Posted by: Oz | 2009/09/17

Sudden Headache

Hi Doc,

My husband never used to get headaches but lately after a very stressful month at work he started getting a very severe and sharp pain on the right side of his forehead. Doc prescribed some migraine painkillers but it doesn' t help with the pain. The pain lasts for days and gets worse as the days pass. When he starts to concentrate (eg. when he studies) the pain comes again. Doc said it' s stress headaches but he gets it all the time, even when he' s not stressed. It' s affecting his everyday life as everytime he needs to concentrate even on simple insignificant things, his head starts to pain.
He says he has other sypmtoms as well (some before the pain starts and some when the pain is there) like:
His skull feels bruised, cant even touch the area
He gets confused
His vision is not normal, blurry at times
He' s unable to concentrate
He feels weak and tired all the time
He feels light headed and dizzy
Weakness in hands and body
Arms get numb and cramp
His ear inside feels moist on the same side his head pains

Please help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Oz,

Giving pain killers is not the answer. One has to get a proper diagnosis as to where the pain is coming from. To get to the root of the problem, 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.

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