Okay, so I have previously complained about my IIH headaches and the fact that they can’t really be treated with most forms of pain relief medication, but I didn’t really explain that in any depth.
There’s some evidence that opioids like codeine can raise intracranial pressure, and I can testify to that. I’ve tried both immediate release and prolonged release versions, and neither were helpful. Last time my headache reached 7/10 level pain, I went to the emergency department at the hospital, and they tried me on codeine… an hour later, my headache was worse, more like 8 or 9 outta 10! So yeah, flag that.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen, when layered correctly, can take the edge off, but as you’re not supposed to take them continuously, having non-stop headaches for over a month has these less efficient.
So here’s my methods of coping:
- I take 25mg of Topamax three times daily. It makes me sleepy, which is fine because when I’m unconscious, there’s no pain. 😉
- I sleep on a ramp of pillows, so that my head is elevated. This helps prevent my ICP from rising and making the headache worse.
- I use ice packs, including a gel eye mask that hubby searched multiple pharmacies for, to cool everything down whenever I have a chance to sit.
- Every 3 days, I take a pain break and use Panadol & Nurofen to get some relief. I also have some harder stuff for when the pain is 8/10 but I’m very wary of opioid addiction, so I avoid it if at all possible.
- I practice breath-focused meditation, which is fantastic for surviving chronic pain.
- I’ve made a herbal-infused massage oil that either I or hubby can massage into my temples, forehead or neck & shoulders to ease tension and some pain.
- Kitty snuggles. It’s amazing how much better you feel with a purring kitty cat on your lap.