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Question
Posted by: KV | 2009/11/23

What type of headaches are these?

Hi there. I am a 25 year old woman.

For the past few months, say about once or twice a month, I have been experiencing headaches with the following characteristics: It happens in either of the following circumstances (1) If i spend some time (say 3 hours) in the sun when it is hot or if i wear contact lenses for longer than an hour or so. The pain is usually on one side of my head (most often the right side) - it feels like the pain exists in a " line"  down the middle of brain - also behind my right eye, my right nostril also blocks up and my neck and shoulders tense up painfully. Panados dont help much, neither does resting/sleeping. This usually starts around mid morning and then carries on for the rest of the day. Its usually better the next day.. Funnily, these seem to happen on the weekends usually. I also have more tummy issues on the weekend (I think i may have IBS too).

I get the feeling that this is psychological in some way..
Are these migraines? Tension headaches? What kind of doctor should i see? I am on the pill (for over a year now), and I take irri-col and probiflora for my stomach. Those are all the meds i take regularly.

Can you point me in some direction? Thanks...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear KV,

Being in the hot sun is a known trigger for headaches, and contact lenses can do the same in susceptible individuals. The problem is not the triggers though – what has to be done is that we have to find out why your body is reacting to stimuli that don’t cause headaches in other people.

With regard to the panados, firstly, drugs are not the answer, as they do not address the underlying cause. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs more often in headache patients, and sometimes improves when the headaches have been successfully diagnosed and treated.

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 | 2009/11/24

Dear KV,

Being in the hot sun is a known trigger for headaches, and contact lenses can do the same in susceptible individuals. The problem is not the triggers though – what has to be done is that we have to find out why your body is reacting to stimuli that don’t cause headaches in other people.

With regard to the panados, firstly, drugs are not the answer, as they do not address the underlying cause. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs more often in headache patients, and sometimes improves when the headaches have been successfully diagnosed and treated.

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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