Post SAH headache

I’ve had headaches 3 or 4 days a week since my SAH 1-1/2 years ago. Most of the time I can treat them with acetaminophen, but some days (once or twice a week) I need a Percocet. That’s all been manageable. Now my doctor won’t refill the Percocet, saying it’s too dangerous, but wants me on a daily dose of Gabapentin, preventatively. It’s making me very depressed, and I don’t want to take anything every day just to treat a symptom I can’t handle once a week. Has anyone tried any other pain treatment that can be taken only as needed, and that’s as effective as Percocet? Any suggestions will be received with gratitude!

well i tried tramadol and got a panick attack !! do you have anxiety? There is a group on here about headaches maybe you will get help there .

good luck

I also had a SAH but suffer migraines prior too! I have those blasted things 3, 4, or 5 times a week. My Dr.put me on Pristique but I am gaining weight so I see him on Monday again. He and I deeloped a “cocktail” I take when they are bad it is 20 mg. Toradol (keytoralac), .5 xanex (alprazalome) and 500 mg vicodine. this works so well continuously and I feel so much better in 20 minutes. Maybe you need a different Dr. that trusts your ability to not become dependent or abusive to the meds. it is so hard to live with constant migraines when they effect every part of your life. Keep trying till you find what works and stick with it! good luck, you got a friend here!

Anna, I suffer from chronic daily headaches so understand what you are going through. As your headaches are ongoing and 3-4 days per week, it really is best to treat them with a preventative rather than continually taking OTC and prescription pain medications. The biggest problem with taking analgesics and opiates is that you put yourself at risk or rebound headache if taken more than 2-3 days per week. Rebound headache or medication overuse headache is very common and makes your condition so much worse (trust me, I have been there).

I don't like taking tablets either, but I would much rather stop the headaches from coming than continually try to block the pain with multiple pain meds. I hope you get some relief soon.

Best wishes



Is your Doctor a GP or a Neurologist? Also what type of surgery (clipping/coiling/stenting) did you have and how long ago was it done? Topamax (which is similar to Gabapentin the generic for Neurontin) is usually indicated for migraine like head pain. Both have a tendency to calm the nervous system in some but not all cases. Percocet has the potential to lead to addiction so that is why your Doctor is reluctant to dispense it. You may also want to talk to your Neurologist about trying Maxalt Mlt 10 mg tabs. My wife, whom also suffered a SAH rupture and was clipped suffers post surgical migraines. The Maxalt Melt tabs help her if taken ASAP after a headache begins. This medication also has restrictions on how many you can take in a week otherwise rebound headaches can result. It will be important for you to try to find what triggers your head pain.

Thanks for giving me some specific information - that's truly helpful. I'm going to try to not take anything until I absolutely have to for the next month and see how frequent the headaches are then.

So how do you treat your headaches?

This doctor’s a neurologist I’ve just started seeing, through Kaiser, my insurer. I had a stent put in to correct the SAH in May '10, at the fabulous Cleveland Clinic. The following Sept they clipped a 2nd aneurysm, and a month later (just over a year ago) I got a VP shunt. The Clinic neurosurgeon said I should see a headache or pain specialist, but my Kaiser GP sent me to this neurologist. Thanks for the specific info on what your wife uses. I’m starting to think that at least some of my headaches might be rebound. I also wouldn’t call them migraines, in my case; they can get pretty bad, but not like I’ve heard real migraine sufferers complain about. I’m going to try to lay off any pain medication for a while, if I can, and see where I land.

Anna, I take two preventatives, topamax and amitriptyline, and they have significantly reduced my daily pain levels. I do get the occasional migraine, particularly mentstrual, and for those I use a triptan called Naramig (naratriptan) which is slow acting (6hr) and so is much less likely to cause rebound than other fast acting ones like Maxalt which you have to be careful with. When all else fails my neurologist has prescribed indocid suppositories (NSAID) which work very well on head pain. Seeing a neurologist that specialises in headaches is particularly helpful. Mine also suffers from migraine so is very sympathetic!

Best wishes



As I reread your original post, it doesen't seem you are taking to many tablets a week (about 6-8 by my guess) to cause a rebound effect. Your plan is a good one since it helps eliminate medication as a trigger. In the meantime, if you can try to focus on where you feel the most pain. In my wife, 100% begin along her scar line which is about 6 inches long in a U shape on the right side of her head.

With some detective work you might want to document your headaches and weather changes or barometric pressure changes and see if there is a corrolation. A site called weather can provide a historical barometric data for your zipcode. The reason I suggest this is that some patients feel that they are affected by pressure changes.

ed, thanks for sharing that.