Interesting Case?

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Posted by dwd ( on November 30, 1999 at 16:52:56:

I found this site a couple days ago after a strange experience I had (twice) over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The experience was a repeat of isolated (3-4) experiences I had 4-6 years ago. In each case I experienced intense pain behind and around one eye. The pain was a combination of pressure behind, above, and below my left eye plus sharp pain directly behind the eye, plus needle like sharp burning pain on the skin around my eye. The needle like burning pain became much more intense if I touched the skin. (I learned very quickly not to touch my face when this happened.) The pain was accompanied by tearing, nasal congestion, sweating, and redness of the skin around my eye. The pain came on very quickly - within a minute, and left as rapidly. It stayed around for about 20 minutes.

From reading here I've found that I am very fortunate. The intensity of my episodes has been comparatively low. I have gotten only a glimpse of how truly painful these things can be, and that is all I want to see. Additionally, my episodes are brief and few and far between.

I hesitated to post here because of the relative non-severity of my attacks, but I decided to post because the circumstances I experience the attacks under are VERY specific and not usual. By sharing these I'm hopeful that it may help someone doing research into the cause(s) identify a pattern or something. You never know.

Anyway, the original episodes (3-4 episodes 4-6 years ago) were all while I was on a plane during descent for landing. The pain started shortly after descent began and ended shortly after landing. I never had symptoms linger past my exit from the plane. At the time I attributed it to a pocket of air trapped somewhere in my sinuses pressing against something. (like ear popping but different and in my sinus) I had no idea what a cluster headache was.

More recently I experienced two episodes during my holiday trip to Gand Junction Colorado. One was riding in a car while we descended from the Grand Mesa (10,500 ft altitude) back to Grand Junction (5,000 ft). The second was during descent upon my return to Tulsa from Denver. The second one was much worse than the first one, and it motivated me to look for something that might fit my symptoms.

The original episodes are too removed to remember what side of my face and whether or not I had any alcohol. This time I had one to two glasses of wine before the trip, and the pain was on my left side.

More information that may or may not be pertinent - I have Raynaud's Syndrome in my left hand fingers. I'm male 33 yrs old. I have an occassional nerve twitch (more like a stabbing pain) in my neck on the left side. I'm a non-smoker, light drinker, runner (marathons). I don't have migraines. I've never had anything remotely like these symptoms outside of what I have described. I fly frequently without experiencing symptoms. I believe each episode was during cold weather months and during each one I had some nasal congestion already.

I've sinced talked with a doctor about the symptoms and he believes it is a cluster headache I'm experiencing but under unusual circumstances. He is talking to a neurologist about it as well. He gave me some nasal Imitrex to try the next time it happens.

Has anyone experienced or heard of someone with similar experiences as mine? Should I expect it to worsen? Has anyone else seen a connection between altitude and and episodes? Especially going from higher altitude to lower?

I sincerely feel for everyone who suffers with this, and I hope sharing my info can help.


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