Posted by Bennie Sue (220.127.116.11) on January 07, 2001 at 08:25:44:
I am glad you found some good information here to aid you in your research of your husband's symptoms.
It would be interesting to me to know whether his pain started with the actual pulling of the tooth. Had the tooth been very painful for a while?
Is he certain he had no CH symptoms prior to the bad tooth?
The reason I ask is that I had an abscessed tooth which a military dentist would not pull for me when I was pregnant with my second daughter. When my baby was a few months old I saw my regular tooth-pulling
man and got rid of the tooth. But when I awoke from the anesthesia, I had the most horrible pain in that area and on into my head which was very much like what I later felt with CH. Of course, this tooth pain went away shortly.
It was not until about 6 years later (I was 42 by that time - 1982 or so) that the CH began. It took 11 years
to get medication (Verapamil and lithium) from a new neurologist in town who was fortunately well-trained in head pain.
It was still years later that I discovered this site. I was convinced that the very bad tooth and its extraction had damaged a nerve and caused the head pain.
I learned that no one believes this is the cause today. Researchers blame the hypothalamus. Anyway, when I have an attack it still begins in the exact area of the original tooth pain. I even have a small soft pocket of fluid in the upper gum in that very place.
CH is a very mysterious ailment. We really do not know its cause, and everyone has varying symptoms. Generally after tests to rule out other causes of head pain, CH is diagnosed by the symptoms - there is no test for CH per se.
I suggest that a neurologist might be the best doctor for your husband if no organic cause of CH is found (and take heart that organic causes are very uncommon). He is the most likely to be up on the latest things that work for a lot of us clusterheads.
Meanwhile he might want to try self help such as the application of ice. I believe this would kill me, but others say it is very helpful. In my case, only heat (and I mean *hot* air from my hair dryer) will sometimes abort an attack if I start as soon as the pain begins. Because the gum
hurts and seems to send an electric pulse to the whole right side of my head, I hold hot coffee in my mouth on the trigger area. It helps me tremendously. No one else has reported a similar experience, but a few do take hot showers, etc.
If he finds heat beneficial he might try breathing steam (be careful), running hot water over his wrists - whatever warms. I know this sounds contradictory to the principle of treating CH pain. What we are trying to do with treatment is constrict swollen blood vessels in the brain - and cold constricts. So I cannot explain my situation with any logic - that is just my own peculiar quirk.
But it does make me give more thought to the theory that certain brain chemicals increase in the blood to unusually high levels during a CH attack. Imitrex and oxygen lower those level to normal in a few minutes (as a rule), and the pain goes away. Opiates do not lower the chemical level and simply mask the pain or dull it enough to give partial relief.
Please let us know the test results. If it turns out your husband has CH, I hope he will visit this site and tell us more about himself. Of course, as a supporter, you are very welcome to post anytime, as well. We love our supporters because their understanding really does help.
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