In November 2010 I had surgery to correct a hiatal hernia. This was done to fix the hernia and correct the conditions that was causing my GERD, reflux. Recovery was primarily bed rest laying on my back, which is how I've always slept. I have a super supportive and very expensive custom made memory foam mattress and sleep using the same types of pillows for most of my adult like (not the same pillow how gross would that be). Two week into recovery I began waking up earlier and earlier with headaches that were increasing in intensity. Eventually they were so bad was unable to sleep. The nature of the surgery precluded my ability to sleep on my side. Basically the only time I slept was when I passed out from exhaustion. I was already taking massive pain killer for the surgery so there was little to be done except anti inflammatory. I won't bore you with the list suffice it to say I quickly worked my way through the over the counter stuff and despite concerns about internal bleeding my doctors decided that I needed to sleep to recover and I was put on an anti inflammatory so strong I was only allowed to be on it for 30 days. It worked. The pain eased off for a few more hours of sleep an night. Those hours slowly increased until after three weeks I woke up in the morning at my normal time, rested and with no headache. At that point the doctors began to ease me off the drug and onto something less dangerous. In another couple of weeks the headaches were gone and I was back to work. This was in December. Two weeks ago, it's May, I woke up about two hours earlier than my normal body clock wake up with a headache. I forgot to wear my bite guard the night before so I figured I was grinding my teeth. BTW that's what this pain feels like. A tooth grinding headache. But REALLY bad. The next morning the same pain but would pass when I stood up or went to the gym. I work out six days a week, Cardio and light weights three days. Within two weeks sitting at work and sitting back at work was triggering pressure and eventually headaches. I'm up to 1200mg of Advil just to get through the day. I still feel better when I work out but about an hour after the headaches are back. I've begun sleeping on my side and that helps me get through the night but it's not a natural way for me to sleep and so I often find myself on my back in the morning with headache. I need to get a handle on this. Just so you know the tests that I've had,
Cat Scan - Bran
Cat Scan - Chest
Cat Scan - Abdomen
MRI - Brain
MRI - Neck and Spine
X-Ray - Back
Blood work - So many tests
I've been to my
General Practitioner - Internal Medicine
Surgeon - who did my hernia surgery.
They were all stumped in December. I'm going back again but what's gonna be different this time. Probably nothing. My Neurologist said he was out of ideas and that my pain was backwards and made no sense. Very frustrating. Maybe I should try leaches? :) I've had chronic tailbone pain for years. I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine and I have a mouth guard because I grind my teeth at night (yes I've just had the guard checked by my dentist. It's working perfectly). I've lost 40 pounds since the surgery so that's helped my apnea a lot.
This pain scares me terribly because at it's worst in November I was a total zombie. I literally was so tired I don't remember entire parts of days! I can't and won't be like that again. I have to work and live. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.
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You could be having a sleep disorder. The other possibility is cluster headaches. The pain is generally one sided, accompanied by vertigo and worse on lying down. Sitting up and pacing improves the pain. Please consult a neurologist to begin with. Yoga helps relieve the pain to some extent. Take care!
Have you investigated sinusitis. November would be your winter months? Sorry but I'm from Australia. Sinusitis is largely undetected with the type of tests you've had done, and the headaches seem consistent with the coldest part of the night and extended periods of laying horizontal will effect pressure of inflammation pressing on the nerves due to gravity.
Thanks for the comments so far. Sorry for the typo's but I wrote this original post on my iPad. Not the best way to type.
doctorme - Thanks for the recommendation. I've seen the same neurologist that saw me in November. He did point out to me that the pain this time is different and as I've thought about this I've noticed some differences. In November I was in much worse pain and it was focused on the back left side and my left eye seemed like the point that it was popping out. This time the pain is in my forehead so different. He suggested that I've been getting Advil headaches basically I've become dependent on the advil (I've been taking as much as 1200mg a day but not every day. Most days 800mg. and it's only been for a couple weeks.) I explained that I'd been having the headaches prior to taking the Advil (that helps by the way) but he suggested I stop so I've not had any since Thursday of last week. Today is the fourth day. Headaches are worse. I've noticed that just being in the sitting position brings them on. Can't lay in bed anymore. Some positions on the couch on my back (with tons of pillows allowed me to sleep last night. Gonna try it again tonight. One thing is for sure the headaches are worse not better. Still I'll put up with the pain until I talk to the doctor on Monday.
Alyoops: November in San Diego was pretty nice. Cool but no real winter here in SD. Basically just a thin blanket at night. Pretty much the same as right now. One of the reasons I love it so much here. Overall better weather than Hawaii year round.
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