I have NDPH. After taking several consecutive doses of mushrooms for my NDPH, I am now mostly pain free. It wasn’t easy, and I still have to take regular doses to maintain this pain free status, but it is great to have my life back.
The Many Faces of NDPH
It is an endless, 24/7 low level headache. NDPH is a nasty demon that will steal your life away. My headache fits the definition of NDPH, though the symptoms were always better described by hemicrania continua, a side locked headache with autonomic features. I had little to no response to an indomethacin trial, and this excluded me from an official hemicrania continua diagnosis.
The definition of NDPH is a headache that starts one day in an individual that otherwise does have a history of headaches. It then continues unremittingly for at least three months. The person usually remembers the exact day the headache started. Often there is a triggering event such as a viral infection or traumatic event. NDPH can take on the features of other primary headache conditions, like migraine, tension, or TAC.
The viral trigger has led some experts to hypothesize that the that the condition is an autoimmune reaction that occurs after an infection. If this is true, I would expect to see a huge uptick in NDPH cases related to the coronavirus pandemic in the upcoming years. As of now it is probably too early to tell, but I have heard that a constant headache is a common symptom even after a COVID infection has resolved. Antivirals and antibiotics can be effective to treat the headache within the certain time frame of onset.
The level of impact NDPH can have on a person’s life varies. It can be completely debilitating, leaving someone unable to work or function. It can also be just a mild but persistent irritation. In my case, it completely derailed my life and almost ruined my career.
Mushrooms And NDPH
The severity of a condition will greatly affect the decisions that an individual makes in treatment choices. Deciding to take mushrooms for NDPH was something I only considered when I was at the end of my rope and I felt like everything was in decline. My cognitive function seemed to be in freefall, and I was facing losing my job. I do not think that everyone with NDPH will find themselves necessarily in that position, and some can manage well enough with traditional migraine medications. Though generally quite refractory, NDPH seems to resolve within a year for most people. My headache did not resolve and did not respond to medications. It technically still has not resolved to this day because it is only kept in check by regular doses of mushrooms. Yes, I am talking about the magic kind, in case there was any confusion.
Highly Effective For Me, Yet Not Well Known In The Community
Awareness of mushrooms and their effects on headache conditions is not very prevalent in the online NDPH support circles. Moderators will often censor anyone discussing them, unlike in the cluster headache community. Maybe when Yale publishes more results from the psilocybin study on migraine and cluster headache it will become a more acceptable topic. On the other hand, ketamine or DHE infusions are well known and are often successful in treating the pain, even if the effects are short lived.
In the NDPH and migraine community, most people are not even aware at all. This can make the idea of trying more intimidating because of lack of support in the community. I am very thankful that the specific features of my headache led me to discover Clusterbusters.org. Without that connection, I would have probably never heard of using mushrooms for treating headaches at all.
I based my approach to managing my headache off the technique Clusterbusters developed for breaking cluster headache cycles. It involves taking doses of mushrooms at 5-day intervals until the headache faded away. My pain was not significantly reduced until after the 3rd or 4th dose. My first session provided the first pain free time I had experienced in over a year. On the Clusterbusters site, they advocate for taking small doses that result in a barely perceptual trip. This technique does not work for everyone, and often chronic cluster headache sufferers must go higher with their dose to see results. It appears that a constant, chronic pain condition can require a more aggressive and consistent approach. My doses were all well above the perceptual level. I continue having to dose heavily once a month and maintain with small, almost sub-perceptual doses once a week.