Sudden On-Set Headaches

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Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 12/7/2009 8:10 PM (GMT -7)   
ok, so I figure you all have pretty much been through every pain there is out there, so hopefully someone has some idea. I've tried it all & have been to multiple doctors. I'm headed back to my PM again later this week & he actually asked me if I had any idea what it might be (so I'm trying to come up with something. :)

It feels just like a spinal headache but I haven't had any epidurals for months. I should know, I've had 3 of them (oops!).

Sudden onset, 4 weeks ago
Sharp pain at the back of my head (base of skull & back of neck)
Severe nausea & vertigo
Goes away when I lie down for a couple minutes or longer, but comes back when I sit or stand
Heat makes it way worse
Ice on the back of my head doesn't help, but on my eyes it does help (so strange, right?)
Caffeine doesn't help (that's different from the spinal headaches)
Slightly worse when I'm coughing, sneezing or blowing my nose
Lots of water doesn't help
Restricted diet doesn't help
Pretty much it's at a 7.5-8.5 all day long, until I lie down (8=nausea/vomiting, 9=can't talk, only cry)

My bp is normal, hr is normal, temp is normal... etc., etc.
I just got over a respiratory infection, but my allergist/ENT say that that wouldn't cause the headache, just that it might make it worse. I've finished the antibiotics & the headache is pretty much the same.

We tried facet injections last week (12 of them!) & they lasted for maybe an hour until I tried sitting up & that was it. Usually injections always help & last for about a week. So something is definitely different.

Anyone ever experience anything like this? I'm not asking you to diagnose me, just to give me some ideas to discuss with my PM at my office visit.

thanks!!
frances

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 12/7/2009 8:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Frances...

I'm SOOO sorry you are having these headaches... That is miserable for sure.

I get VERY similar headaches. Like you said...similar to a spinal headache but not. I, too, get facet injections to help with my all the pain back there... The only thing I notice, for me, is that I get these headaches when I am hypertensive...and you said that your blood pressure is normal...

I get headaches in the "exact" region you are describing - the occipital region of the skull. In fact, look up "occipital headaches"...does any of that sound like what's going on??

Well, it looks like I really don't have any answers for you... I'm sorry!! I hope you figure something out to help you, Frances. Like I said, headaches like these are the worst.

--Tina
Pain Issues: Cervical/Thoracic back pain; migraines; carpal tunnel syndrome; widespread joint/muscle pain, nerve pain in hands/arms/feet; I also have Dysautonomia/POTS; CFS/Fibromyalgia; Severe Hypertension; Hypothyroidism; Addison's Disease; Mixed (Obstructive/Central) Sleep Apnea - on Auto BiPap; etc etc

Meds: MS Contin (480mg daily); Dilaudid (8mg/3x day); Actiq (1200 mcgs/1x per day); Soma (3x day); Neurontin; Atenolol; Midodrine; Phenergan/Zofran/Reglan; Effexor and on the list goes...

Future Plans: Intrathecal Pain Pump; already completed trial; awaiting my decision for implantation


White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3611
   Posted 12/7/2009 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Frances

Does pushing in and upward just below your sternum do anything? does it help relieve your headache? You say coughing and sneeezing makes it worse? And laying flat helps? Usually a spinal headache is across the front and bothers your eyes. Sometimes headaches at the base of the skull and down the back of the neck can be caused by the muscles on the skull spasming. My father had that and Mayo Clinic gave him botox injections across the base of his skull and he got relief for over 8 months from them! The injections paralyzed the muscles and that kept them from contracting and spasming! But that was many many years ago!
I hope you can find some answers! Good Luck to You

White Beard

Chutz
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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 12/7/2009 11:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Frances,

I have no help to offer except a gentle hug. I do hope you find what's causing this very soon and can get some relief.

Warm and gentle hugs,
Chutz
The three grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. — Alexander Chalmers

(\o/)Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
(/|\)
Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.


opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 12/8/2009 12:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Frances-
Sounds very similar to my wife's. They found she has low lying tonsils at the base of her skull. She saw a neurologist who is sending her to a neuro surgeon to see if they are bad enough to require surgery to relieve the pressure. She gets nausea and vertigo pretty bad when they hit. She has tried maxalta, but it gives her chest pains and she had to stop using that.
Take care,
Bill

LLPLUV
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 12/8/2009 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Ok WOW when I read this it reminded me of my years with Migranes.
 
I got EXACTLY what you told us. For one thing I want to give you one very large cyber hug!!!!!  I think I would take the pain I have now over any kind of headache.
 
I started getting headaches at age sixteen that would lay me out for a week or two at a time.  My mother being a nurse felt it was from hormones.
 
Fast forward 8 yrs.  I was having such bad headaches that were just what you said but twisted after weeks into cluster headaches localized on the right.  I had so many MRI's and tests.
 
What they found. I had damage to the base of my skull dealing with a jumble of nerves.  I had been in a wreck when I was 15.  My doctors told me I didn't even need to have the wreck some people are just suseptable to this.  On the back of my neck close to the skull right side I have a sore spot if I push on it.  If I push on it I feel pressure in the head. (still to this day) I know when a headache is coming.  I will run to the medicane faster then Wily Coyote!yeah   Muscle spasms will make it come on faster.  I have a very simple routine that has put them at bay for over 15 yrs now.
 
I take two types of sleeping meds for overall muscle relaxing, plus lack of sleep affected my headaches.  I alway move slow and warm my muscles up in the AM.  But I always SLEEP that was my TRIGGER!!!!!  It could be something so small and harmless that can trigger these types of headaches.
 
I also found out my BP would spike and I didnt' know it.  I used to carry low blood pressure and pulse.  Found out even any kind of elevation triggered the headaches. thats where the sleep comes in.  MY BP was invisable never knew it had anything to do with it.  Now on the other hand I have chronic hypertension.
 
But I hope you find something like I did that is a major trigger.
 
Laurie
Kidney Diseases and Disorders
              Moderator
 
39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD

Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea

Hopefully NO MORE........


LLPLUV
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 12/8/2009 9:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I forgot....
 
It will sound strange but this accually helped me ALOT when I had the headaches.
 
Lavendar Oil, a few drops in a hot bath.  I would acually be somewhat pain free for a few hours. But its only a temp fix
 
Laurie
Kidney Diseases and Disorders
              Moderator
 
39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD

Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea

Hopefully NO MORE........


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13479
   Posted 12/8/2009 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Frances many of your symptoms describe the migraines that I and my two children get. Not much fun, any kind of a headache. I hope you can find out soon exactly what kind these are and get the proper tteatment.
 

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 12/8/2009 9:04 PM (GMT -7)   
oh my, so many responses. i hope i haven't overlooked any. if so, i'll re-read tomorrow morning when i'm feeling better & will be sure to respond.

Please know that I am grateful for ALL the responses.

For anyone who mentions issues with anatomy. I have Arnold Chiari malformation, but had a craniotomy & C1 lami several years ago. So I can relate to those headaches -- yes, they are almost identical to spinal headaches. In fact, the first I got a spinal headache I was sure the Chiari had somehow "returned". But that's not possible -- though I made them run every possible scan anyways.

This feels a bit different from a regular spinal headache. More like the time when I got an air bubble in me & got an immediate spinal headache. Uggh. That was not fun.

My bp is naturally low. Every doctor I've seen has checked my bp. It's not been higher than 100/70. It's not been lower than 85/60. I do get headaches when my bp drops to 70/40 or lower, but I'm nowhere close to that. I've never had a bp over 120/80 recorded in my life. Even when I am horribly stressed out beyond belief, my bp hasn't been higher than that. We checked my TSH & it's normal (I'm on synthroid).

No new meds except for the Z-pack 2 weeks ago for a mild respiratory infection. No dietary changes. No activity changes. We tried muscle relaxants about a month ago & those didn't help at all, so we've ruled out primary tension headache (my muscles are a bit tight, but they relax completely when I rest for about 10 minutes.) I also tried migraine meds, but they had no effect.

I love warm lavender baths. I even got some lavender bath salts, but the warm water makes my headache worse, plus the sitting is uncomfortable. I do have a soaker tub, but I still can't lie all the way flat so the headaches are just awful (though the rest of me feels better). :)

Oh, so frustrating. I will definitely ask about the botox injections. I know my PM's partner does them a lot. I think he does them sometimes. I'm not sure under what conditions my insurance will cover them (I know they cover them for certain diagnoses but not for others), but I will check into it for sure.

I will also ask more about migraines. I used to get them a lot before I had surgery, but haven't had a one since then. Still, I usually feel better when I was in a cold, pitch black, silent, odorless environment for a day or so. These evil little headaches have been non-stop for about a month straight. I can handle loud noises & strong smells with these headaches. Slightly dimmed lights are helpful, but I really don't care whether it's pitch black or not. So frustrating.

I'm sure I must have missed someone's advice. I really appreciate all the ideas. I will make a list to take with to my appt. No harm even in going over past ideas yet again. We've gotta find a way to get the pain under control. I need to get back to work. :(

frances

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 12/8/2009 11:19 PM (GMT -7)   
That's funny, Frances, I was going to mention the Chiari malformation, then forgot. I have very slight Chiari's (as well as a cyst on my pineal gland)... Anyway, glad you can rule that out.

Yes, the botox injections - that's a great idea to look into!

Anyway, I really hope you can find something to help you out, Frances. Take care, and keep us posted on how things go w/ your PM.
--Tina
Pain Issues: Cervical/Thoracic back pain; migraines; carpal tunnel syndrome; widespread joint/muscle pain, nerve pain in hands/arms/feet; I also have Dysautonomia/POTS; CFS/Fibromyalgia; Severe Hypertension; Hypothyroidism; Addison's Disease; Mixed (Obstructive/Central) Sleep Apnea - on Auto BiPap; etc etc

Meds: MS Contin (480mg daily); Dilaudid (8mg/3x day); Actiq (1200 mcgs/1x per day); Soma (3x day); Neurontin; Atenolol; Midodrine; Phenergan/Zofran/Reglan; Effexor and on the list goes...

Future Plans: Intrathecal Pain Pump; already completed trial; awaiting my decision for implantation


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13479
   Posted 12/9/2009 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Just hope you can get to the bottom of these h/a as they can be so debilitating if they desire. I have had migraines more years than I can remeber and cannot take any of the rx meds due to an allergy to a product in them. about all they can do is knock me out till I sleep it off. Its that or be put in the hospital, I have way too much of that crap under my belt because of those devils.

Do you currently see a neurologist? If so I hope you can get in soon. Take care. You have been doing so well frances I hate to see anything upset the applecart for ya. Generally when you take a nose dive its a bad one.
 

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 12/9/2009 2:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Susie. I can schedule an appt. with my neurologist, but I'm not sure there's much he can do. They can't run MRI's due to my SCS & CT's are like finding a needle in a haystack. He won't write me for any meds -- even stuff like Lyrica or Imitrex. He just tells me to talk to my PM. So my plan is to talk to my PM tomorrow & if he can't figure it out to ask him for an informal referral to the neurologist or someone who can actually run some tests to see what's going on.

The other thing I will probably try is scheduling an appointment with my eye doctor. I had much milder headaches earlier this year due to an abcess that got totally out of control. The pain is just ridiculous, but things are good other than that. I keep reminding myself to stay on my BCP & Synthroid every day regardless of how horrible I feel. I just don't want this to get crazy & screw up this temp job I have had for over 6 months now. It's decent, my supervisor is nice & they're very flexible, but I'm missing so much work & I try to go in sometimes, but end up running to the ladies room several times a day & can hardly see straight the rest of the time, so I've made some mistakes with my work (nothing really horrible & it probably bothers me more than my clients, but still...).

I just hate having this horrid headache all the time. I wake up & feel so great. I get out of bed & start my day & about 90 seconds later I'm just leveled by the pain. so aggravating.

thanks all for your kind thoughts. wishing you a peaceful day.

hugs,
frances
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