Headaches every day, 2 weeks post surgery

I am almost two weeks post surgery for an u rupture brain an. Web mesh device via angiogram and all went fine. The headaches stated a few days after and have been getting worse and more consistent- now they are every day and I can only take Tylenol (vs IBprofin) bc of other medical conditions. Sometimes I can get rid of it by laying down but it usually comes back by the evening and most def comes back by then next day.

Today I woke up around 4am could barely move to get Tylenol. Hurt so bad. Question is should I call my doc? He said he could prescribe some steroids to kick it.

I have a follow up appt next Friday but that’s a week and a half away and I don’t want to deal with these headaches that long. And I’m supposed to go back to work late next week and as it stands, I can’t go back like this- my headaches are too bad right now. This is horrible and I can’t work like this.

Does it get better? How long do the headaches last post surgery?

Yes. You’ve had a medical procedure and it needs to be followed up medically.
In all honesty the dr could have a look and say 'All is fine, just post op recovery pain…"
BUT
Post op I was having odd symptoms, my pcp wrote it off as recovery pains and things got worse, much worse. I had a follow up with the surgeon and he was less than happy as the scans showed there was an issue which needed further neurosurgical intervention.

But either way, even if it is just to settle it for yourself. Speak to your Dr’s.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

1 Like

I did call the doc and spoke to his admin (he doesn’t have a nurse or anything- his admin actually has messed up on my medicine several times and forgot to order a COVID test before the surgery so I somehow question how she relayed my symptoms) and he prescribed Percocet for thre severe headaches.

I was a little surprised he didn’t want to see me or talk to me. He just prescribed them and they are an opioid right? I said I can’t take steroids which is what he would normally prescribe bc I don’t have a colon and it could ruin it- like the NSAIDs could do. I don’t think the steroids could do that actually- I feel like I have to check with my GI doc about that. I’d rather take the steroids than the opioid. With taking my daughter to and from school, idk if I can take a strong medicine like that. If my headache is that bad I guess I shouldn’t be driving right? Ugh, so I even fill the script? My head was so bad this morning. I feel like he just threw this medicine at me.

Hey Doggie,
Yes, Percocet is an opioid and as you have GI issues I would certainly be recommending you speak to your GI Dr about GI issues. Neuros may have all of the information regarding the brain/head but I doubt their GI info is as comprehensive.

That is not uncommon unfortunately, that ‘Here, take a tablet…’ attitude is not unusual. It really can be a case of trying to find a balance between pain control and functionality. Initially post surgery they gave me high dose opiates which assisted with the pain, but I could not function. And as for driving, I simply couldn’t safely drive on those meds. There are lower dose opiates available and it maybe worth investigating, but each person’s reaction to certain medications can be very individual. If you feel you are impaired by a medication then you must not drive. If you are involved in an accident, even if its not your fault, by being impaired due to a medication, you can be held liable. It is still considered to be DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

Merl from the Modsupport Team

Thanks Merl. Yea, I called the doc back to ask what type of steroid he would have prescribed so I can get the name so I can check with my GI. It seems like a much better long term plan. And from what I know about steroids it would bring down inflammation of the blood vessels which is what I believe is where the headache is coming from- where the doc was poking around in when he took care of the aneurism right?

I also have a headache specialist but I feel she would probably suggest I still consult with the neuro doc at this point since I’m still so close to the surgery (less than 2 weeks post). The doc didn’t respond with the steroid name so I’ll call back tomorrow. Bringing my toddler/daughter to her first dentist appt at 8am- oh help me and fingers crossed I don’t get another headache at 4am!

@Doggie28 hate to hear your headaches are overwhelming. Merl has given some great advice. I’ve never heard of anyone being charge with a DUI here in the States if that person is on prescribed meds and taking them properly. But there’s always the warning of not driving and not operating heavy machinery until you know how you will react to it, so maybe he is right (he usually is).

If you have a headache specialist already, my guess is she knows you better than the neurosurgeon. Besides calling your GI doc, if you’re not getting heard from the neurosurgeon, I’d call her. I’ve learned not to second guess specialists, sometimes their response isn’t what I think at all.

Make sure you’re staying hydrated and eating protein, they both help to get the brain recover.

Good luck,
Moltroub

Hi! In 2016 I had a mesh stent put in my right ICA due to an unruptured aneurysm. The headaches afterward were debilitating. I woke up from my surgery with one and it didn’t go away for months. Many times I was up all night crying, in such pain wondering if this was going to be my life from now on. I used steroids until they stopped working, (they gave me temporary relief for a while) and Percocet sparingly because of GI issues they cause. I did use Tylenol (again sparingly because my neurologist said it could be causing rebound headaches) and I can’t take NSAIDs. I went to my surgeon who did a follow up angiogram (He found some hyperplasia at the stent which might have caused some of the pain) but he wanted to wait to see if it would self correct. I saw a neurologist and he was useless, saying my headaches were migraines. I tried tons of migraine meds and none worked and the side effects were awful.

All this to say. Keep in touch with your docs, it could be something more than just healing so go to a dr you feel listens to you and believes you. But overall, I just needed time. Lots and lots of time. I did too much too soon (went back to work where I had to use my brain with accounting) and my brain needed rest and to heal. I needed lots of sleep. I took naps. I called them my brain resets. I stopped going anywhere where there was noise, lights, activity because that made things worse. Slowly the headaches lessened and I actually had days without much pain. My healing took three years. I am now 99%. I can even turn upside down and spin in an Ariel class! Every so often if I don’t get enough sleep my head will feel yucky and I’ll get a slight headache. But it was time, patience, rest, patience, sleep, patience, and grace for myself and I do feel like myself again. Hang in there. Give yourself grace and patience and rest. If things feel really wrong, seek a dr who won’t blow you off (my neurologist would not listen to me). But know that things do get better for most of us. Your brain has been messed with. It takes time to heal. If you broke your leg people wouldn’t expect you to walk on it after a week. Why do people (drs, our families)think after aneurysm surgery we can all be 100% so quickly? I wish drs would be more honest about recovery. It takes time and it can be painful. The only way I realized I wasn’t a freak was through this group. Once I saw others also had terrible headaches and could not go to the store without being overwhelmed I finally realized my healing process was normal. Not what I wanted, but normal. So again, hang in there and give yourself grace and time to heal and check in here every so often to see that you are not alone in this.

3 Likes

I’m sorry that your headaches are so severe, but mine were as well. My neurologist prescribed Fioricet, and it was a life saver. You take one to two tabs every eight hours. This medicine really works. Ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to try. I barely use the fiorcet anymore because I take Ajovy (auto injection) once a month. I am so happy I don’t get the headaches I use to get. Just some suggestions. I pray your headaches get better soon, but unfortunately they come with the territory. Stay encouraged, the headaches have to get better because the cause your BP to go up which causes problems with your arteries and blood vessels. Keep an eye on your BP as well. Hope this helps.:pray:t4::heart:

2 Likes

I’m glad that those medications have been helpful for you. Thanks for the suggestions. Fioricet has butalbital which is an NSAID and I can’t take that unfortunately. I did try AJOVY for a year and it didn’t work, but I am now on Emgality which is a similar monthly injection and it seems to help a little. I’m also on Topomax and Gabapentin as a preventative.

I haven’t talent the Percocet Bc I’m afraid to take it to be honest. I think I’ll call my headache specialist if the headaches get worst. I’m having a hard time accepting that these headaches are here for the time being, and this may be my “new normal.” With my toddler it will be difficult to rest and recover but I’ll just have to make it work.

Thank you all for your replies. I’ll keep in touch with my docs and make sure they’re updated on my symptoms to be sure I’m getting the right treatment

1 Like

Drink A LOT OF WATER. That helps my headaches even now.

1 Like

@Doggie28, I am also on gabapentin for spinal issues, I was started out at a very low dose from my neurologist, I think it was 100mg 3x/day. Once my Neurosurgeon and her team saw my MRI of my full spine, the NP ordered 600mg 3x/day. After a few months, I started getting really sharp pains that would stop me in my tracks, literally. I had never had this type of pain and initially thought it was my last procedure causing it. But we reduced my gabapentin by 600mg and I am doing really well. The only time I get a headache is when I don’t take enough breaks and forget to hydrate enough. My Neurosurgeon’s rule for me when I get headaches is hydrate, eat protein, hydrate, rest and hydrate.

I have to supplement water with a sports drink for the electrolytes and I use the color of my urine to tell me. I work outside on our property every day and here in the South, it’s been hot and humid. I know Kim, our other Mod put up a video on the dangers of overhydrating, but I’ve found this article that explains it Overhydration: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Hope it helps
Moltroub

Thanks everyone. I actually get dehydrated, again bc of my lack of a colon. Was in the ER two days before my aneurysm surgery. I don’t absorb potassium, sodium and magnesium like others. I drink half Gatorade (low sugar kind) and half water usually all day, but I’m still usually always thirsty. I have 12 kidney stones right now Bc I’m constantly dehydrated but it’s just part of life. So I do my best to drink but I go to the bathroom about 15-20x a day so it’s hard to keep up with hydration (sorry TMI). The Gatorade helps a little. Hydration wil always be an issue.

My urologist did do a 24 hour urinalysis and to see a) how much I’m drinking and outputting and b) to identify my type of stones and we found out I should be outputting 4x the amount of urine that I’m currently putting out. It’s horrible but I just can’t keep up. So in essence it’s just a constant battle and I’m SURE it’s contributing to my headaches.

Right now I’m on 600 mg of gabapentin at night and I was on 600 mg in the morning but it kind of made me loopy with the Brilinta so I decreased it to 300mg- my headache doc said it was okay until I go off the Brilinta in two months. I’m glad the Gabapentin has worked well for you!

@Doggie28 , not TMI at all. My aren’t you in a quandary! A friend of mine had emailed me about a month or so ago and had found a product with electrolytes that you just had to water and don’t have to drink the sports drinks. I made Gatorade for a short time working my way through college and I can honestly say having to sample every batch became nauseating. When my neurosurgeon said I had to drink it, I was not a happy camper but I do prefer the low sugar type, too bad Gatorade didn’t have it when I was making it. LOL

I have a sodium issue as well, my blood work always shows it either well below the minimum level or a couple times right at the minimum level, it’s aggravating isn’t it?

Part of me wants to say “Well young lady, I don’t care if you have to go to the bathroom 50 times a day, drink up!” But I know realistically you probably don’t want to spend the majority of your waking hours in the bathroom. Do you know the product my friend was talking about or would you like me to see if I still have that email? It may take me a few days to find it, if you don’t mind the wait.

In a quandary as to what to suggest…
Moltroub

I am over 2 years post rupture, SAH, coil, stent with flow deverter. Headache every day. It is my constant companion. I have to take 325 mg aspirin for blood thinner every morning so I have to back off NSAIDS for fear of kidney damage. Tylenol has already messed up my liver. If your doctor is offering a solution, give it a try. My neurosurgeon said my headache could last a day, a week, a month, years or it may never go away. I think it’s picked forever.

Percocet? You must have one understanding doctor. They wouldn’t be an option for me because I am still having random seizures and I’m sure Percocet would cause more. I have problems taking low dose hydrocortisone and when they were prescribed pre surgery, I wouldn’t take half of what they prescribed.

I have taken Gabapentin for shingles pain. I took one 100 mg and would sleep and sleep and sleep some more. The other day I thought maybe Gabapentin might help the headache. My BH had some and I took one. Within an hour I felt like my head was going to explode. I laid down and took a nap and when I got up my head was still pounding. That is with 100 mg, I don’t want to know what 200 mgs would do. I would probably be in the emergency room.

From what I am reading you should Really talk to another Neurosurgeon for a second opinion!

1 Like