New...Need Opinions

I am 39 years old. I have had a history of migraines since early 20’s. They have always been typical - start in the back of my neck & head, then very painful on one side (like someone is stabbing my eye with a poker). They last for a few days if I don’t catch them quick enough with medicine. I used to take Imitrex but realized that if I take Excedrin Migraine early enough, it does the trick. I have always had moments of dizziness (whooshing head, rocking head) but never attributed them to migraines. In the last year or so, my headaches have become less frequent - maybe 1 or 2 per month (used to be once a week). In October, I had my first vertigo episode. It wasn’t full rotational vertigo - it was as if someone was pushing/pulling me to the left side. Lasted about 2 hours. I’ve had that 2 other times.

Now currently, my symptoms are:
*24 hour dizziness (feels like I’ve been drinking)
*constant ringing in the right ear - louder some days than others
*pressure headache maybe once per month (nothing like the previous migraines I had since 25 years old)
*funny vision disturbances (almost like my vision is slower than my movement)
*confusion (sometimes…more forgetful)

I’ve been for MRI (normal), ENG test (normal), hearing test (normal) and just got back from neurologist who said she couldn’t see anything wrong with me and she “didn’t have a magic pill” to give me. I feel like I’m going crazy. The ENT said it may be beginning stages of Meniere’s because of the ringing in my ear. He wants me to come back for another hearing test in July to see if the ringing is causing any hearing loss.

I’ve read these boards and I can relate to so much. But I still doubt myself…feel like I’m crazy. What do you all think? I don’t want to keep spending money on doctors who don’t help and make me feel like I’m crazy. Do you think I have MAV or Meniere’s? What medicine’s help stop the ringing?



I’m not a doctor, but your history is somewhat similar to mine including the previous migraine experience and the testing you have gone through. I would guess your condition is migraine just with a different presentation than you are used to. I too had more traditional migraine starting in my early twenties when I was pregnant. My 24/7 migraine/MAV symptoms began in October 2007 after having periodic episodes of vertigo for several years prior. I will be 39 in two weeks. I have, or have had, every one of your symptoms plus some. I used to have the pressure headaches you mention every day. I thought they were tension headaches until the migraine preventative I’m taking eliminated them. Now, I think they were just another form of migraine. I still occasionally (maybe 1-2 times a year) get a classic migraine with my “old” symptoms layered on top of my everyday symptoms.

I suggest you find a neurologist who specializes in migraine. My neurologist put me through all the tests you had plus some before he was 100% comfortable with a migraine diagnosis, but he suspected migraine from the very first appointment.

Good luck - and you are not crazy!


Hi A-b-N,

Welcome to mvertigo. Your story reads like a text book case of MAV to me. Migraineurs move along over the years and then in their 30s migraine can transform/ morph into the current type you are experiencing now. Tinnitus and rocking are both common complaints by a number of members here. As Marci has pointed out, I’d get yourself to a doctor who understands migraine and MAV so you don’t waste your money any more. It’s worth having your hearing checked again just for peace of mind but I would bet the farm on migraine being the culprit. Where abouts do you live? There maybe a doc nearby that someone can recommend.

In the meantime, have you worked out what your triggers might be and made appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce trigger load?

Best … Scott

Thanks for your input. The ENT doctor thought it was migraine and that’s why he sent me to neurologist. But I felt so discouraged when the neurologist said she couldn’t see that anything was wrong with me. I guess because I said could relieve the headache pain with existing medicine, she didn’t think she couldn’t help me with anything.

I knew what my triggers were when I was having the other kind of migraine — which was not enough sleep, too much sugar and stress. But I don’t know now what is triggering the dizziness and ringing in the ears. I have been under a lot of stress with work. So that may be. The ENT suggested cutting salt intake in case it is Meniere’s but I don’t eat much salt to begin with and I’ve cut back even more. I don’t drink very much caffeine either.

Well the ENT had a hunch that it was migraine…especially when ENG came back negative. So I guess I have MAV. I will go back for hearing test in July, just to be sure about my hearing. I will look for a better neurologist that can help me with this specific type of Migraine. I live between Greensboro & Durham NC. Can anyone recommend a good neurologist?


Hi Annie,

The closest I know of for you is Atlanta:

Sharon King at Atlanta neurology
993 Johnson Ferry Road, N.E.
Building F
Suite 120
Atlanta, Georgia 30342


Ronald Tusa, MD
Ctr For Rehab Med Emory, 1441 Clifton Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: (404) 712-0996

Looks like that would be a 5 hour trip for you.

Cheers … Scott

Hi Annie,

Here is the information for the neurologist who diagnosed me. I live in Washington State, but he happened to be flying in from South Carolina to work on temporary contract here at the time after semi-retiring. I did a search for him and found him at the practice below. I called and verified he is working there now and taking new patients. The office appears to be a few hours from your home.

Dennis Gettelfinger, MD
Metrolina Neurological Assoc
200 S Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732

Phone: (803) 366-6135
Fax: (803) 366-3439

Take care!

Marci :slight_smile: