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Question
Posted by: Chan | 2005/06/29

Bad headaches while pregnant, what

could i do to possibly prevent it or do to make it go away? Ive always had really bad headaches and been dependant on pain killers, Ive been to neurologist who gave me strong pain killers and medication to calm down! I cant remember it ever working!
I am only 20 now, and I dont think this is normal.
I got a stitch in my eye (but really bad) about 2 days ago and it went straight through my eye into my forehead into my ear and I had a head ache the whole day! I dont want my parents to think im over-reacting as they often say I do, so I thought maybe you could help me. Oh and Im not taking any pain killers at the moment, being pregnant, only when it is really bad I take ponados!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Chan,

Very often headaches get worse during the first three months of a pregnancy, but in 70% of patients, they improve or disappear during the last six months. So if you are still in the first three months, then there is a good chance that your headaches will improve later on.

With regard to painkillers, even when one is not pregnant, they are not the answer. One of the main problems with taking painkillers for headaches is that it often leads to Medication Overuse Headache (MOH). MOH is a problem that occurs in headache sufferers who have to take painkillers on a regular basis - the headaches become more frequent and more severe! Because of this, the patient increases the dosage and takes the drugs more often, and a vicious circle is set up, making the headaches worse and worse. This can happen with any of the painkillers, but is far more likely to occur when the medication contains more than one drug, and especially if it contains caffeine or codeine. When the three are combined in one pill, there is an even greater likelihood of MOH developing. Please examine the box or insert of the medications you use, and check what they contain. And remember - MOH can also occur with prescription headache medication. So I am very pleased to hear that you are only taking the odd panado.

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.

It is very common for non-headache sufferers to think that someone with a headache is over-reacting, because they have no idea how painful it can be, especially if it is occurring on an ongoing basis.
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. 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, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, are co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed.

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.

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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