Well I am the specialist queen. I went to a headache clinic for the first time, yesterday. I guess most people don't know that I've had chronic headaches since I was around 20--not sure exactly when they started. I've seen them get progressively worse over the years, usually measured by how I wore my hair... I used to be able to wear ponytails... then only pigtails... then only barrettes... and now nothing, because the second I put up a strand of hair, I get a headache. I also used to avoid wearing my glasses on a bad day, because they exacerbated the headache; now I don't even know where my glasses are, because I never wear them. Sometime last year the headaches increased to almost daily, which is when I finally told my doctor, who sent me to this specialist.
So doctor-lady told me they aren't migraines, but chronic tension headaches--which is what I had already surmised, given my Google obsession with my illnesses. Tension headaches are what everyone gets. Mine may have been exacerbated by stress (can anyone say Stats class?), but not necessarily--the thinking is that some people may have faulty wiring when it comes to tension. Being tense is just what we do! And since tensing a muscle strains it, and you're tensing all the time, pain builds up--muscles get all crapped out. When she felt my neck and back, she said my muscles are as hard as her desk (then she rapped the desk).
Til now I've been taking Tylenol with codeine, but I knew I needed to be switched to something preventative instead, which is what they *do* with headaches. She prescribed amitriptyline, of which I will take 30 mg each day before bed--and best case scenario, it reduces my headaches to a couples times per month.
They think that the drug helps tension type headaches by changing your perception of pain, and by reducing tension. I looked the drug up, and it's actually an anti-depressant! So I'm going to have a cheerful winter. Woo! It was originally developed for people with a nervous disposition, and it makes you drowsy and sleep deeper. I'm supposed to take it before bed. But she said take it a couple hours before, so that it wears off in time for me to be able to wake up.
I took my first pill last night (and did NOT take it early) and I must say... though I woke up once because Sherry was yelling at me, I KERPLONKED right back to sleep. And when my radio went off at 10 it took awhile for me to hear it... and then I set the alarm to ring in 30 more minutes , and went KERPLONK again. This should be great fun. Between my flu shot, my happy mood, and my Kerplonking 8 hours of sleep, I will pass the winter Gleefull and Unsick!
Anyway, it will take 2-4 weeks before I see if there's a result. In the meantime, I'm going to track down a dentist who can fit me with an NTI device, which might help attack one of the possible sources of my tensing--that is to say, clenching the teeth all night.