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Question
Posted by: Z | 2011-04-16

headache/migraine triggers

I hope this is the right place to post this. I''m 19 and I''ve never been drunk in my life, I don''t drink alcohol every day or even every week, and I have no desire to ever be drunk. I once had a long island iced tea that didn''t make me drunk, but that did give me a hell of a headache and vomiting spell the next morning. My point is, I don''t abuse alcohol, but I do drink it. It never affected me in the past in terms of headaches or nausea, but in the past two years it''s been getting gradually worse. For example, this afternoon I had one beer (normally I would have had three and been just fine) and currently I have an intense headache. Other things, like chocolate and soda, are also affecting me more and more, even though I rarely go overboard on these, either. I get severe migraines lasting 1-3 days at least 4 times a year, complete with vomiting. Could there be some underlying problem or is it just one of those things that happens? Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Z,

Interesting question. It is important to distinguish between the triggers and the underlying problem. If there is no underlying problem, then nothing will trigger a headache or a migraine – so the way to deal with the headache is to diagnose and eliminate the underlying problem. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, 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 instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

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 http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

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 (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

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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Our users say:
Posted by: Headache expert | 2011-04-17

Dear Z,

Interesting question. It is important to distinguish between the triggers and the underlying problem. If there is no underlying problem, then nothing will trigger a headache or a migraine – so the way to deal with the headache is to diagnose and eliminate the underlying problem. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, 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 instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

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 http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

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 (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

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