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Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Worrysome Headaches Almost Daily for a Week


 avp4 - Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:59 pm

I am a 22 year old female. No previous history of headaches, active (about 4 cardio sessions per week), full time college student. Only medication I'm on is birth control.

In the past few months, I started getting headaches here and there. In the past week, however, I've gotten several, almost daily headaches of unprecedented intensity. It usually feels like pressure on the top or back of my head, towards the right side.

A particularly bad episode was 2 or 3 nights ago, when I had pressure all over my head that kept me from going to sleep. 2 rapid release Tylenols helped it go away. For the past couple of days, I've gotten similar pressure/pain in the back of my head on the right, along with a feeling of stiffness in my neck.

I have also been having gastrointestinal issues for the past few months, and I am not sure whether or not they are related. I've had frequent abdominal pains mostly in my right central/lower quadrant and bouts of constipation. I went to see a physician about this 2 months ago and she prescribed Miralax to ease the constipation, which helped for about a month before the pains returned. In the same week that he headaches intensified, I started having mild nausea in the mornings or after meals. A few times, I felt extremely weak/faint, especially after a bowel movement. I'm getting an ultrasound of the abdomen done in a few days to look further into the GI problems.

I also had a blood test done, which came back normal, except with a low glucose level of 57. This is what made me think the headaches may be related, because that first really intense headache came within 30 minutes of eating a meal and a bar of chocolate. I've also been paranoid that alcohol yielded a similar reaction.

What puzzled me are the subsequent headaches of the past few days. They are pretty much confined to the right side of my head, sometimes radiating to what feels like my sinuses (behind/above the nose). My neck has been feeling very stiff for the past two days, along with my jaw at times. And not to add yet another factor, but my gums have felt swolen/irritated as well (wisdom teeth coming in?). I haven't taken any medication for any of this, and the headaches seem to be almost gone at times, but as soon as I think about it, they seem to return. Is there a chance these ailments are related to the gastro problems, or should I get the headaches looked into?

I hate the uncertainty, because I've been anxious and on edge about all of this for the past few weeks. I've gone to the ER with what turned out to be a bout of anxiety before, so worrying about the uncertainty of my health has been making me feel even worse. I haven't felt like myself for weeks and all this stress is starting to interfere with my classes, two jobs and activity. Can anyone shed some light on any possible causes of these symptoms or how may be related? Thank you in advance.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:10 pm

User avatar Hello -

While your headaches sound a good deal like classic migraines (one-sided, severe, with nausea), and the stomach pains could even be GI migraine (a fairly rare variation on the theme, but it does happen), the stiff neck concerns me a little. While it doesn't sound as though you're acutely ill with anything, headached with a stiff neck does deserve a doctor's attention. It's probably nothing (except migraine, most likely), but with the added neck symptoms it does cloud the picture a little and I'd strongly suggest a neurological workup. I realize you've had some anxiety problems in the past and even this can of course cause neck stiffness due to tension, and while I don't want you to be unduly concerned (the stiff neck thing is just a general sign that is considered a potential flag, usually doesn't mean anything), but I do want you to take care of yourself when it's appropriate, and if only to ease your own mind and perhaps find a better way to manage the headaches, I'd see a doctor. That's the only way you're going to get to the bottom of this.

Good luck, and please do follow up with us here.

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