7/23/07 #1 - Waking up with terrible headaches. Related to muscle tension?

Ask the Clinician Health Guide July 23, 2007
  • Full Question:
    I am 30 years old. For the past two years, I have been waking up with terrible headaches (about 85% of the time). The pain is felt all over the head in that it is not localized to one area. I wonder if it could be a muscular problem because my headaches are tender to the touch. If I touch my head, there are sensitive areas all over. By mid morning, my headaches are just annoying - not so intense. I don't typically medicate for these headaches as it really hasn't helped in the past. I do not think it is related to caffeine withdraw or teeth grinding at night. And the eye doctors don't see any pressure problems in my eyes. I do experience some stress with my job. On really bad days, the pain extends into my spine in my middle upper back. Any suggestions on how to alleviate this problem? Is it probably related to muscle tension? Amy.


    Answer:


    Dear Amy;


    Many so-called tension type-headaches can be migraines, in reality. Plus, tension-type headaches can trigger Migraines. Just because the presenting symptom is tightness of the back, that does not rule out a migraine disorder. I don't know what medications have been tried by your physicians. Scalp sensitivity is common with migraines and if you have a pulsing quality to your headache, nausea, light or sound sensitivity, you may be experiencing a migraine regardless of where it is located on the head. Have migraine-specific medications been tried? My strongest suggestion is to visit with your area headache specialist. Depending on accompanying symptoms, such as poor sleep quality, there may be medications that can help a frequent headache disorder that presents in the early morning.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


    If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our listing of patient recommended specialists.


     

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