My daughter's headaches?

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Posted by Michelle ( on June 05, 2001 at 23:21:15:

Hi everyone,

This is my first posting but just want to say that this is a wonderful board with great information...I've scanned through many of the postings and you are definitely a courageous bunch...wishing you all pain free days and nights!

Now...hoping some of you can help me. I have a beautiful almost-5-y.o. daughter who has been experiencing some sort of severe head pain episodes since June '99. At first we thought it was sinus related but now not so sure since many times when she has the pain she has no other associated sinus symptoms (such as fever, congestion, mucus, etc.).

Here's how it usually goes for her. About once or twice a month she will wake up from a sound sleep (usually about 2-3 a.m.) screaming and crying. She always says her "eye" is hurting. It's always on one side, NEVER both and doesn't switch eyes during the course of one attack, though it may sometimes be her right eye that's affected and sometimes her left. She screams out periodically, throughout the course of the attack, as though it is a stabbing pain. She clutches her eye---which tears and becomes bloodshot. The side of her face that is affected usually becomes slightly reddened and swollen. She always has a little clear nasal discharge from the nostril that is on the same side as the eye pain. She cannot tolerate light, though sound doesn't seem to bother her. Motrin and Benadryl can usually ease it after a while (given while she is having the attack). She is completely debilitated, doesn't eat or drink and has to "sleep it off" before getting any relief. Even after the pain has abated somewhat and she has woken up (usually about 4-5 hours after the pain has eased and she has fallen back to sleep), she has great difficulty opening the eye (often can't open it until hours after she has woken up) and still the extreme sensitivity to light. These attacks have NEVER come on during the day. She is never nauseated and has never vomited during one. She doesn't run a fever. She may be completely fine by the end of the day, or it may last for up to three days before going away completely.

I haven't been able to identify any real "triggers" though it seems that fatigue and exposure to cigarette smoke are more likely to occur before an attack. She has them all throughout the year---kinda took a break from Nov. of last year till about end of Feb., which was a first.

I know she doesn't fit the cluster "profile" per se since it mostly seems to be adults, but her symptoms seem so similar....

In the past she has been treated with antibiotics since we assumed it was a sinus infection. So far she has had 2 CT scans (both showed occluded (sp?) ethmoid sinuses) been seen by an allergist (has severe allergies to pollen et al. and has been getting weekly injections since last Nov.), and had countless courses of antibiotics. When I recently explained the symptoms in much greater detail to her pediatrician, he frowned and said it didn't seem associated with sinus infection per se. He started to think on the line of headaches, migraines---clusters, etc. Yesterday she had an MRI and an EEG to rule out any structural abnormalities and/or temporal lobe seizures, thank God the MRI was ok except for "sinus obstruction"---which was relayed to me as "sinus disease" though I haven't seen the actual report yet. Should get the EEG results tomorrow. Dr. still thinks it's migraines and wants to put her on 4 mg. of Periactin to be taken at bedtime.

I really apologize for being so lengthy, but these attacks are SO agonizing for her and I really want to find out what's causing them, and more importantly, how to treat and/or prevent them.

Any ideas or suggestions? Does anyone know any other good websites I can check out? How can I tell whether the attacks are migraines, clusters, or some variation thereof?

Heartfelt thanks in advance for any and all replies.

Lex's mom (Michelle)

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