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07 Dec 2012

I read about all the types of headaches but dont find the one that I experience nearly daily. I get headaches that ALWAYS stem from the back of my head on the right hand side of my neck and they travel up towards the middle of my head. When i click my neck it relieves it somewhat but only for like 4 minutes and then it starts throbbing again. I get them for prolonged periods e.g. i will have them for a week, then nothing for months, then i will get them for 2 - 3 weeks and then they go away and then nothing for months. I had some injections by my GP (who sadly passed away) and they really helped, although they were very painful. I have had these headaches for nearly 13 years and ultimately pain killers dont really work. Only anti-inflamatories work but they are destroying my stomach and I recently had a polypectomy in my colon. The endocronologist said the polyps were caused by to many anti-inflamatories. What do i do?
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Headache expert
Headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Vanessa,

There are many possible causes for your pain. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”, which should include a neurological examination to rule out any serious underlying condition. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. 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 (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.
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.