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It started June 2010, a pain that radiated up my neck into the back of my head with a mild frontal headache. It felt as if the nerves in my neck and head were inflamed and there was a horrible feeling of pressure. It wasn’t like any headache I’d ever had before as most of the pain was in my neck and there was more pressure than ache.
At the time I had a bad cold so I just put it down to being congested and thought it would go away once I’d recovered. I was used to headaches. I’d suffered with migraines since the age of 11 and had one or two a month for years until I discovered peppermint tea in an alternative remedy book and started drinking it. Then the migraines disappeared. In all that time, I had never taken a pain reliever. I just went to bed in a darkened room, put cold cloths on my head and waited the 12 hours till it was over. The pain was severe, but it still didn’t tempt me to use pain relievers. I knew it was self-limiting and it would go away on its own.
That’s what I thought about the strange new headache -- that it would go away by itself. I was wrong. After several weeks, it was still there. I remember thinking that I wanted to drill open my head to release the pressure. There were days when I couldn’t work because looking at a computer screen made my eyes hurt and the hyperacusis (hypersensitivity to sound) I used to suffer from came back with a vengeance. Whenever my neck really hurt, I couldn’t bear any noise. Even people talking felt like someone scraping their nails on a chalk board. My instinct told me that my audial nerves, that lead from the ears into the back of the head, were swollen. I went to my doctor, and he agreed. He said that mucus from my cold had probably worked its way to the back of my ears and that might have caused the irritation. He gave me a decongestant and an anti-inflammatory.
I decided to take the treatment, having already suffered for weeks. It took longer to help than I thought, but after another five weeks of taking the medications every day, I was better. I thought that would be it. I was wrong again.