Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sharp Stabbing Pain in the Head

We had just finished dinner at a restaurant I won't mention, when my son suddenly scrunched up his face, rubbing the front right part of his head (near the temple). I immediately thought he had an ice cream headache, but this was different. It lasted about 10 seconds, and he told me that he had been having these kind of headaches for about a month. They were growing in frequency, and I could tell they were starting to concern him.

I did the first thing I could think of, which of course was to Google this type of pain to see what I could learn on the internet. I quickly learned that he was having "ice pick headaches" which could be caused by something serious, or something completely "normal." At our next chiropractor's visit, we were advised to make a visit to the doctor for further investigation. We were able to get an appointment the next day.

After asking some questions, a urinalysis (which I later found out was a drug screen!) was done and blood was drawn. A few days later, a CT scan was taken of his head.

It didn't take long to find out that the CT scan was normal, he wasn't on drugs or alcohol (which I already knew), and his blood showed a low Vitamin D level (AGAIN). But it also showed that he had markers for allergies, so they wanted to take more blood to run a panel to find out what he's allergic to. There were many allergies, both food and environmental. The doctor said that this could certainly be the cause of the headaches, and while we wait to see the allergist, he should take Claritin daily.

I had already done some reading about ice pick headaches, and wasn't convinced that allergies were the likely cause. I got online again to find an article written about Mayo Clinic and how they had used melatonin in a study for these headaches. A couple of parents of teen boys had followed the same study and tried the melatonin with success. Because he had been having trouble sleeping for over a year, I decided that adding it to our regimen couldn't hurt.

His headaches stopped completely. A week after having none, he suddenly had one for no apparent reason. But after having five a day, one per week was an amazing improvement. The only problem is, we don't know if it was the (generic) Claritin or the melatonin that did it. And frankly, I don't care! I'm not a fan of medication, but I also started taking the (generic) Claritin and it's made the scratchiness in my throat go away as well.

If you (or your child) has ice pick headaches out of the blue, try melatonin first. We used 1 mg and it made an immediate difference in my son's ability to sleep at night, and was enough to work for his headaches (presumably). I know these are common for people who have migraines or cluster headaches, and I would suggest to search for the cause of these as well. Pain is the body's way of communicating something, and we just need to figure out what that is.

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