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Pressure in head, right arm and leg pain, migraines.
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Pressure in head, right arm and leg pain, migraines.

I am a 33 year old female. I recently had a migraine that lasted for 9 days. I was seen by a neurologist who gave me a nerve block and it did not touch the migraine. I collapsed the next morning with right leg pain/burning, numbness, and chest pain. While in the hospital they did an MRI and MRA. The MRA came back normal but they found a 1cm venous angioma in the left basal ganglia. The neurologist told me to not worry about the venous angioma and prescribed me extra strength Vicodin for pain, told me to "not get hooked on them" and to keep a migraine journal. He gave me samples of different migraine medications and told me to try them all and see which one worked best. I still get migraines, but the migraine is no longer constant like before. But now I notice a constant pressure in the back of my head. I cannot lay on my left side because I can feel the pressure build up in my head. I also have other weird sensations, like a rushing feeling in my head.  I also have right arm pain and right leg pain. Sometimes its hard to walk. Sometimes I cannot focus on tasks. I feel numbness/tingling at times at the back of my head and on my face and hands tingle. I am also tired all the time. My neck, back and shoulders hurt, which I am not sure if it is from me tensing up or not. I tried explaining all of this to my neurologist when I saw him for my follow up, but once he saw the results from the MRI he had his mind made up and would not listen to my other symptoms. I know the venouse angioma should not be causing these symptoms. My PCP says I should try talking to my neurologist again
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Avatar_n_tn
The venous angioma is probably an incidental finding - they are quite common. With the chest pain you had should probably have a basic cardiac evaluation to make sure your heart is ok if not already. There are several medications for migraine, of which vicodin is not the first line - it is non-specific for migraine and can be addictive. Common migraine medications are NSAIDs and triptans, which I suggest you try first. Vicodin can commonly cause rebound headache which can continue a cycle of frequent headaches. There may be muskuloskeletal triggers also to your migraine, which could be helped by PT, muscle relaxamnts, physical conditioning etc. Some blood tests to look for an inflammatory condition like polymyalgia rheumatica (a WSR test) could be done also.
Good luck
17 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I know what you mean about "made up his mind he wont listen to your other symptoms"    I had an MRI and MRA for my prolonged headache/dizziness  and then i was shrugged off as a head case... you really have to be persistant some times... i think probably they should have MRA and MRI your neck and cervical spine
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, I am trying to keep an open mind and not become frustrated with my neurologist. My family doctor is encouraging me to see the neurologist again and hopefully he will listen this time to all of my symptoms rather than trying to push narcotics on me and then walking out the room like he did last time.
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Avatar_n_tn
HI
FROM WHAT I HAVE UNDERSTOOD ABOUT VENOUS ANGIOMA, IS THAT THEY DO NOTHING BECAUSE FURTHER COMPLICATIONS CAN ARISE IF THEY OPERATE. GO TO THE MAYO CLINIC SITE FOR REFERENCE.
MIGRAINES CAN CAUSE SO MANY OF THE SYMPTOMS YOU DESCRIBE, NUMBNESS, TINGLING, NAUSEA, RINGING IN THE EARS, PAIN ON ONE SIDE, SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO HAVE A STROKE.  SOMETIMES I HAVE SUCH WEIRD SENSATIONS THAN WHAM I START GETTING A MIGRAINE AND I'M OUT OF IT FOR ABOUT THREE DAYS.  GO TO ANOTHER DOCTOR, ALWAYS GET ANOTHER OPINION.  TO WALK OUT OF  A CONSULTATION IS UNACCEPTABLE.  I HOPE THAT YOU FIND SOMEONE WHO ADDRESSES YOUR CONCERNS.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments. I should have mentioned, that I have a history of migraines since I was about 6 years old. I have taken various medications throughout the years and have managed well. It was only recently, in the last 3-4 months that my migraines increased in frequency- from 2-3 a month to 4-5 a week. My PCP put me on Topamax and had me continue Imitrex as needed for any breakthrough migraines and it was working nicely. For about 2 months I had no migraines. Then the 9-day migraine episode occured and it has been down hill from there. Since my initial posting the pressure in my head has remained and pain in my arm has continued. Also the pain that I experience when walking/standing has increased. I called my neurologist and he can't see me for another 2 weeks. I am very tempted to just call my PCP and see if he can't see me. By the way, I never filled the Vicodin prescription. I take Aleve when the pain gets to  unbearable, I just don't like the way narcotics make me feel and I do not want to take the chance of becoming addicted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you ever try Excedrin for Migraines?  I use it because I don't want to get hooked on prescription medications.  It may help.  I take two Excedrin for Migraine pills instead of one which work pretty well for me.  It's up to any person to take one or two.  I would take it and dive into my bed and sleep in no-sound, no-light bedroom, it stops like 20 minutes or 10 minutes depending how severe the migraine is.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
i would get an mri of the spine and neck, if you are getting headacnes/migraines from something wrong here i'm sure thats the casue of the pain in your back neck and tingling.
You maybe also getting cluster headaches as well as migraines.  My sister gets them, she is actually on a seizure medicine to help with her migraines.  I will have to e mail her and ask her which as she's in england and they have different meds.   i take zomig that preety much conks you out, but be aware of all migraine meds if you have heart or asthma
problems.
hope you get better soon.
oh yeah and reduce your caffiene intake and try sticking to a low carbohydrate diet, this way you are taking in a less process food diet and less preservatives:)
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Avatar_n_tn
Unfortunately Excedrin migraine doesn't help, I tried that before finally going in and getting on a preventative. I take Topamax as a preventative and 100mg Imitrex as needed for breakthrough migraines- up to 2 in a 24-hour period which use to work but doesn't seem to anymore. I guess that is why the neurologist wants me to try the other samples he gave me, so far I have tried Axert and that has not helped,Migraniol, as well as Relepax which took the edge off the migraine but did not make it go away. The migraine is no longer constant, thank goodness. The migraines seem to be coming less frequently now, but I do still get migraines probably 3-4 times a week now. As I mentioned in my posting I now have a pressure in my head that has not gone away-it's constant. I felt it when I had my 9-day migraine but I thought it must be part of the migraine. Since the 9-day constant migraine has gone away all those other symptoms have appeared, including the difficulty/pain walking, pain in right leg, right arm, numbness/pins and needles feeling, forgetfulness, neck, shoulder and back pain, tingling in hands, and vertigo. Has anyone experienced these symptoms?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so sorry to hear of all of the problems you are having. I can say that I totally understand. They sound a lot like what I am going through.
I have had migranes (migraines) for as long as I can remember. Last year, on Christmas day, I didn't feel well. I kept feeling like I needed to blow my nose. Like there was just pressure in my face, then it spread to my entire head, and I had pain/aching in my neck and in between my shoulder blades, radiating down my left arm. It felt like my head was going to burst. I couldn't stand it. I ended up in the emergency room, where they did CT scans and an MRI, but found nothing. Told me it was just a migrane (migraine), gave me some zebutal and sent me home, but there was no pain in my head with the pressure, just plain old pressure. I had a migrane (migraine) the day before, but not that day.
My GP was closed for the holidays, so I had to wait. Meanwhile, my face and tounge started to go numb. Then my left arm, then nausia set in. Then it started to feel like someone was constantly pulling my hair. Still had the pressure.
I finally got in to my GP and he said I had Trigeminal Neuralgia, gave me an anti-seizure medication and sent me home. That didn't help at all. Meanwhile the pressure in my head is still there, especcially when I lay down on it, along with all of the other symtoms (symptoms).
Then he tells me I have a sinus infection and gives me antibiotics. That didn't help either.
Now I notice that when I lift my arm over my head, It throbs and I loose all feeling in it. I go back to GP and he takes my pulse then raises my arm over my head, and my pulse completely dissapears. He says I have Thorasic Outlet Syndrome.
Then I quit going, and just live with all of the pain. I end up in the ER again, and mention that I was in a car accident 4 days before all of this started, and now they think that is the cause of everything.
I still don't believe them. I don't know what is going on. I feel like there is a war going on in my body, and I am loosing the battle.
It's been 10 months, and I still have all of those symptoms. Some are better, some are worse. Some come and go.Now I am adding a new symptom to all the others. My left hand, eye and corner of the mouth go into spasams un-controllably, and my throat is numb feeling. Kind of like I have sprayed something in there for a sore throat. It is very painful and makes it hard to swallow. I have been on 200mg Celebrex and 100mg Topamax for about 2 months. They help somewhat

Sorry I went on rambling. My whole point was that, yes, I too feel pressure in the back of my head when I lay down, and some of the other things you have too. My neuro just says it's from the car accident though. I'm still not too sure though. I just wish I knew for shure that it wasn't something more serious.

I wish you the very,very best of luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
It sounds like you have looked at quite a few areas trying to find the reason for your headaches.  But if none of the migraine meds are working for you and the pain is bad and you are feeling pressure in your head you might want to look into something called Pseudotumor Cerebri. It's a condition where fluid doesn't drain properly from your spine so it builds up pressure in your head. This can cause vision problems, debilitating headaches, all kinds off stuff. You would also feel stiffness in your neck if the pressure gets high. THe condition is very common in people who are over weight but can occur in people who aren't as well. If this sounds anything like you look it up and talk to your doctor or go to the hospital to avoid any further problems. I do have this, so if you have any questions e-mail me at ***@**** Good Luck!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello Sunnierec,

I am sorry that you are suffering with so many symptoms and still haven't gotten a diagnosis. If I were you I would get a second opinion from yet another neurologist. A Rheumatologist also may be able to help you as they run many tests. Both my son & I suffer with migraine's and my son also has cluster headaches as well. I have only suffered with these for a couple of years, but don't get many of them. On the other hand my son has suffered with them since age 5 and he is now 18. He has had an average of three headaches a week for many years. He has had many tests over the years including MRI's and EEG's. He has also tried many different medication's such as taking a prevental and med for the actual migraine. As you probably already know, it is most important to take the migraine medication as the onset of headache, or the med doesn't seem to work as well. My son did take Imitrex for many years, but then it stopped working for him. Possibly he built up a tolerance to the medication, but I am not sure. He now takes Zomig as I do, and this is the only medication that seems to work. They even have this medication in a nasal inhaler and it works much faster. My son also was prescribed Topamax but it didn't help him, but my sister is also on this med and rarely gets a migraine anymore. I am sorry that I can't help you with your other symptoms, but I figured that I would pass on the info about the Zomig. Good Luck to You.
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Avatar_n_tn
After reading your post again a test you might want to mention to your doctor is a lumbar punctar. This can measure your cerebrial spinal fluid pressure which if its too high or too low, can cause problems. It can also test the fluid for other possible causes as well. I will admit the procedure isn't fun at all, but if it gives you an answer its definitely worth it. And it is done outpatient. Your neurologist can set this up for you, I'm not sure about your GP.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for everyone's comments and support. I will certainly check into everything everyone has said. I had a follow-up with my primary care doctor and when I told him about the neurologist and him constantly trying to push Vicodin on me, he was appalled and gave me a consult with a new neurologist. I have an appointment in a few weeks which was the first available. As far as the migraines go, they are still coming and going. I went 4 days without one but then they came back. The pain I feel in my arms and legs and the difficulty walking is still present. My doctor beleives it might be nerve pain. I am exhausted all the time and the ever present head pressure is still there. I am determined to not let this get the best of me, if I have to live with these symptoms I will, but I want to know what the cause is--if there is one. Hopefully I will get some answers soon from the new neurologist. I wish all of you the best!
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Avatar_n_tn
Sunnierec, just wondering, before the onset of all of the new symptoms, did you exert yourself in any way that you remember? Lifting things, moving your neck weird, gym session... anything like that?

I did pushups 3 months ago and had massive pressure in my head for two weeks after. I have become fatigued and if I sleep on my left I feel like something is going to pop at the base of my skull on the right side...

I also had tingling on my right hand little finger and ring finger for a while but that seems to have gone.

Do you by chance sweat at the back of your head or around your neck some nights?
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry, just read that you had the car accident. I would agree with the doctor and say this has triggered the increase in symptoms. It took mine about a week before I felt totally shocking. There have actually been a few people on this message board, men mostly, who did some weights and triggered some pretty bad symptoms of headaches etc. To me it feels like a blood flow issue at the back of my head. Thank god my headaches have gone but the pressure at the base of my skull isn't nice.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had most all these symptoms.  It is hard to weigh which is worse, loss of function in my right hand leading to loss of employment, or the right sided facial pain and various types of 'grimace' that both feels disorienting and looks uncomforatable to others.  I find my chiropractor's regimen of massage and ultrasound helped the most, with daily stretching excercise of my SCM, pecs, chin tucks.  It has been a year with this approach.  Four months ago I began jogging daily, the first regular cardiovascular excercise I've had in years.  Since beginning that regimen, my chiropractor's treatments 'take' better and I'm gettign lasting improvements noticable on a week to week basis which last.  Adding that cardio feels more  effective  than quitting smoking did, a year ago this week.  Have gotten CT scan, MRI, EKG, EEG, neuropsych testing blah blah blah and simply hustled out the door by a neurologist, it's obvious to me that medical expertise has nothing special to contribute to disorders in this complex area.  From my right big toe to the top of my skull on the right side is still a litany of complaints, nothing works and everythign hurts sooner or later.  I'm encouraged by improvements enough to keep up my end of physical therapy regimen.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had awful, awful migraines.  My doctors didn't think tests were necessary, and I'm leary of drugs.  Like you I didn't want something addictive.  Excedrin barely touched the migraine, I wuld have to sleep it off.  It would be gone in a couple days, I knew I could at least look forward to that.  To make matters worse, as soon as it was gone, I had another.  I was an 18yr old with two jobs, going to nursing school, worried about my wieght.  When I got a migraine I couldn't sit up or lay down or stay to one side, it all made everythihng worse, every little movement.  My first thought was the artificial sweetners.  I quit drinking diet pepsi, quit almost every thing w/ artificial sweetners.  I was doing wieght watchers, so I was watching everything I ate very closely.  Still having these Migraines.  I started comparing labels.  I would wait until after a migraine, eat something, if i got another, I would write down everything in the label.  Next time I ate, i wrote down everything in that label.  Come to find out, it took about 2 wks to find out it was preservatives.  Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate(mainly).  I cut them out of my diet.  I could not belive the relief, I could move my head without feeling the tesion everywhere from neck up.  I could go for walks again, and play with my nieces and nephews, and listen to music.  I could do all of these things that it used to almost kill me to do.  I guess I'm just posting this because I want to make sure everyone checks out what they are eating.  It may be the cause of some of your migraine.  I'm now 20, never finished school (YET), and living with almost no pain.  Every now and again some preservatives slip by, but at the very first twinge, I drink as much water as possible take 2 excedrin and take a nap.  Good luck, I hope this helps some!  -Alicia (***@****)
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