Living with headaches post SAH

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I am 39 and suffered SAH 5/2/8 am now back at work (maybe too early). I was wondering how other people felt post SAH. I am experiencing headaches on a daily basis that appear to get worse the more stressed I'm become. The headaches are not like headaches I have experienced before and pain killers only numb the pain for a while. I don't feel my self and feel spaced out at times and frustrated. I notice that I can't deal with stressful situations as well. I am also very tired and grumpy (at times)!! Is this common with other people and does it get better? My GP doesn't really know much about it and my consultant just says it will get better but gives me the impression that maybe I'm thinking too much about it and they aren't really headaches (more psychosematic). I don't believe other people actually understand what is going on in your head as you look normal on the outside (well, hopefully I do). Any experiences of other people would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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  • Posted


    I also had a SAH 2 years ago at the age of 38. My experiences with headaches are very similar to yours still even 2 years post. I have learned to deal with my headaches and know what triggers them. Too much stress is one cause and/or lack of sleep is the most common cause. I feel very fortunate that I'm physically normal on the outside however there are days that my head hurts so bad all I can do is go to sleep and pray that when I wake up the pain is gone. I do not like to take pain meds and have found that they really don't help. Keeping myself hydrated also helps. My neorologist told me that if my headaches did not go away by 6-8 months post then they probably wouldn't. I will say that I do get less headaches that a year ago, maybe 1-2 every couple of weeks now. As you said, they are unlike any headache I had pre SAH. I kinda feel like I'm in a fog also.

    As for work, I did not return to my job for 3 months post SAH, then found myself feeling worse with the stress and fatigue. After approx. 9 months of working my husband supported my decision to quit my job and staying home with our children. Now I spend my days enjoying my family and friends and thankful that I'm alive. As I type this response I have a really bad headache but just have to keep reminding myself that I'm very blessed to be alive and here to enjoy life.


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  • Posted

    Hi Drew

    I had SAH over 2 years ago at the age of 45 and I would say that the headaches and fatigue are the worst things to deal with. My headaches virtually stopped at around the 6 month stage and now I don't really get headaches at all. I went back to work at 3.5 months and took a step back in my recovery. I do tend to feel dizzy and ill if I get stressed, and as Blessed said, lack of sleep can make things worse. Certain pain medication can actually make headaches worse - something called rebound headaches.

    There is a very good SAH support group at where there is a lot of good information and you can read other peoples experiences and join in forum discussions with people who actually understand what you are going through.



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  • Posted

    I had a SAH 2 months ago. The neurosurgeon said he was going to put in a stent. After the first angiogram in the hospital, they kept me in neuro ICU for 5 days. The brain spasms(vasospasm) kept for about a month. I think I still have them. Best way to describe is squishy head. These migraines will not leave. I take 10mg of Norco and it still will not go away. However, the neurosurgeon said the migraines have nothing to do with with the SAH. In addition to the SAH I have a complete blockage on the other side, which was said to cause the SAH. Which they are treating with Plavix. I can't work full-time. I am so sensitive to all light, especially the sun. I sit in my home after work just crying. I have had about a total of a week relief(combined days) in 2 months. Did you ever find a great path of relief?

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  • Posted

    Hi folks,

    Wish I'd found this site a few years back! It may have helped me make some better decisions earlier.

    I too suffered a SAH in August 2013 at the age of 42 with a succesful angiocoiling op. I have recently resigned from my job which I have tried to do for the last 3.5 years unsuccessfully. Unfortunantely I dont understand or retain a lot of what I did pre SAH and the stress of work or even trying to get to work was making me worse. Luckily I had a very understanding workplace.

    I suffer memory loss, fatigue, sleep deprivation (funny that when you are continually tired), daily headaches of differing severity, high blood pressure and mood swings which I try to mask... actually I do that for just about everything. My family see the new real me and others very rarely do as I try to be normal.

    So to Mel, it aint an easy road but you have been given an oppourtunity for a continued albeit twisting and turning one with plenty of ups and downs. Everyone is different but to me you have perhaps made the same mistake I made by going back to work too early. I found my early return to work was more of a social outing and as time went on and my length of time at work increased my life outside of work become non existent as I was so tired. 

    There are a number of positives that have come from this which is what I focus on now. 

    As for meds they only take the edge off the pain and I used parecetemol when required ....not quite daily for the first two years. I also try alternate remedies such as pressure points, acupunture, music... the list goes on as I try most things to give me an increased quality of life. Now I rarely take any meds apart from my blood preesure meds. Your Doc should know best.

    Dont set yourself big goals, I thought I was going to be completing my Exec MBA within 12 months as I only have a few papers to finish... now Im not so sure and focus on the positive... dont have to study!

    Best of luck and the most important thing I can say is listen to your body.



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