Painful Headache
March 26, 2008 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Every now and then I get these headaches that will last two to three days. My head feels okay when upright, but the second I tip it either to the front or back, as in bending over to pick something up or leaning backwards in a chair with my head bent back, this stabbing pain occurs in my temples and towards the back of my head. I can take Extra Strength Tylenol and get some relief, but good lord what causes it?? And is there a way to get rid of or avoid them?
posted by vermontlife to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How's your blood pressure?
posted by jerseygirl at 7:58 AM on March 26, 2008

This definitely sounds like the sinus headaches I have... I get them when I have a sinus infection, and some antibiotics clear the infection and eventually stop the headaches. If you don't think you have an infection though--popping ears? post-nasel drip? (yummy)-- maybe try some over-the-counter sinus stuff? Drixorel (which is actually behind the counter now in most states) really helps me. Hope that helps and feel better!
posted by veryhappyheidi at 8:01 AM on March 26, 2008

Anything dealing with the head should be taken seriously. Your brain is in there, and you don't sound like you have consulted a doctor? See a doctor.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on March 26, 2008

I'm going to second Heidi's observation. The only drug I've found to reliably work is pseudoephedrine. You'll have to get it from behind the counter at the pharmacy because the meth heads use it to make meth, but it is a miracle drug. Don't be fooled by the reformulated Sudafed or other products that have converted to phenylephrine; phenylephrine is a placebo and simply doesn't work at safe doses.

IANAD, but my suggestion is to try a combination of pseudoephedrine and your favorite analgesic the next time you get one of these headaches and see if it helps. If it does, you may want to consider taking pseudoephedrine prophylactically. I take two every night before bed and it keeps me from waking up during the night with a pounder.

Also, caffeine helps relieve headaches. Something about constricting blood vessels. When I've got one nothing else responds to, I drink espresso.
posted by grumpy at 9:07 AM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: oh I should mention I'm breastfeeding, but these are great suggestions for when I stop. Keep 'em coming!
posted by vermontlife at 9:11 AM on March 26, 2008

Your headaches sound very much like my own sinus headaches, particularly in duration (from a couple of days up to a week) and the stabbing pains when leaning down/bending over, etc. Like grumpy says, I rely on a combination of pseudoephedrine and OTC painkillers to manage the pain.

I would definitely mention it to your doctor...hopefully he/she will be more helpful than my own, who seemed to lose all interest once I mentioned that my efforts to self-medicate had been reasonably successful.

Good luck!
posted by malocchio at 9:37 AM on March 26, 2008


Could you have stressed out your neck (and/or head muscles) awkwardly carrying something weighing approximately 10-15 pounds?

I "carry my stress" in my neck and used to get nasty headaches similar to yours after we had our baby. Carrying that little monkey around, putting him in his crib, bending over to pick up toys, etc.

The extra weight of your head as you bend over might be stressing out your neck, which is stressing the muscles around you head, which is giving you headaches. (Sounds strange, I know - but it happened to me)

Also breastfeeding can make you dehydrated. Chronic dehydration can cause headaches...

Just some initial ideas. The Hive is right, don't fool around with you head - go see a doctor.
posted by LakesideOrion at 9:38 AM on March 26, 2008

Could be a blocked sinus too...
posted by LakesideOrion at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2008

I work for a higher ed health center and the nurse mentioned the term "rebound headache" the other day. I asked her what the hell she was talking about and she said that when people frequently take pain relievers-- asprin, ibuprofen, etc., that it can actally give you a headache, instead of cure it. I dunno. Also Pepsi or coffee. I have found that if you drink it regularly and then don't, you can get a headache. Probably not the issue, but just throwing some more possibilities your way, from a totally non-professional.
posted by thebellafonte at 10:01 AM on March 26, 2008

Chiming in to say that this really does sound like a sinus headache. Could be a good idea to have a doctor confirm this. And yes, caffeine does help.
posted by different at 11:37 AM on March 26, 2008

Go see a doctor. Despite the chorus above, even though this may be a sinus headache, sinus headaches are extremely overdiagnosed and a relatively uncommon cause of this sort of thing. Some of what you describe is not so consistent with sinus headache, including where you're feeling the pain. To me, what you describe is definitely concerning enough to get checked out by a doctor, and if you notice anything else concerning (especially say, abnormalities in your vision or nausea) get checked out immediately. There are more ominous causes of headaches particularly in a post-partum woman that may lead to serious complications if not diagnosed appropriately.
posted by drpynchon at 2:32 PM on March 26, 2008

I had something similar a year or two ago, except my headaches were mostly brought on by coughing, and secondarily by bending over. The on-line research I did at the time indicated that there's a whole category of cough/positional/exertional headaches, which sometimes are linked to sinus problems but sometimes aren't. In a very small percentage of cases they are a sign of Bad Stuff--hence, I would second agregoli's recommendation to run this by a doctor. But subtracting out the Bad Stuff and the sinus-related ones, there's still an array of stabbing headaches brought on by stuff that increases intracranial pressure (bending, coughing, lifting heavy stuff), and which eventually just go away, as mine (thank god) eventually did.
posted by Kat Allison at 2:49 PM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your responses. I will drink more water and I will go see a doctor.
posted by vermontlife at 6:06 PM on March 26, 2008

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