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Pressure, Ache and Occasional Stabbing Pain
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Pressure, Ache and Occasional Stabbing Pain

Hi, everyone!

23 year old male, here. Non-smoker, non-drinker. No known medical conditions other than an allergy to penicillin.

For the past 2 weeks, I've had a pressure feeling in the right side of my head. When it all started, my ear felt "clogged" and kind of hurt so I thought I might have an ear infection or something. I could feel pain on the right side of my head a bit behind my ear. The ear pain subsided after a couple days and I started to feel pressure accompanied by a dull ache and occasional stabbing pains on the right side of my head. More recently, the back of my head has been mildly aching, from time to time I feel a kind of pressure at the top of my head and I feel slightly light-headed.

Just a couple days ago, I went to a free-clinic (I'm currently a college student and can't afford medical insurance) and the doctor said it's probably a tension headache or anxiety. He's probably right, but I'm concerned because it's lasted so long. I've never had a headache endure this long and it doesn't "feel" like any headache I've had before. It seems to get a little better with sleep (I usually feel fine in the morning) but it keeps coming back.

I do have a family history of migraines (my mom gets them from time to time) and I used to get them all the time when I was a kid. Being that my course of study requires I work with computers, I'm often staring at a computer screen.

Anyone have any insights or have experienced something similar? Any advice on what I should do? I can't really go see a doctor in any timely fashion because free-clinics always seem to have a long waiting list.

Thanks to everyone in advance! Any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated!



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Avatar_f_tn
Hi There,

Thanks for writing in.

Your symptoms could very well be due to tension and anxiety, but it is important to rule out couple of more possibilities. One of them is sinusitis and the other is TMJ or Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Sinusitis can cause pressure headaches on one side of the head and cause ear pain also. Do you have any other symptom like runny nose or congestion?
If yes, then sinusitis is the most likely cause of your symptoms. Regular steam inhalation will help in clearing clogged sinuses.
TMJ usually occurs in people who clench their teeth at night or are in the habit of chewing gum. If this is the case this possibility needs to be looked into.
Your job requires you to be in front of the computer most of the time which can lead to neck strain which in turn can cause neck stiffness and headaches.
Make sure you maintain a good posture and do some gentle neck exercises every day.

Hope this helps!

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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the reply!

I don't have a runny nose or congestion at all.

I've been doing the gentle neck stretches in the mornings and they seem to help. I still get a mild feeling of lightheadedness from time to time, but it's usually brief. In any case, the symptoms don't feel quite as severe as they did a few days ago.

Again, thanks much for the feedback!
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Avatar_m_tn
It seems I may have spoke too soon.

Today, I had more sharp pains at the back of my head coupled with that feeling of lightheadedness. I also just felt some pain behind my right eye. The pain has subsided, but the eye feels a little  'tired' in a way.

Should I try and schedule another appointment at the free-clinic even though I won't be able to get in for another 2 weeks or so? I'm getting pretty concerned about this.

Thanks in advance.
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Avatar_f_tn

Hi,

This seems to be cervical spine issue but only a physical exam can confirm this possibility. Migraine is also a possibility since you do have pain in the eyes along with headache. Have been able to identify any triggers for these symptoms?
Yes it will make sense to schedule an appointment at the free clinic and try for an early appointment.
In the meantime you can continue with neck exercises and take OTC pain killers if the pain gets out of control. Also make sure you eat on time and drink lot of fluids during the day to prevent dehydration.

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Avatar_m_tn
I haven't been able to pinpoint a trigger. I'm not really sensitive to light or sound. I do sometimes forget to keep hydrated during the day and I don't really have any kind of schedule for eating. I'll try to maintain that.
I'm going to schedule an appoinment today and hopefully I can get in quickly.

Thanks for your replies.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Went to the doctor recently. He discovered some fluid behind my right ear but said it wasn't infected yet. He called the stabbing pains and pressure something like idiopathogen (I now wish I would have written down the actual name) and said that it's generally unknown what causes these pains, but they are usually episodic and tend to go away in a couple of months or so. He did mention that they are very rarely an early sign of MS, but he said that he didn't think that applied to me as I have no other symptoms.

I was given Keflex (strange, given my allergy to penicillin, but he said that because my allergy was discovered when I was very young and my only reaction was a rash, chances are that I'm not allergic). I've been taking them for the past four days and the stabbing pains and pressure have noticeably decreased. There hasn't been any reaction as far as a rash or anything, but I've been left feeling fatigued and kind of dizzy. My arms feel kind of heavy at times and the best way I can describe it is a  "floating" feeling.

All that aside though, I'm generally feeling much better. I've read that the dizziness and fatigue I've been feeling might possibly be a side-effect of the Keflex, and it's pretty mild (if annoying).

Thanks for all the replies and any further insight would of course be very much appreciated!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello there. How are you feeling now? We share quite the same symptoms. I am a graphic designer mostly sitting in front of a screen all day. My only advice to you is exercise and plenty of hydration and take breaks from the screen. Somewhat it helped me but they still come back.

I generally have stabbing pains that are located behind the eye and near the ear. I had a history of fluid which doctor gave me nose spray, somewhat that helped but the head pressures come and go and when they hit hard, they are pretty bad. I just hope nothing of this harms the brain. For got to mention, I had an MRI back in November without the contrast dye and all results came fine.
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