“The pain would originate on the right side of my neck and would spread to the top of my head and then to my right eye,” said Jennifer Campanella. “It would quickly escalate to become stabbing and excruciating.”
The headaches began soon after the birth of Jennifer’s second child.
She would be symptom-free for days or even weeks but, when the pain returned, she was sidelined from life. “I was missing birthday parties and dinners with family and friends,” said Jennifer.
After more than a year, enduring many medical exams, Jennifer still had no answers; and she was not tolerating the prescribed medicine well. It was then that she decided to approach the problem differently.
“Rather than looking for a diagnosis and cure, I began to look for a way to manage the pain,” she said. A family member referred her to Dr. Steve Aydin of Manhattan Spine & Pain Medicine, a partner with National Spine & Pain Centers.
Dr. Aydin identified the cause of the headaches: occipital neuralgia. “I was incredibly encouraged that he was able to recognize my condition and explain to me what was causing my pain,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer and Dr. Aydin worked out a treatment plan that included injections, which deposit long-acting, anti-inflammatory medicine in the area of the irritated nerve; and radiofrequency neurolysis, which uses heat to desensitize specific nerves and interfere with their ability to transmit pain signals.
Today, Jennifer is back to an active lifestyle, and looking forward to returning to teaching when her youngest starts kindergarten. She is grateful for what she calls Dr. Aydin’s “kind and patient bedside manner” and his commitment to working with her until they found the unique combination of treatments and medications that worked.