should I get an MRI (is this bruise normal)?

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Posted by Andrew Mytys ( on June 09, 2000 at 14:46:54:

Just found out I've got cluster headaches - Episodic. At least, this is my self-diag. I'm 31 - I've had them since I was a kid, but they're much worse now. I'm finally going to the doctor... the pain is too much to bear.

I usually get my CHs in the spring and fall, but, with a really nasty weather change, they can occur at any given time. Whenever they occur, it seems that changes in the weather (atmospheric pressure?) is the trigger. If I've got a headache, you can bet that, within 4-8 hours, there will be a change in the weather in the area.

If I'm awake, I get feel a numbness before the attack and two Advil will usually keep the headache away (thank God). If I wake up at night with a headache, I'm screwed.

The pain is always on the right side, in the eye-socket/temple region but if it's bad enough it'll wrap around to the back of my head.

It feels like a ball inside my head that's trying to push itself out - I feel like beating it down with a hammer. What's really bad is that, if I don't get a few days break between headaches, each headache will be much worse than the previous one in terms of the pain (not duration). This is because, once a headache subsides, I walk around for the next few days with a "bruse" under my eyebrow - you can't see it but if I touch my eyebrow it's like a pain switch and I feel a sensation in all the areas where my headache was - more like a "Hi, I'm still here" than the excruciating pain I feel during a headache though. The continual stress in an already sensitive area has an amplifying effect.

I just started seeing a doctor, as the pain has gotten so bad (up until now, I've been too "Manly" to go see the doc because of a 'headache'). I don't want to take drugs - If I have to, let it be a solution where I can start taking it after my first headache, just for a month (hoping that the CH session doesn't last longer).

I've gotten the blood test; I'm healthy as a horse. I've gotten the sinus X-Ray... some blockage in the Ethmoid (sp?) region but nothing that would explain my headaches.

Now my Doc wants to send me for an MRI. I'm really hesitant, because I don't trust the technology (possibility of long term negative effects of Magnetic Imaging). On the other hand, I'm worried about this "bruising" effect - could my blood vessels be at risk of an aneurysm?

As I'm a newbie to this whole CH thing (new to the medical facts, not the pain), I don't know how common my "bruise" symptom is.

Is this residual/echo pain common? Does anyone else feel this? Has anyone diagnosed with CH gotten any additional benefits/information by undergoing an MRI?

BTW, if I do get a pain at night I pop two advil, fill a zip-loc with ice, wrap a washcloth around the zip-loc, and press that in the temple/eye area where the pain is centralized. The combination of multiple pressure points (each cube of ice) that momentarully hyperstimulates (that ice is COLD) areas around the pain center seems to help. It's like two sensations (the cold from the ice touching the skin and the headache) canceling each other out, at least momentarally. I've had great success with this technique on up to two consequive "wake-up" headaches. After about ten minutes of "ice" technique, I put on a tight-fitting winter hat (knit or fleece, childrens size). The pressure of the tight fit around my head combined with the after effects of the ice allow me to go back to sleep. If I get a third "wake-up" attack in the same week, this won't work anymore - For the next hour, I'm stuck looking like Dr. Bruce Banner (Bill Bixbey) turning into the Incredible Hulk (although I'm still 160 lbs...)

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