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Chronic tension headaches
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Chronic tension headaches

In February of 2006, when I was 20 years old, I was in a car accident in which I sustained a concussion (knocked out for under one hour), as well as a small subarachnoid hemorrhage. I was discharged from the hospital after surgery to staple the laceration on my scalp, and with medication to help the brain "suck up" the blood from the hemorrhage. Though I initially had some headaches in the days after the accident, after a week or two, I recall being more or less symptom free.

One night in April of the same year, I lay down to sleep having studied extensively during the day. As I was lying down, I felt a sensation of blood rising in my head. This is sort of a hard feeling to describe, and I had never felt it before or since. I felt that something bad was happening, but fell asleep after a few hours of worrying about what was happening. When I woke up in the morning, I had a headache, and have had one pretty much constantly in the two years since.

Having researched this online, I can describe the headaches as “tension headaches”: they feel like a clamp, around both sides of my head, near the temples, but spanning throughout much of the sides of the head. I have no other symptoms (with the possible exceptions of memory/concentration and depression; however, I think these are simply a result of the headaches): No ringing in the ears, etc.

I have seen numerous doctors about this. MRIs have twice come up negative. However, these MRIs did find a surgical staple remaining in my scalp from the surgery that closed the laceration; apparently the nurse who initially removed the staples (in March 2006) did not notice this one. I have been told that this is almost certainly not the cause of the headaches, but it nonetheless bothers me… Doctors have prescribed Nortriptyline, Gabapentin, and Lyrica to me, none of which have worked. They have further recommended that I try a number of over-the-counter painkillers—all forms of Excedrin, Tilenol, Ibuprofin, Alleve—none of which have worked, either. I found that coffee gave me some relief, but I eventually stopped drinking it, as I developed rebound headaches throughout the day.

If anyone has any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated. I have been trying to address this debilitating problem for years, with very little success.  


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Hi,

How are you?
Since medications are not providing you any relief, you have to look at other options like alternate therapy. Acupressure has shown good results in chronic tension headache.
Occipital neurostimulation (ONS) is another option. In this therapy electrodes are inserted in the subcutaneous tissue at the level of C1 and neurostimulation was given.
You can discuss this option with your neurologist.
Hope this helps!
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