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Headache since April '07 w/ inflamed blood vessels in temple
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Headache since April '07 w/ inflamed blood vessels in temple

I'm a 29-year-old male.  I've had headaches since April 07 that have primarily been located in my right temple.  Also, in my right temple are inflamed blood vessels and I can see my pulse.

The headaches are dull and constant, from the time I wake up until I go to sleep, as is the inflammation (a vein is also inflamed under my right eye).  I had an MRI of my brain and it turned out normal and so the GP just said migraines and prescribed Imitrex, which after 500 bucks for 20 pills did nothing.  It was suggested I go to a Neurologist, but after paying for the MRI and Imitrex, there's no more money for this.    I'm looking for suggestions as to what is going on ... can this really be migraine?  A constant headache (basically every second) and inflamed blood vessels without sensitivity to light or nausea?  I've changed my diet, excluding anything that is considered a migraine trigger and I jog 20-30 minutes every day, use Yoga and meditation,  b-2, feverfew, magnesium glycinate, fish oil and still can't stop these headaches....what can I do?
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Avatar_m_tn
Just to add, I've been to the dentist and was cleared of any problems (TMJ, etc) and went to an opthamologist and was cleared of any eye problems.  I havent been to an ENT since the headaches began, but a year earlier I was there for unexplained ear pain but he found nothing and eventually the pain went away on its own.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I wish I could edit things, as I have more information that might be relevant...

A few months prior to these headaches, I was having problems with my left calf ... it felt stiff.  The doctor assumed it was a pinched nerve and prescribed meloxicam.  That did nothing after a couple of months, so I stopped using it.  A few weeks afterward, my calf was fine.  A few weeks after that headaches started.  Around this time (late March, early April), I was moving, taking on a job I didnt want, losing a girl I didnt want to lose... so there was obviously some stress....Anyway, thanks for your help.

-Joe
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

You have mentioned of inflamed vessels in the temples and near the eyes. Has your physician noted these as well? This may still be a bout of migraines given that your scans came back normal.However, a complete work up is still needed .You may discuss with your physician if a referral to a rheumatologist may be beneficial at this point. What i am thinking is your calf pain and the inflamed vessels may be related.This is just an insight that may need to be evaluated.

Continue your relaxation exercises. Do keep us posted regarding your physician's advice.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the reply, as I never get replied to.

I've seen two GPs about this, because I wanted a second opinion as I was hoping to avoid having to pay for an MRI ... both Doctors knew about the calf pain and the inflamed blood vessels and both dismissed the two things as being related ... and basically ignored the inflamed blood vessels totally, which I still don't understand.  After the MRI, both advised seeing a Neurologist and that was that, they wouldn't do anything else.  At this point, what I want is that inflammation to go away but constant application of ice and use of NSAIDs aren't doing anything.  I can't go to a doctor anytime soon as I've got no money for that and based on my experience, I see it as more wasted money.  So far, I've spent more than 1500 on this.  Thanks again, Joe.
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Avatar_m_tn
One extra piece of information for you Dr Lacuesta, when I first noticed calf pain I also noticed a hard, raised blood vessel on the top of my foot.  I was concerned it was a superficial clot, but the doctor said it was just a pronounced vein ... Anyway, 1 year later it just disappeared.  Might be irrelevant....

The most important bit, though, is what can I do on my own to help this along?  I can't go to a doctor any time soon, rheumatologist or otherwise.  Obviously you can't say ... take this ____, but if there's anything you can steer me toward, that would be great.  I don't think yoga is doing anything (I've been doing it since July) and things like massage therapy and aromatherapy have also netted nothing.

Some more to add, for anyone stumbling on this thread...

I think adding magnesium glycinate (some form other than oxide) has helped, along with jogging daily ( I look at it in terms of laps around the block, NOT minutes, b/c when I look at it through minutes I get irritated and don't jog every day), and changing my diet avoiding chocolate, msg, citrus, etc (you can do a search for migraine triggers) has HELPED.  Obviously the headaches and inflammation are still there, but I can't go to a doctor again so if you're in the same situation, start with those three things.

-Joe
Kent, OH
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi Joe,

You have mentioned your own little and practical ways of dealing with this. You have mentioned of exercises which I feel is very apt considering that your concern has something to do with blood vessels. Continue your exercises. At night , when lying down , elevate your legs to improve circulation and venous return of blood. This will prevent blood from pooling in the extremities. Avoid taking analgesics or NSAIDS when the pain may be relieved by rest or a cold compress. With regards to the blood vessels, are these warm and red ? Inflammation presents wih warmth, pain, swelling and redness.Are these present? Observe your symptoms as this may not require urgent consult. When you have the resources, just have a rheumatologist take a look so you will  be guided properly. Avoid known triggers of the headaches.

I hope i can help you more.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again, Dr Lacuesta.

The blood vessels are not warm or red.

What I see is a vein under my eye, and veins radiating from my temple to above my eyebrow, and another vessel that I assume is an artery (its not blue, I see no color to it) which is raised and I notice and can feel it from my temple up to my hair line.  The veins have no feel to them, their just noticeable but this other vessel, the one I assume is an artery has the feeling of a piece of spaghetti.

I suspect that its this artery which is causing my problems, and that the veins are visible only because of the artery underneath.  Nothing is painful to the touch, so I assume no clot, but this is the primary site of the dull, ache.  If I were not 29, it would seem to be temporal arteritis to me.  The MRI w/ contrast of my brain I assume would rule out a localized infection?

So you think I should see a rheumatologist versus a headache specialist or neurologist ... The last Doctor I saw, he had my MRI on his desk for 3 days, never returned my calls asking what the result was, so I had to drive to his office (twice actually) and ask what the heck was going on.  Your opinion is a bit more valued to me than his.

Thanks and thanks,
Joe
Kent, OH
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Avatar_m_tn
Being able to talk to someone knowledgeable, Dr Lacuesta, about this makes my head feel a bit better, and calms things a little for myself, so instead of just typing thanks, I wanted to type that out as my thanks.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

You are welcome of course.

It is good that you brought up temporal arteritis. Yes, i never considered it as a differential knowing that you are only 29. Your physician's may not feel that any further tests are indicated at the moment. However, I understand that a person  will never pursue something unless he  feels right about his current state of being. Now, that is being philosophical.

A rheumatologist's opinion may just be able to give another perspective to your condition.The prominent veins may be nothing to be so concerned about but i do believe relief only comes when you have been carefully assessed and properly evaluated wholistically. Get a consult and listen to your physician's opinion. If the findings do not show anything , then that will be an utmost source of relief.

Migraines may still be a primary differential in your case (minus the prominent vessels).Just open your lines of communication with your physician.Each of their opinion matters.
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Avatar_m_tn
Just as an update and I am looking for feedback:

I contacted one of the physicians I saw and asked for something for the inflammation.  I was prescribed a 6 day treatment cycle for methylprednisolone.  I thought things had improved very slightly and wanted to continue the treatment since we are talking about 1 year old inflammation, so how is 6 days going to get rid of that?  Anyway, the Doctor would not prescribe any more, and repeated the need to see a neurologist ... I have enough money to visit one (though just for the visit, not for any tests) ... so do I go to a neurologist or ignore him and see a rheumatologist.  I asked this to the physician .. actually, through the physicians nurse so who knows if she really asked ... but as I said, neurologist recommendation was repeated.  I told him my primary concern was the inflamed blood vessels ... that doesn't sound like neurologists territory.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

The medication given is a steroid and is an anti inflammatory.It is used sparingly due to side effects.

Have you completed your medications? Have your symptoms improved?

Given that we are concerned of the "inflammed" vessels in your forehead and also given that your physicians have throuoghly assessed you, I feel that it is  best to follow your physicians' advice.At this point ,they might not think the vessels are of any significant concern.If one is thinking of a phlebitis ( vein inflammation) here, then a neurologist may readily see that.Since your physicians have examined you first hand , it is best to discuss your option of seeing a rheumatologist or other specialists personally with them.Your neurologist who have examined you would have deemed it necessary to refer you to a rheumatologist if it was deemed necessary.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think the symptoms improved around the 4th day I was on it, but now, a few days away from my last pill, things are back to normal, i.e. painful.  I understand there are side effects, as your immune system is being knocked down, it just seems odd that an inflammation of a year would be treated with a few days and what seems to be a relatively low dose of methylprednisolone (24mg tapered down every day by 4mg) given the duration of symptoms.

Anyway, I will be making an appointment with a neurologist sometime next week and if I learn anything that might help anyone else, I'll pass it along ... all I can say is I will not take a daily maintenance drug for migraines, so if that's all I'm offered, oh well.

As always, thanks for the reply, Dr Lacuesta.
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Avatar_m_tn
For whoever might come across this ...

I have not gone to a neurologist.  My guess for a cost for an appointment was way off.  I assumed somewhere in the $125 world but have discovered it's double that.  I'm priced out of the help of the medical community, so if you find yourself there I recommend paying a lot of attention to your diet.  The artery in my forehead is still inflamed but I'm going to chalk it up to some form of phlebitis and will assume it will go away within another years time.  My body will have to be its on doctor.  Headaches have gotten better, not gone but improved, by avoiding every single item considered a migraine trigger.  This has resulted in a very boring diet of mostly water, chicken, brown rice, ground turkey, apples, carrots, lettuce and the like, but too damn bad for me.  I've got unexplained back pain and leg pain, and use a lot of yoga and that helps a little.  Check your library for yoga dvds.  Tomorrow, I'm starting palates for abdominal muscles to help my back a bit ... hopefully.

If I do come up with the obscene amount of money demanded for a simple appointment and decide I want to donate the money to a physician ... if I learn something worthwhile, I'll post that since I'm REALLY frustrated with finding folks with similar ailments but NEVER a posting about any solution or even tiny progress.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know I am one of those 'with similar ailments', but I thought I would just enhance on your sentiments about the exorbitant medical costs - its beyond a joke!   I too have suffered every month for the past 10 years with excruciating headaches (I can also see the veins pulsating in my forehead), together with leg pains, swallowing issues, weakness, fatigue in more recent months - all of which drove me to see a Neurologist.  Six months later at a cost of R9000-00, excluding blood bills, a few inconclusive diagnosis such as Myositis, Fibromalgia, Phlebitis, Depression - note: no muscle biopsy or MRI carried out during these consultations.  Now the Neurologist wants to refer me to another Neurologist in case he is 'missing' something - can you believe it!  If there is ever a specialist out there that knows how to make money, it has to be a Neurologist.  One only needs to read the posts on the Neurology and MS forums to see how many patients are robbed of their money by seeing not only 1 or 2 Neurologists, but 4.  Makes one wonder how they achieved their degree.  Sorry I don't have the answers for you - but I figured that our bodies are pretty good and if we're about to have an anurysm / thrombosis / heart attack or something sinister happen to us - there will be sufficient signs and symptoms and thank goodness for this - imagine if this didn't happen, the Neurologists wouldn't have a clue.  So I just continue to live on anti-inflammatories (aspirin and celebrex) and hope that one day the pain will go away.  Take care.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just got back from Internal Medicine.  They pretty much told me i have lots of anxiety, ordered some blood tests, gave me some Paxil and told me to come back in 3 weeks.  

They didn't really have any ideas of why i have had headaches on and off (some bad, some maybe a 1 or 2 on the pain scale in either temple (not both)) for the last 15 months (sometimes days at a time).  Also have lower back pains (not sure exact cause of that) and prickly feelings in the top of my head from time to time.  Didn't think a CT was necessary.  I suppose if i had GOOD insurance they would have put me through the MRI twice and then shot me out of a cannon for ***** and giggles.  A person in almost left self medicating/diagnosing your own body.  Also have a appointment with neurology (nurse practictioner would specializes in headaches), but i might just cancel and stick with IM until they run out of thoughts.  I did have high blood pressure, which seems to be an ongoing thing.  I'm 29/male and this is in Wisconsin.
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Avatar_m_tn
To update things:

I've done the following and had some good results-
1.  cut down on computer usage -- 20 minutes a day from 5 hours and I skip days.
2.  at night, I take tylenol pm, do yoga for my back, and cover my back, neck, shoulders, and forehead in a product called "stopain spray."

My guess is that this stopain spray is eliminating some muscle stiffness and that PERHAPS my headaches are the result of muscle tension.  

I have tried similar products with similar ingredients (icy hot, tiger balm -which burned my skin off, capacian, and my own version with peppermint oil/eucalyptus/lavender and a carrier oil) but for whatever reasons I have had a lot of success with stopain (spray, not the cream).  The days before using this stuff, I was feeling a strong need to just go to the neurologist and give them my credit card and deal with the cost later .... now Im feeling reasonably well and even ate 3 chocolate bars two days in a row to see if that would have an effect.  Usually, chocolate makes me sick, but I'm fine right now.

Perhaps this is just a good week.

Perhaps my sentence is over.  I was condemned to one year of headaches and I am nearing that end.

I stopped taking magnesium about a month ago ... all the best.
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Avatar_m_tn
Another update, as I promised.

The blood vessels are still inflamed, which is really pissing me off.

As far as the headaches go, there's been a big improvement as I've taken nearly everything out of my diet and started from scratch.  Im eating a lot of vegetables/fruits, and eating meat less frequently and when I do eat it, it's turkey or chicken.  Chocolate, ice cream, milk, cereal, peanuts, msg, artificial flavors, beef ... all are gone.  Also, I exercise 5 days a week ... including in that is 30 minutes every other day of swimming, b/c Im bored with biking and jogging.

So ... my recommendation is simple but at first, a horrible pain (especially since I dont much care for fruits and vegetables) in the butt .... fruits/vegetables and a lot of exercise.  My headaches are NOT gone, but are much better than I recall .. almost to the point where I get an hour or two where I forget I have them.

Once in a while I will give up control and eat some ice cream and inevitably I get sick.  Taking 2 motrin and 2 tylenol seems to help.

Take care .. if I have something else to help with .. I'll update you.
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Avatar_m_tn
To add, I went to a clinic and got a full blood work.  The doctor replied "you are a very healthy person."  And of course my reply is, aside from chronic headaches and blood vessels gone haywire.  My blood pressure was a bit high, as Im usually at 115/60.  I was all the way up to 135/75.  So .. I've also cut out a lot of sodium .. which for me means not putting much ketchup, hot sauce, etc .. and looking at labels of everything, consequently narrowing my diet even more.
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Avatar_m_tn
Im updating this b/c I promised I would.  After changing my diet completely and exercising things are a lot better.  I don't think about how my head hurts all of the time because often it wont and my blood pressure is around 120/80 .. though usually much lower.  Sometimes 106/70.  Im going into a neurologist next month to ask what the hell happened and also, if there's anything I can do about the inflammation in my temple and under my eye.  I can afford it only b/c there's a clinic in this area, so if you are strapped for cash, do a search online for clinics.  My diet, for those wondering, is extremely narrow.  I eat mostly chicken, ground turkey, fruits and vegetables.  That's about it.  If I touch dairy, I seem to get sick.  Chocolate, nuts, msg, sodium, citrus ... anything  considered a migraine trigger I don't touch and if I do, I usually pay for it.  Alcohol is also basically gone, as if I drink I get really weak and my head will hurt, even after 1 beer.  So, that's likely my last update.  I suggest a huge change in diet and exercise (as, before I broke my leg last month, I was exercising 4-5 days a week ... yoga, pilates, and 1-2 hours in the gym every other day) for those stuck with headaches.  Last year, I had headaches every second of every day.  With these changes, it seems I only notice it every so often .. once a week, maybe.  I wish you luck ....
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,Just wondering if you ever got an answer with your Temple Pain ,It sounds like Polymyalgia please see a Rheumatologist.Good Luck.Barbara
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Avatar_m_tn
wow,,,, Since NOV 08, I too have been suffering from constant pain in my head and burning face and scalp, always feeling like i have a fever but feeling cold to others.  
I went to doctors , Had  MRI's and CT scans, all coming back normal.
only thing blood work showed is Celiac Sprue and an old trace of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Recently my legs above my ankles and my wrists have begun to have a burning pain.
I also noticed the blood vessels in front of my ears becoming harder than normal.
I think you may be on to something with regard
Polymyalgia
or Giant Cell Arthritis .
I am in a simular situation i have been referred to a Neurologist but don't have the money to go.

I would like very much to keep in contact with you , to follow your progress and find out what you learn.
Hope you find relief soon.
Regards
David
peacockdesigns2009 at Yahoo. com

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Avatar_f_tn
Not sure if this thread is done, but I had a very similar thing happen for over a year. At first it was thought to be the regular old migraine until I sat down and really explained to my doc exactly what my head felt like. The 'aha' moment seemed to be when I told him that it was happening more on one side than the other and my eye on that side would swell up a bit and water a lot. He then told me that he thinks I'm having cluster headaches (which, for some reason inflames the vessels in the head). Cordisone shots helped but only for only a few days at a time, so my doc ended up putting me on a high dose of prednisone for nearly a month. Its been two months and I haven't had one of these headaches since (I've had little regular headaches here and there, but not the extremely painful ones I had been having). Another thing that I found interesting is that these types of headaches apparently seem to afflict males more than females (I am a female). Not sure if this may be going on with you or if the prednisone would help, but I just thought I'd share my little headache story.
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1143036_tn?1293034684
Not sure if you are still researching but I highly recommend seeing a Rheumotologist.  My daughter saw a neurologist for three years will no diagnosis, we were in the Rheumo's office for 15 minutes and he diagnosed her with Chiari Malformation.  She has had headaches and many other problems for 10 years with no answers.  Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dear Uniqueflower - I have had the same saga and tried to deal with it with considerable financial firepower. No luck. It has been only three months of continuous headaches. It seems like forever. This may sound a little callous but are you living with the same person during this whole time? Have you been away from this person or this person's influence for a  few days? If so, have your headaches gone away or become less severe? I ask this because my wife has gone on a trip and has been gone for a few days. (I like her.) However, my headaches are now completely gone. Two thoughts here: Has my wife started using some skin or cosmetic product I am highly sensitive to or there is some underlying stress that is relieved when she is not present? Stress is obviously a source of headaches. You can find the source for the first possibility. The second possibility is sadder and more difficult.
Dogsrule77
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi I have all the same things going on with me that you do... I'm 24 years old. Have you figured out what's going on?
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Avatar_f_tn
Get you atlas checked out by a chiropractor ! I have had the same symptoms for 2 years 3 neurologists 2 ent's 1 rheumatologist 2 ct scans and an MRI later I found that an atlas adjustment is what I needed! Good luck !
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had all the same things you mentioned. I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Nueralgia but it never explained the pains in my calf, arm and the top of my right foot.  I too liked to run Bc it seemed to raise my spirits but also made that blodd vessel in my temple pound that nerve. I went to all the doctors you mentioned(including an allergist) and finally landed on an ENT when my Eustation tubes had swollen shut. He did a Septoplasty and cleared out my sinus cavity which only made it worse. Take Tylenol all day too. Believe it or not jam actuallya very happy, blessed guy...I just hurt.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had all the same things you mentioned. I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Nueralgia but it never explained the pains in my calf, arm and the top of my right foot.  I too liked to run Bc it seemed to raise my spirits but also made that blodd vessel in my temple pound that nerve. I went to all the doctors you mentioned(including an allergist) and finally landed on an ENT when my Eustation tubes had swollen shut. He did a Septoplasty and cleared out my sinus cavity which only made it worse. Take Tylenol all day too. Believe it or not jam actuallya very happy, blessed guy...I just hurt.
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