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constant pain in right side of head

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hello. forgive me if i make mistakes as i'm not english. currently i am in the worst emotional condition ever becouse of what i think is occipital neuralgia of unknown cause, or some kind of headache, which is driving me insane. i feel extremelly suicidal and apathetic lately, i don't know how i even still bring myself to try anything. let me start by saying that i have never been an active person but opposite, i would never move much, always feeling weak as i'm asthenic kind of person. about 4 years ago i started having a discomfort in my left leg, then constant burning. the medicine in my city is not very good, we only got MRI about few months ago. so at that time i did not find the reason of the leg burning, i was diagnosed with sciatic neuralgia or something like that. soon after that i also started to have constant discomford in the left arm, on the same side of the body. the burning and pulling feeling was constant, and the discomfort is present till present day, though the leg doesn't really feels so burning anymore. the arm is much worse, it makes it difficult to sleep as i have constantly the feeling that i need to move it, i can never hold it in the same position for too long, it's really hard to explain why. anyway, i'm used to that long ago. 3 years ago i got the computer on which i'd spend all free time, my job also involved sitting. i never did any excercises either. also i have an anxiety, i always worry about everything way too much as everyone says, plus i've been going thru a lot of stress for the past few years due to constant relationship problems. i also noticed to tense my shoulders all the time, due to stress or computer. anyway, my present and biggest ever problem is next. 3 month ago i started having a headache for a week. then it turned into more of a nerve pain, my right side of the head felt burning and very tender, the most pain felt at the very back of the head, it often radiated into temple area or jaw, often in between the shoulder blades. + neurosis, for 1 week i felt like i was going insane and i never felt anything like this before. i first thought i have a nerve inflammation from cold and tried anti-inflammatory medicine and painkillers, plus special creams. but nothing was helping to reduce the pain even a bit, and the worst was the fact that the pain was constant - 24 hour a day. stress was making it much worse, but i couldn't not to stress due to constant burning pain at the back of the head. my family started telling me that maybe i pinched my nerve becouse i started going to the jym being very not trained. so it was almost a month that i suffered fromm this pain. and i went to a woman who was giving me professional massage for few years now, after the 10 days course my head pain seemed to stop for 2 days but then after stress situation it came back. she sent me to "vein surgeon" who did an ultrasound on my head and neck, the results showed [i'm not sure how to say it in english] - "angiospasm" or spasm of the veins, also some compression, he said it's nothing serious though, then he sent me for an x-ray of the neck and chest area and encefalogram. encefalogram showed "irritation in the brain and very high neuron reaction", they said it's probably due to stress, but ofcourse i was stress with this constant unknown burning pain. the x-ray showed ostheohondrosis in the neck and some in chest, but the doctor said it's not that serious yet, as i'm only 24. then i had a consultation with a neurologist who said my pain is becouse of the stress and prescribes meds for veins and mild stress medicine which did not help from stress though. about that time my pain seemed to go away or maybe i just didn't notice it becouse i started having constant neurosis and panic attacks, she prescribed me anti-depressants but i had too many side-effects and i couldn't take them. then my mental state went finally better after reading very good literature about it. in about 1 month my burning pain came back and it caused my horrible stress, especially now knowing what is causing it. neurologist prescribes me milder anti-depressants becouse she said she thinks it's from stress but they were giving me side-effects too so i stopped taking them too. now i have this burning pain for almost 1 month now, and i am so desperate that i started thinking about killing myself, becouse i feel like i can't handle it anymore. i'm used to te leg and arm pain but i can't get used to the head. so my pain is mostly at the back of the skull, it's constant dull and somewhat burning. it's also radiated in between my shoulders - now constantly. stress makes it much worse, relaxing [which is too rare now] makes it feel better, but nothing takes the discomfort at the back of the head completelly. painkillers don't help, calming medicide seems to make it a bit better. also a warm shower makes it feel better. but when i am very stressed - nothing helps at all, absolutelly at all. i have done MRI of the neck and it showed nothing except mild lordosis of the neck. the orthepedic doctor says the might be a place in a neck/chest area which presses the occipital nerve even though MRI didn't show it. he prescribed massage and electrophoresis which i just started doing but i don't have hopes anymore that it will go away. i wanted to ask you - could muscle tension cause such constant neuralgia? becouse everyone tells me that neuralgia can not be so constant - 24 hours a day, but i do have a constant discomfort burning feeling at the back of my head and i have no idea what it is. please help me, i'm desparate..
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replied September 25th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
It sounds as you really have a case of occipital neuralgia.
You have asked if the muscle tension could cause an occipital neuralgia, and the answer is yes, since overly tight neck muscles can pinch the nerve.
There are many causes for this neuralgia like trauma to the back of the head, compression of the nerve as it leaves the spine due to osteoarthritis, tumors in the neck, localized inflammation or infection, gout, diabetes, blood vessel inflammation and frequent lengthy periods of keeping the head in a downward and forward position.
Stress adds to this pain, and antidepressants may ease the problem.
Since you have history of burning pain in your hand and leg, too, which is neuralgia (pain due to injured or irritated nerves may feel as burning, stabbing, sharp, like lightning, and even itchy), it is very possible that the cause for your occipital neuralgia is systemic (whole body) process.
It will be good to talk with your physician about multiple sclerosis and to check your blood sugar levels (diabetes), since both condition can affect the peripheral nerves in body and head.
Occipital neuralgia isn't a life threatening condition, but only addressing the cause can help choosing the proper treatment.
Rest, applying heat, massage, local injection of anesthetic or corticosteroids in affected area, surgery interventions are possible treatments for occipital neuralgia.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied September 25th, 2009
thanks so much for the reply. you know, i noticed that when i don't stress the pain is almost not there, however the back of the head is always tender to touch which always makes me worry about why doesn't it go away. and when i do stress - the pain becomes really burning and noticable. also i don't understand why mri showed nothing when the x-ray showed i have a ostheoarthrosis, though not as strong as doctor said. right now i started doing massages and if they don't help i'll probably be put in neurology hospital as i feel i can't relax anymore having constantly tender back of the head which starts to burn every time i worry..
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replied September 25th, 2009
i completelly forgot to mention which i think my be important. when i'd wash my head - my right back side would feel quiet irritated and tender, also surprisingly itchy. sometimes during night it was very itchy all night long which would make me wake up and scratch it. what could have caused it?
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replied September 25th, 2009
i completelly forgot to mention which i think my be important. when i'd wash my head - my right back side would feel quiet irritated and tender, also surprisingly itchy. sometimes during night it was very itchy all night long which would make me wake up and scratch it. what could have caused it?
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replied September 25th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
Scalp tender to touch (even putting your head at the pillow or brushing your hair are painful experiences) is another feature of occipital neuralgia.
You may even have eye pain or eye sensitive to lights during painful attack of occipital neuralgia.
Try some supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, MSM, and omega-3 fatty acids for the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.
X-ray is a cornerstone of the diagnostic work-up for osteoarthritis, and MRI could be used as a second imaging technique since MRI shows better soft tissues like discs and neural elements, but it is not so good at visualization of bone elements and their changes.
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replied September 25th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
As I said in previous post, pain or discomfort due to nerve injury or irritation could be felt as burning, stabbing, sharp, like lightning, and even itchy sensation.
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replied September 26th, 2009
thanks for all your answers, i would like to ask just one last question, if my neuralgia was caused by constant head down position [as all day long i'd sit on the computer that included job + i had lots of stress which was making me constantly tense my neck, shoulders and jaw - do i have a chance to completelly get rid of it? i've had the pain for 1 month then it was gone for 1 month with just tenderness present, now it's a mix of tenderness and pain[on the evening of when i start to stress], and i have only Now started doing massage and trying to improve my posture..
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replied September 27th, 2009
hello, I'd like to say that it sounds very obvious that stress and worry causes the pain to increase and makes everything much worse.
You say when you start to stress or worry then it gets very bad, and that "when you don't stress the pain is almost not there". You also mentioned that you read some books that helped with depression (?) and it helped your mental state.

Please may I strongly suggest that you look into meditation. look online for guideed meditations that you can listen to or books that you can get. Anything that helps you to learn how to have better control over your emotions, mental state. You can do a google search for "guided meditation" and start there with your research. Go with whatever fits your personality.

And about having to give up anything that involves having your head at a downward angle. You dont necessarily have to eliminate anything that involves your head to lean forward, but if, for example, you are sitting for long periods of time staring at a computer or looking down at a keypad, then every hour or so, Get Up and Stretch! Rotate your arms/shoulders, strech your back, your Neck, and move around a bit to get some circulation going. This is SO important. !
Smile
Good luck!
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