Posted by: Miss T | 2009/07/31

Pregnant with Headaches: What to take?

Hi Doc

Hope you can help. I have just discovered i am 5 weeks pregnant and have been plagued by painful headaches that pulsate on the sides, to the point where i feel like my veins are gona pop. I am usually bothered by headaches even before the pregnancy as my mother was clinically diagnosed with migraines and even though no doctor has diagnosed me, i think i am getting it genetically.

I would normally take Adcodol for my headaches and would be sorted in no time, but now that i am pregnant, i understan i cannot take anything but Panado. I only go to see my OB next week and will unfotunately have to wait another week before he can advise me on what to take.

My question is, how many panados can i take when pregnant, i took 2 yesterday morning, 1 in the evening and the headache is still there, how many is a safe number to take on consercutive days. On any given day i wouldnt take these but this headache now involves nausea and sensitivity to light, its unbearable, especially when working with a computer the whole day. I do however try to drink plenty of water and eat right.

Which medication can you also suggest?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Miss T,
During pregnancy the only pain killer allowed is Panado. The recommended dose is up to 2 tablet every 6 hours if necessary.
But medication is not the answer – the correct way to deal with the problem is to get to the root of the problem. For 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: Miss T | 2009/08/03

Hi Doc

Thank you so much for this info. I have been toying with the idea of the Headache Clinic and will make sure to contact them soon.

Kind Regards

Reply to Miss T

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