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In addition to frequent migraines and sinus headaches I also get a really horribly painful pain (I call it a headache as it does make my whole head ache) that starts right at the base of my skull where it joins my neck vertabrae where it dents up..hope that makes some sense, not sure how else to describe it. I don't know what it is though and really hope you can help me pin point it.
My neck itself does not hurt. My shoulders do not hurt. Its just right where the skull and neck join. But boy, talk about pain. It is excruciating. Debilitating. I can't function painful. As it progresses it moves forward. The pain migrates to my temples, both sides, but more so on the left, which coincidently enough is the side where I more often than not get my migraines when they start up. I also will feel it in my eyes.
I actually am dealing with this right now as I type it. I have probably 1/2 and hour left before I am a total waste of a person and can't do anything useful but curl up in a dark room (yes, just like with an M, dark cook quiet room and SLEEP help. So far all I have found to help this type is to sleep it off).
Oh, and it will move forward to my eyes. I get my fuzzy eye thing that I get with my M's. Its not spots like what an aura is, so not sure what it is. For me before an M sometimes and like now with the neck thing I get this sort of fuzz around the outside of my vision. Its not real um not hmm...can't think of the word I want to use...its just on the outside fringe sort of fuzzy outside if that makes any sense???? So maybe the neck thing also triggers my M's but I always take something heavy and knock myself out so it never makes it to an M, but I really would like to know what the neck pain thing is.
I did ask my doc about it. He said tension. He also mentioned, and I kid you not, being blessed up front with "mother nature's bounty" (his words!) if you know what I mean, contributes to it. Now I could see if it was like my actual neck and shoulder muscles hurting, and yes, sometimes they do. I get sore and all, but this is not that. This is inside my head but at the base of my skull/neck, it is PAIN. and not a muscle thing. Oh, and my FIL one time said it was my sinuses? In the back of my head? That was a new one.
Anyone else experience this or any any insight?????????? Or atleast any comforting words so I don't feel like I'm insane???
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Hey Island Girl -
You're not insane, as far as I can tell! No really, what you're saying makes perfect sense - I can't tell you what it is, I'm not a doctor and I'm only guessing but I have 3 thoughts:
1) it acts like a migraine, so maybe it is one! That is, light bothers you, sleep helps, you get visual disturbances with it (I'd read up on aura if I were you - there's a lot of variety in what people see in aura), and it moves up into your temples. If you take a look at a diagram of the trigeminal nerve, which is the one involved in migraine, it comes out of the brain stem, somewhat near the base of the skull; I often get migraines that start in my temples and seem to move into the base of the skull, that sounds kind of like the same thing backwards.
2) there's also a good article on here about sinus headaches, how they are often actually migraines! But there is a sinus in the center/back of the skull.
3) the muscles in the neck/shoulders become the fascia of the skull - that's why neck tension can lead to tension headaches, but tension headaches can morph into migraines.
Hope this helps! BTW, I've got a pretty good dose of "mother nature's bounty" as well, but I don't think that strains my neck or head. My neck pain comes from stress, lots of time at the computer, and not standing up straight!
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Have you had an MRI to rule out a Chiari malformation? They can trigger Migraines as well as have the hallmark of headaches that begin in the back of the head/neck area. A chiari is right there where your skull joins your spinal column.
I'm not trying to freak you out or anything, I'm just tossing another idea out there.
I have a malformation right there as well; my doctors are arguing over whether it's chiari or not. So I have to do some additional digging here in a month or so.
Are you treating these pains like Migraines? If so, is the tripan (if that is what you are taking) working on it?
It could very well be Tension-Type Headache. I get very similar experiences when I get a TTH, back of my head/skull starts to hurt, then it moves forward like a band across my forehead. Mine are a little different from what you describe because I get shoulder and neck pain as well.
If your doctor thinks it is TTH, did he give you anything for it? I use Skelaxin, and recently tried Midrin, although that did not work for me.
As your doctor how you are to treat these TTH's so that you can be more prepared. Sometimes I find the Tension Headaches harder and more painful since sometimes I'm not really sure where to start as far as treatment (with a Migraine, I know to take a triptan) and I am still trying to find something that works for me.
Here are links of the meds I am talking about:
"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to over come, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater then our suffering." - Ben Okri
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Back of the head at the base of the skull always makes me think of basilar migraine. Here's Teri's article on this type of migraine. It might be another idea to grill your doctor about.
Basilar Migraine Basics
Hi Island Girl,
So sorry you're in so much pain. Sounds miserable. I hope your doctor is being helpful in this process... sounds like you need some diagnostic help, in addition to careful med considerations.
Something I've found helpful in separating tension type pain from migraines is the hot shower. From what I understand, the shower shouldn't really help/stop a migraine, but it will usually help a tension headache. I don't know if it's definitive??
Chiari might be something to check out, as it can be really serious... but it usually has a host of other symptoms with it. The Chiari Institute is considered the experts in the field. They have GREAT videos.
I'd really suggest keeping a detailed headache diary if you're feeling confused about what exactly is going on... see if you can figure out any patterns. That might clue you into a trigger (and hint to migraines) or other things that are aggravating things.
Leeloo, I'm curious how you're being diagnosed and whatnot...?? It's something I've kept on the table, because it often isn't found on your average MRI (they do special ones there) and you can also have Chiari 0 (instead of 1 or 2) which means that although you don't have herniated tonsils, your CSF flow is being hindered and the back of your brain is being pressed on by your skull. I have Ehlers-Danlos, which is now being linked to Chiari and tethered cord more than they originally thought.
Right now the brain problem has to take a backseat to the PFO study. I had an MRI a few months ago and my cerebellar tonsils are hanging out of my skull, but there seems to be no impaired CSF flow; it looks like there are no syrinxes either, but the MRI did not look at the spinal column. However, I meet many of the other symptoms of Chiari....And I know from some readings that even smaller Chiari can cause problems? My Migraine specialist said it would not develop further or anything like that. I originally had the MRI because I have been falling down a lot with no discernable reasons. I also have a lot of ataxia and coordination problems, plus the headaches that begin in the back of my head.
In January I will consult a neurologist for another opinion...I don't know. I feel like maybe there is something more there they are dismissing but I'll wait to see how the PFO study turns out before pursuing this further.
Thanks for your suggestions; I downloaded the MMC headache diary so I will start that as soon as the PFO study is over; right now I keep an electronic diary for that. If you have any other sources I'd be interested in looking! Thank you!
Thanks for all the insight ladies...definitly a lot to take to my doctor. Right now I'm just seeing a regular doc (internal med) but hopefully once we make some job decisions we'll either a. move and then I'll get a referral to a specialist or b. ask my internist for are referral to one. I looked around on this site and found some clinics recommended in Fl, all in Miami and 1 in Tampa, so quite far since I'm already having to travel overseas for all my check ups so insurance would be real pain (I hate my insurance!). Hopefully in the very near future though.....
Until then I have a follow up in Sept. with my doc and I will bring all this to him to discuss.
Visit my blog with updates on my Topamax journey: http://lifeasiknowit.myblogsite.com/
I know its been awhile since your post but once I read it, I had to write. I have the exact same problem. Been suffering on and off for 10 years with migraines. Last year and a half been having more pain in the back of my head instead of just one side. Went to the doc in tears. He said no way was tension headache causing this much pain. At that point I didnt know migraines could be in the back, I always thought either side, or both. I took an imitrex shot and it was gone. As far as the sinus thing. Ive been told that too. There are sinus cavities back there and along the sides of your head. I just went to a pain specialist and he did not listen to one thing i needed to say. Based on the fact that I told his nurse my neck was sore (I told her from sleeping wrong) cause its not always the neck, he walked in the room and said I wasnt having migraines and gave me a anti-inflammatory cream to rub on my head and to go to p/t for a problem with some kinda joint/tendon thing. I know that is sore sometimes but I do have migraines too. He didnt want to hear anything else. So waste of time there. Also my neuro told me that people like us can get any type of headache, like sinus, tension, stress, being in sun, hot weather, what ever causes any type of headache can and most likely will trigger a migraine. For me sinus are the worst to trigger migraines.
Unfortunately, as you probably already know, the majority of people who think they're suffering from sinus headaches are actually experiencing Migraine attacks:
Sinuses Giving You a Headache? It’s Probably a Migraine
Here's a great illustration of the placement of the trigeminal nerve that I think you'll find interesting. It explains why our eyes, sinus area, jaw and even our teeth hurt during a Migraine:
Pathways of Migraine
I can't remember if I've given you this article to look at yet. If so, forgive the repeat, I've got a Migraine today, you know how that goes:
Types of Migraines and Headaches
I hope these help!
[/I]Very painful, right at the base of my skull...any ideas???[/I][/I]In addition to frequent migraines and sinus headaches I also get a really horribly painful pain (I call it a headache as it does make my whole head ache) that starts right at the base of my skull where it joins my neck vertabrae where it dents up..[/I]
Guys, this is called Occipital Neuralgia. I was diagnosed with it a few months ago after having it for several years and thinking it was part of my migraines. It's been untreated for so long that my shoulders are upper back are in pain as well. Dr. Pamela Blake diagnosed me, and thank god for her. The pain of this disorder triggers my migraines on an almost constant basis, yet the neuro I had been seeing had not figured it out and just wanted to keep trying different drugs. Look it up and tell your dr's to research. Pain specialists can treat it. I have a anesethesiologist doing my injections so I don't have to drive to Houston as much. And it's well worth the pain of the needles.
Hello and welcome to our forum family krfesle! Our goal is to provide everyone with the information and support that we all need to manage our Migraines and/or headaches. To that end, we consider this a “safe harbor,” where nobody tries to sell us anything, and we all use “family-friendly” language so parents are comfortable letting their children read the forum with them.
Please take a few minutes to review our policies and guidelines along with the other information in the START HERE folder. For information about Migraines, a good article to begin with is Learning About Migraines - Where to Start
I'm glad you were able to finally get a diagnosis and treatment that appears to be helping you.
It's important to keep in mind, though, that occipital neuralgia isn't necessarily what the rest of us have. With some of us, pain in that area is simply part of our migraine pattern. Or it can be related to basilar migraine. Only a qualified doctor can make a definite diagnosis, case by case.
I have these headaches. My old neuro seems to think they are more tension. I don't know if I believe him but I don't know that it matters. I used to do cranio-sacral therapy and when the swelling wasn't God awful I could rest on a still point inducer (http://www.amazon.com/body-back-company-Still-Inducer/dp/B000P9BTCY) on my occipital condyles for 15-20 and some of the tension would release. When the swelling was extreme this would just cause too much pain. You have to lay on a solid surface like the floor- there isn't enough rigidity on the bed and it would fall. Moist heat or cold packs would sometimes help too. Cranio-sacral therapy might be worth a shot though if you could find a PT that knows how to do it. One of my friends used to get some kind of gel from our neuro that was used for swelling (off label use of course) in arthritis patients that seemed to help her but I was never so lucky to get some myself. I've found that the Head On or some of the other menthol products can sometimes give me some relief in lieu of other solutions. The sootheaway system (look under the Medication and Treatments tab for a small discussion forum) might be another option with the occipital pad. I've been debating about getting one for me. Good luck!
I have the same head pain issues you described. For many years I was treated with migraine meds, but when that treatment no longer provided relief and I began having not lack of a better term short-circuiting on the left side of my face, I was sent for an MRI and CAT/scan. Diagnosis - trigeminal neuralgia. So that is now under control, however, when a headache/migraine strikes, it does so at the base of my skull on the left side. The Physical Therapist I've been seeing says it's normal for pain the relocated and manifest itself in another weak area. Since I have degenerative disc disorder and several discs in my neck have collapsed onto each other, the base of my skull is where the pain sets in.
My main reason for writing you though is not to rehash my medical condition, but to tell you that I haven't had the gift of Mother Natures Bounty since I had my double mastectomy in 2004 and yet head/skull pain started after that. I would venture to guess the doctor who spoke those words to you was a male. My male surgeon said I would feel no phantom pain, but guess what - I do!
Moderator's Note - This post was edited to remove content considered to be medical advice. We must never give medical advice here.
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