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Pain at left base of skull
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Pain at left base of skull

I'm not sure what category to post this question.  But, yesterday I noticed a painful spot (about pea-sized) at the left base of my skull, on the bony bump part right at the base. It feels like I got hit there really hard with something, and now its bruised and very sore.
But I didnt hit my head there and I dont see a bruise. Its very sore to touch it, and now this morning, the tender area is even bigger.
It doesnt feel physically any different than the other side. I have the same bony bump on the other side. I dont feel any cyst-like bumps under the skin and it does not really feel swollen.
It just feels like the skin there and the bone of the skull are really really sore, like someone hit me with a hammer right there.

I am 35, in pretty good health.  Any ideas?
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I guess after feeling it for a minute, it does feel like its slightly bigger on that bump part of the skull than the other side, but only like a pea-sized part of it is slightly bigger
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

The way you described it, the pea sized area in not a bump or a lump. Is this correct?

How would you be able to describe its appearance? Is it red, black, bluish?

Is it warm to the touch?

Is the area raised or flat?

Is there any rapid change in its size?

Do you feel a lump behind your ear or neck?

Are there other similar lesions in the body? Do you have bruises in other parts of your body?

Do you have allergies? Do you wear a necklace?Have you changes  your pillows lately?

Have you engaged in sports which could have hit your neck?

Importantly, any previous fever, joint pains or headaches prior to this?

Keep us posted with your answers.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello,
Correct, it is not a lump or bump, it was just the size of the area that is sore. However now it is more like golf ball sized where it hurts.

It is in the back of my head so I cant really see it, however I had some people look back there and it seems look normal color.

It is not warm to the touch.

The area seems to be flat. But its right on that bony protrusion that is at the base of your skull

No lumps behind my ear or neck.  I do not have a fever.

Its not a lesion or a bruise. It just feels like a really bad bruise, like i got hit very hard with something there.

No allergies, I dont wear necklaces, and I am not in sports.

Nothing happened there, I just woke up on Thursday or Friday thinking that I had a stiff neck. But then when I scrunched up my shoulders, I felt a very sore area in the back base of my skull. It hurts very much to touch it.

I dont know what it might be...?  I did an internet search for "pain at left base of skull" and a few things came up so I assume this is something that has happened before or maybe has a name. But on those posts, there wasnt any kind of conclusion or dx.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

Have you taken any OTC medications ( analgesics) for the pain?

Have you tried anything that successfully relieved the pain?

Is there anything that aggravates the pain ? position of the head, turning the neck?



I suggest you go and see your primary physician for a thorough physical examination.It appears to be a focus of inflammation but since there is no recent trauma to the area and no redness,warmth or discoloration, a thorough physical examination may help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ive taken some Excedrin and Advil (at different times).
Its not incredibly painful, but it does feel like a very very bad bruise and sore area.
There is a similar thread here:

http://www.medhelp.org/perl6/neuro/messages/33554.html

So, it has to be something.... I just dont know what it might be
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

It is indeed difficult to give a proper assessment here since a lump or a swelling of any kind requires visual inspection and complete physical examination.

If there is no redness, no discharge and no apparent change in appearance of the skin in the involved area, then an infectious process may be ruled out and other factors like a bone or spine problem be noted.

Your physician may request for a CT scan or MRI of the area of the cervical spine to visualize involved structures.

Have you seen a physician lately?

Was the sore relieved by the medications?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, I havent really seen a physician lately. Sometimes it seems to respond to Advil, but it quickly fades out.
Its not a lump or swelling that I can feel. It feels normal, and just like the other side.
Its just very sore on that side of the base of my skull, and I almost feel now like I'm getting a migraine on that side.
I dont have a fever (99.1, which is pretty normal for me) but I have been a bit nauseous and also very sleepy/fatigued and sometimes have chills.
I think I'm going to go into the doctor tomorrow.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a friend come check it out yesterday. She said it is more swollen on that side than the other. And I also have a bump (not sore) about an inch above it that is swollen too.
She said it feels like i have 2 big knots on my head, as if I was hit there.
Last night I had chills and was nauseous.
But I have an appointment this morning in 2 hours. I'll post any Dx if I get one.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the EXACT same symptoms. I'm seeing my doctor on Friday, but please let me know what your doc says. The tenderness at the base of my skull (also on the left side) just showed up yesterday, but I've been getting VERY frequent migraines for about 6 months, so I'm not sure if they're related.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just got back from the doctor. Turns out that I have shingles!  
Apparently, if you have chicken pox when you are a kid, part of that virus lays dormant in your spine. Upon stress (or whatever reason), that virus can travel in your spine and along a nerve and affect you again.
It can be along your torso, in your ear or eye.  Mine happens to be affecting the nerve right at the base of my skull.
I also have a big "goose egg" that is about an inch above this very painful spot that (apparently) has blisters all over it.  
I cant see it of course, but my doctor said that there is a rash of little blisters all over it.

So, I'm not a doctor and I dont know what anyone else might turn out to have --- but for me, it turned out to be Shingles.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

Now you have your answer.

Lumps, bumps, any swelling in the body always warrant a complete physical examination.

I hope you are better and more relieved.

Keep us posted for anything. All the best.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you! I got an antiviral (acyclovir) and Vicodin.  People keep telling me that it will get more painful -- but as of today (and 3 antiviral pills later) I am feeling much better.

Thanks Vanessa!
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Avatar_f_tn
Just FYI: If you DO have what I have (shingles) you might want to get to the doctor sooner than Friday.  The antiviral medications only really work if you take them before a big rash develops, which is usually pretty quickly (a few days).  good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
i'm having the exact same symptoms, but it can't be shingles as i am on a daily prophylactic regime of acyclovir for my HSV II.

the pain is at the base of my skull, left side, sore to the touch, pressure hurts, but for a few seconds after pressure is lessened, it doesn't hurt; but only for a few seconds. tilting my head backward causes pain to shoot higher up into my skull and feels like i'm being impaled from that spot right up thru my left eye. i've also got tingling and numbing of my hands, feet and mouth, but i don't see how all of that could be related.

i recently tried an unsuccessful 10 day switch from effexor to metrazapine, but hated the dizziness, insatiable appetite and nausea so went back to my effexor today.

i can't afford to go to the dr right now because new health insurance requires i pay $1500 OOP before it covers a dime. i've already been twice this month trying to make the pill switch, so i'm desperate to know if anyone can suggest something else i can try to either alleviate the pain, or suggest if i should go to my GP or try a chiropractor instead...... sounds stupid, i know, but this pain is debilitating....
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Avatar_m_tn
I realize this is an old post...did you ever find out what the cause is?  I have the exact same symptoms ;(
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm curious about what you found out about the sore place at the left base of your skull because I currently have the same situation and don't know what to think about it. krose
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