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Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
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Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness

I've had headaches on off since 2005. They can get pretty intense, occur on the left side and radiate into my neck. This year, they have been in "off" mode, however in the past week, they have come back full force, along with nausea, clumsiness (I spilled two large soda pop bottles within a 24 hour period, despite my best efforts to be careful), one episode of dizziness, depression, anxiety and panic feelings. The pain is usually worse when lying down or sitting up.

I am on four different medications for bipolar disorder, and despite taking the pills every day as directed, I still had breakthrough anxiety/depression/panic yesterday morning, to the point where I needed to take an additional medication prescribed to me for panic attacks.

Should I call my primary care? I've had so many medical problems this year (Hysterectomy, nutritional complications which have since resolved, nasty cold which is finally out of my system), I only want to call if it is worth the effort. I see my psychiatrist this week. Should I wait until I see her?

I saw a Neuro for the headaches back in 2009 when I lived in a different state and they ruled out Idiopathic Intracranial Pressure (had a spinal tap and everything!) They ran some type of brain scan (I forgot which kind) and no abnormalities. That was in 2009, though.

I am just wondering what steps I should take, if any. It is very strange that I am getting all this anxiety, depression, nausea, clumsiness and a dizzy spell out of nowhere. Things in life are going quite well; in fact I recently found out about some very good news and cannot figure why I am depressed instead of jumping for joy.

Thank you for reading.
15 Comments Post a Comment
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778037_tn?1377989800
This morning, I developed another headache and took OTC pain meds for it. It went away until I lied down tonight and had to take another.

About lunch time, I got panicky for no reason. All day, I have been nauseous with no appetite. Again, I must stress that things are going good in my life and I am taking my pills as directed. What should I do?
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778037_tn?1377989800
I saw my psychiatrist last night and she added another medication to take at night. She said that if my psych symptoms get better and my headaches continue, to see my primary care.

K.
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620923_tn?1416285879

  Look at the meds u r already on, one of them may cause HA's as a side effect.....the other issue is ask for more info on the brain scan...see if it was a MRI...if so ask for copies of it and the report,.

Many times things get over looked and a 2nd opinion may help.

Last, try diff methods of relaxation it may help with ur anxiety....
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778037_tn?1377989800
Hi Selma:

Thank you for your insight.

My psych felt that said headaches _could_ be exacerbated by my bipolar disorder and prescribed an additional medication for that. However, she said to call my primary care if my psych symptoms got better and the headaches and other symptoms did not after a two week period.

She felt that my bipolar exacerbation was likely caused by the change in season (happens every year to me) and made worse by my hysterectomy. Even though I kept an ovary, she said my emotions can still get out of whack.

She said the sleep deprivation can contribute to the clumsiness and restlessness. However if it continues despite my moods getting better, I will call my primary care. Also, my psych advised me to call her if my moods do not improve with the added medication.

As far as the scan, I thought I had a CD with the images on it. It's since been misplaced, if it existed to begin with. It was done back when I lived on the East Coast. I live in the Midwest now. If I do end up seeing a neurologist, I will see if they can request those records and see if anything got overlooked.

Thanks again,

K
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620923_tn?1416285879

   No worries...hope all goes well for u : )
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778037_tn?1377989800
I just realized an error in my first post. The neurologist in '09 ruled out Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, formerly known as Pseudotumor Cerebri. If I could edit the post, I would.

Now it seems as though the pain meds aren't working and the headaches, along with the other symptoms remain, except for the pysch symptoms. My moods are stabilizing for the most part, which I am glad for.

I am thinking of calling my primary care doctor this week; just don't want to bug them. I am off tomorrow and I know the office is open tomorrow (even though some businesses are closed in observance of Veteran's Day) as I have a skin doctor appt. at the same clinic. The reason I ask is because people in my life aren't taking me very seriously (I think because of all my recent health problems); therefore it is hard for me to judge how long I should wait.

Should I give it another week and a half? My psych said that it would take two weeks for my moods to improve and that if they improved and my other symptoms did not, then to call my primary care. However it seems logical to call my primary care now that my moods are stabilizing already.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you,

K.
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778037_tn?1377989800
This morning, I saw my primary care. They got me right in. I told her about all my symptoms. Another symptom that I didn't post about here is my left ear feeling plugged. She looked in both ears and they looked fine. She did some neurological exams on me and ordered some blood work.

She referred me to a neurologist -- my appt is in a month! In the meantime, I signed a release of information to request all the records from my previous neuro (the one from 1000 miles away). As the lab results and records come in, we'll see what happens.

The doctor (actually nurse practitioner/my primary care was not in) said something about not making me repeat everything. I would not be too happy if I had to repeat the spinal tap. :( I'm curious what tests the new neuro will order, though, as a comparison.

K
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778037_tn?1377989800
Update:

Yesterday, after a two day break from the headaches, I woke up with one. It went away after an hour or so, and then I didn't feel any pain except a little here and there when I lied down or got up. It seems to have a mind of its own and does not respond to medications.

I saw the eye doctor today and he did not feel that my eyes were the source of the problem. I am at least glad that was ruled out. Also, my bloodwork results came in the mail yesterday -- all "normal."

Oddly enough, I transposed two of the letters on the eye chart and when asked by the doctor to read from left to right, I not only needed a moment to comprehend, I had no idea I transposed the letters. These brain freezes are getting more frequent and I am getting scared. It's like what happened at work the other day -- I had my keys around my neck for two hours after lunch and did not know how they got there -- either I left then on and didn't notice, or I put them on and had no memory of it.

I am still just as clumsy as ever, finding that I misstep when I get up, no matter how careful I am. For example, it happened just a few minutes ago. I got up from lying on the couch slowly, surely and lost my footing. Then, on the way to the bedroom, I bumped my elbow for the zillionth time since the headache problem reared its ugly head again.

I cannot wait to get to the bottom of these issues and get them resolved.

K.
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778037_tn?1377989800
Update: Based on the suggestions made here and elsewhere, I asked my pharmacist if my medications could be causing my symptoms. He advised me that it is not likely, due to the number of years I have been on them, although "the body can do weird things."

All my meds are filled at the same store, therefore they have them all on record. I am keeping an open mind about it, though.

Last Saturday, I had the worst attack of my symptoms ever (please refer to my journal and tracker for details.) This morning, I called the neurologist's office to see if they could get me in sooner. Even though I told them about what happened Saturday and that I am getting worse, they told me that the best they could do was keep me on the wait list. My appt. is in two weeks.

In addition to the headaches, which so far have not responded to acetaminophen, nor NSAIDs, my appetite has dwindled significantly. It's very strange...I'm thinking of giving Excedrin a try, however hesitant due to my waking up earlier than normal. I'm sleeping OK, just not as much as I used to.

If you've tried Excedrin, did the caffeine in it overwhelm you? Did it make you jittery? Did it help? I don't want to take something that will make me feel worse. Just curious.

Please chime in if you have any ideas.

Thank you!

K.
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620923_tn?1416285879

  Hi...I am glad u have been posting updates...sorry I did not get back to u sooner.....I wish I had more answers for u.....

  Sometimes caffeine can be helpful and sometimes it does nothing.....I was told magnesium helps with inflammation...so, if that is the reason u have HA's it may help....

I am so glad u spoke with ur pharmacist u r reducing the list of possibilities.....as for eating u need to get something in u, and if u can drink  a Boost or something along those lines to get the nutrition u r not getting this may help along with what u do eat.....
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778037_tn?1377989800
Thank you, Selma. It's good to know that you are at least thinking about me.

Thank you for the idea about the magnesium. My appetite is getting less all the time and I may have to try a Boost shake or Ensure just to get the calories in if it gets any worse. Sometimes I take all natural smoothies (fresh ones) with antioxidants and protein as a meal replacement, and have a small bite to eat in the evening.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, I'm sorry you're going through all this.

I find Excedrin migraine is the ONLY thing that helps my headaches.. it is a lot of caffeine, though, so I only take it when I have a really bad one, but usually if I take one (or two :/) and lay down it will get better.

Also, I agree with Selma about magnesium. I don't know if it helped me or not, honestly, but I've had two neurologists tell me to bump up the magnesium intake every day as a preventative measure against headaches. Believe it or not, they put me on metoprolol at one point too (preventative) which seemed to help a bit.

I'm sorry I don't know what to tell you about the appetite :/ I really hope you feel better soon!
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778037_tn?1377989800
Thank you for your support. My prayers have been answered so far; a cancellation opened up and I got into the neurologist today. He seemed to think that based on my headaches coming and going when I change body position/turn my head left and right, as well as my "pretty good" neurological exam that it is muscular. However, because I have been having all the other symptoms to go along with the headaches, he ordered an MRI, which is scheduled for 18 Dec.

I get the impression that doctors hope that it's something less serious and go from there. That has been my experience pretty much with all the doctors at this mega-clinic. However, I am ultra-thankful that he ordered that MRI and is willing to dig deeper.

He also prescribed a medication to take at night (I forget the name) to _hopefully_ help with the headaches.
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778037_tn?1377989800
Update: The medication is gabapentin and it is helping take the edge off my headaches. Finally a little relief! I am getting back to my old self a little bit. I am waiting with bated breath to get that MRI done and have the results. It is a week from tomorrow.
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620923_tn?1416285879

Thanks for the update...glad the  gabapentin is helping u .....I was on that and it affected my IBS issues only and did not help ne...so, I stopped it.

But we r all different as to what works. and I am glad u have something that works for u.

  Have a Merry Christmas : )
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