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Migraines and Headaches Community
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Avatar universal

Incessant headache for months, causes major stress

Hi there,

I'm a 20 year old male university student from Ontario, and I've had a headache for longer than I can remember. I think I've had it for maybe a year now. It's been the cause of depression, stress, irritability, tiredness, memory issues, trouble speaking, and most of all its giving me a real hard time doing anything that requires focus. I struggle with reading, preparing food, learning new things, etc.

Its not even like its very painful, its more of just a discomforting pressure inside my head that refuses to go away. It's there when I go to sleep, and it's there when I wake up. I used to get this kind of headache whenever I was stressed out when I was younger, for example during exams or something, but it would never last a few hours after I've stopped working.

One thing that makes it much worse is exercise; specifically running. I used to run outside a lot but I stopped recently because I can hardly think once I've finished and calmed down. This 'after-exercise buzz' lasts for a day or two, depending on how long the run is.

I recently visited my doctor, and she was stumped. She signed me up for an MRI and an EEG, but I'm used to these "shot in the dark" tests not giving any new information. She also started me on allergy meds (they were acting up recently) and vitamin B2, but neither affected my headache. Advil and Tylenol both don't help either. My EEG is soon, but my MRI is not until November.

Could I just be really stressed out? I recently had a 3-week vacation after finishing my exams where I spent time at my cottage, with friends and family, and was basically stress free. That lessened the headache, but it was still definitely there. Now that I've started my new "Fall Job" though, its come right back to being debilitating at times.

If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears. Thanks for any of your help.
Ian.

5 Responses
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi Ian,
What diagnostic test or imaging studies done in the past? I understand your concern regarding your headache. This could be due to primary headaches such as tension headache, often associated with stress as well as exertion headache which occurs during or after an exertion like running. If it has been happening for months already, it is best that you have this checked by your doctor or be referred to a neurologist. Avoidance of triggers and prescription medication may help. Take care and do keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I understand how serious that is and wish I could really help you. my son gets frequent headaches (a lot) nothing really helps and that includes pain killers and lots of H20, but what really helps is to apply pressure on his head with both hands all around on opposite sides and kinds rub it or press on it all around for about 20 min.. he swears this is the only thing that helps. hope your MRI gives you a better clue.
Avatar universal
I'm surprised that your doctor didn't put you on a daily preventative headache medication like Topomax.  That could cure your headaches.  And if your headaches are now disabling, then you should also get a prescription for some pain medication.  But be sure not to take any pain reliever, even OTC ones, more than 2 or 3 days a week, or you risk getting rebound headaches.  If you are even taking Tylenol more than 3 days a week, that could account for your daily headaches. Good luck with your headaches.  No one should have to live with them.
Avatar universal
Sorry for the late reply.

I had my EEG last week, but i'm not sure if that will show anything. MRI is in mid-november. My doctor didn't prescribe me anything, I think she wants to know more about what's wrong first. I don't take any painkillers or tylenol or anything like that. It doesn't really do much (and I don't like taking drugs). I'll try the massaging my head thing. I'm also thinking of seeing a massage therapist or chiropractor or something. I have pretty bad posture so that might be related.

I'll try to avoid triggers, but since stress is a big one it'll be difficult.

Thanks for all your help,
Ian
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi Ian,
Thanks for the update. While waiting for the diagnostic tests, apart from medical management, you may indeed benefit also from alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Discuss this also with your attending physician for proper management. Take care and do keep us posted.
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