So I had the long awaited and anticipated neurology appointment today. I was so nervous I couldn’t shut up when I got there but thankfully the doctor was a talker. I plan to call him Dr. Man Bun, yes he did indeed have a man bun and it was fabulous. I really enjoyed his direct approach to things and his “theories”. He immediately said he believed I had Cervical Dystonia which is a rare neurological disorder that is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions in the neck that cause abnormal movements and postures of the neck and head. In some cases, the abnormal contractions may be sustained or continuous; in others, they may be present as spasms that can resemble tremor. Mine are present as both, I do get random spasms in my neck that last for long periods of time that are creating mass discomfort and migraines. It’s almost as if my neck muscles are made of steel lines and they are fighting against each other to pull be the way they want to.
I know I have mentioned before the headaches / migraines that originate from all of this muscles pulling and generalized pain. That is one of the major things that we want to take care of first along with reducing the strain and tension on some of the muscles in my back and next. To start looking for some relief in regards to the migraines he has me sampling two migraine prescriptions:
Topiramate (Topamax, Trokendi XR, Topiragen)
The official use of Topiramate is used in regards to seizures, however the version I am taking is used primarily to treat migraines. It is a once a day pill that I take before bed that is supposed to reduce the number of attacks I have. We counted them up and I have about 5-10 migraine days per month with about 20 normal headache days. There are some pros and cons with this medication.
PRO: So I added not drinking alcohol to both categories. I have recently given up alcohol as it is not something that I feel contributes to my overall health and that is my main focus at this point. The next pro is it is just one pill per day, right before bed. Awesome sauce. I am good with that. Lastly the reviews for this medication are overall positive. I have had so many people mention it to me over the past couple of years and the doctor strongly recommended this one as well.
CON: Alcohol… yes it’s on both lists because what if I want to have a drink in the future, say at a company party or a holiday. You can consume alcohol just not within 6 hours before or after of taking this medication. The other con is some of the side effects: dehydration, vision issues, trouble concentrating, kidney stones, acidosis, weight loss, a “cold/flu” like feeling, changes in taste, and tingling sensations.
Overall it should be interesting to see where this goes with this medication.
This once a month self injection is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the activation of a certain protein that can produce a migraine attack. This protein, called calcitonine gene- related peptide (CGRP), can cause blood vessels to dilate and cause inflammation and migraines. This is a self injection medication that is used one time per month and is stored in the refrigerator when not in use. Once you use the injection you simply throw it away. There;s not really much to add to a pros and cons list for this one. It is a fairly newer product, the only side effect listed can be constipation, but like I have said several times it is a self injection and for those that don’t like needles that could be a turn off.
The last medication we are in the works to start is Botox, we will use this in the muscles in my neck and my back to help them loosen their grip and allow the tension and pain to subside, at least that is the goal. Botox has proven to work with many patients that have Cervical Dystonia and I am really trying to be positive it will work for me. Dr. Man Bun is a very decent man and seems like a very enthusiastic doctor. He listened to my concerns and questions, he came up with several treatment ideas and said if I had any I wanted to try we would discuss it, and lastly he took the time to explain each medication and process and what our ultimate goal was for them. Cervical Dystonia does not have a cure, but it is something that can be managed with the right medications and therapies. It is not a sentence, it is not an ending, having this diagnosis is a stepping stone to ultimately finding relief with this pain I feel.