Help....straining headaches

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i had the worst night ever last night..I was woken up at least 4 times with straining headache ( valsalva / cough headaches whatever you call them !!!) I was not coughing but they were bad enough to wake me each time. I think it was when I moved / turned in my sleep but I never get them when awake unless I've been straining. 

Does anyone one else get these in the night ??

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  • Posted

    Stress and dehydration can exasabate the valsalva headaches. But to waken you in the night is unusual. I would wake with headache sometimes for weeks on end and go to sleep with headaches again for weeks at a time.

    Mine began with straining, coughing etc. They then worsened to every time I bent down, standing up from seated etc. The worse they were through the day, the longer the & more severe they lasted.

    As CM headaches relate to pressure and obstructed CSF fluid, we Chiarians should drink lots more water than others, even more so after surgery, if you go down that route.

    Do you have any nausea or vomiting or other symptoms worsening at the mo?

    I did see your other post about your second appointment. Obviously, I am not medical whatsoever, but after my extensive reading up on Chiari and having gone through it all for the past 8 years, (lucky to be 8 months post op & doing really well head/neck wise) my advice to you (if you do decide to go for surgery) would to be to go to a surgeon that has extensive Chiari surgeries under his/her belt, not just a handful.

    Hope your feeling better this morning.....

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  • Posted

    Hi htch, we reAD YOUR POST BEFORE HOW ARE YOU GETTING ON NOW, i THINK hayleybell advice is pretty useful..she has exp=erience in this..I find it useful..thanks Hayley..even post op. you still think that you should rink plenty of fluid?
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  • Posted

    Thanks all...haven't had another bad night like that since although I had it happen once.

    To clarify, the head pain that wakes me is definately pressure related.. it eases of again after a few seconds like the cough headache but it worries me that I am getting this whilst alseep sad

    I do drink plenty... i do drink coffee during the day 3/4 cups a day at work but not in the evening at all. I always take a water bottle to bed with me and I do drink if this head pain wakes me. I usually have a good drink of water before getting into bed also.

    I haven't laid off the coffee as I read that it helps... but then I got confused..one post says it helps bring pressure down, then another says it helps to raise pressure ?? anyone know which one is correct ?

    I have started using pillows to prop myself up so I am not lying to flat.. this can make it harder for me to sleep as I usualy only have two small flat pillows but hopefully I will adjust.

    With regards to second opinion and surgery here is where I am at

    1. I do believe that I will need surgery just a matter of when and who !

    2. Insurance has approved for me to have 2nd opinion privately so just need to get that arranged

    3. I am seeing my GP this evening to discuss 2nd opinion and also pain management for other symptoms.

    4. I am also going to ask my GP for a NHS Referral to Mr Flint as he is the most local speciallist but I know this is going to be a long wait !

    I've been through the list on Ann Conroy and others I know have performed the proceudre to try and track down NS who do private and have shortlised the ones below..I would then have to call insurance to check the Dr / Hospital is covered by my policy.

    I may not even have to travel for initial consultation as I could send MRI's & Reports to them so what I am after even the best advice...is surgery necessary and should it be done now ?

    Any recommendations or personal experience with any of these ?

    Brodbelt - Liverpool

    Carroll - Sheffield

    Laing - Cambridge

    Piggot - Liverpool

    Redfern - Swansea

    Saxena - Coventry

    Van Dellen - London

    Buxton - Liverpool

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    • Posted

      Hey, glad to hear you haven't had any more nights like that! Not nice! 

      Regarding the coffee/caffeine, my understanding is that it is good for post op as it can help seal things up! My friend (I met on the post op ward with me) had caffeine drips recently as they thought she had a leak. It did help her headaches too, not sure about benefits pre op though 🤔

      As you know from my previous posts I am a big fan of The Walton Centre, Liverpool and of course my NS Mr Buxton and his team. I met 3 other ladies on the ward (whilst I was in having my op)  all had Chiari decompression surgeries. All of them spoke very highly of their treatment from both their NS and nurses on the wards as well.

      I must also praise their superb after care. Many Chiari stories I hear have had poor after care if any at all. This is often far more important as the road to recovery can be a long one.

      You mention seeing your GP for pain management. From personal experience with this (and I am sure you GP will sort this for you anyway) but if you are on any anti inflammatory meds for long periods of time, make sure you take something to protect your tummy! Trust me! 😬

      Your GP can refer you to a particular NS, but if and when they see you will depend on your distance to that hospital and funding. I was fortunate as you know and was granted the treatment despite my distance from Liverpool. I was seen very quickly on the nhs and didn't have to wait long for my op.

      Hope this offers you some reassurance with or without health insurance. I couldn't fault the nhs for the care I have been given at The Walton Centre (and I have very high standards! )

      Be well.... 🙂

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    • Posted

      Great to know thanks hayleybell...my biggest concern with Walton Centre is distance..I am in Warwickshire so its at least 2 hours drive for me and I wouldn't have any local support.

      But having said that if they are specialists its a small price to pay for reassurance !

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    • Posted

      Oh and regarding pain I avoid anti-inflammatories as much as possible I already suffer terribly with heartburn and if I do take one then I have to take a losec at the same time sad

      I usually use co-codamol (over the counter) as pain relief when I need it but try not to use it unless it is really needed.

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    • Posted

      Of course, I understand.

      I am 3 hours to Liverpool. Long way, but always worth it for the best care, esp brain and spine surgery!

      The worst was the journey back after op!

      Buying a big v shaped pillow is really handy for added comfort and neck support, esp long distance but at home too.

      They have regular clinics and always someone on the phone if ever a problem post op.

      perhaps I should get a job selling the great perks of the Walton centre 😂

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