Posted by: Migraine | 2009-06-17



I have frequent headaches that seems to happen mainly over weekends... the headaches happen about once a month and I'  m taking Synap Forte - 2 tablets used to work but now I am taking about 6 in 12 hours. The headache rarely lasts for longer than 12 hours and is accompanied by sensitivity to light and a stiff neck feeling...

I'  ve had these headaches for about 15 years and I cant seem to find out what triggers them. Oddly enough they usually happen after I'  ve been thinking about them! Let'  s hope its not the case else tomorrow I have another one.

So far I'  ve been coping with them - taking the synaps seems to work. My doctor also prescribed Coxflam which seemed to work but by the time I feel the headache coming I'  m usually more eager to stop the pain than solve the problem.

I think it is a muscular tension headache but cant be 100% sure. I work on computers a lot and it could be related to that as well... I also find myself clenching my jaws when sleeping...

Any ideas? Should I have the headaches examined or should I just try to control them?

Any help would be appreciated - thank you for your excellent service!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Migraine,

The worst thing you can do is try and control your headaches with medication – pain killers make the headaches get worse over time. Muscle tension is one of the most common causes of migraine, but fortunately it can be treated, and without the use of drugs. Having said that, there are many other structures in the head and neck region that may also be contributing to your 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

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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