Posted by: Skye | 2009/06/17

icepick and tension headaches

I often get icepick headaches but since theres not much I can do about them I' m not too worried, maybe you can tell me the cause of them. However I sometimes get headaches that last from hours to days due to tension. My shoulder muscles are rock hard and they have always been that way, and I grind my teeth and clench my jaw in my sleep. I want to know if there is any over the counter medication like a muscle relaxant or anything else that might help with these headaches.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Skye,

There are no medications that will counter these headaches. Sometimes pain killers help in the short term, but they make the headache worse in the end. Muscle relaxants also do not help. The only way to deal with your headaches is to get to the root of the problem. You have to find out where the pain is coming from. To do this 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.

Our users say:
Posted by: Skye | 2009/06/17

Sorry I thought it erased my question so I posted it again. No need to reply if you already did.

Reply to Skye

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