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Brain (Cerebral) Aneurysm Community
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Avatar universal

major pressure

6 months ago I had cranial surgery for  a ruptured aneurysm. I've had a pretty good recovery. Long, some points of discomfort but generally very luckily pain free. As of last monday (5 days ago) i started to have what feels like a major, very intense muscle spasm on the outside of my skull. It is affecting the area where the surgery was done (my left side of head). It feels bruised and so tight I can barley open my jaw on that side.
Immediately after my surgery my temporalis muscle on the surgery side of head (left) atrophied leaving a dent where my left temple was. I'm wondering if this spasm is part of the atrophied muscle struggling to come back to life? Or simply a new faze of healing I'm experiencing, perhaps muscle, nerve and fascia healing?
I had a CAT scan yesterday to insure that the pressure was not coming from the inside of my skull. My brain, and clip are fine, clear and intact.
But this spasm is 5days old now, very uncomfortable and distracting and exhausting,mostly pressure with some aching, and I had minimal discomfort for 6 months up until this started 5 days ago.
Please, has anyone else experienced pressure and tightness like this? after cranial surgery? Any thoughts on what this might be? If it settles eventually? and how to manage it? I never had headaches before my surgery either so if this is a migraine or a type of migraine I have nothing to compare it to.
Please. Help?
34 Responses
Avatar universal
Approximately 6 months post op from clipping surgey of a right sided Anterior Communicating Artery, my wife had an excruciating head pain that ultimately were migraines.  I hope your pressure and tightness aren't similar to my wife's.  It would be important for you to take control of these issues as soon as possible.  That's the word my wife got from a headache specialist recently.  For my wife it's 17 years to late to act on that advice but maybe for you it can be controlled.  

What area of the country do you live?  We are located in PA, so I can provide some advice on who to see on the East Coast.  Migraines are no fun and it would be important to get them under control ASAP or atleast understand what could be causing them.
Avatar universal
At least I can always count on you Eddie!
I live in Toronto Canada. So don't know about you knowing referrals for my case. I will ask my doctor for specialist referrals. Can you tell me specifically the kind of doctor I should see about this? I've noticed already that when I take a muscle relaxant it subsides quite a bit. It seems like a muscle spasm, mostly. But there is some sharp pain that comes and goes. really so uncomfortable. Like my head is being squeezed on one side. Much more pressure than pain.
thanks
Avatar universal
If you can afford to do it and pay out of pocket (I don't understand the Canadian health system but do understand the wait time is incredibly long) you might want to consider the Cleveland Clinic Neurologic Institute (try googling them for more information).  If the muscle relaxant seems to be working, maybe surgical adhesions might be the source of the problem.  Do you notice more pain during weather changes?
Avatar universal
Yes. Weather, and flying both have affected it. Tightness more than pain. But yes air pressure definitely affects it. Up until last week, that's all that affected it. This bout, I don't why it's happening. I've been told of  drug called Gabopentin, but aways resist drugs until I'm absolutely forced to consider them. Have you heard of it? It's for nerve damage.
thanks
Avatar universal
Actually I take it for nerve damage in the abdomen.  Gabapentin is generic for Neurontin.  Topomax is also prescribed for migraine pain so that might be another option.  Lyrica is another brand name drug (it's actually the replacement for Neurontin).  This one seems to reduce the nerve pain better, but the pricing is really high even on a prescription plan.

Some Neurologist will try gabapentin at high doses exceeding 300mg usually up to 1200mg or more.  Weight gain and difficulty keeping my driving balance going around curves was troubling for me.  I know your thinking what the heck is "driving balance?"  I felt as though I would lose my balance as I was sitting in the drivers seat going around curves, it was a weird sensation
Avatar universal
Weight gain!!!! oh god. Funny no matter how many redeeming qualities a drug may have , if it causes weight gain FORGET IT! So you take it, but at smaller doses and it doesn't cause weight gain? Or "balance issues"? How's your concentration on it? Does it affect your head at all? (That's all I need ( :
Thanks
Avatar universal
At the 300 mg level, I've had no weight gain, balance or concentration issues, in fact I could probably use a few extra pounds (but I'll be careful what I wish for LOL)  I last had the higher dose at 900 to 1200mg back in 2002 but dropped back down to 300mg in 2003.  My wife started on Topomax 25mg back in 2004 and she dropped weight which is a side effect of it.  She's up to 100mg and we don't see beneficial effects on her migraines at that level so we'll talk to her Neurologist about dropping back to 50mg daily.
Avatar universal
Alright. Great info. Thanks. I have an appointment with a neurologist on Friday. I will ask about them all.
Thanks again.
Avatar universal
I hope your appointment went well.  If there is any news you can share I'd certainly appreciate learning more.

Thanks
Ed
Avatar universal
Hi. It was moved to this Wednesday. I will certainly let you know. My pressure has lifted completely thank god, but will do my best to explain it to the doc to get his best advice.(which I find rarely comes from a doctor). Here's hoping!
Avatar universal
The thought occurred to me that since the pressure has lifted, you live close enough to the severe weather systems that have passed by to the South of you especially in NY.  These were some pretty powerful storms that contained a huge amount of energy.  My wife (a clipping suvivor) also had pressure pain and migraines during this same period as did my mother and myself but not to the extent of my wife's or your pain.

After 17 years of tracking her migraines (post surgical). the only time she gets them this bad is when storms of the magnitude we recently experienced come from the West Southwest moving towards the Northeast.  Sadly, Doctors write this all off to air pressure but no medical study ever confirmed this as a cause.  Meterologist however can confirm that the atmosphere can register tens of thousands of volts per meter during these systems.  Keep in mind that our nervous system is really a bundle of electrically driven impulses.  I often use the analogy of crossing the wires on a battery to drive home the point of what can happen if one would do that.  Now imagine that occuring in our nervous system - a shorting out of muscles and nerves.  Why medical science never approaches it from this angle is baffling to me.  
Avatar universal
Truly.
Avatar universal
Hi Eddie.
Re my neurologist appointment. Well... it was odd.. the doctor was.... odd. i walked on my toes then heels, he poked me with pins. announced i was alright. told me all the drugs i asked about had side effects that i didn't need them. prescribed me some numbing cream for my head "pain" which i kept correcting him, wasn't PAIN but NUMBNESS and PRESSURE and he handed me the NUMBING cream to put on my already numb head for the pain i don't have.
ha. good grief. my already intact sense of humour has become much more so in the past 6 months and all I've been through since my bleed.
i will make my way to another neurologist.
Avatar universal
That tells me he knows very little about pain management and just offered a standard neurological exam.  The cream he offered I believe has lidocaine or a topical ibuprofen.  I don't think that will ever penetrate our "thick" heads and make its way to the sub surface nerve root.  

You may want to quiz the next neurologist if they perform EMG tests (this is a test of the nerve branches to determine if there is damage which can cause the problem.)  A second question might be to ask about nerve blocks or botox injections.  The botox I understand helps some folks but can later result in more severe headaches.  I'm suspecious of the botox as it might be tried on my wife sometime in the future if other protocols fail but we're concerned about resolving headaches only to get worse headaches.

We're also making an appointment with her Neurosurgeon to determine the safety and advisability of swapping out the wired bone flap closures for some newer technology that could minimize the problems associated with electrical devices.  I am going to need to make a strong argument to get this appointment because most Doctor's don't understand the physics behind this problem.  Fortunately I do but it like a Captain suggesting a different battle plan to a General i.e. my pay grade is lower then their's.
Avatar universal
How is the cream working out for you?  Now that the weather has turned more stable, have you noticed a difference in the pressure?

By the way, we have an appointment with my wife's original neurosurgeon to discuss the problem and determine if it's safe to remove and replace the bone flap wires.  We believe that will solve 2/3's of my wife's migraine sources.

Ed
Avatar universal
Hmmm so interesting, let me know how that all goes!
I never filled the prescription for numbing cream for my numb head prescribed by the numb neurologist. The weather here has been close very hot and humid, not good for the bizarre pressure i feel, but i take an advil with an aerius in the morning and strangely, most of it gets allieviated. It has become a road of trial and error.
Thanks for checking in.
Keep me posted,
Avatar universal
Sorry for the wait, it's been a long long week.  We had a good visit with my wife's Neurosurgeon.  After some initial hesitation about our theory, he came to understand and agree that our theory had very strong merit.  The bone flap sutures can be replaced but the whole surgical procedure would be very risky so we have some heavy thinking to do.  In the meantime, he will support out filing a report with the device division of the FDA.  Unfortunately, with all the scalp probing, the pressure from it triggered a very strong migraine response.  My wife is just recovering from it today, she lost about seven pounds in this episode.  Has this latest heat wave affected you?
Avatar universal
I know scalp probing sends my head muscles in to spasm as well. The heat wave. Yes it's been 40 degrees here. I'm ok though. It's not comfortable to live in but I am ok. I saw a osteopath for the first time last week. It was hugely helpful. Very gentle manipulations to the skull and it' s attatchment point on the neck. First I felt like I was drunk then the pressure really lifted for the first time in months. I will go back in a week or two. has your wife seen an osteopath?
That's some heavy thinking to do for sure regarding the surgery and of course the risks. Thanks for letting me know.
Also my numbness is finally lifting after 7 months. I may have to change my forum name...
Avatar universal
I noticed another wave coming South from your neck of the woods.  Have you had any pain or discomfort with this latest wave?  Any thoughts on the new name?
Avatar universal
Hi Eddie. I've been in Prince Edward Island for the last 3 weeks. Off the east cost, in the Atlantic. Still here. Back to Toronto on Thurs. So haven't had the heat. cooler here. But lost of humidity and caught a head cold, which was HELL! haven't gone through that yet. Not good with all the head's already dealing with. Better now though!
No new name yet... waiting for to be inspired for that one... it's coming though..
how's your world?
Avatar universal
My ultimate vacation trip was to take the CAT from Bar Harbor, Maine to Nova Scotia.  It less likely to happen now because the CAT was taken out of service and defunded by the Canadian government.  I can imagine how beautiful it is up there.  I also had thought about a trip to Newfoundland but then I started looking at the type of food served there - no thanks.

We just had a couple of nasty systems moving through our area but they were slow movers so the systems couldn't generate enough atmospheric voltage to trigger Lori's migraines.  I hope all continues well for you and if I can think of a unique name for you I'll pass it along.  Let us know if your discomfort resurfaces.
Avatar universal
it resurfaced! Major humidity here yesterday, my head seized up.
let me ask you, is this unpredictable head drama/trauma anything to do with the healing of muscle, nerves and skull that will level out someday? (as I'm 8 months in now) or is it something that goes on forever at the same intensity? the   pressure ugh.... and it feels bruised, like i was hit with a baseball on he side of my head, then the next day it's gone.... so tired of it all already....
Avatar universal
Let me give you one of my research sites for why this could be occuring and you can compare and decide for yourself.  Go to weatherunderground.com and select the weather history tab.  Type in the city and country.  When presented insert the date of 8/9/11.  This will bring up a series of charts and hour by hour of weather data.

Notice the jump in wind gust speed and the changes of direction.  Simulatously you can also see when the rain began and became heavy.  In my opinion this data fit easily into my theory of electro-magnetics being one of the triggers for the pain.  Let me know your thoughts and the timing associated with the pain.
Avatar universal
Ok I will. I'll start logging it all. Let you know. thanks.
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