I am having neck pain that develops into a headache whenever I lay down. It started just over one week ago, and has progressively gotten worse. It goes away a few hours of waking up, though as it's gotten worse, it takes longer to go away. Yes, I've been to the doctor and we're working on a diagnosis; I'm looking for more insight.
posted by [insert clever name here] to health & fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It starts out feeling like my neck is weak and the pillows aren't supporting it correctly. Then moves on to a headache, with the pain radiating from the base of my skull to my forehead and face, and down the back of my neck radiating into my shoulders. The source of the pain seems to start at where my head and neck meet, but its hard to determine once the pain is full blown.
It wakes me up from sleep, and I have a hard time falling back to sleep. I have, over the past week tried several medications, including Ibuprofin, Cyclobenzaprine, Sumatriptan, and Percocet (not all in the same night!). The only thing that gave me relief was two Percocets. And then, I can feel a shadow of the pain but the pain itself is gone.
Which brings up another point, I just had surgery one month ago, I had my sinuses opened up, my deviated septum straightened, and turbinate reduction. My doctor said everything there is fine and not causing the pain - more on that shortly. (That's also why I have some Percocet laying around)
I frequently fall asleep before it gets bad, but then it wakes me in the middle of the night. At that point, I feel like someone is just squeezing my head and my brain wants to explode out. The most pain is in my forehead and the back of my neck, but its also all over. I think its worse than any migraine I've had, but its hard to do a side by side comparison. Putting a heat pack on my forehead helps a little bit, and does let me fall back asleep for a little. Same with a heating pad on my neck. Propping pillows so I'm sitting more upright does help a bit too but it doesn't solve it, just lessens it.
Thursday the pain was bad enough I had my husband drive me to the urgent care clinic. I threw up on the way there and then again in the doctor's office. I think it was due to the pain; I've vomited from pain before. The urgent care doctor diagnosed it as an atypical migraine caused by stress. This didn't sit well with me because I'm not particularly stressed, and I don't think laying down would trigger a migraine.
Later that day, I had a post op appointment with my ENT who preformed the sinus surgery so I kept it and asked him about it. He didn't see anything like a sinus infection or anything else out of the ordinary that would cause the symptoms I was experiencing. In fact, he said I was healing quite well though still a little swollen, which was to be expected.
I also made an appointment with my primary physician for the next day. She said the waking up at night in pain was a red flag, and there was no way it was a migraine based on my symptoms, ordered an MRI for next week and prescribed Prednisone, and told me to take it right away. So I did, and an hour later took a nap and slept like a baby, no neck pain or headache. Same with last night. Unlike the Percocet, there is no shadow of pain, it's just gone.
I have another appointment with her Monday to follow up, and the MRI is scheduled for Thursday for "head and brain" (that's what was written on the sheet given to me to call about scheduling it).
If you've managed to read this far, what can I expect? The Prednisone worked, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Should I be expecting the worst, a tumor? Encephalitis, meningitis, brain worms? Is there anything else I should be asking my doctor?
(Also, I'm kind of terrified of an MRI. Please tell me how its not going to tear any non-existent metal out of my body.)