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Headaches for Four Months Driving Me to Health Anxiety

Age: 32
Sex: Female
Existing conditions:

1) TSH of 11 just came up on a blood test after being subclinical hypothyroid between TSH 5 and 10 for past three years. Which means I may be hypothyroid.
2) I had a blood clot in my shoulder in January which put me in hospital for ten days that has been noted as cleared by doctor this month after testing, and I am now off blood thinner Eliquis.
3) Headache history: once every few years or so I have had a migraine that would start with a wiggly aura for 30 minutes or so before dissapearing and a painful (8 out of 10, 9 out of ten headache) would start for a few hours. Really once in a blue moon, though. Under ten in my life.

Long story short: I have had headaches since February, unending even with the help of a neurologist and types of medication. The situation is sending me into spirals of anxiety so any ideas about what could be the cause of this saga would be helpful.

History of the issue:

- short bouts of mild dizziness/vertigo and feeling off balance or like the world was spinning slowly started late January lasting minutes to a couple of hours. No headaches.

- After a week of the vertigo feelings, short sharp stabbing headaches began (lasting seconds to minutes) to occur all over the head at random times of day. Painful enough to try rubbing the area and gasping in surprise.

- May 16th: d-day. A “proper” headache concentrated in a palm sized area on top of my head like and then did not go away for several days along with the feelings of being off balance coming on in short episodes.

- May 20th I had an MRI of my head which my GP said was normal (he had been worried about the headache due to clot history/blood thinner medication) and full blood work which found no abnormalities. He told me to monitor it and discuss with my blood clot doctor since I was still in treatment on blood thinners.

- May 21st I go to my blood clot doctor and tell him about the issue and we try a different brand of blood thinner for a week but no change in headache/dizzy feelings so we go back to Eliquis.

- With the headache continuing, I visit a neurologist on February 28th. He suspects a migraine and gives me painkillers and medicine usually prescribed for epilepsy. For the next month the headache on top of my head comes and goes, at times easing off and making me think I am headache free before coming back later in the day. I get the short stabbing pains at other areas of my scalp several times throughout the day. Top, side, left, right. No pattern to where they come or when.

- March 28th go back and report no change to neurologist. He adds low blood pressure medication to the mix. No change to headaches, but dizziness eased off as a symptom. Just headaches in the same style as before.

- April 28th go back to the neurologist to report back and it is a new one as the original guy had left the practice. The new neurologist is skeptical that it is a migraine after I described the above, but has not any other theories. He took me off the medicine for epilepsy and prescribes klonopin (usually anti anxiety?) once a day at night and to continue blood the blood pressure medication. He did not ask me to keep a diary or any questions really, just trying a new combination of medicines. I have been taking my own diary notes but he didn’t look at them, really.

- May 9th my blood clot doctor says my clot has cleared and I am taken off Eliquis. Hurray for that issue being cleared up. But...

- May 11th TSH is 11 on a blood test (due to be retested in July) but all other items on blood test are normal. I am in hypothyroid territory and...

- Since being taken off eliquis my headaches are now worse in intensity. The headaches are more painful and pretty much constant with less down time without pain like I had previously. Either at low intensity at the top of the head or the back of the skull at the top of the neck - in different spots throughout the day. Sometimes a tingling feeling or pain at my right temple.

Then every few days I will get a fast onset across my scalp of a sharp painful headache over a wide area that last only a few minutes, mostly concentrated on the right side of the head. The first time it happened with my boyfriend next to me we were worried about whether to go to ER before it cleared after five minutes. It isn’t a thunderclap, more like a tingle across the scalp area that over ten seconds intensifies into sharp pain. I was sitting and rubbing my head to try and ease it. It was gone in under thirty minutes.

These are the worst as it is quite scary to get the pain come on sharply across a large area, then ease off over several minutes. Sometimes it feels like it is the scalp that is in pain. The headches are “shallow” not deep, so to speak.

If I rate the normal constant headaches on a pain scale, before being taken off the blood thinner they would range between 1 and 5 out of ten (ten being most painful headache in my life), hardly worth taking pain killers. Just uncomfortable. But over past couple of weeks after coming off the thinners they are at six or seven and I taking the painkillers from the neurologist which do not eased the headaches much. At all even.

I have another appointment with the neurologist June 1st but I am frightened and anxious and in pain. And now I may have proper hypothyroidism...this year sucks.

Please can someone suggest any possibilty what these headaches could be?

Or any other symptoms I should look out for that may be a clue?

I am so stressed by this pain continuing even though. It has lead me to write posts like this on the internet to try and find help from others with similar experiences. My boyfriend has decided that it is psychological and thinks I should be getting CBT to calm down worrying about thee headaches when all the tests are showing normal results even though he is worried by the sudden pain attacks.

Here is a collection other things “symptoms” if they are of any help:

I sometimes get pain in my sinuses behind my nose in the morning on my walk to work. Sometimes get a runny nose despite not having a cold. Constipation. Underarm muscle aches for two months. Tired despite feeling like I am sleeping deeply. Tingly feeling at right temple or scalp sometimes.

Help T____T

  1. Hi poa101,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us - we're glad you are part of the discussion forum!!

    As much as I wish I could tell you what exactly is going on, only a qualified doctor can do that. I can give you information you may want to share with him/her.

    When our thyroid gland is not working properly, it can certainly trigger a migraine attack. In fact when any of our systems are out of whack, or our body is out of homeostasis, a migraine attack may be triggered. Migraine is not a symptom, rather it's own diagnosis - a genetic, neurological disease. And many of the things you describe, even sinus congestion and facial pain can be symptoms of a migraine attack, along with many others. From your description, it sounds like your thyroid may need treating, I believe normal TSH should be under 4. Here is information I found; We also having information on migraine disease and thyroid here;

    I would encourage you to seek out the expertise of a doctor is an expert who treats migraine disease, or at least get your thyroid in working order.

    Will you let me know what you think


    1. Thank you for your kind response. I really do appreciate it. It is so distressing to have been going through this and those around do not really understand that I can be at work or acting normally but still be suffering or in distress from this.

      I will get my thyroid checked out to cross that off the list. It does indeed seem to be outside the normal range from the result.

      For the headaches, I am supposedly going to a headache specialist but what he has prescribed so far has not made a dent.

      Does it take time to find the right diagnosis and treatment even when seeing a neurologist?

    2. Hi poa101,

      Unfortunately it can take a number of years before we get accurately diagnosed and begin the right treatment.

      Even though neurologists may claim to be "headache experts" that may not really be the case. There is extra board certification for headache medicine, which is different from neurology. You can check this link for those expert doctors who have this specific certification;

      Keep me posted!

      Wishing you a low pain day,

  2. Hi, one diagnostic possibility to ask your neurologist about is ice pick headaches, which are short, sharp stabbing headaches. It can be hard to get a correct diagnosis for headaches, and if you’re able to, sometimes a second opinion is helpful. Stress also worsens pretty much all forms of pain, so anything you can do to help ease the anxiety caused by this stressful situation, may well helpful, whether that’s exercise, meditation, cbt or whatever suits you best. Best of luck and I hope it all resolves for you soon.

    1. Hi mrchutney,

      Great points - thank you for sharing them with us!


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