Headache-Adviser.com

Headache With Numbness

by Kerri
(New Orleans, Louisiana)

Migraine Headache Symptoms

Migraine Headache Symptoms

I have always had headaches but this time my fingers are numb along with the headache. It is the left pinky finger mostly and the ring finger next to it. What causes the numbness?

Answer:

Hi Kerri,

There are many things that can cause numbness during a headache phase. Many migraineurs have some anxiety especially if the headache is severe and anxiety often presents as numbness. This type of numbness however is usally at all the finger tips not just one or two fingers.

A new onset of neurological symptoms(numbness, tingling, weakness) is a bit of a concern. This indicates a change in your headache profile. When I see a patient like this, usually I will order an MRI of the brain even if their physical exam is normal. You see, this is one of those "neurological red flags" I have spoken of in other pages on this site. One of the pages that discusses this is emergency headaches.

Of course the reason for the MRI is to just be sure everything is normal and to rule out the remote possibility of aneurysms and tumors.

You should know that numbness and tingling in the fingers is common during a headache and can signal that headaches are worsening due to an increase in the number one cause of migraine..stress!



Please call your doctor tomorrow and ask to be seen soon. Tell them you have new symptoms that you have never had before.

The best of luck to you..

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C
Physician Assistant

Comments:

Chiari I headaches

Hi Mary Kay,
I just came across this site and was reading almost all of the posts. I'm 48 and suffered with headaches/migraines since my early 20's. Last year, the headaches worsened and I had horrific neck/shoulder pain. I finally had an MRI of my brain and entire spine and was diagnosed with chiari malformation and syringomyelia. I was absolutely stunned, as #1 I never heard of either of these disorders, and #2 was told I had to have decompression surgery because the syrinx in my cervical spine had enlarged over 3 months and my neurological status was getting worse (ataxia, nystagmus). I don't see anything on your site about this "rare" (which really isn't as rare as the medical community notes). What are your thoughts/comments. My surgery was in June of this year, and sadly I still suffer with headaches almost daily. (8 hour operation - decompression, laminectomy of C1 and duraplasty. They also found severe arachnoditis.
I would love to hear your thoughts.

Answer:

Hi Janine,

A condition such as yours needs a good headache specialist. Please ask your neurologist or search the net to find one in your area.

If you find one, I would start out with 2-3 days of IV infusions of steroid (1 hour each) followed by a few weeks of steroid. You should also be on amitryptiline starting at 10mg and work it up to about 50, perhaps a bit more.

The sooner you get treatment the better..the longer it waits the more difficult to treat.

Good Luck,
Mary Kay

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Pain and numbness in my head

by Linda
(England)

Hi

I get a lot of headaches, often that go to the right side of my face! my face feels kinda like its coming back to life after a hefty punch numbness I suppose, it can last all day, I crash out at night also for hours sometimes. I tapped the back of my head explaining how my partner fell the other day not hard but it gave me an instant headache and this right hand side of my face went numb again feels like my brain is shrinking kinda pins and needles

if I do not take tablets it last all day until I really rest that's when I crash out! I do take tablets for blood pressure and am 59 next month I am cuddly not fat!

Recently I was working and had a pain just happened all down my right arm it lasted about a minute or so but my hand went weak as I was trying to write, it came and the just went..

Linda

Answer

Hi Linda,

Severe one sided headaches that are throbbing and disabling sounds like migraine headache symptoms. Numbness on the face and one arm during a bad headache is extremely common during a migraine. As long as the symptoms resolve when the headache is over, we don't worry about it too much.

Tapping the back of the head could have touched off a migraine if you unknowingly hit the occipital nerve. This nerve runs up the back of the head, but also feeds back into the base of the brain to the area where migraines begin. Try not to do that again!

What is a little more concerning is the pain in the arm and weakness. Without a headache, this could have been a TIA or transient ischemic attack. These are stroke symptoms that occur suddenly but completely disappear in a few minutes to a few hours. Since you have hypertension and may also have migraine, both of these put you at higher risk for stroke.

If you have not discussed all of the above with your doctor I would encourage you to make an appointment to do so. Please tell them about the episode of weakness in the hand.

Good luck..

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Facial Numbness

by Carol K.
(Scottish Borders)


I am 59 yrs old and believe I am now post menopausal. for the last year i have had what has been diagnosed as Hemi-plegic Migraine. Now taking 40 mgs amitriptyline as a preventative and it is effective in blocking the headaches.

Why though do I have face prickling, numbing over areas of face and tongue, (rather like a dentists anesthetic when you have a filling) almost every day and sometimes many times a day?? My GP cannot help and seems to have no explanation. As I am a full time care giver (solo) to my learning disabled son, I am anxious over an increased stroke risk.

Can you advise?

Carol K.



Answer:

Hi Carol,

You do not mention whether or not your doctor has ordered any studies. If not I would recommend getting an MRI with contrast to rule out any pathologies that could be causing this problem.

Episodic numbness and tingling on the face can have several causes.

With a lifestyle such as yours (single mom, caregiver= stress!) anxiety may play a role, especially with a history of migraine. Take a look at the anxiety symptoms to see if this fits you.

If not, then other things should be considered. Although TIA's can cause tingling and numbness, I doubt that you are having these all day long. TIA's are single events.

Hypocalcemia (low calcium) can cause these symptoms as can lack of vitamin B12. Your doctor can test for these.

One last thing to consider, since you live in Scotland or very near, is MS or multiple sclerosis. I am not try to frighten you as you are a little outside the age range, but MS is prevalent in Scotland. Again, an MRI could help here.

Finally, if you have not seen a neurologist, I would suggest finding one. A specialist such as this could probably give you a more definitive diagnosis.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

COMMENTS:

Thank you so much for your response. I should have said that i have, in fact, no history of migraine or headaches. This is a new onset. Your suggestions re testing are interesting as I am in fact a strict vegan, and have been for many years, quite possible that I have deficiencies. I will pass this request for tests to my ~GP. thank you again, Regards Carol K.

P.S. MS testing was advised, I am afraid i could not get into the MRI scanner being very claustrophobic, and no alternative test offered.

Answer:

Hi Carol,
By all means follow up with your GP..if you could find and "open" MRI that may give some answers. The hole in those is as big as a CT scanner so no claustrophobia.

Mary Kay

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Morning Fuzziness

by Peggy W.
(Wyoming)

I have a fuzziness in my head worse in the morning after I wake up, no real headache. I am diabetic and take metformin, junovia, htc, simvastatin,and some vitimans.

I have had 4 spells occurring in the mornings where I get real fuzziness in my head and very ancy and dizzy, I need to lay down and orange juice will help. I have been to doctors and they cant tell me why my head is always fuzzy, it is hard to think.

I have had an mri and ekg everything looked good. What could it be?

Answer:

Hi Peggy,

Generally I answer only headache questions here but since your question is in the realm of neurology I will try to help.

One of the biggest clues you give is that orange juice helps. You sound like you are having classic symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Believe it or not this does happen with diabetics if they swing too far the other way in blood sugar levels.

Monitor your blood sugars when this happens. Write down the results and show them to your doctor. You may have to have your medications adjusted.

If you continue to have cognitive difficulties and dizziness after medication adjustments I would consider seeing a neurologist for further work up.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-

Comments:

but when this happens i test my blood sugar and it is high over 200 why would that be low blood sugar, could it be because my blood sugar is to high?

Answer:

Hi Peggy,

Cognitive problems can happen with very high blood sugars but usually not in the 200 range. At this point I really think you need to see a neurologist and have more of a work up done.

Good luck...
Mary Kay

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Headaches, Dizziness and Nausea

by Joey
(NJ)

I am a 29 year old male, never had headaches until 3 months ago.
The headaches are constant, everyday with extreme dizziness where it feels like I'm on a boat. I also have slight pains in my abdominal area which brings nausea. Ive been to several doctors and no one can figure it out. My MRI is normal, ENT is normal and my eyes stems are strong. what can this be - I'm running out of things to rule out. can it be stress?

Joey

Answer:

Hi Joey,

If you have been to several doctors I will assume one of them was a neurologist since an MRI was ordered. But was this person a board certified headache specialist? It might be worthwhile to find one who could sort this out.

Two different types of headaches could be causing the problem. Migraines do have vertigo (room spinning) and dysequilibrium (just got off a boat) associated with them. Sometimes these symptoms are worse than the migraine. Is there a family history of headaches or migraines? If so you might have inherited the gene for migraine, which can kick in at any time in your life.

Many times we see people who have significant spasming in the neck causing cervicogenic vertigo and cervicogenic headache. This type of headache also causes dysequilibrium.

Try getting to a headache specialist and good luck.

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Does the scenerio above sound like you? If not, or if you think you need more information please read about different types of headaches to find out which type of headache you are experiencing.

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