Hi everyone. I posted this in the community forum, but I would love to receive some expert guidance as well. I have been experiencing bizarre symptoms since November 2008.
I am a 33 year old female who is normally in excellent health. I'm usually very energetic, I exercise regularly, and run marathons. About mid-November I began to experience a persistent headache on the top of my head. I'm told that this is a vertex headache. The headache is accompanied by tenderness when the area is lightly touched. Several days after the headache began, I came down with a bad cold. My doctor told me that I had a bacterial upper respiratory infection and he prescribed antibiotics for 7 days. On the 8th day my cold symptoms were gone, but the headache remained. My doc told me to "wait it out and see if it gets better." I waited until mid-December when the pain became unbearable. I was sent to a Dermatologist who ruled out and skin disorders. Subsequently, I was placed on a 20 day course of antibiotics to treat what my doc thought was a type of sinusitis.
It's now 2009 and the headache is getting worse. OTC meds do not alleviate the pain. The pain in minimal in the morning and increases throughout the day. Nighttime is the absolute worst. Sometimes the pain is a burning sensation and the area is always painful to light touch. I now have new symptoms of nausea and fatigue. The fatigue hits me so hard that walking is a chore. My limbs just feel so tired. I had a CAT scan which was negative and I have an appt. with a neurologist.
I'm wondering if this could be a thyroid disorder or perhaps Lyme disease?
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.
Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of your symptoms is or how to treat it. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.
Headaches are a frequent neurologic symptoms, and there are different types of headache syndromes that each respond to different kinds of treatments. When a patient who has never suffered from headaches in the past starts developing headaches, it is important to make sure that there is no underlying structural abnormality or specific cause. For this a neurologic exam is important to make sure that there are no neurologic deficits, and imaging studies (such as a CT scan) are also indicated to rule out structural problems. It is very reassuring the fact that a CT scan was done and which as you describe was negative. Depending on a neurologic evaluation, sometimes other testing may be required.
There are other types of headache syndromes as I mentioned, however your symptoms do not fit.
It is important to say that when a patient presents with headache in the setting of fever and an infectious process, more severe conditions should be entertained, such as meningitis. This is not likely your condition, given the fact that you have had this headache for almost 2 months now, and do not have manifestations of meningitis. This condition usually develops fast over few days.
Your headache does not sound like a migraine, specially since it is a new onset of headache, and does not have other features of migraine, which are characteristically a “pounding” unilateral headache, associated with photophobia and phonophobia, as well as nausea and vomiting. These headaches are chronic, and come and go throughout the patient’s life, which does not seem the pattern that you have.
From what you describe sounds that the headache may be localized to the skin, which is unusual, but if this is the manifestation and if there are no other underlying problem or other neurologic symptom, most of the times this type of headache goes away on its own. However it should be assessed properly.
Without being able to obtain a detailed history and examination, I cannot tell you what the cause of your symptoms is. I think you should discuss your symptoms with your neurologist to determine what is causing it and how you can treat it.
I hope this information is useful. Good luck.
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