Posted by: Ilse | 2009-08-14

Day 3 of constant headache

I am 17 wks pregnant and have never battled with headaches before. This headache started 3 days ago and it is in the front right side of my head. I' ve been sick almost throughout my pregnancy (wasn' t like this with my first pregnancy!) and went for a flu injection 4 wks ago. I don' t have the flu or a cold currently, but this headach just doesn' t want to go away. I' ve been taking Panado which apparently is safe during pregnancy, but don' t want to continue taking it. Could the headache be due to my pregnancy and should I go see a doctor? I am not more stressed than usual, so I don' t think it is a tension headache.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Ilse,

Unfortunately headaches and migraines often get worse during the first three months of a pregnancy. The encouraging thing is that after the first three months, they very often improve and may disappear for the duration of the pregnancy.

Medication is not the best remedy at any time, and as you point out, during pregnancy one has to be much more careful. If you suffer from headaches, the answer is not to rely on medication or painkillers! The correct way to deal with the problem is to have a proper diagnosis of the causes of the headache. If the causes are treated, the headaches no longer occur, and it is no longer necessary to rely on potentially harmful “rescue” medication. This is true even during a pregnancy.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary” approach. There are so many different structures in the head and neck are, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, we have combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables us to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed. This assessment must include examination to determine the presence of tension in the head and neck muscles. With the correct diagnosis, most sufferers can be successfully treated without the use of drugs.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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