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Severe headache for past two days

Dear friends,

I have had an increasing severity in headaches the past 2 days. I have GCA/PMR and am presently taking Prednisone 40mg. The pain has been in the temple areas, pain and pressure over left and now right eye. I also have pain in forehead. I have tried strong pain medications, cold wash cloths, peppermint essential oil. Yesterday, I experienced two episodes of severe dizziness after going from sitting to standing. Nothing has completely diminished the pain.

I had lab work done this week and had the lowest sed rate and CRP since August. I was in a traffic accident a week ago, and experienced a mild headache the next couple of days. I am supposed to start the Actemra IV infusion this Thursday, as I have not been able to go below 40mg of Prednisone since June without a severe flare up.

I don't know if this is a flare up or if I have some kind of virus. Any suggestions or advice will be greatly appreciated.

11 Replies

I doubt your "normal" labwork has much to do with anything. You are on a high dose of pred than may affect the readings even though there is still active inflammation locally - though I suspect many doctors wouldn't agree with that.

Were you checked out thoroughly after the accident? Just in case, I think I would would go to the ED - as I've said before, once too often is better than once not enough.


Thanks for your comments PMRpro. No, I wasn't checked out after the accident,

I just awakened from a nap! Oh, the wonder of sleep. The pain has finally subsided. If the headache returns with a vengeance, I will definitely seek help today. I am so exhausted from the pain and anxiety that goes with this acute kind of pain.

I will give you an update later today.


The effects of a whiplash injury can be unpleasantly like the descriptions of some aspects of GCA - been there, done that...


Thank you for saying this - my constant confusion with looking at test results without knowing that the prednisone is a causative factor to them being "ok." it's not necessarily masking but it sure is why.


A&E vist better safe then sorry got to look after sight


Olive, I am doing better right now as finally able to get some sleep.

I will seek help if this headache returns. Thanks for your concern.


When I'm on a high dose of Pred for a while,[ several weeks ] I get the same headaches as the GCA for which I'm taking the Pred for ! once my inflammatory markers are lower and I start to decrease the headaches get better, however if you'r having headaches after an accident I would get it checked out.



Thanks for sharing your experience. GCA seems to have more mystery symptom wise and knocking me "for a loop" than any illness I have dealt

with. I think the underlying thought of losing my vision is an area that I must release as I begin to obsess about it when I get these severe headaches.

How long have you had the GCA? What dose age of Prednisone are you taking now. I am really hoping to be able to lower the Prednisone slowly once I start the Actemra this week.

I will seek help today if the headaches flare up again this afternoon. Right now, I am resting and even had a nap.


Hello joyful,

I was diagnosed with GCA/PMR 16 years ago aged 54, I'm now 71

I have never been off Pred, which no doubt have caused all my other health problems, A few weeks ago I reached 10 mgs on the slow taper the lowest I have been in ages, however just after a urine infection I got another flare so I am now on 25 mgs. I tried Azathioprine and methotrexate quite a few years ago but they gave me bad side effects, Iv'e never been on Actemra

keep resting,


I too have been on 40 mg since July and reducing caused a flareup. I am finally on 35/30 after being on 35 for a month. At 35 the CRP was a little elevated but the ESR was normal. In my case the blood numbers go up before the symptoms come. Next week I will take another blood test and see how I am doing on the 35/30 every other day. Taking it very slowly.

This could be the stress of the accident. I do not like the headache. Does your scalp hurt? With the symptoms you might want to consider going up a little on the prednisone. I would if I had your symptoms regardless of what the blood shows. I have GCA and had PMR. The PMR had been in remission for a year I was prednisone free for one year. Hope this helps you a little. Good luck to you.


Dear Nap1.

Thank you for sharing your experience. The headache is gone today, but I feel very weak. I'm just going to continue resting today as much as possible. There are a lot of viruses going around right now as well.

My rheumatologist sent me an e-mail to hold off reducing the Prednisone until 2 weeks after having the Actemra infusion. I am definitely going to do that.

This is quite a merry go round, isn't it. A lot of trial and error.

I wish you the best in reducing your Prednisone.


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