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Alesis 11-04-2012 03:15 PM

Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
I am not sure where to post this; I am hoping this is the right spot.

I've had headaches on off since 2005. They can get pretty intense, occur on the left side and radiate into my neck. This year, they have been in "off" mode, however in the past week, they have come back full force, along with nausea, clumsiness (I spilled two large soda pop bottles within a 24 hour period, despite my best efforts to be careful), one episode of dizziness, depression, anxiety and panic feelings. The pain is usually worse when lying down or sitting up.

I am on four different medications for bipolar disorder, and despite taking the pills every day as directed, I still had breakthrough anxiety/depression/panic this morning, to the point where I needed to take an additional medication prescribed to me for panic attacks.

Should I call my primary care? I've had so many medical problems this year (Hysterectomy, nutritional complications which have since resolved, nasty cold which is finally out of my system), I only want to call if it is worth the effort. I see my psychiatrist this week. Should I wait until I see her?

I saw a Neuro for the headaches back in 2009 when I lived in a different state and they ruled out Idiopathic Intracranial Pressure (had a spinal tap and everything!) They ran some type of brain scan (I forgot which kind) and no abnormalities. That was in 2009, though.

I am just wondering what steps I should take, if any. It is very strange that I am getting all this anxiety, depression, nausea, clumsiness and a dizzy spell out of nowhere. Things in life are going quite well; in fact I recently found out about some very good news and cannot figure why I am depressed instead of jumping for joy.

Thank you for reading.


Alesis 11-06-2012 05:35 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Yesterday morning, I developed another headache and took OTC pain meds for it. It went away until I lied down last night and had to take another.

About lunch time, I got panicky for no reason. All yesterday, I was nauseous with no appetite. Again, I must stress that things are going good in my life and I am taking my pills as directed.

Today I still don't have much of an appetite.

What should I do?

Thanking you in advance for your help,


tingles 11-08-2012 09:51 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
You could wait until you see your psychiatrist and discuss this with them. It might be more than anxiety though and then you would need to see a neurologist. Most migraines do not show up on an MRI or CAT scan.

I would suggest you look up headache diary on the internet and start keeping a diary of your headaches and triggers. It makes it much easier for a doctor to diagnosis a headache when a diary is made up tracking your headaches.

Alesis 11-09-2012 03:29 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Thank you for your help.

I saw my psychiatrist last night and she added another medication to take at night. She said that if my psych symptoms get better and my headaches continue, to see my primary care.

I will consider filling out a headache journal. Anything to help.


Shyneadh 11-09-2012 09:22 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Nausea is quite commonly associated with headaches. There is an OTC med available in Ireland and the UK (I am unsure as to whether it is available in the states), it is called Migraleve. It treats the headache(migraine) and nausea at the same time. Might be worth looking into.

Although in saying that, If I were you I would want to get down to the root of the problem...there's so many things that can cause headaches, literally hundreds! Perhaps it's a side effect of the medications you are on for your mental illnesses?

Sorry...just throwing out some suggestions. Whatever the case, I would definitely mention it to the psych at your next visit.

I really hope you can track down the root of the problems. Good luck to you.

Alesis 11-09-2012 07:00 PM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Thank you for the info and suggestion. I looked up that medication and sadly, it is not available here in the US.

In 2009/10, when saw a neurologist, she tried a couple of migraine meds (the so-called "rescue meds") and all they did was make me feel weird and give me nightmares. She didn't think I really fit the pattern of migraines anyway. Light does not bother me and I don't feel the need to lie down when I get a headache (In fact, lying down makes it worse).

My psych felt that said headaches _could_ be exacerbated (not caused) by my bipolar disorder and prescribed an additional medication for that. However, she said to call my primary care if my psych symptoms got better and the headaches and other symptoms did not after a two week period.

She felt that my bipolar exacerbation was likely caused by the change in season (happens every year to me) and made worse by the hysterectomy. Even though I kept an ovary, she said my emotions can still get out of whack.

She said the sleep deprivation can contribute to the clumsiness and restlessness. However if it continues despite my moods getting better, I will call my primary care. Also, my psych advised me to call her if my moods do not improve with the added medication.


tingles 11-11-2012 10:13 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Thanks for replying. Sounds like you are dealing with some other tough issues beside headaches. I hope your mood improves and the headaches with them. As far as abortives there are several and some are not for some people. If they migraines do not improve you might try some preventatives, they are medications that you take every day to prevent headaches. They can be pretty tough in that they are seizure medications but they are better than constant headaches. Amitriptyline is another that is an antidepressant and may work for both headaches and depression.

Good luck

Alesis 11-11-2012 11:14 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Hi again:

One of my regular psych meds is actually an anti-seizure med that doubles as a mood stabilizer.

My moods are pretty stable right now (fingers crossed that they stay that way). I'm a little restless, however I feel I need to give the additional psych med time to work.

I am concerned because, even though I took the OTC pain meds, I am still getting the headaches. The past two days, I took them twice a day (was once a day) and still got the headaches. They occur mainly in the AM and when I lie down or go from lying down to sitting up. They were going away at first, but now they are getting worse and more frequent, despite taking the pills twice a day. It's hard to tell if the medication is taking the edge off them when I first take it, or if they wax and wane on their own.

I am starting to doubt whether the medicine is really working. I still don't have much of an appetite, although I ate once today. It's past noon and I am not hungry. I'm not sure whether the nausea is caused by the headache, or if they are both symptoms of something else. I understand that pain can cause nausea.

I've been getting somewhat lightheaded and saw "stars" once today after using the bathroom, despite not straining at all. I have seen the "stars" in years past, however it was only when I strained hard.
I am thinking of calling my doctor sooner than the two weeks. Should I call this week, or give it more time? I want to get to the root cause of the headaches. [/B]

I've had a lot of medical problems this year and saw them for a lot of things, including chronic pain that led to me needing a hysterectomy, as well as nutritional complications afterward. I don't want to bug them, that's all. It's seems like it's one thing after another. I feel like people around me are not taking me seriously, because I've had so many medical problems.

Thanks again.


tingles 11-11-2012 08:42 PM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Glad you said that about the OTC medications for headaches. These medications if taken for too long cause what is called a rebound headache. Try to stop taking these if at all possible until you get to the root of the headache. This is something a neurologist would recommend anyway.

Good Luck

Alesis 11-12-2012 10:34 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Thank you for the suggestion regarding the rebound headaches. This morning, I saw my primary care and I mentioned it to her.

They got me right in. I told her about all my symptoms. Another symptom that I didn't post about here is my left ear feeling plugged. She looked in both ears and they looked fine. She did some neurological exams on me and ordered some blood work.

She referred me to a neurologist -- my appt is in a month! In the meantime, I signed a release of information to request all the records from my previous neuro (the one from 1000 miles away). As the lab results and records come in, we'll see what happens.

The doctor (actually nurse practitioner/my primary care was not in) said something about not making me repeat everything. I would not be too happy if I had to repeat the spinal tap. :( I'm curious what tests the new neuro will order, though, as a comparison.

Another oddball thing -- don't know if it's related or not -- I got lost on the way to my appt! I totally spaced out and drove down the street and realized my mistake when I was too far down. I corrected my mistake and got to my appt on time, thank goodness. However, I find it odd, considering that I have driven the same route numerous times...hmmm...

tingles 11-12-2012 03:20 PM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
[QUOTE=Alesis;5087671]Another oddball thing -- don't know if it's related or not -- I got lost on the way to my appt! I totally spaced out and drove down the street and realized my mistake when I was too far down. I corrected my mistake and got to my appt on time, thank goodness. However, I find it odd, considering that I have driven the same route numerous times...hmmm...[/QUOTE]

They probably will not do another spinal tap. More likely a CAT or MRI scan or both.

Be careful talking to your doctor about spacing out when driving. It might have just been you were thinking about something else but if you lead them to believe you had some sort of seizure your driver's license could be revoked.

I was reported to have atypical seizures, which were my migraines but I still lost my license for over a year.

Alesis 11-13-2012 05:28 AM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Thank you for the advice! You have been so helpful.

I probably spaced out and wasn't thinking. I need my license to get back and forth to work, therefore I won't mention it to the neuro.

Best regards,


Alesis 11-17-2012 03:21 PM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness

Yesterday, after a two day break from the headaches, I woke up with one. It went away after an hour or so, and then I didn't feel any pain except a little here and there when I lied down or got up. It seems to have a mind of its own and does not respond to medications.

I saw the eye doctor today and he did not feel that my eyes were the source of the problem. I am at least glad that was ruled out. Also, my bloodwork results came in the mail yesterday -- all "normal."

Oddly enough, I transposed two of the letters on the eye chart and when asked by the doctor to read from left to right, I not only needed a moment to comprehend, I had no idea I transposed the letters. These brain freezes are getting more frequent and I am getting scared. It's like what happened at work the other day -- I had my keys around my neck for two hours after lunch and did not know how they got there -- either I left them on and didn't notice, or I put them on and had no memory of it.

I am still just as clumsy as ever, finding that I misstep when I get up, no matter how careful I am. For example, it happened just a few minutes ago. I got up from lying on the couch slowly, surely and lost my footing. Then, on the way to the bedroom, I bumped my elbow for the zillionth time since the headache problem reared its ugly head again.

I cannot wait to get to the bottom of these issues and get them resolved.

Alesis 12-05-2012 03:28 PM

Re: Headaches + depression/anxiety/nausea/clumsiness
Update: My prayers have been answered so far; a cancellation opened up and I got into the neurologist today. He seemed to think that based on my headaches coming and going when I change body position/turn my head left and right, as well as my "pretty good" neurological exam that it is muscular. However, because I have been having all the other symptoms to go along with the headaches, he ordered an MRI, which is scheduled for 18 Dec.

I get the impression that doctors hope that it's something less serious and go from there. That has been my experience pretty much with all the doctors at this mega-clinic. However, I am ultra-thankful that he ordered that MRI and is willing to dig deeper.

He also prescribed a medication to take at night (I forget the name) to _hopefully_ help with the headaches.


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