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Headache

22 December 2010

Headache? Your body is telling you something

Headaches are truly miserable things. There's little good to be said about throbbing, crushing, skull-pounding pain that makes you wince and moan.

Headaches are truly miserable things. There's little good to be said about throbbing, crushing, skull-pounding pain that makes you wince and moan.

Dr Ellen Beck, a family physician and clinical professor in family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, said that people normally have one of two types of headaches: those that result from muscle tension or strain, known as tension headaches; or headaches that result from swelling of the blood vessels in the tissues surrounding the head, called vascular headaches.

  • Not eating enough
  • Dehydration
  • Poor posture at a work station
  • Eyestrain

  • An aura in your field of vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Smelling something that's not there, such as oranges
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light or loud noise

  • Certain foods
  • Strong odors or fumes
  • Mood problems, such as depression or anxiety
  • Missed medication doses
  • Low blood sugar
  • Sudden changes in weather
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Menstruation and other hormonal changes

  • A type of severe headache pain you've never felt before
  • Headache pain that won't respond to medication or other treatment
  • Headaches that wake you from your sleep
  • Fever accompanying a headache
  • Confusion or nerve symptoms along with a headache

 

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Ask the Expert

Headache expert

Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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