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Taking ibuprofen and paracetamol for tension headaches. Any suggestion?

Nov 2013
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Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 5293 Questions

I wanted to put thisquestion forward on behalf of my wife. She has had for years (since childhood) headaches, had a couple of CT scans and always turned out to be normal and diagnosed as teansion headaches and/or migraine. Now she is 31.
We had a baby 3 years ago and last autumn she returned to work as a teacher. Since then she has more or less nonstop headaches, sometimes less, sometimes more and only being more out in the fresh air seems to provide relief. She does not take much of the drugs, occasionally an ibuprofen or a solpadein or paracetamol.
I just wanted to check if this is a normal state of headaches or should she have another CT scan? I have heard it is not quite good to have them very often. As mentioned, the last one she had about a year ago and it was all normal.
Looking forward to your feedback,
Posted Sat, 26 Jan 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 4 hours later

Thank you for posting your query. I can understand the suffering your wife is going through!

The most likely diagnosis in your wife's case could still be chronic migraine or tension type headache. If someone has headaches more than 15 days in a month, it is referred to as chronic daily headache.

Genrally repeat CT scan is not required. However, if the nature or severity of headaches has changed, you may get another brain scan done, preferably an MRI of brain.

Regarding treatment, she needs to be on preventive medications (to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches). Options include beta blockers, topiramate or divalproex sodium.

For pain relief, she may take sumatriptan or rizatriptan tablets.

I hope it helps. Please get back if you have any more queries.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Taking ibuprofen and paracetamol for tension headaches. Any suggestion? 6 minutes later
Thanks a million dr XXXXXXX for the reply.

No, the severity has not changed, pretty much the same and for exampe today, nothing at all.

I just wanted to confirm is this is not the sign of a brain tumor or something similar? I am sure this is a question you hear every day, sorry for that...

With kind regards, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 8 minutes later
Thank you for getting back with more details.

I would like to reassure you that the chances of her having a brain tumor or any other serious illness is very less. This is especially so as she has had headaches for such a long time.

Warning signs (which could suggest something serious) are:

1. Early morning headaches (on waking up)
2. Repeated vomiting,
3. Double vision,
4. Memory impairment,
5. Fits,
6. Weakness of one arm or leg.

If she develops any of the above, a brain scan may need to be repeated, otherwise there is no need to worry.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Taking ibuprofen and paracetamol for tension headaches. Any suggestion? 16 minutes later
Luckily none of that. Thanks a million!

Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 5 minutes later
Thanks and take care,

Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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