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What causes headaches?

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Dear Doctor,

I have been having severe headaches in the last few months. They are searing pains in my head and I think they relate to my eyes. My general practitioner has done numerous tests but can’t seem to find the source of the pain. Please help me!!!

Concerned

Dear Concerned,

In order to be able to help you most effectively, it is very important for me to know specifically what symptoms you are experiencing.

Headaches can come from multiple sources. They can be localized or contained, sharp or dull, prolonged or intermittent. They are often associated with symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness and nausea.

Some persons also have double vision or see crooked lines in their line of vision. However, not all headaches are eye-related.

Here is a list of some common causes of headaches:

1. Tension headaches
2. Sinus headaches
3. Refractive Error headaches
4. Migraines
5. Headaches associated with certain types of diseases and conditions.

Therefore, in order to get to the cause of your symptoms, here are some questions that your doctor would ask about your headaches. It is highly recommended that you keep a headache diary to record things that you observe.

1. Where is the pain located in your head? To the left, right, up, down? Front, back, temples? Top? Neck?

2. When did it start? How long does it last?

3. How often do you get the headaches?

4. What time of day does it occur? — Do you wake up in the morning with headaches? — Do the headaches wake you up at night? — Does it occur at a certain time of day?

5. Is there a family history of severe headaches?

6. Do certain foods, spices, caffeine, medication, or reading trigger the headaches?

7. Are there any other symptoms associated with the headaches?

8. Do certain drugs such as Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin or sinus medication help to alleviate the symptoms?

9. When you move, does the headache lessen or worsen?

10. Has your doctor prescribed any pain reliever? If yes, what did he prescribe?

Please see your doctor if your headaches are severe, chronic or recurrent. You may be required to undergo certain tests, including a thorough examination, blood tests, X rays and/or scan of the head (CT,MRI).

Next week, we will discuss the individual types of headache in more detail.

Take care.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]
Tel: 784 456-1210

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