NRAS
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Waking Headaches Part 2

Hi all,

A while ago I started a post on waking headaches which I'm plagued with. A quick recap is for over 10 years I have been getting on average12 a month and have to get out of bed and sleep sitting up till they go. The pain is always on my forehead and my GP says it's the arthritis in my neck. I had to stop using my favourite painkiller, Paracetamol, because, guess what, it gave me headaches!

I have tried many things including the suggestions made by other NRAS members and different medications from the GP and I'm still getting the headaches!

I have found something though which really helps me and I thought I'd share with others who might also suffer. I will state categorically that do not believe in homeopathic treatments, as I have tried many over my 32 year journey with RA and all have failed! My son gave me Tiger Balm which you smooth over your forehead and it works like a cold compress. You have a cool feeling over the area for about an hour which masks the pain. If the headache doesn't go after an hour I smear a little more on and it allows me to go back to sleep or get on with my day. I don't take any medication for the headache and it just goes!

It is not a miracle cure and I still have to sleep sitting up sometimes but it helps me so much. You can buy this from any pharmacy and is a little expensive being about £4 for the smallest jar but you only use a tiny amount at a time. I suggest you ask the pharmacist or GP about when you next visit, and it may not work for you, but if you're as desperate as I was then surely it's worth bearing in mind.

Love, Legs x

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Just to say if u have a pound store near u they sell it tigerbalm or Superdrug is 2.00 glad it worked for u amy

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Thanks for that Amy, next time I need some I'll shop at either of those.

Love, Legs x

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Tiger balm is amazing and that small jar goes such a long way. Are you breathing correctly at night. Do you know if you snore?

I found out that I have sleep apnaea as I used to wake up with awful headaches and they did a test overnight on me and I stop breathing dozens of times in an hour. I now use a CPAP machine ....continuous pressurized air something...... and no more headaches.

Rosie x

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Hi Rosie, I do snore but don't have sleep apnaea. My GP says it's arthritis in my neck restricting blood flow causing the problem. That's quite scary for you but I'm so glad you've got rid of the headaches.

Love, Legs x

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Hi Linda

Glad you dont need the machine. I get such a great sleep with it now. x Rosie

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You definitely can't beat a good night's sleep :-)

xx

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Hi

I also suffer with really bad heads, including cluster headaches where they just don’t stop for weeks at a time - it’s the reason I ended up on the mini pill so I don’t get them for the week I used to have my ‘break’ each month now. I find that using that 4head stuff is also really good.... it’s mainly the same principal,a menthol type stick you rub along your head and it takes the edge off enough for me to settle back to sleep most times(although it sounds like it’s far more expensive than tiger balm?) and I also use the gel strips(quite often I’ve answered the door forgetting I’m wearing them and wondered why I’d gotten such a strange look😝) but again,it means less medication,as normally the only thing that works for me when they’re too far gone for the strips or menthol is immigran(sumatriptan) and I don’t like to take them too often or you get immune to them,like most things.

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Hi Nicki,

I bet you look a sight when you answer the door! Ha ha! Yes, I agree it is best to avoid taking the immigran too often ....it gives you a safety net too for when things are really bad.

Love, Legs x

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Hi Linda

Yep,that’s my exact reason - with the amount of meds we’re generally on anyway it’s rare to find something that does actually work,so I definitely want to keep that in my ‘arsenal’ as it were,instead of using it too often and making it ineffective.

As for me opening the door,it’s a good job I have a very good relationship with my direct neighbours and also the postman (my parents only live in the next street,so I’ve known him for years now) but people are used to seeing me pottering in my garden,dragging the bin outside my gate wearing my jamas and with a migraine strip on,or nipping to the car to get something I’d forgotten to bring in when I’d been out earlier 🤣my mum used to despair at the sight of me,but when I explained that I was actually wearing the equivalent of full length trousers(albeit oddly patterned ones) and a t-shirt (often with a jumper over the top) she didn’t seem to fret so much.. ... now if it were the old,comfy jamas I sleep in then it would be a different story..... and not one that i’d wish on my worst enemies 😂 I actually live in jamas - I have two sets.... my shorts and vests for sleeping in,and then my trousers and tshirts/long sleeved top versions that I lounge around in during the day..... it’s far comfier than sitting with underwear/clothes digging into a sore and swollen body,and it doesn’t matter how much the cats rub up against me in those either..... they were designed for comfort ...... both mine and the animals 😊

Nicki x

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Nicki, you paint a pretty picture and that sounds the perfect outfit for a hurting body! You never know you might start a trend and people copy you ....along with the migraine strip! Ha ha!

Love, Legs x

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I use tiger balm to ease pain. Tiger balm has many uses I was first introduced it while in Mauritius my father in law gave me some to help cool a mosquito bite and stop the itching. I said it worked well

My father in law had a shop and the next time he went to the wholesalers he brought me a stock of them to take home.

He was so nice despite not being able to talk to me due to the language barrier . They spoke creole and the little spoken French was difficult to have a conversation with him.

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Matilda your father-in-law sounds like a lovely man, what a very kind thing to do! I really am a convert to Tiger Balm and the mosquito bite tip is something I shall be trying too!

Thanks.

Love, Legs x

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Might give that a go. I usually stick my head under a cold tap, but that sounds less torturous.

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Nettac, the Tiger Balm is far more soothing and much drier too! Ha ha!

I do hope you try it because if the cold water helps you then it sounds as if your headaches are very similar to mine. I used to use a cold gel eye mask out of the fridge but it warmed up too quickly.

Whatever you decide I hope you get some relief.

Love, Legs x

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That’s really interesting Linda. I often wake through the night with headaches which tend to settle if I get up but start again not long after lying down again. This has just started quite recently and I haven’t even mentioned it to my gp however, I was diagnosed about a year or so ago with wear and tear in my neck. I wonder if that’s what’s causing my headaches?

Tiger balm is a great “cure all” I use it for lots of things! X

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Hi NanaFifi,

It sounds like you should definitely mention it to your GP so you know the cause. My headaches have taken me to the docs on and off during the past 10 years, in fact I even chart them on the PC just to see if there's a pattern.

Weirdly if I have wine the evening before I don't get a headache but I like to restrict drinking till weekends as I think my liver should have a rest! :-)

I think I'm a little bit in love with Tiger Balm myself!

Love, Legs x

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Have you had an MRI of cervical spine? (neck). I had severe headaches from C4-C5 disc spasms. Physical therapy and exercises helped as well as a neck brace when needed. Are you taking meds? Good luck with it.

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Thanks for replying Dryan, I've not had an MRI scan but my doctor said if it was anything sinister after 10+ years I would've been dead by now! I think because the headaches haven't changed and my neck has been stiff for most of my arthritic life that I don't really need a scan.

I do take Amiltriptylene which helps me sleep and delays the onset of the bad head.

And thank you for your good wishes and you thoughts :-)

Love, Legs x

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