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18 Oct 2006

Blinding headaches
Hi there, i need some real urgent advice on my headaches.
I have been getting very bad headaches for about 10 years of my life, terrible sharp headaches and it's always on my right sidee from my eye right down into my shoulder. The pain is so intense that half the time i land up crying myself to sleep or physically hitting my head against the headboard or wall.
I don't get it everytime and sometimes it goes away for months, then it will return and stay for about a week. The headaches last up to 4 hours at at time and the only thing that seems to work is a pain killer called "mybulen" My doctor eventually referred me a physio who discovered that i have a twisted nerve in my neck and any thing can basically trigger it off. Could this really be the case? Don't you think i should request a scan? I can't go through my life been rendered bedridden due to my headaches. And could you maybe advise what sort of thing i should stay away from? (i don't drink coffee, but i love my tea and i'm a smoker.)
Please advise me urgently.
Answer 383 views
Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Janine,

From the sound of it you may have cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches, like other primary headaches, have causes that can often be identified and treated, often without the use of drugs. Even when drugs are necessary, it is better to use preventive medications than to use “rescue” medication when an attack strikes.

With other types of headache, the correct approach is to treat using a step-by-step approach. Once the underlying cause/s of the headache have been identified, the most conservative treatment is used first. If good results are not achieved with conservative treatment, one goes to the next step, and so forth.

With cluster however, the pain is so severe that one cannot afford the luxury of a prolonged treatment plan. Rather, the problem is dealt with by using multiple therapies together, so that one has the best chance of aborting the cluster. These multiple therapies are best carried out by an integrated multidisciplinary team, so that the treatments can be co-ordinated. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which may be involved, and no single specialist has all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, is co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed.

One of the best resources available to cluster headache sufferers is an international support community on the internet. You can locate this community at They are incredibly knowledgeable and give you both guidance and support free of charge.

Cluster Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the severity of the pain. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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