Sunday, July 19, 2015

New Daily Persistent Headache: What it is and what it isn't.

I original wrote this blog post for my old blog, Sunbursts or Marble Halls. But I wanted a blog dedicated solely to my headaches so I'll repost it here.

It is... a headache that starts one day suddenly and doesn't go away. It's everyday. Every single day. Mine started four years ago, April 5, 2011. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We had just come home from Tampa/Orlando. We'd visited all the theme parks around there. We come home to our apartment. I open the front door, walk in, and BAM! It started. That simple. That quick. Most NDPH sufferers have similar stories. I was doing _____ and then it started. It's memorable. The day the pain started. My primary care provider thought it was just a headache. Then four months later I see my first neurologist. She says its chronic migraine. And not until Oct 2014 did I finally get diagnosed with New Daily Persistent Headache.

It isn't... forever. Probably. I've stopped counting on that. There are a couple message board of people that have found relief but each is subjective and unrepeatable. I think the problem is that we have no idea what causes NDPH and I think a lot of people with daily headaches just get lumped together under NDPH because there is nothing else. It's kind of the umbrella diagnosis for weird never-ending headaches.

It is... a real thing. I had a chiropractor ask about this. I told him that I have NDPH and explained it because he had never heard about it and then he says "Is that a real thing?" What were you thinking when you said that chiropractor-man? Did you expect me to say "Nah. I just made that up. You caught me"? I didn't get mad at him. I figured he meant "Oh wow I can't believe something so horrible could be real. I do believe it. I just wish it wasn't a real thing." Yeah let's pretend that's what he meant.

It isn't... a migraine. It' different. It's its own horrible animal. There is this misconception that migraines are the worst pain imaginable and that a headache is a lesser migraine. No. You can have a migraine and not be in any pain and you could have the worst headache ever charted and it still may not be a migraine. When I tell people that I have a headache disorder my husband likes to pipe in "Yeah but they are as bad a migraines." He says this because people don't take headaches serious. But people don't really take migraine seriously either. A migraine/headache has become this excuse people use to get out of doing stuff they don't want to do. " Oh I can't _____ I have a bad headache." (Then post pictures of themselves attending a hot yoga class in the sun with loud music playing.) I get it. It's an easy excuse that can't be disputed. Because headaches are invisible.

It is... intractable. This word means resistant to treatment. But that's not exactly the perfect word. Because New Daily Persistent Headaches have only two real treatments. And those are just guesses. 1. You have a blot clot in your brain. They do a MRA & MRV. If you do not have a clot too bad.
2. You have low spinal fluid levels. They do a spinal tap (Oh God. I'll post on that sucker later) Spinal fluid is fine too bad.
3. There is no third thing. That's it. If you don't have one of those two things then they have no idea what is causing it.

It is what it is.


  1. i suffer from NDPH. i have just read this blog. i was wondering if you still suffer? i am going into my 2nd year- i do physical therapy, and i've stopped all prescription drugs. i'm on my 3rd neurologist. i really like this one, from UC in cincinnati. .. thank you

    1. Hey, Jeffrey, Yes I still have NDPH. It's been six and a half years so far. I'm not taking any meds either but that's mostly cause I just had a baby. Haven't found anything that's been able to beat this headache. My favorite medicine is AMRIX. It's an extended release muscle relaxer. It's really been the only thing that helps but it makes me really drowsy. Hope your physical therapy helps. If you have any questions let me know. I've probably tried most things.