, and arms seems to decrease the intensity and severity of those that i experience. After an initial treatment of weekly x 4 wks….I have achieved the same resulty by decreasing the massages to once monthly. Just a thought ….hope it helps.


Ricky • July 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I have suffered infrequent severe migraines since high school. Every two or three years for the last 25 years, I would get a severe debilitating headache that would last for 2 or 3 days. Nothing would alleviate it and it would go away on its own.

In September 2008, I felt what I thought was the beginning of another migraine episode, but it felt different. I had short bouts of piercing pains followed by constant throbbing. The list of drugs I tried was a long one and nothing really worked to completely get rid of the headache.

I had a unique symptom at the beginning of my one, long headache–my scalp itched, as if I had dandruff. After much research, my self-diagnosis was occipital neuralgia. It is not common, but not uncommon. There are many causes (some of them quite scary, including lung cancer and brain tumor) and it is often hard to determine the root cause. The good news is that it is fairly easy to rule out the scary causes.

I found a neurologist that specializes in headaches and he has been treating me. I have had to have a series of injections in my head to deaden the occipital nerve. Also my doctor prescribed various medications, in particular indomethacin for the pain (an old pain reliever that works great but is very hard on your stomach). After the pain was managed with the head injections and indomethacin, he prescribed nortryptiline. Nortryptiline is an old anti-depression drug (one of the first) that is not really used for depression any longer but it is used to de-stimulate over-stimulated nerves (such as my occipital nerve). It has been 9 months and I no longer have a constant headache. I do still get sharp pains occasionally (maybe once or twice a week), but it is definitely manageable and not debilitating. I am now weaning myself off the nortryptiline, hoping to not need it. The nortryptiline is not addictive (it is not a narcotic), but I can’t quit cold-turkey so as not to risk a recurrence of over stimulating the occipital nerve.

You have probably been given a lot of advice, but I figured I would share my situation with you. If it doesn’t help you, it may lead someone else suffering with constant a head ache in the right direction.


Cheryl Harlan • November 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Have you tried Jon Kabat-Zinn’s

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purchase a book and try to apply the

approach on your own. It is Full

Catastrophe Living.

It helped me in handling my headaches,

which have disappeared.

There is heavy spam filter at this site,

so if you shoot me an e-mail and I do

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Good Luck,



Brandon • April 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Try LSD for the headache! Even if it doesn’t work, you have one hell of a day.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

"What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams and what we do to make them come about." - Joseph Epstein

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