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Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

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Old 06-13-2006, 08:05 PM   #1
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Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

Hi I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on this...

About a year ago, I had a horrible Headache that stemmed from the base of my skull, and radiated pretty much to my entire head. I was told it was occipital neuralgia, and that trigger point injections of local anesthetic would work to break the cycle of pain. That time it did.

Jump to about a week ago, I had the same sort of horrible Headache crop up. It started out tolerable but landed me in the Emergency Room by Friday night. I could barely think through the pain, my eyes were sensitive from light, and sounds hurt my ears. I couldnt eat because my stomach was so upset. I had tears streaming down my face and my hands were balled into fists when my Mother took me to the ER.

I told them about the bout with occipital neuralgia about a year ago, and that the pain was in the same area... stemming from the base of my skull on both sides, and radiating up around my entire head. The doctor wanted to be thorough though and did a lumbar puncture to be sure (he said he was looking for blood etc) Then he put me on an IV with 'Prochlorperazine' and benadryl. And then a second IV bag with Dexamethasone (steroid?) He said he was looking at this as a 'vascular' Headache.

My questions are this: I read that prochlorperazine is an Antipsychotic? Would this have even worked on occipital neuralgia? I did feel the medication 'kick in' and it seemed to lessen the Headache. Could this have been something other than occipital neuralgia then... more specifically could I have had a migrane? I have not had migranes before though....

Second question is... the original Headache was dampened down quite a bit by the medication they gave me, but not totally gone. And now, a few days after the ER visit, I have a different Headache. If I stand up or Cough or move around more, its worse. I read that lumbar punctures can cause a Headache... so I am wondering if this could be what I am experiencing now. I am hoping its not the original Headache making a come back.

I went back to my reg physician on Monday, and he agreed that it could be the occipital neuralgia cropping up again, and so he did the trigger point injection on both sides that day. For the whole day, while the local anesthetic was working, the headache was gone. As soon as the freezing wore off, I now have this second headache, described above.

Also, how long is the soreness in my lower back expected to last from a lumbar puncture?? It's been 4 days and my lower back is still very sore and its ahrd to get comfortable.

Thanks in advance...

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Old 07-20-2006, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

I have had migraines for ten years. I am not a doctor but most literature on the subject of migraines usually states that the pain is on one side of the head. Mine start on one side, usually the right, move to the middle, then to the left, usually staying in each area for two days- but I have severe migraines- I get stroke like symptoms with mine, numbness and pins and needles on left side, sometimes my lip will draw inward and I can feel really spaced out. I finally found a drug called ergotamine (nasal spray) which works, thank God. It stops the migraine in about twenty minutes, especially if I take it with an over the counter pain reliever like extra strength Excedrin which contains caffeine.But there are different types of headaches- sounds like maybe you pinched or injured a nerve- but a doctor can only tell you. If you can't afford to go, go to a free clinic- there has to be one in your county.Hope you feel better soon.

Old 07-20-2006, 06:10 PM   #3
Mz Migraine
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Re: Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

I suffer from 2 different kinds of migraines. One of them is Occipital Migraines.

I am on a Migraine Management Programe which includes Topamax & Zomig (nasal spray) as part of the program.
Been working now for 4 years.

Zomig Nasal Spray knocks my migraine out in 5 minutes if I catch it early.

Old 07-26-2006, 08:50 AM   #4
Dan's Mom
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Re: Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?


I have had tension headaches for about 10 years. I didnt know they were tenstion heaches. I had all kinds of tests and nothing was evefrfound. it took years and many E.R trips.. finally one smart Dr said he thought it was muscular skeltal in nature. It helped me just to know what the cause could be. If its gets bad enought, I go to the clinic and ask for a shot of Imitrex and a shot of tordahl. The imitrex burns like heck but it works. I don't have migraines but these combo works for me. I never had headaches until my hus was diagnosed with a terminal illness. This neurlagia idea makes me wonder about my own. siutation. I also take excedrin tension meds and that helps. The key is to stop the pain before it gets bad. When I saw this article, it reminded me of something my Mom used to say to me and it made me laugh. "wear something on your head or you are going to Neuralagy" As a teenager, I though.. right.. neuralagy.. psuhaww where did you get that word? I think my Mom is up in heaven shaking her head . yes... "see I told you I wasn't makin it up."

Old 07-27-2006, 01:38 PM   #5
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Re: Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

Thanks for the replies...

Actually, it's pretty certain that they are migraines, that just seem to affect me towards the back of my headIt is more one sided... usually the right side towards the rear, and then kind of spreads as the headache gets worse.

I also get sick to my stomach, can't stand light or loud noises, or the heat right now, so on my most recent attack (the other day) I stayed in my air conditioned bedroom, with the blinds shut in silence.

Actually I am dating a doctor... a neurology resident, and he thought they were migraines so he called in a scrip for Imitrex the other night for me, along with an anti nauseant, and the combo of the two worked! Since Imitrex is designed specifically to target the nerves responsible for migraines, then it would suggest that its migraines I am getting.

So apparently, migraines CAN be felt in different locations for different people.

Old 10-06-2006, 08:54 AM   #6
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Re: Occipital Neuralgia or Migranes?

Is Zomig Nasal Spray prescription ? I will have to ask for it if posible. A lot of doctors will say Occipital Neuralgia is a migraine. I have both. I know the difference. The ON will feel like a pick in the back of the head about ear level toward the right side. Your ear will be so tender you can't stand for anything to touch it. Both are horridly painful. I am hoping to find a doctor that my insurance will pay for. They are balking with a neuralgist, but I need to see one, desperately. The crappy part is, if you are on disability, they treat you like you are a dumb, ingnorant, poor slob trying to take advantage of the system when all I want is help so I can go back to work.

Talk to the doctor at length about the differences between migraines and ON. And with ON, use heat and massage. Hope this helps.

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