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Question
Posted by: Mokkie | 2010/08/25

Headaches at night

Hi Doc

I am 50 years old and have battling with headaches for the past 15 years. I am a typist / secretary and also have trouble with my shoulders. I had a thoracic op on my right side in 2001 and Carpal tunnel op on both wrists in 2007.
I wake up at night with a terrible headache and hope that it would go away (ja, even after all these years, I still hope. Perhaps too lazy to get up!). When I get up in the morning, I would take something for it but it takes until late afternoon before it becomes just a little better.
The doctor prescribed Tripilene (yellow one) which I would take for a few nights until it gets better.
What can I do to make it better? It affects my rest and then I am irritable the whole day.
Thanks for your time. Regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Mokkie,

The only way to treat your problem is first to have a proper diagnosis as to where the pain is coming from. Your pain is most probably muscular, but headaches are not that simple. Often there is more than one cause for the pain, and if one doesn’t treat all these causes, there is very little chance of relief. 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 | 2010/08/25

Dear Mokkie,

The only way to treat your problem is first to have a proper diagnosis as to where the pain is coming from. Your pain is most probably muscular, but headaches are not that simple. Often there is more than one cause for the pain, and if one doesn’t treat all these causes, there is very little chance of relief. 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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