GPN symptoms only at certain times of the year

I have been tentatively diagnosed with GPN because of the symptoms I experience each spring. I had an MRI very recently (August, 2015) and the results were normal. This is perhaps not surprising because at the moment I do not have any GPN symptoms.

Each spring going back to 2011, I have experienced the identical symptoms: I get severe intermittent pain in my throat (sometimes radiating out to my jaw). Each "attack" lasts about 15 seconds (although a few "attacks" have lasted as long as a minute).. The pain is very strong---perhaps a 9 on a 1--to--10 scale.

My attacks can be caused by: a laugh, a cough, speaking in full voice, swallowing food---or sometimes the attacks just start on their own: I can be reading a book or sitting at the computer and I will get an attack.

I am somewhat fortunate in that my symptoms have been limited to a 6 to 8 week time period each year (since 2011). The usual time of the year for me to experience my GPN symptoms is mid-March through mid-May.

The symptoms begin slowly: perhaps 3 to 5 attacks in a day. Over the next 6 weeks (or so) the frequency increases--- to as many as 90 attacks in a day.

In the final week or two of the time period, the frequency of the attacks decreases until I am no longer symptomatic.

Once the symptoms go away (for that year), there is no recurrence---I am symptom-free for the next 9 or 10 months. This is where I am right now.

Of course, I am dreading next March (2016).

My doctors have suggested various theories about my intense but limited-time-frame GPN symptoms: allergies, delayed reactions to the cold weather of January and February, fatigue from my job (I am a professional woodwind player in a symphony orchestra and the performance season extends from September through May).

Has anyone experienced the phenomenon of severe GPN symptoms where the symptoms are limited to just a portion of the year---and the symptoms recur somewhat predictably according to the calendar?

Can anyone suggest a theory about what might be causing my condition?

It is always difficult to find an exact reason why pain comes and goes. I find March/April and October/November are worse pain times for me. I wonder if it could be because of your profession as a woodwind player? That kind of makes sense to me.

Yes, I am very seasonal! Usually starts sometime in October/November, lasts 6-8 weeks then I'm usually fine after January. Went through this for 4 years before being diagnosed last winter. In the past the docs have prescribed prednisone which actually works for me, so I'm guessing it is some sort of swelling with allergy season. Was diagnosed last winter with an MRI, there is an artery by the right side of my neck which is bigger than the one on the left. The right side is where I experience pain. The pain starts as one sided pain. For a week or so it is just a pain on that side, then over time it progresses to a 'grab', it suddenly becomes an intense stabbing pain which goes out my ear and often triggers the gag reflex. This year when the pain starts I'm supposed to call the neuro who diagnosed me for a prescription for anti-seizure meds. Not looking forward to that.

Good luck and pain free days.

I am sorry you are experiencing GPN pain.. We have all been there. My husband and I thought I was experiencing this type of theory you are suggesting but I have since come to the conclusion that I would have pain daily if I was not on regular medications. I however still get the occasional very painful flare up around the spring or fall, but sometimes even in the dead of summer or around Christmas time. My husband isn't convinced that it still doesn't have something to do with allergies. Last year I did move to South Carolina for the winter months and even though I felt a flare up coming on it stayed quite minor. My theory there is that the bitter cold wasn't there to aggravate it and create a full blown event. It had been suggested to me to cover with a scarf, to keep the area warmer during the colder months and I would recommend that because it did seem to help. My last suggestion would be to begin your medication (if you are taking some during events) prior to the anticipated start of pain to limit or minimize your peaks of pain.. Good luck with the coming year..

Yes, I have the same type of GPN. I started a post about 2 months ago titled Comes and Goes. The 1st time I got it in 2013 was June,July and August. I asked Dr.s what it was and they didn't know. So I went through it w/o medication that time.It was gone for 9 months. Last year it came back in the same 3 month period. This time I investigated the condition and was told it was GPN a very rare condition that close to 1 in a million people get. I took an MRI at New York Presbyterian Hospital and was told it was normal. So my Dr. said if you can control the pain with pills then do so. He is a Neurosurgeon and suggests avoiding surgery if meds work.This was my 2nd time with GPN and by Sept it was just about gone for another 9 months. My symptoms are only my tongue and the triggers are eating & speaking but pills control the speaking just about 100%,but eating is a different story.Even with pills eating is a task. But like I said I'm hoping this fall it's gone for another 9 months. I suggest you keep a daily journal as to all aspects of the effects of your condition as a comparison if you need to have one later.

btw: My meds are 100mg chewable (easier on the stomach & liver) Tegretol (Carbamezapine)

Wishing you more Pain Free Time..............Rick