19 October 2004

From symptoms to diagnosis

Several factors can cause a headache, and different types of headaches present in different ways.

How the headache presents... The possible diagnosis 
On waking   Tension headache; Allergy; Sinusitis; Neck pain; TMJ syndrome
In jaws or both temples

TMJ syndrome; Tension headaches

Each morning or evening, after long periods of sedentary work, or with sore neck and shoulders Tension headaches; Neck Pain
On one side of the head Migraine; Cluster headaches
With floating light spots and nausea Migraine
After a blow to the head Head injury, brain haemorrhage, concussion
After exposure to chemicals Chemical reaction
With fever, runny nose or sore throat Flu; Sore throat; Colds
With fever, stiff neck, nausea Meningitis or Encephalitis
With runny nose and eyes, sneezing, Allergy
With fever and pain in cheeks or above eyes Sinusitis
When you drink less coffee or coke than usual Caffeine-withdrawal headaches
After a stressful period Tension headaches
At the same point in your menstrual cycle Premenstrual syndrome
With new medication Drug allergy or side-effect
With severe eye pain Glaucoma
With eyes extremely sensitive to  light and a fever Measles

Read more:
Interesting facts about headaches


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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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