Posted by: Confused | 2009/02/11

Daily headaches

Hello Doc

I am a 24 year old lady student.
My problem is that I lately get a headache almost every day or 2nd day and I don' t know what the cause is. I have atleast 2-3 headaches a week and they last hours until I drink a pill. I sometimes try to sleep them away, but the next morning when I wake up then they are only worse.

I have been getting headaches only the last 3-4 years, before that I never even knew how a headache felt because I never got them, but the last few years they come and go and recently I am only getting them more often.

I don' t have a very active life, I sleep a lot and eat when I get to food, because I' m too lazy to eat in a normal routine (although I am going to fix this now that my classes has started again). I have considered the fact that maybe I get headaches because I sleep too much, because sometimes when I wake up I have a headache, but yesterday I didn' t sleep and still got a headache.

I am not sure why this could be or how serious it could be.
Could doc please give me an indication of what could possibly be wrong, or maybe just tell me where to go to get it checked out or what type of tests need to be done?

Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Confused,

Anyone suffering from a headache like yours must have a proper medical assessment, which should include a neurological examination. The reason for this is to make absolutely certain that there is not some serious or life threatening underlying medical condition causing the headaches. Although this is uncommon, it is essential to exclude this possibility before doing anything else.

Once this has been done, then the next part of the investigation is started. The correct way to deal with the problem is to have a proper diagnosis of the underlying causes of the headache. If these 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” assessment. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, and 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 assessment must include examination to determine the presence of tension in the head and neck muscles.

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

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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