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Question
Posted by: Mel | 2005/07/28

please help<br>please help

i suffer from headache just above my eyes. sometimes it gets so bad that i cannot do anything but hold my head and just close my eyes and hope the headache will go away which does not happen. i drink painkillers almost everyday and they make me sleepy which is not a good thing when i am at work. i am 24 years old and have two children. is it something i must have checked out or do you think it is my sinuses. please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Mel,

Although the sinuses can play a part in the headache process, it is not nearly as common as people think. Research from headache clinics throughout the world shows that “sinus headache” is the most common misdiagnosis. Just because the pain is in the area of the sinuses, or because the patient has a post-nasal drip or blocked nose when the headache strikes, doesn’t mean that the sinuses are responsible.

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.

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.

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, we have combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables us to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that 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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