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right sided headaches, other symptoms, very worried
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right sided headaches, other symptoms, very worried

I am a 23 year old female, and for the past 2 months I have been experiencing a mixture of symptoms. I remember how it started quite well, as i've never experience anything like it before. July 9, i was at work, typing away (i do payroll, invoicing as my job since May of this year) and all of a sudden, mid after, my right eye feels like it will explode from my socket with such intense pain i was basically frozen. The pain lasted about half an hour and faded a bit, leading into a right sided headache. for the rest of that month, my right eye, ear and temple felt heavy and full and had a dullish ache to it.
Come August, the headaches went away for about 2 weeks, along with pretty much all the discomfort (mostly) until my period came and the headache came back with the eye discomfort, but much less severe then when it began.
Over the 2 months, i've been to see my doctor a couple times, she tried to give me anti-depressants and other things, none of which i took. I also saw my neurologist and he did his exam on me and didn't find anything concerning about what i was describing to him. I went to see my optomitrist and she said my eyes were totally fine, no problems with my vision even though when my right eye hurts, it feels like my vision is off, even though it apparently isn't when i look through one eye at a time.
I recently went to the ER because of numbness/ tingling in my right arm (mainly the forearm to my fingers). it was like when you drain the blood from your limb... gets really cold and numb. The doctor there sent me for a CT scan, which came back negative and said that it could be lots of things but to hope it goes away...
My doctor scheduled, at my request a month ago for an MRI which is coming up at the end of October.
My main concern is a tumour, though my headaches are not normally bad in the morning, are treatable with Advil and don't make me sick and the numbness in my right arm is now on/off mainly in my fingers going cold. Can someone help?
Avatar_dr_m_tn
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 and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

There are several causes of headaches. Headaches can be divided into primary and secondary. Primary headache disorders are headaches without a direct cause. These are diagnosed after secondary causes have been excluded. Secondary headache disorders are due to an underlying problem, there are many many causes but some include medication side effects, systemic illness, nervous system infection, sleep apnea, vasculitis, tumors, bleeds in the brain or clots in the veins of the brain, and others.

The good news is that most of these secondary causes (but not all) can be ruled out if your neurological exam is normal and the MRI brain is normal. So I am glad to know that your neurologist didn’t find anything concerning on your exam and you are already scheduled you for the MRI brain. I understand you are concerned about tumors. The MRI brain is usually good enough to pick up even small tumors, but tiny ones may be missed. Each test has its limitations.

Primary headache disorders are much more common than secondary ones. There are several primary headache disorders, over 50 different types.  For example migraines, which usually a pulsating throbbing one-sided pain with nausea and discomfort in bright lights that lasts several hours. Auras can acoompany migraines where people can experience flashing lights in vision or sensory problems similar to the one you are describing. Another type is cluster headaches, which are sharp pains that occur around and behind the eye often at night and are associated with tearing of the eye and running of the nose. In primary stabbing headache, sharp or jabbing pain in the head occur, either as a single stab or a series of brief repeated volleys of pain. Primary stabbing headache often occurs in people with migraine. The pain itself generally lasts a fraction of a second but can last for up to one minute in some people. Another type of stabbing headache is called paroxysmal hemicrania. This is marked by episodes of stabbing or sharp pains that occur on one side of the head and may be associated with eye tearing or runny nose. Episodes may occur several times and last 30 seconds to a minute. Yet another type of stabbing headache is abbreviated SUNCT; 100s of stabbing pains lasting seconds occur and are associated with red eye and tearing.

Without further information about your headache, it is difficult to provide you with adequate information. From the limited description you gave the more likely of the primary headaches are migraine HA with aura, cluster HA or paroxysmal hemicrania. Please continue followup with your neurologist after the MRI brain

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck




4 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Forgot to mention that the headaches, eye problems and finger numbness don't really happen all at once. sometimes the hedache and eye pain go hand in hand, but not always.. in fact the past month was mostly just eye discomfort and no headache at all.  and the numbness gets better with heat and lots of it. Not sure if that is useful or not.
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Avatar_f_tn
Also, i had a CT scan 2 years ago for when i experience my first migraine (had the aura and everything). so the ER doctor used the recent CT scan to compare to the old one from 2 years ago, said they were exactly the same, no change. Just want to make sure I give all the information i can.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm sorry to hear about your problems.  You might look up Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I was just diagnosed and it sounds like you could have that.  Also there are several types: you most likely have the type I have.  Its the one that has circulatory problems.  Its to much to explain here, just search it and read about it.  Hope this helps.
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