Headache-Adviser.com

Mild chronic headache

by Cyndie
(Danbury, CT)

I am a 44 year old mom of 2 youngsters. I developed a mild headache around 3 wks ago which felt as if it were 4 or 5 inches into my right ear canal. I also feel it behind and around right eye, down upper part of right side of nose and in the very rear of my skull-right side. The nature of the pain is almost a gentle throbbing, intermittent. Other symptoms are ear ringing, malaise and mild nausea at times. I think nausea may be anxiety as this is quite common for me when I'm very upset/concerned about something. I have only taken ibuprofen about 5 or 6 times since this began and only when discomfort escalated. This worked. Usually all this pain is very mild.

I have appt. w/internist next week. I've become increasingly concerned over this so I went to ER 2 days to get their impressions and to see if they would order MRI. Dr. performed "neurological" test (finger pointing, balance, etc) and said these do not present like "tumor" headaches. Though he felt MRI would likely be normal, he ordered it to also help alleviate my concerns. I still have to go to my internist first, so I'm still waiting very anxiously. At times, I literally feel like I'm getting sick from the anxiety of not knowing. It's getting hard for me to focus on anything else.

Headaches are not common for me..only on ocassion w/period, but treat successfully w/ibuprofen. I'm in good health otherwise- normal weight, BP, physicals every year. I stopped smoking for good this past May after 20 years.
Thank you so much,
Cyndie

Answer:

Hi Cyndie,

Thanks for the complete history. The clue here is headaches with your menstrual cycle which is really menstrual migraine, just not severe.

The more recent headache that you describe could be a migraine as sometimes pain at the base of the skull can trigger a migraine. The fatigue, ringing in the ear and nausea are also consistent with migraine.

The ER doctor was right, this does not sound like a tumor but an MRI was warranted simply because you had a "change" in your headache profile.

Most migraineurs (even those with mild episodic migraine) have anxiety to some degree. Those pesky serotonin receptors in the brain are responsible for migraine, anxiety, depression and nausea (sound familiar?).

Talk to the doctor about possible treatments. If you a generally a healthy person then a triptan might be a good choice for you, something such as Imitrex or Maxalt.

Good luck,
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Rythmic pain lastin 5 seconds, every minute or so.

by PALLINE PLUM
(RICHMOND, IN)

Greater Occipital Nerve

Greater Occipital Nerve

THIS STARTED LAST NIGHT AND WAS QUITE INTENSE FOR SEVERAL HOURS, NOW MUCH LESS SO.

SEEMS LIKE GAS PAINS , IN THAT IT STARTS IN THE UPPER LEFT BACK PART OF MY HEAD, AND THEN MOVES DOWN THE BACK OF MY HEAD . IT LASTS ABOUT 5 SECONDS AND THEN REOCCURS ABOUT 40-50 SECONDS LATER.

I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THIS. I HAD HOPED SLEEP WOULD TAKE CARE OF IT, BUT IT SEEMS TO HAVE CONTINUED THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT.

SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Answer

Hi Palline,

What you are describing sounds like spasmotic pain. As the muscles of the scalp go into spasm, (for whatever reason), they tend to "grab" the superficial nerves. This creates a sharp stabbing pain that lasts for a few seconds until the spasm is over.

The nerves feedback the pain down the major nerve on each side of the back of the head, the greater occipital nerve.

Causes? Head injuries, even mild whiplash can cause it. Over exercising too, including lifting weights or something heavy.

If you are not having any other symptoms it will probably resolve on its own. If it continues, see your doctor as a gentle anti-spasmotic might help, as will a hot shower and an anti-inflammatory such as Motrin or Aleve.

Good Luck!

Mary Kay Betz, MS RPA-C


COMMENTS:

IT GRADUALLY EASED OFF AND DISAPPEARED AFTER ABOUT 14 HOURS. SO I AM REASSURED.

THANKS FOR A DETAILED AND PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION!
PALLINE

No problem..glad I could help.

Mary Kay

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