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headaches with left side pain and numbness
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headaches with left side pain and numbness

Ok i get headaches with the left side of my face goes numb. It is so bad that i cant stand light,sound, or just any thing around me. I get so bad that i dont do anything but lay in my room, or front room and cry cause the pain is so bad. My face goes numb to where there is no feeling in my face on my left hand side. I would have these headaches for four to five days with no stopping of the pain. i have them every week only get 3 myabe 4 days with no pain. they strarted after my car accident in 2003 and they are getting more and more every day. the hostpital did get scans when i was hit in 2003 and they did not find anything. i was wondering what they are and what can help get them to stop?
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Hi helpankle2008,

Thank you for writing to our forum. I am so sorry to hear of these awful headaches that you are having. I hope that we can help support you and maybe assist you in finding answers.

First I must warn you that I am not a doctor and neither are many of our members. We do have some doctors who visit our forums and you will be able to distinguish them because they will have the doctor symbol (the orange caduceus symbol) beside their user name. But, since I am not one of the doctors, I cannot give you medical advice. I also cannot help to diagnose you, nor do I think that anyone can help to diagnose you online. But, I will try my best to help you by providing you with all of the information that I have.

First, I want to make sure that the first time your face went numb during a headache that you got immediate medical attention? Does a doctor know about these headaches and these symptoms? If you have never been seen by a doctor for these specific headaches with these specific symptoms of your face going numb, then I want you to seek immediate medical attention the next time that one of these headaches with numbness happens, which means going directly to emergency or calling 911. Also, if a doctor does not know about these headaches with numbness, then I want you to book an appointment with a doctor immediately to discuss these past events.

There are two main types of headaches: Primary Headaches (also called idiopathic headaches) and Secondary Headaches (also called symptomatic headaches).

Primary Headaches are not caused by anything other than the headache itself. In the case of a primary headache, the headache is the disease. Example of primary headaches are: migraine, tension-type and cluster headaches.

Secondary Headache are caused by an underlying disease, illness or injury. A headache could be caused by a trauma to the body, especially to the head or neck. So, we cannot rule out Secondary Headaches in your case due to your car accident. Seconday headaches can also be caused by a number of other things, such as: medication, substances, disease and acute infection. An example of a headache caused by medication would be a rebound headache. An example of a headache caused by an infection would be a sinusitis-related headaches. A more serious infection that could cause a headache could be meningitis. Headaches can also be caused by other problems in the bodys, such as dental issues. Dental issues could result in TMJ-related headaches.

In your case, the symptoms you are describing sound to me very much like a migraine headache, which would be a primary headache. BUT, due to your car accident, I would not want to rule out secondary headaches, although it sounds like the doctors who initially treated you already did rule out secondary headaches. Still, injuries from accidents can show up years later, so I would suggest going back to a doctor to be re-examined. Preferably go to a neurologist who specializes in headaches.

The reason I think they might be a migraine headache (that is a type of primary headache) is because you mention: severe pain, photophobia, not being able to stand sound, numbness on one side of the face, and that the headaches are debilitating in nature. These are can all be symptoms and features of a migraine headache.

If they were migraines, then the first line treatment for acute migraine attacks are a medication class called triptans. There are currently 7 triptans on the market, plus one triptan that is also mixed with an NSAID called Naproxen. I believe that fast acting triptans are the best in most situations because they work the fastest. Fast acting triptans come in orally disintegrating tablets or nasal sprays. I personally use Zomig Nasal Spray and find it works extremely well. I also have found great success with Maxalt-MLTs. Although, everyone is different and all of the triptans on the market have been proven effective in clinical trials, so if you do have migraines then please discuss with your doctor which triptan would be the most appropriate in your situation.

The only problem that I note here with treating these headaches with triptans, if the headaches do turn out to be migraines, is that triptans may be contraindicated. Numbness can suggest Hemiplegic migraine, and triptans usually are contraindicated in Hemiplegic migraine. In the case of Hemiplegic migraine, first-line treatment usually includes analgesics and antiemetics. Discuss this with your doctor.

The analgesic Naproxen is a useful NSAID since it is less likely to cause rebound headaches than most other NSAIDS. It is advisable to avoid over-the-counter analgesics, including over-the-counter NSAIDS, as they will cause rebound headaches. So, most doctors will advise you to avoid analgesics such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and ASA. as they may all cause rebound headaches and will cause rebound headaches in chronic migraine sufferers. Naproxen, on the other hand, does not seem to cause rebound headaches as often, so it is a good choice for migraine sufferers. Naproxen may be a good choice in your situation if you do have migraines and you cannot take triptans. There may be other suitable analgsics as well. Discuss this with your doctor.

Antiemetics are especially useful for those who suffer from nausea and vomiting. The antiemetic Metoclopramide is particularly useful of migraine headaches, since it not only helps with nausea and vomiting, but it also helps with migraine pain as well. So, this may be a particularly useful medication in your situation if you do have migraines and you cannot take triptans. Discuss this with your doctor.

If they do turn out to be migraines, you mention that you get these headaches every week. That, I think, would then be classified as chronic migraines. If you had chronic migraines you would also need daily preventative treatment. There are 3 first-line daily preventative treatments to choose from: antidepressants (in the tricyclic category, specifically Amitriptyline or Nortriptyline); anticonvulsants (such as valproic acid or topiramate); and beta blockers (such as nadolol or propranolol). Botox is now also often being used, although this is not a first-line treatment yet and it is also not a daily treatment. With the Botox Injections, you usually get injections every three months. All of these treatments help to reduce the frequency of the migraine attacks so that they are not chronic. Please consult your doctor about chronic migraines and daily preventative therapy for chronic headaches.

I do think that even though these symptoms sound very much like chronic migraines, you should still not rule out secondary headache due to your car accident in 2003. I think that it is important that you see a neurologist so that a neurologist can rule out complications from the car accident and then make a diagnosis. If it does turn out to be complications from the car accident, then it is possible that you may need surgery, or it is possible that you may be able to control your symptoms with medication. It is also possible that the neurologist may diagnose you with a primary headache disease, such as chronic migraine, and prescribe you with a daily preventative migraine therapy and an acute migraine therapy, such as one of the ones I have mentioned above.

I hope that this information has helped. Let us know what you find out. Keep in touch!

I hope you begin to feel better soon!!

-marilee
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