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05 Jul 2011

constant throbbing pain in my left eye
dear doc

i had my first migraine at the age of 19 (unfortunately got that from my dad''s side of the family)i am now almost 36 and the frequency and pain has gotten worse and worse. about three years ago i had my first aura, mirror like object that affects my sight completely for about 30 minutes. i had my eyes tested at cape eye hospital when it happened, also have been seeing blurry through my left eye for a while before it) and was told that there is nothing wrong with my eyes.

the problem that i am having is that lately, the pain is non-stop, i have a throbbing pain in my left eye, i can actually feel the artery pulsating and my vision in my left eye is now very blurry. i can distinguish between a migraine and stress headache. my gp prescribed maxalt which works fine for a migraine 90% of the time (pulsating also stops after a maxalt)but it is very costly and at the rate that i am getting migraines now, impossible to afford.

i also broke my back in 2003 (compression fracture of L1 vertebrae) which i did not have fused (my choice) which is definitely contributing to strain on my lower back and neck.

i know that you can''t do an assessment just by reading this but need to know that if i make an appointment with my neurosurgeon (dr coetzee, milnerton medi-clinic), will he request an MRI scan, as i doubt whether discovery (classic core) will pay for it.

my quality of life is definitely affected and with a great husband and two gorgeous little girls, i dont always feel like i am being the best wife and mom i can be.

thanks so much for your time.
Answer 1,419 views
Headache expert
Headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Heidi,

It is certainly possible to tell from your history that there is definitely something that can be done about your migraines. What gives it away is the fact that Maxalt helps. Maxalt works by constricting painfully dilated arteries in the scalp (not in the brain). One can get permanent relief by determining which arteries are causing the pain, and by closing them off permanently. It is an exceedingly safe procedure with a high success rate. This is not something that a neurosurgeon will be able to do as it does not fall within the scope of that speciality.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).
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 examination, 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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