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jo2love posted 2/19/2014 10:28 AM

DD has had headaches for months. We've been back and forth to the dr numerous times. They ruled out allergies. They thought maybe stress or migraines, but they aren't really sure what's going on. None of the otc pain meds have helped (advil, tylenol, alleve, etc..). We tried dark rooms, quiet, compresses, plenty of fluids, low salt diet, etc.. She started seeing a pediatric neurologist, who has her taking naproxen as needed. She took her first dose last night.
It relieve most of the pain.

Next step is an MRI tomorrow. I explained what will happen so she won't be scared. I told her they are painless and easy. She thinks it's comical that she will listen to music, while laying inside a donut hole that sounds like it's stomach is about to get sick. Since she passes out at anything blood related, they are doing the mri w/o dye or sedation. If they don't get good results, then she will have to be sedated and have the dye. My gut says she is fine, but I'll be happy once I hear it from the dr.

Has anyone heard of constant headaches or had an mri for one?

JanaGreen posted 2/19/2014 11:14 AM

My husband did a few years ago. He was actually scheduled to have sinus surgery when I was rooting around in the pantry and saw some of his Propel mix-in packets. Briefly considered putting one in my water bottle, then saw they had Splenda in them. Thought, "Oh, better not, Splenda gives me headaches - OH SHIT."

So he had been drinking several of these things per day and had gotten bad headaches from them. Went to several doctors and not a one asked him about his diet, not the first question. They were going to do SURGERY on him! He stopped with the Propel and made sure to avoid Splenda. Headaches stopped. We avoid that shit like the plague. I would look closely at her diet, at ANY kind of artificial sweetener (I can have about a can of diet coke but more than that and I get headaches - Splenda is definitely the worst for me). I'd cut out any kind of artificial sweetener and see if that helps.

Good luck, I hope you figure out a solution!

StrongerOne posted 2/19/2014 11:19 AM


So sorry about your DD! She will be ok in the MRI machine. How old is she? My DS has been doing brain MRI with contrast dye every two to six months (depending...) for seven years now.

I'm thinking you might want to go ahead with the contrast dye, because if you need it, you're going to have to go through another scan, which means waiting to get scheduled, etc etc.

There isn't any blood involved with the contrast dye. They do have to place an iv, and that can be queasy-making! If it bothers your DD, have her face away from her arm while it's being placed, then they can wrap it and you could even cover it with a very loose shirt for the walk over to the scanner. My DS is pretty blase about all this now, but at first I would stand right next to him, he'd press his face into my tummy, and I'd hold his head. Instruct the staff NOT to talk about what they're doing, but instead chat about whatever.

He also used to vomit when they pulled him out of the tube to put the dye in -- because of anxiety, no allergies or anything like that. So, again, working with the staff to ensure that they NOT TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE DOING. Chat about other stuff.

She will have to hold her head still for the duration, including when they pull her out for the dye and then when they run her back in. She could just keep her eyes closed thru the whole thing.

Are you going in with her? Be sure to wear something warm!

Good luck. I hope they are able to figure out what is going on, and I really really hope it is not anything serious.

Big hugs to you.

[edited to add: the contrast dye will help diagnose or rule out certain brain tumors, if that's what's there, so that's why I think you might want to go ahead with it. It was key to my son's diagnosis, and meant that he did not have to have surgery because they knew what it was]

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 11:21 AM, February 19th (Wednesday)]

jo2love posted 2/19/2014 11:41 AM

Jana, That is crazy. I'm so glad you figured it out before he had surgery.

Stronger, I hope your son is ok. I will be with her. I forgot how cold it gets. Thank you.

DD is 13. She does not drink soda, ice tea, or anything with caffeine (her choice). She doesn't like sweets. I don't keep sugar or sweeteners in our home. More so because I would go overboard.

The needle to put the iv in would make her pass out. I asked if they had a liquid sedation they could use, but they said no. She had iv sedation a few years ago for a minor surgery. They gave DD liquid sedation and once it kicked in then the iv. She is a totally different person when she is waking up from sedation. Think arguing, yelling, throwing. Once she's totally up, she doesn't remember any of it. I think the combo of the passing out and sedation are why they want to try it w/o dye first.

ETA - They were able to get her in for the mri within 3 days. So it is pretty quick.

I appreciate both of you advice and support.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 11:52 AM, February 19th (Wednesday)]

Emerald Eyes posted 2/19/2014 12:42 PM

Jo, my son was diagnosed with Daily Persistent Headaches when he was 15 and, like your daughter, no OTC would help. The neurologist said they see them in 4% of boys and 2% of girls when their hormones really start kicking in and they just have to outgrow them.

She put him on a daily low dose of blood pressure medicine which seems to keep them at bay and since he is 17, we will try to wean him off the meds when school is out for the summer.

If the MRI doesn't show anything, you might ask your neurologist about these types of headaches.

((Jo & DD))

nowiknow23 posted 2/19/2014 12:47 PM

((((Jo & DD)))) Sending you both mri mojo. Hope you get the answers you need.

DixieD posted 2/19/2014 12:49 PM

My first thought, especially at her age, would be hormones. But hormones have been the scourge of my existence since I was a kid so my first thought is always hormones. I remember having a lot of migraines as a teen.

I had a CT with the dye when I was about her age for a suspected brain tumor (there was no tumor). I hated the thought of needles and still do.

Sending positive vibes for you and your DD.

tushnurse posted 2/19/2014 13:11 PM

MRI for Migraines, here.

And I have to totally agree with this....

My first thought, especially at her age, would be hormones

Keep track of when they happen in her cycle, most people that get them related to hormones are usually while ovulation occurs (days 14-16) and just before starting, some of us luckier ones get them at the end of our cycle.

Went through a spell in my early 30's that I was having them almost every day. Saw a neurologist, got an MRI, normal, she put me on low dose amitriptyline. Fixed it almost completely within a week. It was wonderful. Took if for a year or so, weaned off and no more migraines since, except for a rare one here and there.

I tried a lot of the Migraine meds, Relepax, Imitrex, etc they all made me feel really weird, and didn't tolerate them at all. The low dose amitriptyline did though. Although it is considered and antidepressant it is used commonly for Migraine, and IBS, with quite a bit of success too.

cantbelieve posted 2/19/2014 13:26 PM


Just be prepared to have lots of tests. Headaches are hard to diagnose. My DD 19 started having headaches last June. Persistent, everyday, nothing helped. Her first MRI showed she had Chiari Malformation (basically, her brain is larger than her skull and drops below in the back). It is considered very mild and she has no other problems with that. Since then we have had MRIs, MRV, lumbar puncture, x-rays, optical scans, and many more. Everything looks good. Can't find a problem. We are still looking and trying different drs and tests.

Good luck, and I hope you find your answers. If you have any questions, please pm me.

Lionne posted 2/19/2014 13:50 PM

I have been a headache person all my life. They have been called tension headaches, common migraine (as opposed to classic), and other labels. I've been on elavil, inderal, topamax for prevention, a slew of drugs to treat the headaches, and tried a few herbal remedies. All were successful for a time.

Feverfew was the herb that was the longest lasting preventative. It has aspirin like properties and my doctor okayed it for me, along with something to take if I did get a headache. Mine were related to hormones somewhat, but didn't resolve after menopause.

In college and now, I find that a SMALL amount of coffee, 1/2 cup a day keeps mine at bay. More than that and I get a rebound headache.

Hopefully, all will be well, and then the challenge will be to find the things that work for her.

Sending hugs!

Kalleigh posted 2/19/2014 14:11 PM

Have you had her eyes checked. Could she need glasses

jo2love posted 2/19/2014 16:10 PM

cantbelieve, That is an awful lot of tests. I'm sorry.

Scaredy, I didn't know there were different types of migraines.

She does get migraines in addition to the headaches. The migraines (light & sound sensitivity) go away. She hasn't started her cycle yet. I'm kind of dreading that with the whole passing out situation. That's a great idea of keeping track of it once it starts. She had her eyes checked and now wears glasses. I didn't think about hormones. Good point.

Thank you

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:13 PM, February 19th (Wednesday)]

Jrazz posted 2/19/2014 16:48 PM

Poor sweetheart. Sending mojo for a peaceful MRI tomorrow and good results.

I had a roommate in college whose younger sister had stress migraines her whole life. They did tons of tests and scans and bloodwork and nothing ever hit the radar. Her doctors felt pretty confident that they were nothing more than migraines, and as an adult she learned alternate ways to treat them. (Changing diet, adding sleep, lowering stress through meditation.)

Your sweet girl will be ok. I hope they can help her get some relief soon.

[This message edited by Jrazz at 4:55 PM, February 19th (Wednesday)]

betrayedfriend posted 2/19/2014 16:53 PM

My 9 yr old gets migraines, sometimes 4-5 a week. Her pediatric neurologist, immediately started her on a very bland diet in an effort to eliminate triggers, she has to drink a ton of water to keep hydrated and get 9+ hours of sleep a day, none of that made a difference so she's back to her regular diet ( we kept the other changes) he put her on nortryptaline as a preventative and rizatriptan as a rescue med. she takes 300 mg of ibuprofen with the rizatriptan and between that and the preventative, she's gone from 4-5 a week to only 8 in the last 7 weeks. It's a huge improvement although we're hoping to get her down to 0-2 a month. I'd ask your doc about treating proactively along with treating as they come.

Dreamboat posted 2/19/2014 17:08 PM

I have had headaches all my life (and my mother, bless her soul, has never had a headache so did not really believe me)

I have triggers that I have learned to avoid. Mine are food with nitrates (mostly highly processed meats like hot dogs and lunch meat) and artificial sweeteners. Some people trigger on chocolate and MSG. These triggers sometimes cause "regular" headaches and sometimes trigger migraines for me.

I had recurring migraines (every month or 2) from the time I was in high school until I became pregnant with DD. Something about the pregnancy changed my hormone balance and now I very rarely get them. The last migraine I recall getting was about 10 years ago and was triggered by eating a hot dog at a football game (I knew better, but they looked sooo good!). I still get headaches several times a week, but advil and/or sinus medicine keep them at bay. They are caused by stress, computer screen time, tiredness, and who knows what. And when the weather front comes thru I really feel it in my head. I have to take a double dose of sinus meds when a front comes thru.

Take all the tests needed to rule out any serious illness. If you do that and there is still no explanation for the headaches, then she is just someone who is prone to headaches. She can learn to mostly control them by managing her environment. Have her keep a headache diary every day where she writes down what she ate, what she was stressing about, where she was (some building can trigger headaches), what the weather was like (especially if it is changing or a front is coming thru), if she had a headache and if so when and how strong, what meds she took and if they helped none, some, or completely. Also be careful with OTC meds because Tylenol/acetaminophen can cause liver damage and advil/ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. In addition, taking them every day can get you into a cycle of rebound headaches where the meds you took yesterday give you a headache today.

Also, research what foods and other environmental factors are common triggers for headaches. If you have any doubts that one may be triggering her headaches then eliminate it (one by one, not all at once) for her diet or try to take her out of that environment for at least a week and see if it makes a difference.

Good luck to you and DD and (((hugs))) to both of you. Dealing with headaches is very frustrating and Dr's are not very helpful except to rule out illness and disease.

jo2love posted 2/19/2014 20:49 PM

So far the only med that helped was naproxen. We have this jumbo bottle (liquid) of it.

DD said she's nervous. Not about during the mri, but the results. I told her that it's a normal feeling. Then I let her know everything all of my "Home & Garden" friends posted. Knowing she isn't the only one who has gone through this helped her feel a little better. The love, support, and compassion on SI is priceless.

Thank you, everyone.

Lionne posted 2/19/2014 21:04 PM

Classic migraines are the ones with aura (a sensory foreboding that signals a headache us coming) nausea, extreme sensitivity to light...the kind you read about. Common migraine can happen more frequently, even daily, don't usually have aura or extreme nausea, but are still on one side or the other and centered in the temple. Throbbing pain.

All migraine may have congestion, and in my case, my pupils dilate unevenly. Don't get nuts if you see this in her. It's caused by the blood vessels, which at first, dilate, and then contract. The contraction is what causes the congestion and the pain.

Assuming they don't find an organic reason for her headaches, I really suggest you find a headache specialist. The day to day management can be challenging, and most likely will change as she matures. She can learn her triggers and learn to work with her own body rhythms. For instance, a HUGE challenge to me is daylight savings times. As soon as I change my sleep schedule, I get a headache that lasts days...

Hang in there. Nothing is as bad as worrying about your kid.

caregiver9000 posted 2/19/2014 21:12 PM

I second the rebound headache idea from taking OTC meds like Advil or Tylenol for a headache. Glad the Naproxen is working. It upsets my tummy if I forget to take it with food.

You said she gets migraines in addition to these headaches? So these are different? I would definitely consider allergy or sinus issues, dehydration, and environmental issues.

Kids at that age don't drink enough. Public schools have regimented access to water fountains and to make it even worse, they have radiator heat set at 155 degrees... Can she have a water bottle in class? Track how many bottles she drinks?

One year, the classroom I was in contained mold. And exhaust fumes still trigger migraines, so a bus ride was hell.

Good luck to your DD! Tell her the MRI sound for me was hypnotic. The knocking was rhythmic and seemed like a weird drumming concert. But I did get cold! Ask for the heated blankets.

caregiver9000 posted 2/19/2014 21:14 PM

BTW, naproxen is alleve. Right? Maybe the liquid works faster or is a higher dose?

authenticnow posted 2/19/2014 21:28 PM

Big hugs to you and DD. Sending lots of love and mojo.

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