What is it?
Headache includes pain on one or both sides of the head or forehead.
Symptoms: May vary from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain. Usually left in the forehead, back of the head and/or neck. Sometimes the pain seems to encircle the head like a tight band.
Causes: Fatigue, Irregular meals, Emotional stress, Noisy or stuffy work environment, Cold or flue, Hangover, Sinusitis, head injury.
Treatment in the home: Take a mild painkiller such as aspirin or paracetamol in the recommended doses. Avoid or come to terms with stresses that precipitate a tension headache. Stretching and massaging the muscles in the shoulders, neck and face may help. Have a rest or sleep.
Possible complications: A headache is only very occasionally a symptom of a serious underlying disorder.
When to consult a doctor: If you have: Severe, sudden headaches, recurrent headaches affecting one particular are, such as an eye, temple etc. Recurrent headaches of increasing intensity or frequency, Headaches accompanied by fever and neck stiffness, headaches accompanied by visual blurring, confusion, vomiting or drowsiness.
What the doctor may do: Take careful, systematic history of the symptoms. Do a physical examination. Treat the underlying cause of the headache. Refer you to a neurologist for further examination if he is unable to make a definite diagnosis as to the reason for your headaches.