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Question
Posted by: redrose | 2005/07/16

pain in left side of head/face after fall

Hi, i urgently need some assistance. In March this year i had a nasty fall at the office whereby i injured my left side of my body including my left arm and leg and neck. i did not bump my head. just injured the arm neck and leg quite badly. 2 weeks after the fall i started experiencing pain in my left eye and left temple. it became real bad that i started experiecing loss of vision in the left eye. it was then that i visited the opthomologist who noticed some infamation behind the left eye. i was referred to a neurologist who sent me for an MRI. the results indicated some CSF build up around the left optic nerve, but according to the neuro-radiologist, the build-up was insignificant. thereafter the battle began where my entire left side became affected, the headaches in the left side of my head increased and i live with severe nausea. i went for further scans of the neck and spine and blood tests as well as a lumbar puncture, but all seems normal. the doctors are baffled and have put me on anti-depressants and a course of cortizone. but to no relief. i also experience shooting pains in the left eye, left side of my face including the upper and lower jaw. the left side of my body also lacks sensation compared to the right side. the doctors claim that in time it will pass. the head pains in the left side of my face are excruciating and i have been advised not to take any more painkillers and i became quite reliant on them. the doctors were very reluctant to question me on the fall i had, and even mentioned that what i was going through is as a result of stress. this angered me. i do not know what to do at this point, as i cannot partake in my normal activities and have been booked off work for the past month and a half. im scared that il be returning to work with no relief. the pain remains on the left side and has become unbearable, more particularly the left side of my head and jaw, and eye. at night the pain intensifies when i put my head down. please advise me on what i can do. im a 26 year old female.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Redrose

My sympathy is with you – this must be a terribly frustrating and frightening time for you!
Unfortunately, your case is very complex and I will not be able to tell you what is causing your pain and symptoms. I advise that you carry on consulting a specialist doctor (neurologist) that you trust, and together carry on investigating all possible causes. Preferably, consult with a neurologist who has good experience dealing with traumatic brain injury or rare conditions. You would probably have the best success if you consult a doctor who is linked to a tertiary institution, such as a university or medical research centre. Investigate possible injury to or compression of cranial or cervical blood vessels, as this sometimes causes similar symptoms as you described. Always get a second opinion.

Unfortunately initial, routine investigations did not indicate any damage and the cause or injury that you have suffered may be undetectable by current routine medical examinations-that's why it is important that you link yourself to a doctor who has access to the latest medical developments. You and your doctor will need to investigate other, less likely causes for your problem. This may take months, or even years, but keep persevering!

For now it is important for you to find some type of alternative method (perhaps acupuncture or a highly recommended osteopath or chiropractor) to relieve your pain. Only see someone recommended by your neurologist. It is imperetive that you find a doctor that you can stick with and don’t chop and change from one therapist to another, because treatment didn’t work at first. Also, cortizone and other treatments have certain side-effects that you need to know about. Your doctor should be telling you what the possible positive and negative effects of long-term (and short-term) medication may have on you.

Antidepressants may have been prescribed to help you cope with this very painful and disabling condition you have. Chronic pain is one of the major causes of chronic and severe depression. If you don't want to take antidepressants it may be a good idea to consult with a psychiatrist/psychologist, who can help you deal with the psychological impact this condition has on your life, and perhaps keep you motivated through the various tests and treatments you may go through. Perhaps even more important, now is a time to reach out to your support group - spend time with family and friends and let them help you - this is not a time for you to be a big girl and do it all on your own. Let significant others help you.

Finally, get second opinions!! Perhaps that build-up of CSF is not so insignificant according to another neurologist/radiologist.

Good luck!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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