September 19th, 2007

I’m all jumbled today. I want to tell you about the fair isle sweater progress, and show you a gorgeous scarf pattern that has been designed in Eva 2ply, and ask you what you think of the latest Knitty and which patterns you fancy, and describe some of the new season’s yarns that arrived this week…… but my head aches, and I can’t think very straight. I’ve been getting so many headaches recently, and sometimes they just hover, and sometimes they turn into full blown migraines, but either way I’m getting rather tired of it, especially since even the strongest painkillers don’t make any difference. Do any of you suffer this problem, and if so, do you have any suggestions for me, to either prevent the headaches or to treat them when they start? I feel a bit guilty using the blog for this, but I know you’re a wise bunch.   

25 thoughts on “September 19th, 2007

  1. Wondering if you find neck massage/pilates helpful? Head pain quite often comes from neck and shoulder problems, and I’ve found pilates really helpful for both (myself, Clare and also patients).

  2. My grandmother told me about this, and it works about half the time. She reckons when you feel a headache starting, take your shoes off and go outside for a while on a natural surface. No idea why it would work, but it’s nice when it does 🙂

  3. I have suffered severe migraines for years and tried many remedies. Painkillers dont work
    and the only medication I’ve found to treat it is Naramig (which has Naratriptan 2,5mg).
    However, I live in France so not sure if it is available in the UK. I get it here on prescription.
    Hope you can get it as it really does alleviate the symptons.

  4. Hi

    Im being brave, read your blog every day but never posted before (and join the chorus of those whi checked in over weekend incase you had posted – sad but true!) I suffer a lot with headaches, which is not good for the knitting! I take feverfew tablets which you can get in health food shops, 2 every morning with brekkie for a couple of weeks normally seems to shift them off. If you find them creeping back just take the tablets again for 7 days. Dont know why it works, but it does, so maybe give them a try. When you are suffering try a cold pack at the base of your head, strange but true! Ruth

  5. Hi Dee,

    I had the same problem and for me Migralgine always helped. However, it is only available in France. You might be able to get it online from a French Pharmacy. It is prescription free and for some strange reason it always helped me.

    Alternatively, try to keep a diary with all you ate, drank and did during the days for about a month and also note headaches, strength, starting time, etc. and then see if anything jumps out at you.

    I found that certain wines do it to me, more the grape variety than anything else (Can’t drink Tempranillo, but Shiraz is ok, for example.) It’s a lot of work to do that, but it might just give you an idea.

    Hope you’ll feel better soon,


  6. Feverfew is an old remedy.
    You can use the leaves but they taste really bitter and most people eat them as a sandwich between 2 pieces of bread.

    I would agree with Emily regarding the neck problems as pain from the neck radiates over the head and can be felt in the forehead.
    If you’re getting true migraines with auras or visual distrubances then imigran or another triptan will probably do the trick.

  7. Both my husband and I do have migraines, mine recently due to being 44 and have hit the menapause. We both have tablets from the GP that work really well. They are called Max alt wafers. They just melt on the tongue so you don’t need to have anything to drink with them if you have an upset stomach.

    After trying various tablets, they are the only ones that work for hubby, and while they might not take the whole migraine away they do shorten it, and help you to get back on your feet much quicker.

  8. Hello, Sorry to hear about your sore head. I recently got a lot of bad headaches and so was taking strong prescription painkillers. I didn’t feel this was a particularly satisfactory long term solution though and in desperation one particularly bad day I went to a chiropracter nearby. I have been once a week or so for the past couple of months and the headaches have got far, far less frequent. It hasn’t been an instant fix for me but I am hoping that the results will last long-term. If you know of a chiropracter or can get a recommendation I think it would definitely be worth trying, and maybe some prescription painkillers to take in the meantime?
    Hope you feel better soon x

  9. I take a nice little pill (or two) called Paramax. You don’t need a presciption but you do need to ask the chemist for them. For some reason they hide the good stuff from the general public!

    Whenever I feel a migraine or bad headache coming on (I get ocular migraines first – disturbed vision and flashing lights/falling stars) and/or my tinnitus kicks in and I start feeling like I’m under a dark cloud then I clear my diary quick and cease all caffeine. Sometimes I’m lucky and popping the pills and taking it easy does the trick and heads it off at the pass. But if I’m not quick enough or just unlucky and the migraine hits then the only thing to do is shut myself in a cool dark room and stay there until it has passed. I’ve tried ‘toughing it out’ and taking extra medication to see me through it and that has me either prologing the headache or ending up very nauseous and fit for nothing.

    I’m glad you had such a lovely time off. Your rotten summer over there won’t have helped, probably. Stress is such a trigger for these things.

  10. you poor thing..I sympathise, as I get migraines too. One big thing that helps with me is regular neck and shoulder stretching, and making sure I’m hydrated enough – not drinking enough water leaves muscles stiffer and more prones to spasming. I noticed that since I began knitting and crocheting more, I am getting more headaches, and that’s partly posture – it’s very hard to keep perfect posture when you’re squinting at a lace pattern and your yarnovers! Plus, we knitters tend to sit more, so circulation slows down, also bad.

    So before I sleep and a couple of times during the day I warm up my shoulders by doing the following, SLOWLY – partly advised by my great bodyworker in Malta – with slow deep breathing – say 5 of each: shoulder lift and release down, retraction (make sure the shoulders don’t ride up), rolls back and then forward, chest stretch, cow arms (google it – it’s basically a great back of shoulder stretch by crossing your arms over each other in front)… then I sit and do a few slow and gentle neck stretches and rolls, and a few sun breaths… this is basically arms out to the side and up to the sides to meet over the head – slowly, stretching all the time, and keeping the shoulders down. I do this little routine even if I am falling asleep on my feet, cos when I don’t, after a few days, it’s migraine time. Oh, and tie a couple of tennis balls in an old sock with very little space in between and lie down resting your neck on them…. it’s like an accupressure massage.

    Good luck, keep your chin up:)

  11. One of my colleagues was having a similar problem, and it ended up not requiring any medication at all!

    Go find every single place you sit in regularly. Particularly your computer desk and chair. Check the height of the chair – your feet should rest flat on the ground with your knees at 90 degrees to your body. The backrest should be firm, supporting particularly your lower back, and keeping you upright. The work surface should be at a height that your forearms are parallel to the floor or slightly wider open. This is a big one that people often don’t correct, but can cause real problems. Once you’ve got your seating and your surface sorted out, correct the height of the monitor. You should be looking either directly ahead or slightly down at the monitor. I find that having the monitor raised is a big help too!

    Once you’ve done all the seated stuff, try looking at your workspace in the dyeing room (where I’m guessing you work standing up mostly). If you are having to bend down to use the worksurface, your table is too low.

    After making sure that everything is at the best height for you, check your lighting. Is it bright enough, gentle enough, coming from the best direction, aimed where you need it?

    Hope this helps!

    Disclaimer – I am not a doctor or medical practitioner of any kind. This is all stuff I’ve tried out or distilled from occupational health, try it at your own risk, etc.

  12. Dee – have you had your eyes tested recently? I went to the GP a few weeks ago as I was having one headache after another for a couple of months – he did the usual checks, blood pressure, etc., and asked if I wore my glasses all the time (I had them on). I have been prescribed them for driving, watching tv, etc., but he said give it a go wearing them full time and check with optician’s again. Haven’t had a headache since!

  13. hi babes,
    I aggree with the last comment before me, go and get your eyes checked, thats the thing that gives me most migraines when my prescription changes, oh and being stressed and having tight shoulders; go and get a back massage, it does wonders.

  14. Hi Dee – I’d agree with checking your eyes, and with the idea of a Chiropractor – I’ve visited one since I was driving 500 miles a week, and deskbound the rest, and she’s helped me loads – I get my stress in my shoulders, which I tend to wear as earrings, and I do feel clearer in the head once I have visited her. Another set of environmental of remedies is to check your lighting, as eye strain can cause headaches (not just eyesight adjustments). Good soft daylight is best – and take regular breaks from concentrating, and move your position regularly.
    Also – see if you can increase the refresh rate on your PC Monitor, and make sure there’s no glare, flicker or fuzzing of the screen.
    Also, try something cool on your forehead, temples and/or back of the neck. Lavender flowers may also help.
    And make sure you make time for you to relax and just chill yourself out. If you can’t, book it into your diary as you would any other appointment. You deserve time to take care of yourself – go for a walk, catch up with a book, watch some clouds – anything that’s away from the norm, and will help you to relax a little. Looking at everything you do, you work incredibly hard, for possibly the toughest boss any of us ever have – yourself.

    Take care, and I hope you feel a lot better soon.

  15. I’ve had a headache every single day for the past 20 years. I don’t remember what it feels like not to have a headahce, so I can sympathize. A few things that have helped me:

    1. If you drink caffeine, are you drinking it at the same time every day? If you’re like me, and don’t have the two cups of coffee by 10am, it is definitely flirting with migraine territory.
    2. Do you know if you have any food allergies? Cheese and red wine and chocolate (all the good things in my life, sadly) are known to contribue to headaches.
    3. Have your eyes checked, which I think a few folks have mentioned previously. Eyestrain really can contribute a lot to these.
    4. Perhaps chiropractic? I had a car accident at 17, and the three years following it were the were period of migraines I’ve ever had. Every other day, sometimes every day, absolutley debilliating headaches…it made it difficult to work. My neck was so totally screwed up, but none of the neurologists apparently caught that fact. A simple x-ray by the chiropractor, and many treatments afterward, helped immensely.
    5. Massage as a stand-alone or in conjunction with the chiropractic = awesome. If there’s a massage school anywhere near you, it’s a good way to get a massage for less money than a fully licensed practioner.

    And last but not least – are you avoiding anything emotionally? While all of the above helped me a lot, it wasn’t until I started digging into past wounds and really coming to terms with the events and integrating them that I really saw significant healing. The headaches have definitely tapered off, and while it wasn’t the most comfortable experience of my life, I am better for it. I’m sure all of the above is more than you needed to know, but, for what’s it worth….

  16. My mother and I have found lucozade hydroactive to be particulaly helpful at staving off headaches. I used to get headaches at least once a week but I’ve been drinking a bottle of this stuff everyday for the past couple of months and I havent had a headache in that time. Mum’s found that it helps for her normal headaches but for full blown migraines she takes naramig which is available on prescription from any GP. Hope these tips from everyone help. Regular headaches are an awful thing to live with.

  17. Hi Dee
    I would also have to agree with getting an eye examination. A couple of years ago my husband was getting very frequent headaches and I suggested that he got his eyes tested. The end result was that he needed to wear glasses and I rarely hear him complain of a headache since.
    Good luck

  18. Don’t apologize Dee, it’s called “medical networking” and it’s a powerful thing!

    My stepfather got terrible migraines and headaches for years that would knock him flat several times a week. It was when he cut out all alcohol and refined sugar that he finally had some peace. I also know a couple of people who have suffered through what are really severe sinus headaches from seasonal allergies when the seasons turn. Both of them had tried every over-the-counter thing without much relief. If you think that might be it for you, then one other suggestion. Based on my own experience with seasonal allergies, I’ve recommended use of a Neti Pot (google it, you’ll find it), and it made a huge (positive) difference for those folks. Good luck!

  19. Mine aren’t usually too severe, but like you painkillers don’t do anything! I was also going to suggest Feverfew and also Ginger. Something like stemed ginger is best, or Ginger ale but if you don’t like the taste you can get ginger tablets. Mine are usually caused by dehydration. Hope you find something to help soon!


  20. Sometimes you can get a rebound effect from taking pain killers. i.e. they make the headaches worse. Try accupressure, as well as all the other great suggestions. There’s a point in the centre of your forhead that responds well – you’ll need to read up on it. ~Make sure you drink enough water, steadily through the day. Seriously ! That’s a major cause of headaches. In fact hangovers [not that I’m suggesting that’s your problem !] are caused by alchohol induced dehyration. Makes the old brain hurt.

  21. Hey Dee,
    My message therapist said to put your feet in a pan of cold water as the heat in your head will draw down.
    I agree with massage, chiro, and sometimes Tiger Balm will help. Here in the states I love Head ON for migraines. It’s a stick balm that you rub on your forehead.
    Oh, and water! Sometimes it helps too!

  22. Someone mention dehydration. In my personal experience, if I don’t drink a litre of water during the day (outside meals), I generally end up with a terrible headache, verging on migraine after one or two days.
    At first, I thought I was allergic to wine (now, that would have been terrible), but if I drink enough water I can drink wine without any pbm. Alcohol dehydrates your body too, so I guess that’s why it got worse the day after a glass or two.
    Off to fill my bottle with water!

  23. I went through a spate of getting the most terrible headaches a few years ago. It was diagnosed as a sinus infection and I was advised to take paracetamol and codiene for the pain and regularly inhale steam with olbas oil or similar. Headaches stopped after a few weeks, and fingers crossed, I have been fine since.

  24. Rebound headaches can often occur if you have been taking painkillers for a while. Try a few days of nothing med wise if possible. Use massage feverfew etc instead. Indeed get eyes checked and also have your blood pressure checked too this can be overlooked in the headache department.

    Is your shoulders a mass of hard knots? Tension caused many a headache and you have had a lot of recent stress Dee. Reiki, massage etc will all help with the tension and thus the headaches.

    Good luck and keep well 🙂

  25. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been poorly! I hope you are a bit better now. If you have migraines rather than tension headaches (chiropractor v good for these) or analgaesia induced headaches (as they said above, some people get terrible headaches from the analgaesia they take and it can be worth seeing what happens wihtout if it’s not too catastrophic!), then there are various medical options if you wanted to know…. ‘triptans’ can certainly be helpful as they work on the actual cause of the migraine in the blood vessels in the brain, they are available in Britain (some GPs are less keen on them due to expense), also taking an anti inflammatory (eg naproxen) with an anti sickness (eg domperidone) can help some people, both of these especially if early in the migraine. Some people go on a tablet every day to try adn stop the migraine coming in the first place. Do you have a nice GP?