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Headache and altitude
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Headache and altitude

I have had a debilitating chronic daily persistent headache for 3 1/2 years.
It has been unresponsive to any treatment (e.g. various pain medications, antidepressants, corticosteroids, ergotamines, IV magnesium, biofeedback, physical therapy, acupuncture--well, you get the idea--)
The only thing that seems to infuence the pain is air pressure change--when the pressure drops, the pain increases.  This is true with altitude as well--increased altitude, increased pain.
The pain is also worse when laying down or leaning over.
I live at 5,000 feet, and I'm wondering if a change to sea level would be infuential in the long term, or if the pain would 'acclimate' over time?
Do you have any information on this?  Or even an educated guess?
Any ideas of how to deal with this pain would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Sandra:

I am aware of an entity called altitude migraine.  When certain people begin at lower altitude and move to a higher altitude they get migraine headaches.  This is a known entity and is treated with diamox with good control of the migraine.  I am not sure if this would apply to you.  You may want to ask your neurologist about this and give diamox a trial.  If the headache goes away when your at sea level then moving to sea level might be an option.  However, if you have lived at 5,000 feet your whole life and only recently (3 years) begin having chronic daily headaches, then this will likely not turn out to be of benefit.  But one never knows.  Give the diamox a trial.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have suffered mild to severe headaches since a recent plane trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The pressure on the plane trip felt like crushing pain.  As a result, I also have hypertension.
I have tried many pain medications for chronic headaches that last up to two months and also have been on Diamox and a Beta Blocker.A CT scan was also performed, but did not show anything extraordinary.  I thought the headaches were finally gone after 3 months and then 3 months later they showed up again. The pain medicines only dull the headaches slightly.  Does not matter if I am sitting up or lying down.  The headaches are worse in the morning when I first get up.  The headaches have been going for 2 weeks now and do not show any sign of lessening.  I have not found anything that helps these type of headaches.
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A related discussion, Chronic Migraine that goes away at sea level was started.
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