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Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Chronic Headache for 1 year


 jf591867 - Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:08 pm

Hello,

I am 22 years old and have been in good health my entire life. However, I've had a chronic headache for about one year. It all started one night randomly...I thought I was getting sick. However months later I still had a bad headache. It's never gone away. At times its better than others...but has definitely gotten worse over the past year. I've always noticed that my hands shake a little, especially when the headaches are bad. I also feel shaky inside...like I had too much caffiene at times. I get cold and hot at the same time, and anxious too. The h/a's are concentrated in my forehead, back of my head, and neck (but mostly on the left side of my head). Sometimes I just feel bad..like something isnt right in my body. The headaches seem to come from the neck and eating something often helps ease the pain a bit and help with the shakyness. However, the h/a is usually always severe at one point in the day. They are less severe in the morning, but still there. In addition, exercise seems to help them a bit, but they always come back with the same intensity if I sit still fortoo long. Otherwise I don't have any other symptoms....so it's so hard to diagnose.

I've had an MRI and CT scan to rule out anything serious...all came back normal except for a small curviture of the spine. I had my eyes checked, blood tests done for mono, lymes, meningitis, and thyroid. In addition, I've been on antiobiotics, migraine meds, steroids, had acupuncture, cortizone and novicane shots, spinal manilupations from a chiro, muscle relaxors, anti-imflamatorys, and tried various anti-headache meds. (topomax etc).

Right now I am seeing a nutritionist who said my urine levels were off...and thinks something is up with my nutrition, perhaps hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. I'm currently taking gluclose suppliments and Angelica Root (herbal stuff)...no relief. The only thing that helps is fioricet. IB profin doesn't do a thing. Any clues as to what this sounds like? I cant get rid of these headaches. They are severe and never go away. HELP! My doctor thinks it's a muscle contraction of some kind as it stems from my neck...but there's no way! Please help in any way you can. I am going to a headache clinic in October...hopefully they might be able to help.

Thanks very much! -J
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:50 am

User avatar Hi,

I hope you are feeling better by now.

What you describe does fit the picture of tension type headache which can indeed be caused by a muscle cramp in the neck. It's good to know that other more serious causes have been excluded.
Features of tension headaches include:
* diffuse, steady, band like - tightness around head, can present as frontal, temporal or occipital (back of the head).
* mainly in the evening (It is usually worse towards the end of the day).
They are differentiated from migraines by the absence of a family history or aura symptoms.

Other causes of chronic headaches include:
# Depression
# Cervical spondylosis
# Drugs

Other causes of pain in the back of the head:
Recurring occipital headache can occur due to
* Occipital root headache due to compression of occipital nerve root by conditions in neck vertebrae (spinal column). May be unilateral. Tingling sensation over skin of neck. Tender on one side of neck C2-3 facet joint. X-ray.
* Occipital neuralgia: greater occipital nerve is injured/inflamed as it leaves back of neck.
* Cervical spondylosis and other vertebral body disorders tend to cause pain in the back of the neck. This would have shown on your CT/MRI.
* Pain may be referred to the back of the neck.
* Subarachnoid hge may be worse in the occipital region. This would have been ruled out by your CT/MRI.

Were you able to reach a diagnosis at the headache clinic? Please keep us updated.

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