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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Dull Headaches

 WorriedPaul - Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:46 pm


I am a 26 year old male that has suffered with dull headaches for over 10 years. My doctor usually just tells me that it is probably a tension headache and to make sure I drink water and get good sleep. In the past, these headaches have not been much of an issue because they disappear upon taking a nap. However, recently, because of my new job I am not able to take naps and these headaches persist through the day. The headache usually starts in the morning (in a mild manifestation) and progresses very slowly into the afternoon. The headache at first is not really focused one location in the head but rather just presents itself as discomfort in the head. Then, as the afternoon goes on by 3 pm I usually have a achey pain around my right eye (sometimes left eye but more often right eye). I have tried to drink more water and sleep regular cycles, but I always get these headaches at least once a week. They do not follow any pattern (ie. food, weekday vs weekend, etc.) and I have no idea how to prevent them or treat them once I get them (pain killers like tylenol and advil do nothing to relieve the pain).

What is likely the cause and type of these headaches and what can I do to feel better? Because they are beginning to bother me at work because once I get one of these headaches, I feel very fatigued, and unable to focus.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:07 pm

User avatar Hi there --

These do, at least superficially, sound a lot like simple tension headaches, and they may well be. Tension headaches often don't respond well to the usual remedies, as they are often caused by muscle tension, so the napping would sometimes help you relax tense neck and shoulder muscles, which is where that sort of headache usually originates. However, since they are now starting to concentrate around one eye or the other they could possibly be histamine (or cluster) headaches. No more serious than a tension headache, but they can be more pointedly painful sometimes, and are also difficult to treat with the usual OTC remedies.

I'd start taking notes, keep a journal for a week or so, as to when they take place, what you've been doing, and what your emotional state of mind has been. Some people are prone to both types of headache and both are often triggered by tension (and the tension headaches always are, but they come on more subtly).

If you still don't see any sort of pattern you might bring this back to your doctor's attention with an eye toward some sort of prescription pain medication or administration of something like Toradol (a very strong anti-inflammatory). There are also other sorts of medications that may be helpful that are precribed only.

I think this is a fairly benign problem, but headaches, needless to say, are a nusiance at best. Relaxation exercises may be another option for you. Again, this is something you might discuss with your doctor. This doesn't sound like a serious problem so much as a really annoying one.

Good luck to you. Follow up with us here as needed.

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