Headaches. I wish I could say this post would be about symbolic headaches (like our government, for example), but I’m about to get a little real about living with headaches.

For the past two years or so, I’ve been getting more painful headaches than I’ve had in the past. These range from full-on migraines to tension headaches (my most common) to just general head-hurts-not-sure-how-to-classify-headaches. I’m talking “if I don’t move at all for the next 2 hours, maybe the pain will just go away”-type headaches.

There was a period of time when I was taking a minimum of two extra-strength Tylenols per day (and, yes, I know that acetaminophen is really bad for you, but sometimes it’s the only thing that helps). I realized that I needed to see a doctor about my headaches – it was time to stop shrugging them off as normal.

I finally met with a GP after months of putting it off (she is now my official primary care doctor in NYC). She was very understanding, listened to me, and genuinely seemed like she wanted to help out (I think all doctors are supposed to be like this, but I went in expecting not to be believed about my pain!). I think it helps that she’s a female doctor. There’s something about women actually admitting that they’re in pain that is often not believed (articles here and here). It felt good to be heard. Anyways, she told me I’m way too young to be experiencing headaches as frequently as I am and prescribed me a daily medication (nortriptyline) meant to prevent the headaches from starting in the first place.

This med has been around for a long time. She prescribed it to me as an off-label use (it’s primarily meant for depression), but I’m hopeful that it will help with my migraines based on some online headache/migraine community websites and reviews. Whether it’s a placebo effect or not, I felt a change in the first week of starting the meds. My headaches seemed to decrease (to only ~2 days per week).

Thanks for reading this. I’m not sure the cause of my headaches and pain (although, I’m working on identifying and avoiding triggers), but it helps to write it out.

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If you get headaches or deal with pain, I’d love to hear how you cope –
let me know in the comments or send me a private message here. 



Photo by Emre Gencer on Unsplash