I'm 16 and had my shunt placed for an arachnoid cyst when I was 2. I've needed 2 revisions near my 15th birthday because I started to get horrible headaches and my optic nerves started to hemmorhage because of the increased intracranial pressure. My headaches would start at the bottom of my neck and continue to the top of head, which would make me dizzy. The pain felt throbbing and pulsing. Motrin would never help and I would need to wait until the headache wore off.
Now I'm starting to get headaches, but they only come when I lay down, which makes it hard for me to sleep. The pain still feels like pulsing and throbbing and like my head is going to explode. Also, around my shunt site, I occasionally feel a pinching pain. This is starting to worry me that my shunt is slowly failing.
I'm not a doctor, but from what I know about shunts, I would definitely call your neurologist or neurosurgeon today and explain what's been happening and how you've been feeling. Hopefully, your shunt flow just needs adjusting. Do not delay in calling; shunt failure, depending on the cause, can be life threatening.
Hello, Thank you for your question. If you have continuous symptoms like that, possible causes may be shunt is either under-draining or over-draining. Your doctor can assess this with a lumbar puncture and measures the fluid pressure. He/She may make some adjustment of the shunt to allow it to drain more and can monitor if the symptoms improves. Another possibility could be shunt is over-draining, that may lead to low CSF pressure that can also lead to headache. This may improve when the person lies down and gets worse when the person sits or stands. Other possibility could be any circulatory disorder related to heart condition or blood vessel disorder. As you are suffering from continuous symptoms, please arrange an appointment with a neurologist right away who will evaluate the further underlying disorders here that may be the main reasons of her headaches and can suggest her appropriate treatment. Hope this information proves helpful to you.
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