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17 Sep 2009

I often get what the doctor calls a painless migrane. Then, just recently I had something that felt like an earthquake going off in my head. Since then I have had a lot of stiff and sore necks but then last week I had a pain running down the right side of my neck from the skull into my shoulder blade (it is still there). Over the weekend I kept feeling like my sugar was dropping (I am hypoglycaemic) and no matter what I did, the symptoms kep coming back. Early Monday morning I turned in my sleep but was woken up by the dizziest spell I have ever had. Since then I have been continuously dizzy. I find the worst is when I am lying down and try turn over or even just move. I went to the doctor who said it was acute vertigo then booked me off for the day and put me on Cinnarizine 25. It is not having any effect. The following day I felt even worse and am still feeling really weak and sleepy all the time. He then booked me off for another day with flu and vertigo. He checked my blood pressure and sugar level and both were spot on. No other tests were done.

I am not on a medical aid. Please help. I cannot go on like this anymore. I am also a single parent and my child needs me. Even my vision feels effected and the right side of my face often feels like it is ' melting'  (for want of a better word).

I tried to describe the dizzyness to my son last night and the best I could describe it is that I feel like my brain has turned to jelly. It feels wobbly and everytime I move it seems to wobble along as well until it eventually settles.
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Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Tracy,

There are many causes for dizziness, and when it is combined with pain, there is a strong likelihood that there is some muscle spasm in the neck and or jaw muscles. All the other symptoms can also occur with muscle spasm. Even though the most likely cause is muscular, one cannot be certain without a proper evaluation, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

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 (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.
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