Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ohhhhh, the pain....

I have been kind of down lately, it's just a bunch of things that add up. Whiny little things like that annoying 5 lbs. I can't lose (just enough so that NOTHING fits me), not being paid what I'm worth... I know, get out the violins. My worst problem seems to be these recurring headaches. They are tension/trigger point headaches rather than migraines, so being less common I seem to not be able to find out as much about them. About a year ago I got tired of hurting all the time and went to a headache clinic.

Now most of the doctors I've seen for various things seem to have an agenda. First of all, they will interpret your problems according to their specialty... if they are a surgeon, you probably need surgery. A tad oversimplified, yes, I admit it.

Anyway, I have had a few panic attacks in my life. Xanax helps if I take it with enough time before I hit basket case to get calm. I keep an antique bottle of it around for those rare and special occasions and hoard it like diamonds. That's because it's hard for me to get it. I'm not seeing a doctor specifically for that so I have to beg my family practitioner to prescribe it for me... "see doc, I only take a half a pill when I absolutely need it, and by the way, sometimes it's the only thing that helps with these awful tension headaches.", so the doctor (begrudgingly, I can tell) writes me out a prescription for 30 pills, no refills. So yes, back to the headaches. Sometimes a Xanax is the only thing that helps them after the ice pack and ibuprophen don't. Very tricky, nothing works all the time.

Bringing me back to the headache clinic: on the positive side, the doctor determines that I have occipital neuralgia and gives me a nerve block, which is worse than it sounds. [grin] It really fixed me for a while, it was amazing! Then he put me in “therapy” which was absolutely ridiculous. Rubber band stretching exercises, stuff like that – plus the “nerve stimulator” they sent me home with brought my headache back with a vengeance. And according to his methods (and this may be insurance related, which is weird because my insurance pays for a chiropractor to massage me), I am not allowed to receive massage unless I stretch these rubber bands. Grrrrrrr. Also, he will not help me out with getting my Xanax filled. Instead he tells me to cut way down on the OTC pain killers and prescribes Imitrex. Now, Imitrex is some powerful stuff with a warning label of side effects that mentions the word “death” prominently. It is for migraines, and sometimes cluster headaches (which is not what I have, mine are of the tension variety), and should not be taken by people at risk for heart attack. I have no risk factors except that everybody in my family had heart attacks… so I not so crazy about this drug. I actually took it once, it made me very dizzy (to where I had to stay in bed) and left me with a hangover but it did help with the headache. Ugh!

He switches me from rubber bands to biofeedback. I expected biofeedback to be an hour session where I am hooked up to some monitoring machines taking my readings while I try to change them. A small fraction of the sessions were that way, but mostly they were spent chatting with the therapist. What I got out of the sessions was the knowledge that I have trigger points – spots on my neck that when aggravated by pressure, tension, bad posture and a whole load of things, will give me a really unpleasant set of symptoms to go with the raging headache. Like tinnitus, earache, sinusitis, raised temps in the head area, stuff like that. I have been getting these once or twice a week again, and don’t really want to go back to the Rubber Band man (for several months of… WHAT???... lots of money leaving my bank is what), that’s a known road. Trigger points are one of those things with a million remedies, and pushing hard on the hurty spots looks like my best bet for now.

Listening to women today: Gillian Welch and Patricia Vonne. Skinny women who can still wear their clothes. ....big Marvin the Robot siiiiiighhhh.....

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