Discussions By Condition: Head conditions

Prolonged Thunderclap Headache

Posted In: Head conditions 4 Replies
  • Posted By: johnnyboy
  • June 29, 2007
  • 06:11 PM

Hi - I wonder if anyone can help diagnose what might be causing my intense, persistent headache?

Almost 5 days ago whilst walking along a corridor I suddenly got struck by the worst headache I've ever had. It came on in a single heartbeat and was immediately agonising. It was an intense throbbing that all but debilitated me and I had to go to bed. I was unable to get comfortable, even with pain killers - the only thing that even slightly alleviated the pain was standing up which slightly reduced the pressure in my head.

The pain was evenly distributed around my head and was entirely pulse-based - i.e. it throbbed, and in between heartbeats there was no pain.

After putting up with it for around 30 hours, I went to A&E (ER) and was admitted for a CT scan and then a lumbar puncture. I was kept in over night but both tests proved negative for bleeding and I was released with painkillers, and no diagnosis of what might be wrong - other than being reassured that I don't have a SAH or a tumour.

I went to my GP the next day and he prescribed more painkillers and told me to take a week off work - suggesting that it might be stress related.

Since then (I am now on day 5) the general pain has abated to about half the level it was at the beginning, and seems to now be focussed in the right hemisphere near my ear & eye.

However, if I do anything that even slightly raises my blood pressure (such as bending down, or walking up stairs) the throbbing instantly kicks in and
then spreads across my whole head. I take Co-Dydromol and Ibuprofen every 4 hours and this mostly keeps the pain at bay, but I wake up in the middle of the night when the pain killers wear off.


I have no other symptoms - no neurolical deficit, no fever etc.

From what I've read this doesn't seem to fit the profile of a stress-related headache - although I admit I am under a certain amount of stress at the moment. I do not normally suffer from headaches even when stressed, and have never had anything close to this level of pain or duration of pain from a headache before.


Does anyone have any ideas what might be going on, or any suggestions for what I should do next?


Thanks for any help anyone can give me.

Best regards,
John.

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4 Replies:

  • did you ever get the answers for this?? my hubby is suffering from the ame thing! any input would be great.
    chefkrisb 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Sorry for taking so long to reply - only just saw the notification of a posting on the forum.No - I never found an answer as to why I had the headache. It subsided over the course of about a month and has not returned - and I hope it never does!I hope your husband has recovered similarly.Best wishes,John.
    johnnyboy 5 Replies
    • November 4, 2008
    • 03:44 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi - I wonder if anyone can help diagnose what might be causing my intense, persistent headache?Almost 5 days ago whilst walking along a corridor I suddenly got struck by the worst headache I've ever had. It came on in a single heartbeat and was immediately agonising. It was an intense throbbing that all but debilitated me and I had to go to bed. I was unable to get comfortable, even with pain killers - the only thing that even slightly alleviated the pain was standing up which slightly reduced the pressure in my head.The pain was evenly distributed around my head and was entirely pulse-based - i.e. it throbbed, and in between heartbeats there was no pain.After putting up with it for around 30 hours, I went to A&E (ER) and was admitted for a CT scan and then a lumbar puncture. I was kept in over night but both tests proved negative for bleeding and I was released with painkillers, and no diagnosis of what might be wrong - other than being reassured that I don't have a SAH or a tumour.I went to my GP the next day and he prescribed more painkillers and told me to take a week off work - suggesting that it might be stress related.Since then (I am now on day 5) the general pain has abated to about half the level it was at the beginning, and seems to now be focussed in the right hemisphere near my ear & eye. However, if I do anything that even slightly raises my blood pressure (such as bending down, or walking up stairs) the throbbing instantly kicks in and then spreads across my whole head. I take Co-Dydromol and Ibuprofen every 4 hours and this mostly keeps the pain at bay, but I wake up in the middle of the night when the pain killers wear off.I have no other symptoms - no neurolical deficit, no fever etc.From what I've read this doesn't seem to fit the profile of a stress-related headache - although I admit I am under a certain amount of stress at the moment. I do not normally suffer from headaches even when stressed, and have never had anything close to this level of pain or duration of pain from a headache before.Does anyone have any ideas what might be going on, or any suggestions for what I should do next?Thanks for any help anyone can give me.Best regards,John.Hi JohnThis is exactly what I went through, I'm still off work 6 weeks later, it's acute severe thunder clap headache, DO NOT take anything with codeine in it as this causes headaches as a side effect and can make them much worse. No painkillers work, although I am on propranol (a beta blocker) at the moment it thins the blood so that when the nerve goes into spasm it's not as bad!!!!! I am going for a MR brain with MRA scan next week fingers crossed, I still have a headache most of the time and stiff neck I take Ibuprofen 400mg when needed. Sorry am late in answering only just seen this post. Hope your ok now.Lynda :-)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi JohnThis is exactly what I went through, I'm still off work 6 weeks later, it's acute severe thunder clap headache, DO NOT take anything with codeine in it as this causes headaches as a side effect and can make them much worse. No painkillers work, although I am on propranol (a beta blocker) at the moment it thins the blood so that when the nerve goes into spasm it's not as bad!!!!! I am going for a MR brain with MRA scan next week fingers crossed, I still have a headache most of the time and stiff neck I take Ibuprofen 400mg when needed. Sorry am late in answering only just seen this post. Hope your ok now.Lynda :-)Hello, My husband has had a duplicate situation to Johnny Boy - he is in his 6th day still with pressure in his head and a mild form of the initital thunderclap headache. He had an MRI which did not show anything. Do you have any ultimate diagnosis from the time you posted your symptoms that can lead us in the right directions? Thank you!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 24, 2010
    • 06:12 AM
    • 0
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