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I have had a throbbing headache on the left side of my head behind the ear since 5th February...

Hi, I have had a throbbing headache on the left side of my head behind the ear since 5th February. I have consulted the GP and they recommended pain killers for inflammation. This has not helped so far. Should I request for further investigation

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The answer

Hello thank you for contacting us with your question, throbbing headaches can have a variety of causes and while anti inflammatory medications may be helpful with some types of headaches they may not be sufficient to relive the pain by themselves. The first thing to do would be to find out the cause of your headache as this will help to guide any treatment you need to take or have. The most common causes of headaches are;

Tension headaches- these are the most common form of headache and can affect either side of the head or both, sufferers can also feel like they have a tight band around their hand.

Cluster headaches- these are rare headaches that appear at the same time each year usually for around a month or two at a time and can cause severe pain around one area of the head and also tend to affect the eye causing watering and intense pain and red eye for example.

Migraine headaches-these cause a severe throbbing pain at the front or side of the head and can be accompanied by visual disturbances nausea and vomiting and also sensitivity to light. They tend to be more severe and intense than tension headaches and many people find they need to rest in bed sometimes for several days during an attack.

Hormone headaches in women- these are thought to be related to the hormone balance in women and the combined contraceptive pill, pregnancy and menopause are thought to be triggers.

Treatments for all the above will vary according to the cause and you can read more about the different types of headache including less common causes of this and treatments for headaches here:

Headache - NHS

Given your symptoms it’s possible you are suffering from a form of migraine or it may just be that without adequate pain relief for your headache it has become worse, this can sometimes happen due to tension in the muscles surrounding an area of pain which sends further tension and pressure into the head.

Given how long you have been coping with this it would seem sensible to return to your Gp both to discuss your symptoms and the need for improved pain relief. As this does not appear to have happened before with good pain relief there is every reason to think you will be able to recover from this, if however you find that this headache begins to frequently recur or doesn’t respond to further treatment then it would be reasonable to ask for a referral to see a specialist to both assess this in more detail and advise on a treatment plan for you, we wish you the best of luck with this, good luck with your Gp.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses