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Friday, September 18, 2009 Solaire, Community Member, asks

Q: Migraine or Neuropathy?

I have suffered migraines and chronic daily headaches for years, but I recently experienced the worst headache/pain I have ever had.  It was above my right ear and shot towards my temple.  The pain only lasted a second or two but would return a few seconds later, it was so severe that I experienced nausea and vomitting.  This intermittent pain lasted 7 days straight.  The only thing that could relieve the pain was Vicodin, and it didn't even help very much.  Migraine meds were completely ineffective.  I also experienced a strange feeling of being touched across my forehead and my scalp hurt so much on the right side that I couldn't brush my hair.  After a few days I went the ER.  The doctor suggested it was Neuropathy, but when I told my Neurologist, she disagreed with that possible diagnosis, suggesting it was migraine.  I have many symptoms that resemble MS, although the neurologist is unable to make a diagnosis at this time and tends to focus on my headaches.  This headache was like nothing I have ever had and I have fear of it returning.  Could this have been a migraine?  Or should I try to explain my week of agony better to my neurologist?

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Answers (2)
Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
9/19/09 9:31pm

Hi Solaire,

 

Anyone who has three or more Migraines a month needs to be talking with their doctor about prevention. There's growing evidence that Migraine is a progressive brain disease. A recent study showed that Migraines can cause brain damage, and that people with three or more Migraines a month are more susceptible to this damage. For more information, see Is Migraine a Progressive Brain Disease? and Yes, Migraines Can Cause Brain Damage.

 

Having said that it is important to know what type of Migraine you have.

If your doctor isn't able to help you, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

 

For purposes of treatment, learning about your Migraines, being able to get care if you're away from home, etc., you need a full diagnosis of what type of Migraine you have. You can read more about this in The Type of Migraine Does Matter. Ice Pickheadaches - The Basics  may be of interest to you.

I hope this helps,

Nancy

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Solaire, Community Member
9/20/09 11:57am

Thank you, this information has helped.  I have developed quite a few neurological problems within the past few years, and had a hard time believing that migraines could be the cause.  Due to the unfortunate time constraints of doctors, I often leave the appointment without any specific answers.  I spend my appointment time explaining my neurological probems, when I should be asking questions.  I think I just have a fear of developing problems like my father did, he died 4 years ago from past treatment of multiple brain tumors (ie radiation caused encephalopathy).  Next appointment I am asking questions about my migraines!  And maybe a referal to a migraine/headache specialist.

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StormyRenee, Community Member
9/22/09 8:58am

Ask you neuro about having Evoked Potential Tests done. It can help rule out some things and maybe put you more at ease with the situation.

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StormyRenee, Community Member
9/18/09 2:46pm

Your situation is simular to mine. I too have chronic daily headaches and I also suffer from complicated migraines.Unfortunatly I have Transverse Myelitis.It is an autoimmune response that attacks the spinal cord. It is sort of like a one time MS attack.I have alot of risidule neuropathy pain and weird sensations. My symptoms are very MS like. My last migraine attack I had a new MRI. I had 15 white spots on my brain.All my previous MRI's had been normal. My neuro ordered Evoked Potential tests. They check how the nerves and brain respond to one another. If they are abonormal then it shows a demyelintating process such as MS going on. Luckily for me they were all normal. My neuro believes that all my facial numbness,twitching,burning,itching and eye issues are all because of my migraines. If you are concerned about MS then talk to your doctor about doing Evoked Potential tests.

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By Solaire, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/27/10, First Published: 09/18/09