hello, i'm a 22 yr old female. i'm having headaches on avg of around once a week, but they're not at regular intervals; sometimes i'll get a couple one week and not have one for two weeks or so. i'll have sharp, stabbing pains in the back of my head, but it's not all over the back of my head, it sort of resonates to a specific point, never towards the front near my temple or anything, and as far as i can remember it's only on the left side of my head. these aren't constant exactly; i mostly describe it as a lightning storm. a period of time, 3-6 hrs, will go by where i have intermittent pains in the back of my head which are similar to a bolt of lightning starting somewhere near the center and traveling outwards. there does not seem to be any outside influence that makes it worse like bright lights or loud noises.

i also get the feeling of pressure and fullness which occurs all over the back of my head and down into the back of my neck; this sometimes accompanies the sharp stabbing headache but not always. when this happens i usually feel my neck give a small pop when i move it a certain way (i can't remember in what way exactly, just that it doesn't pop every time i move it). these usually last around 3-6 hrs, and they freak me out pretty bad sometimes cause my head feel so full that if i move wrong something in my neck will burst or something. with this one and the sharp stabbing one i often feel pretty nauseous though not always, but it does seem to be apart of the same episode, i stop noticing the nausea after the headache goes away, and it was never right after nor several hours after i ate, so i wasn't like it was whatever i ate or just an empty stomach. the popping occurs maybe 4-6 times during the 3-6 hrs.

less often (i'd guess 2-3 times a month) i'll have a sort-of headache, this one no where near as painful mostly just discomforting, it's always in the back of my head just above my neck and just off center to the left. i usually describe it as a burning leaking sensation; it feels like some liquid is leaking from some point right there in my head. since it's not really painful i try to ignore it so i don't pay much attention to how long it lasts.

when i was 17 i had surgery for complications due to a chiari I malformation. i had headaches, the pressure and fullness are the ones i remember, and tingling which led to numbness on my left torso. i never regained the feeling to that section of my left side. i can't remember much of the specifics, so i can't say for sure i had syringomyelia, but i do remember i was playing a sport at the time and was strongly encouraged to stop because it could have been bad for me had i been hit the wrong way. my doctor was supposed to be one of the best for that sort of thing, he sort of specialized in chiari-related problems, and the way he talked the surgery was supposed to fix it. any leakage would be noticed within a couple weeks; it was no guarantee i'd get the feeling back, but i thought fixing it meant the symptoms would go away.

a few months afterward i was having the headaches again, but another mri showed that everything was fine, so we all chalked it up to stress. since i was told everything was fine i've tried to ignore the headaches, but lately they've been a little more insistent on bugging me. i have had a pretty stressful couple of years (my father died around 18 months ago, and my grandmother died earlier this year), so i was ready to write it off as stress again, but i have noticed that thinking about or dealing with the difficult things going on with me do not bring on any one of the types of headaches i have. i could be having a good day, and suddenly feel pretty crappy cause of a headache.

i know the best thing is to just go to the doctor, but given my history i figured they might suggest an mri, i don't know if all of this seems serious enough for it to be deemed necessary, so i feared having to deal with the insurance company. i know you have no way of knowing whether it is either, but any suggestions or advice you have is appreciated.