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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11408
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My 17 year old daughter has had a severe headache for three

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My 17 year old daughter has had a severe headache for three days. Pain is concentrated behind the eyes, and she has light sensitivity, which does tend to abate a bit during the day. Vicodin has barely taken the edge off the pain. Any suggestions on next steps?
Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Other then the headaches, is you daughter otherwise healthy? Does she take any medicines other then the vicodin for pain?

Dr. Rick :

Does she have any visual symptoms?

Dr. Rick :

Are you available chat?

Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)

I look forward to your response so that we can continue to work on what is going on with your daughter.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi - i'm available to chat
Oops....I've already switched over to Q&A and there is no going back :(
No problem though...we can "chat" here, even though it is a bit slower.
Did you see my questions?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No other visual synptoms - no eye redness, no itching

Her symptoms are consistent with a migraine.
Is there a family history of migraines?
Have you taken her to a MD? And if so, what did they think?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Went on Monday; doctor thought it might be a reaction to birth control she started in December, so she suggested a new pill (which she'll start after her period). Pain and sensitivity worsened yesterday, so doctor prescribed Vicodin... that barely took the edge off, and the light sensitivity is still there - strong in the morning, and gets a bit better during the day. Pain went frmo all-over headache to concentrating behind her eyes.
That is very consistent with a migraine and birth control can set them off....but, as a parent of 5 kids -- 3 of them daughters -- I'd want to rule out other causes before hanging my hat on that diagnosis.
As you know bazillions of things can cause headaches this severe; the majority of them are nothing to be concerned about and, sometimes, no cause can be found. Then, of course, there are the bad things (which no parent likes to think about for fear of invoking them) that can cause headaches....the good news? These bad things are very rare. But, so is winning the lottery and that doesn't keep people from always thinking about them...
I'd see if you can get her in to see a neurologist for a complete exam. This way you can be assured that nothing terrible is going on and your daughter will get stateoftheart treatment for her headache.
Does this make sense to you? If so.....
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. Based on your advice and advice from her doctor, we're at the ER to get an MRI.
that is an excellent plan :-)
I bet it will be normal but I know I would feel better knowing this if she was my daughter.
It's safe for you to press the accept/positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you at no additional charge :-)
I look forward to hearing the "good" news that this is "only" a bad migraine :)
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
I was just thinking about your daughter and wondering how she was doing. Did she get any relief from her headache? Did they figure out a cause?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks so much for following up, Dr. Rick. The MRI came back negative, but the headaches continued. Latest course of action - she's on a low dose of propranolol in an effort to help the blood vessels in her brain/scalp relax. The headaches have abated a bit, so I'm hopeful that will work, and she can get off those meds quickly.
I'm glad to hear that the MRI was negative. Propanolol (beta blockers)are an excellent first choice for medical therapy.
If the headaches continue, however, a consultation with a neurologist would be my next step.
Take care and thanks for letting me know how your daughter is doing. Take care and give her my best :-)