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Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache (Read 468 times)
patrisha
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Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Nov 5th, 2019 at 7:16pm
 
First off I am sorry for anyone having to be on this board and suffering from the pain this ailment causes. I recently had ct scan of my sinus and to my surprise it came back normal. I was told that my excruciating pain and pressure in my face were actually migraines. I always thought that the change in weather or allergies caused my sinus cavity to block. Then when relief finally came I IMAGINED that the mucous finally drained from the sinus cavities. Well ent explained that there was no mucous and the pain and pressure I am feeling when I have a “sinus headache” was actually dilated blood vessels in my face caused by a migraine. I also get a horrible kink in back of neck that comes with the pain. I’ve suffered from these “sinus” attacks since early 20’s. Now turning 60 they have gotten worse. They last all day and If i’m lucky will have relief sometime the next morning. Advil does nothing. The thing is I never hear anyone describe their migraine symptoms as incapacitating facial pressure and pain . I don’t even know if it’s a throbbing sensation because the pressure and pain is so severe.
I have searched many migraine boards and my symptoms are like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
The symptoms of migraine are described by sufferers as throbbing. I don't have throbbing. They get nausea. I do not experience that. Light does not effect me.
My experience is most times waking up in morning and panicking because I just know I'm feeling the start even with no pain yet. I try to take a hot/cold shower to ward it off. Then inhale peppermint oil . Then try to sniff pepper to get myself to sneeze. This is to no avail. The feeling starts as a blocked nose on one side and then the huge knot around nape of neck or below forms. Then the horrible pressure all around my eye. I can't function. My eye swells at bottom also like a big bag.
So when i came upon this board I felt that a cluster headache describes my pain more so then a migraine. But there also is differences that I can not  overlook.
First this lasts all day and sometimes into the night. Unlike the description of CH which at most lasts 3 hours.
Next I do NOT pace around. The only thing i CAN do is sit totally still and for hours trying  to push on where the tender/painful spots are around my eye. it moves around from under eyebrow to under eye where the bag is ect. I spend hours trying to push as hard as I could with my finger to the spot in back of my next. It always feels like right by nape on same side as eye pain but it ends up not in that spot at all but down further closer to side of neck. I push there hard and spot is so tender and painful. yet it gives some relief when I push on spot. . it gets worse and worse until I can't stand it anymore and right around then after many hours the pain lifts and my neck no longer has the knot. Sometimes I even sneeze a few times and it is such a relief because that's when I know the pain has ended and there is no pressure anymore. I do not have a piercing pain but a pressure that I would just like to get a screw driver and get fluid out with.
Another thing my eye does not get red and I have no running nose. But my nose is blocked but that's the least worry. I also feel like I'm drooling on that side but in reality I am not.
I could go a few weeks and have no attacks . It SEEMS like there is a change in weather that causes this but not sure. I would say more then 90% of time It starts in morning.
I have an appointment with a neuro next month. Thank you for reading and would deeply appreciate any feedback and if this sounds more like migraine then cluster. Thank you.
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« Last Edit: Nov 5th, 2019 at 7:24pm by patrisha »  
 
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AussieBrian
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #1 - Nov 5th, 2019 at 9:21pm
 
G'day Patrisha,  and welcome,  I'm just sorry you had to come looking for us.

The neuro appointment you have coming up is the really important bit because there are many different types of headaches and it takes a real expert to work out just which nightmare you're having to endure.  Let's just hope he's a headache specialist into the bargain.

You can help him a lot by straightaway starting a headache diary listing each headache as it happens.  When it started, how long it lasted, what you were doing at the time, what you were eating, and anything else you can think of.

Sometimes a pattern emerges which is a major hint,  or it might show up what we call  'triggers'  which are very handy to know so you can avoid them.

Also make up a list questions for him and be sure to get answers.

In the meantime you might like to try downing a Red Bull type energy drink at the immediate onset of a headache.  The ones with both caffeine and taurine,  chugalugged at full speed,  are known to give at least a little relief to Clusterheads and sufferers of some other headache syndromes.

Ice packs are our friends and pure oxygen,  if you can find a way to try it,  is the number one go-to for so many.

Please let us know how you're getting on because we care.

All headaches are horrible,

Brian down under.

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My name is Brian. I'm a ClusterHead and I'm here to help. Email me anytime at briandinkum@yahoo.com
 
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pattik
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #2 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 9:15am
 
Hi Patrisha.
Your description sure sounds a lot like CH. There can be a lot of variability regarding the length of the attacks. The criteria is just a place to start from. Since you noticed the sore spot/nerve bundle at the base of your skull, you should press an ice pack from the freezer on it as soon as possible. When I awaken with the beginning of an attack, a combination of ice pack and strong coffee or energy drink can often reduce or eliminate it for me, if I get it early.

I hope you get a definitive diagnosis soon, and in the meanwhile, try not to fret too much. There is a lot you can do to get a handle on this. I’ve been at it for over 35 years, and this website has a wealth of helpful information and people who can answer questions.

Patti
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patrisha
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #3 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 2:47pm
 
Thank you for your replies and offering helpful tips. I try a strong starbucks in morning with pain but does not help. Tried the ice on back of neck and doesn't take that horrible knot away either. Just the pushing hard helps with a little relief. I just still can't get over thinking it's maybe from barometric pressure causing things to not equalibralize in my sinus cavity hence causing the pressure. But when I threw that out to ENT he assured me that there is NO sinus cavity in my neck. lol Also  if when the pain goes away do I have the mucous that I "imagine" in my sinus cavity start come out through my nose. "It's a migraine!".lol No to both. So he won that round. lol
But when I youtube a video of someone suffering through a CH,it does not fit. So I'm leaning more towards migraine. Again, just wish migraine fit more into what I'm experiencing .
I will write after my neuro appt. and hopefully get a diagnosis and share. Thank you both.
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« Last Edit: Nov 6th, 2019 at 2:51pm by patrisha »  
 
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Mike NZ
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #4 - Nov 7th, 2019 at 12:58am
 
Hi Patrisha and welcome

You've certainly got an interesting set of symptoms which doesn't quite fit into any of the more common headache types, but instead it has bits of quite a few different ones, which could be because you're having more than one headache type active. This isn't too unusual (I get CH and migraine).

There are a large number of headache types, with the standard definitions and diagnostic criteria being found here - Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

Whilst many have symptoms you can easily check, many are a bit more complex as they need the neuro to be able to rule out all other possible causes which is where they need a lot of skills and experience. This is why we always suggest people work with a headache specialist to get this done.

Once you've got a diagnosis (or diagnosis(s)) then this will help lead to the appropriate treatments you need.

The suggestion around a headache diary is a good one, plus do make a note of the questions you want to ask when you get your appointment. Tick off as you ask each one and take notes as there can be often a lot to take in.

Keep us updated, we've all gone through a similar experience.
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patrisha
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #5 - Nov 7th, 2019 at 6:24pm
 
Laughing with your reply Mike of "interesting set of symptoms." I just want to find a board where I fit in. lol right now in-between migraine and cluster with a little dash of tension at times.
I could laugh today because it's a no pain day. Hope I'll be equally as lucky tomorrow since changes are coming with cold air tomorrow.
Thank you for link.
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Hoppy
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Re: Help distinguishing migraine vs cluster headache
Reply #6 - Nov 10th, 2019 at 10:49pm
 
Doesn't sound like CH's to me, so hopefully your neuro is skilled in headache types, and has some answers for you as to what's going on in that head of yours.

Cheers Hoppy
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