A few weeks ago Shawn Nelson was in the dark sitting completely motionless, hoping against hope that the driving pain would subside. The lights in his room were off. There was complete silence, but still the pain was mind numbing and relentless.
A migraine headache on its own is bad enough, but Nelson was experiencing them consecutively, going to bed at night with one and waking up with another. It was unending pain rolling through his head like a freight train.
Over the counter aspirin or pain relievers did not help in the least. Nelson had to make a trip to the hospital.
"They gave me some medicine through an IV and it helped me out a whole lot," said Nelson. "I was having them in succession one after the other. I got medicine and got treated for it and feel fine now."
Nelson was able to return to the practice field for the first time in three weeks on Monday and is full go moving forward. The rookie tight end is all too familiar with migraines as he's been dealing with them for the past 10 years. His mother had migraines and it appears he suffers from a similar affliction.
"I've had them before," he said. "I know how to deal with them. So it's something I had to work through."
But Nelson believes the neck sprain he suffered while he was blocking on a running play against the Jets in Week 6 is what triggered this latest round of migraines.
For those that have never had migraines it might be difficult to understand why a professional football player can't manage the pain. But when it feels like a vice is squeezing your entire skull, cracking helmets with an opponent on Sunday is the last thing you want to do.
"Some people get injuries and some people's bodies react in different ways," said Nelson. "From the outside looking in some players' afflictions look really small. But you won't know unless you've had migraines yourself, especially the way I get them. They are unreal. I can't even move."
Nelson wanted to make sure his latest bout with migraine headaches were gone before trying to step back out on the field.
"You've got to take care of your body and make sure you're healthy," he said. "If you come back and you're not healthy you're not doing anything but hurting the team. So I made sure everything was right and stayed in great condition so when I got back on the field I could help my team."
Monday's practice went well for Nelson and more importantly brings Buffalo's tight end numbers up to three as the Bills precariously entered the last two games with just Derek Fine and Jonathan Stupar healthy on their 53-man roster.
"I'm great," Nelson said. "Everything is fully gone. My first day back at practice felt good. It felt good to be back out there with the team."
And though it might take Nelson a day or two to get back up to speed, it seems like a small task to the rookie in comparison to being free of the migraines that tormented him the past few weeks.
"It's like going to the Super Bowl when the migraines go away," said Nelson. "It was a big relief. I feel like a million bucks. I'll be good for the rest of the season."