headaches on chemo

Hello I think I’m looking for a bit of reassurance.

I had my 4th chemo last tuesday and since sunday I’ve had a constant headache but not a dull ache its horrible. Every move of my head or body or eyes hurts. Even light. I’m hoping its just another se. Cos I seem to have had everyone going so far. I had been trying to to manage on paracetamol and then moved on to co codamol. And now the dr has given me codene and paracetamol. I took one this aftenoon but it helped but it didn’t go away so I’ll take two tonight.
Anyone else suffered bad heads on chemo?
Love Fran xx

Hi there

I went through my chemo 2010/2011 and recall vividly the terrible headaches I had. Nothing seemed to shift them and this was mostly whilst I was on FEC. My GP did give me very strong painkillers and these did dull it for me. Whilst on the Taxotere I did not have the headaches, though did have other se’s. We are all so different! However, please speak to your GP and get the right strength of pain relief and I do hope you keep better soon. take care, J.

You have my complete sympathy. I was like that all through my chemo (FEC and tax) and took a prescribed high strength co-codamol (which is codeine and paracetamol). One main side effect of codeine is constipation so keep an eye on that if you take them regularly.

I had to take near to the maximum dose every single day and I was worried about it but my GP said to take it so I could get through the chemo.

There are other alternatives such as tramadol so it may be finding what works for you. Speak to your doctor again if you find the co-codamol isn’t helping enough.

The thing is to try and keep on top of the pain rather than letting yourself get to the point where you feel terrible and then take tablets.

I can’t say that the co-codamol eliminated the pain but it took the edge off and got me through.

I know it can be difficult but try and keep yourself hydrated too as dehydration can cause headaches or make them worse.

I hope you feel lots better soon
Elinda xx

On and off of chemo I suffer with bad headaches although I would say mine are more hormonally induced migraines as I am physically sick when I have an attack, my dr gave me codeine and paracetamol but I also take anti-sickness meds as well, I would ask your onc first but you could try taking paracetamol with ibuprofen I know you can take these two together but always check with either your onc or your GP. Drinking tons of water really helped me especially when having an infusion drink plenty to flush the chemo through.

Hope this helps
sending you love and light
sarahlouise xx

Hi thought I’d post before going to sleep. I would take codiene all the time before the headache continues but I can’t. I’ve tried para and ibuprofen but it doesn’t touch it. It helped this afternoon. But these pills make me sleepy and I have a lo who is 3 so I can’t take them when she is awake. Also have an elder son who is 8. So both demanding. Just left eldest downstairs with oh.
Tramadol make me ill, well out of it.
I feel sick all the time. So fingers crossed I will sleep tonight and not be in pain tomorrow.

Speak to the GP again as there are different options. You can actually take a higher dose of ibuprofen if prescribed and it may be better that you have max dose of that and paracetamol. BUT ibuprofen is very hard on the stomach (and even more so during chemo) so I wouldn’t take any ibuprofen without speaking to the GP or oncologist. They may want to cover you with something like omeprazole so you don’t get problems there.
Again it’s about regular pain control rather than waiting for pain. Neither paracetamol nor ibuprofen should make you sleepy. It may well be that’s it the effect of the chemo that’s making you feel like that.

Also speak to the GP about the sickness as there are drugs to help with that.

It may also be that you take something like codeine only at bedtime so you get a better night’s sleep.

Is there anyone who can help with the children? Could the youngest go into a nursery? It may not be ideal but getting through the chemo is a priority right now.

Really hope things improve for you soon. A big hug to you.
Elinda xx

I had headaches all way through chemo, they never eased, probably partly because I was having chemo every 2, not 3 weeks. I was prescribed maximum strength ibuprofen together with omeprazole which reduced it down to a manageable level. This also helped with the joint pain from the Neulasta injections.

Within a month of finishing chemo everything back to normal.

As Elinda says your priority is the chemo at the moment, that is a full time job in itself. You need to ask for more help from those around you.