Migraines and Headaches Community
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807420 tn?1238225628


Please give me some advice.. HELP!!!! I have headaches all day every day....... worse when laying down to sleep, or in a recliner!
When I lay down in bed prone, I begin to get a headache. It is Not the pillows, not the position. When I wake up my head is in horrible pain., bad headache. The same when I sit back in a recliner. When I get up to walk, it subsides. But does not go away.
I have been to all the test. MRI, Cat Scans, x-rays' you name it. All negative, brain scan, neg also. Chiropractors', trigger point injections, facet injections, even acupuncture, no help from the headaches/pain.
Have you heard of this type of headache? Worse when laying down ??When I get up from sleep, and get out of the bed, the pain subsides a bit, from a 10, laying down, to a 4 or 5 all day every day. Again increases when I lay down in bed at night. It is terrible existence.
Please help me out, or steer me in the right direction.
I am seeing a Neurologist right now. Do I have, Occipital Neuralgia, Giant Cell Arteritis, too much or little Brain Fluid, Cervicogenic Headaches?
Any idea what type of headache I suffer?
I am very healthy, 51 year old male, no smoke, no drink, blood pressure excellent... I am 6' 2" 185 lbs, active, normal, work full time.
I live in Palm Springs Ca.
Any advice??? I thank you very much!

55 Responses
Avatar universal

Your symptoms are quite unusual and it is difficult to give a straightforward answer. Usually positional headaches are seen on standing up from lying down posture and not the other way around.
The possibility of cervicogenic headache does seem to be a possibility. Make sure your head and neck are well supported on a pillow when lying down.
Other than this it is difficult to comment further without a clinical exam. It would be great if you can find a headache specialist in your area.
I have a question for you?  My daughter is pregnant and was in the hospital for a week to stop the spotting and labor pains to get her unborn son to go to 34 weeks.  She was given one shots each on two different days to help with the development of his brain (not sure what it was called) and magnesium for the development of his lungs.  Anyway, she has been getting severe headaches and are at a 10.  When she is lying down and I pull her up into a sitting position it shoots a horrible 10 pain in her head.  It also stays when she is lying down.  They did an MRI but found nothing.  She has had a stiff neck and when she coughs it causes severe head pain.  Do you have any suggestions?  Thank you!
768044 tn?1294227036
Hi there, very interesting post...

I too get headaches when I am reclining... but not when I am lying down if the pillow is a proper pillow and I am NOT in a prone position (face down) ...

prone positions are TERRIBLE for headaches, both tension type and migraine... horrible trigger, terrible for the neck... it is highly suggested that you sleep on your back or on your side, but NEVER on your stomach. Most people who get sleep related headaches who are also stomach sleepers find that just switching to a side or back position find that their headaches completely resolve... this is what a massage therapist, physiotherapist and/or chiropractor will tell you as well... stomach sleeping is just really awful for the neck!! so... since you are a headache sufferer, i'm just going to throw it out there that maybe you might want to consider never sleeping in a prone position again!! this is what i suggested to my boyfriend, and his migraines have almost disapeared!! and, i stopped sleeping in a prone position too and i sleep much better now (it took a while to get used to... but, after i got used to it, i slept sooo much better!!)

Anyway, you are the first person I've talked to that has the reclining headache trigger too... so that is why I find this so interesting!! It is always nice to find other people with similar triggers!! It's always nice to feel less alone with these things. I don't know why it's a trigger though... but, yeah, reclining really does seem to trigger my headaches. Lying down flat on my back with a proper cervical pillow or sitting up straight with back and neck support does not trigger headaches for me though. So, I don't know if our triggers are actually similar of if the reclining thing is just a coincidence in our cases... but, it would be interesting to find out more about this... so I'll keep you posted if I figure anything out about the reclining thing and let me know if you figure anything out too please! Thanks!! :)

Would you mind sharing your CT/MRI results with us... like, the notes on them? They usually have notes, and sometimes these notes will say things like... maybe you have a Chiari malformation or some other abnormality that does not appear to be diagnostic at all, so it was not mentioned to you and was not included as part of the "results" section but WAS included in the summary section of the CT/MRI ? Sometimes, abnormalities like this, which aren't technically severe enough to cause problems in the general population so they are not considered diagnostic... can cause symptoms in SOME people... so it would be interesting to see if anything like this is mentioned in the summery section of your CT/MRI?

Also, one thing you did not mention was blood pressure, do you know what your blood pressure is? Have you had your blood pressure tested both while lying down and then after sitting up and then after standing up? I would suggest having this done if you have not had this done... headaches related to lying down/getting up can sometimes have to do with blood pressure.  

Also, what type of headache has this been diagnosed as by your physicians? Migraine or tension type? There are daily medications you can take if you get more than 15+ headache days a month for more than 3 months in a row. These medications are divided into three categories: anti-depressants, anti-seizure medications and beta-blockers. All of these medications seem to help with chronic headaches as well as the things that they were originally created for. You might want to talk to your doctor about trying one type of these medications if you get more than 15+ migraine days a month.

In the meantime, if you would like to try treating yourself with a preventative therapy, you can take 400mg of B2 a day (if you have been diagnosed with migraine-type headaches) and 400mg of magnesium per day (if you have been diagnosed with migraine-type OR tension type headaches). You can take both of these at the same time if you like, or you can try one first for a month to see if it helps if you don't feel like having to take lots of tablets at once. It must be at the dosages I have suggested, as these are what have shown to be effective in the clinical trials. In fact, 400mg of B2 a day has shown similar results to many of the anti-seizure medications also used as daily preventative medications for migraines. Make sure to drink lots of water if you start taking this much vitamins though, you don't want to get an upset stomach!

Hope that helps. :) Let us know how things go.
768044 tn?1294227036
Oops... you did mention blood pressure, sorry! I some how missed that the first time that I read your post. Hmm, still, have you had it tested while you were lying down and then tested right after you got up to see if there was a difference? The only reason why I ask is that sometimes people's blood pressure can change dramatically depending on their position and a severe drop in blood pressure due to positional reasons can cause serious headaches. So... if you haven't had this test done, even if your blood pressure is usually perfect, might consider it... just since your headaches are a positional thing.

But, that's good that your blood pressure is excellent!! I am half your age and my blood pressure isn't in excellent condition at all... I'm jealous!! ;)
Avatar universal
I just googled "Laying down gives me headaches" and I found this post. I too been through many test and nothing has been found. It has affected my entire life. I used to be a practicing architrect but my condition worsened and now Im self employed doing something other than architecture. I never thought there would be others with the same conditions. For a while I thought I was the only person to sufer from this.  Its good to know Im not the only person with this condition, but its also sad to know others suffer from it. Anyway, I just stoped by to say your not alone in this. There are others with the same condition. Thanks, and I hope you feel better.
Avatar universal
My headaches are a relative new onset - 2-3 moths ago. I have them on the top of the head on one side. I go to bed at night ok but wake up with due to HA a few hours later and I also starting having nausea with them. I am seeing a neurologist tomorrow and someone suggested gallblader can give severe HA. My MRI of the brain done 2 months ago showed some nodules in the lateral ventricle and the MD will probably do another one to compare. I will have also an abdominal US to check the function of the gallblader. I am female, 42, never had HAs before.
Avatar universal
Is the headache mainly in your forehead? Could it be sinuses. Because I have a sinus infection, and when I lay down I feel like somebody's taking a hammer to my head.. mainly my forehead.
Avatar universal
I too have this problem with sitting in a recliner, and that I believe is from my head being pushed slightly forward from the head of the chair.  

I also often wake up with headaches, but those are from the fact that clench my jaw a lot due to problem with my bite.  If you haven't considered this, you may want to.  Even if you don't think you have a bite problem, you should have it checked out at your dentist.  A nightguard can do wonders for this problem, or so I hear.  I have yet to take that step yet.
Avatar universal
Have you looked into Intracranial Hypertension?  I have been diagnosed with this and its basically too much cerebral spinal fluid around your brain.  Google and you will get all the information you need.  I mention this because typically with this condition headaches get worse when laying down and subside when standing.  It requires a spinal tap to diagnose.  
Hope this helps.
1197986 tn?1265168682
I was recently in a car accident with a tractor trailer truck. I go to Pysical therapy 3 days a week to help get my muscles loose in my neck, right arm, hip and leg. When I lay on my back flat with a pillow under my head, I feel like I'm upside down and all my blood is rushing to my head and it just pounds... I have asked my Dr and my therapist, but alls I can get them to say is that they aren't sure b/c my ct scans came back ok, but won't send me for an MRI, I'm really worried about it, seems my dad suffers from chronic brain tumors and I was trapped in a car for an 1 hour until I was cut out and taken to the hospital. Any suggestions? please help
Avatar universal
i to have bad headaches when i lay down. they seem to get better when i stand up or sit up. very painful they go from the back of my neck to my right eye. the only thing that helps is excedrin migraine but that bothers my hyadle hernia. haven't had any test .would love some help. i did fall down the stairs about 2 years ago maybe something to do with it
Avatar universal
By way of a differential opinion, pressure on the spinal column may contribute pressure within the subarachnoid space where the cerebrospinal fluid is contained.  If you think about this, the fluid could be more compressed in a reclined position as body weight presses towards the spinal column.  When lying down the pressure could resolve.  Hope this thought helps.  
Avatar universal
I have the same problem with headaches lying down. At the top of my head hurt when lying down, especially if I go to sleep late. I was eating a lot of soy products. Soy will make the brain swell somewhat. I have since stop eating and not as much pain, but it still come and go. Having a MRA and MRI next week. The first one was read as normally by two Neurologist. Pain never went away. I decided to go back to a really good Neurologist my primary doctor recommended and he said it was not normally but want to compare. I will have it done to compare the two. He would comment on what he saw on the pictures until the next round. Oh Boy!
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