Jeff M. was suffering severely from cluster headaches, and was desperate to find care that worked. After much extensive research and various failed treatments, he eventually ended up at our office. He is a great patient who is committed to getting healthy- because he has experienced GREAT relief from his pain and never wants to go back to the way things were!
He shared his story with Dr. Besso on Fox 8 New Day Cleveland, OH.
Here is his full story.
Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches are the most severe headaches. A cluster headache can be many times more intense than a migraine attack. It has been called the “suicide headache” because many people have taken their lives either during an attack or in anticipation of an attack. The term “cluster headache” refers to headaches that have a characteristic grouping of attacks. This neurological disorder case excruciatingly severe pain on one side of the head, usually centered on or around the eye. Pain is often described as boring, burning or stabbing and is often likened to someone plunging a red hot poker into then eye. The pain escalates very rapidly going from zero to debilitating in 5 to 15 minutes. Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last 2 weeks to 3 months. The headaches may disappear completely (go into “remission”) for months or years, only to recur. A cluster headache typically awakens a person from sleep 1 to 2 hours after going to bed. These nocturnal attacks can be more severe than the daytime attacks.
I was fortunate enough to have a continuous version, mine never went into remission. I had constant pain, between 1 and 3 on the pain scale. I always felt the need to crack or roll my neck looking for relief. During the attacks the pain was as low as a 6 and as high as an 11. The only comparison I have to the level of pain would be a 15 to 20 minute continuous ice cream headache. Sometimes longer.
I have had these headaches for 20 years. When someone says that they have tried everything, they usually haven’t. I will let you be the judge:
- Pure Oxygen during attacks
- Traditional Chiropractics
- Lumbar decompression
- Deep-tissue massotherapies’
- Several traditional doctors
- Saw a top Cleveland Clinic Neurologist
- UH neurologist
- Botox injections
- Years of meeting with the Cleveland Clinic headache department
- Cleveland Clinic Pain Management department to include years of Occipital Nerve steroid blockades. Various pain management surgeries to include Cryo-ablation which is freezing the nerve as well as radiofrequency-ablation which is super heating the nerve. I was also board-approved to have an (trial) extensive $90,000 occipital nerve stimulator planted into my occipital nerve without success.
- CatScan, MRI and X-Ray
- Many Medications that took me two+ years to try to include: Ergotamine, Lidocaine, Dihydroergotamine, Prednisone, Lithium, Indomethacin (Indocin), Imitrex, Direct nasal imitrex injections, Narcotics, Tylonol 3 with codine, muscle relaxers, vicodin, Verapamil, Melatonin, Migraine medications and others.
- Natural supplements like 5-HTP, magnesium, Feverfew and others.
The Besso staff is great; you usually don’t have to wait. The drive for me is an hour 1-way, so that is not that exciting but always worth the trip.
My treatment is the most unlikely, most non-evasive, and hard to understand treatment I’ve ever experienced. Dr. Besso, with the most delicate touch, moves my atlas back into the correct position. After the first treatment, I said “you’ve got to be kidding me”. To this day I can’t believe he is actually doing something. I’m later convinced the next day when I can feel the change in my head due to his touch. The doctor said “After the Atlas in back in place, it will take months for the tendons to heal and just shy of a year for the nerves to heal”. I thought, this is a great money maker, I should start a practice. I’m glad to say the tendons and nerves did heal.
After a few months I started to have 2-3 day periods with less pain and less attacks. Then longer periods of time where I was headache free and didn’t have the relentless desire to crack or roll my neck.
I can’t believe it but I now go 4, 5, 6 days to a week without a headache. Then a small headache that can be relieved with two-three Aleve followed by more pain-free living.
I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel when I will be totally cured.
Jeff M., Vermillion, OH