Health: How spinal condition lead to crippling headaches

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Struggling off the bus in agony, Deborah Ogg barely knew what was happening.

She had never suffered from headaches, but suddenly she was in such excruciating pain that she had to lie down in the street, utterly overwhelmed.

Her worried partner Peter looked on, helpless, and even the taxi driver he summoned offered to take them straight to hospital. But Deborah, 40, hating to make a fuss, insisted on going home to bed.

“I felt like somebody had hit me over the head with an iron bar,” she recalls, “It was massive pain.”

The pharmacist recommended migraine pills, but they didn’t help. “I tried getting up to go to the toilet but as soon as I got up the pain was even worse and I was on my knees, I just crumpled,” she says.

It was April 1 last year, and the start of a long and painful journey with what she eventually discovered was a rare condition called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.

Affecting around one person in 50,000, it occurs when the fluid, which cushions the brain and spine, leaks out through a hole in its protective sac. This results in a drop in pressure, so that the brain can no longer float in fluid.

The brain cannot feel pain, but the resulting “brain sag” pulls on tendons and muscles across the head, causing extreme pain, which is slightly relieved when sufferers lie down.

It is most common after epidurals or spinal operations, but in some cases, such as Deborah’s, occurs spontaneously, which makes treatment harder, because the location of the leak is not known.

Read the full article here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/health/health-how-spinal-condition-lead-to-crippling-headaches-1-2150059

Edinburgh Evening News: GEORGE CLOONEY CSF LEAK PAIN

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PAIN DROVE CLOONEY TO CONSIDER SUICIDE

One of Holywood’s biggest stars, George Clooney, has also spoken of his struggle with it, admitting the pain was so excruciating that he considered suicide.

While Deborah’s leak is in her spine, his was around his brain, and caused CSF fluid to drip out through his nose.

Clooney was injured during the filming of a torture scene in Syriana in 2005, and told TV interviewer Larry King: “I cracked the back of my head and I thought I had an aneurysm because my head hurt so bad.

“So, I got a plane and got out of Morocco and went to Cedars-Sinai [hospital] and I was there for about a week and a half before they figured out what was wrong.”

Bedridden with severe headaches, he later told Rolling Stone magazine: “I was at a point where I thought ‘I can’t exist like this. I can’t actually live’.

“I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this’ . . . but I never thought I’d get there,” he said. “See, I was in a place where I was trying to figure out how to survive.”

Although he never attempted to take his own life, he began to drink heavily until the symptoms were finally relieved by surgery – but still suffers from bad headaches.

Read the article here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/health/health-how-spinal-condition-lead-to-crippling-headaches-1-2150059