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Painfull headaches after taking classes. Will rest help?

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I do have a recurring problem. I am currently in university and have been taking classes over the past year without any breaks and also just completed the first half of summer classes. But going into the second half I began to get these really painful headaches coming and going without any specific pattern. It started about a month ago. I want to make a decision to maybe drop my classes for the second half of summer so that if the reason is that I am really stressed out then I can get some reasonable rest before the main school semester starts again in September. Any help as to my current condition will be appreciated.

Category: Internal Medicine Specialist

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Thank you for posting your query at
I understand your concern.
Headache can be due to a lot of causes and it is better to rule them out with a detailed history.
- Any recent respiratory tract infection?
- Is the headache associated with any nausea/ vomiting/ or aura?
- Does it gradually progress in the day, or is it same throughout?
- How is the sleep cycle?
- Any changes in vision recently?
- Does the headache change with any particular posture (for example worse on laying down, or bending over)
- Have you tried out any medications?
The most commom cause of headache is sinusitis or a recent respiratory tract infection. If you have no such problems, then vision disturbances and migraine has to bu ruled out.
Once all of them are ruled out, the next cause is stress, anxiety and lack of sleep.
I understand you have a very tough schedule and it might be causing your headache. In that case it is important that you have to relax and take some time off for yourself, provided your university has provisions of allowing something like that.
I will discuss further, once you provide the history i asked for.
Yours sincerely,

Patient replied :

I have no tract infection. The first time the headches started they came with a slight nauseating feeling but after they stopped and started again about a week ago, it has just been straight-up pain. The headache is the same throughout the day. Once it begins it stays that way throughout until i sleep. I also have been having repeated occurences of waking up straight from REM sleep and when that happens the headache starts about 5-10 minutes later. My sleep cycle hasn't also been consistent as with the studying comes the lack of sleep so I kinda sleep when I can. The headache gets worse with change of posture like when i bend down or when i stand up from laying down. Haven't used any medications as I do not like the idea of self-medication and also the medications would probably impair my ability to give an accurate report on the progression of the headache.

Hello. Thank you for the follow up.
From your history, it does seem to be like a tension headache and the other causes can be safely ruled out.
The issue with this kind of headache is that, you need to de-stress yourself and that is the best way of getting better. You can try several techniques such as regular exercises such as walking around 30-45 minutes a day, yoga, meditation, and other non medical approaches like gentle massage therapy or acupuncture. Medicines can be taken to control acute episides, however if they are taken for longer periods they can cause rebound headache, and hence regular use is ill advised. Hence i appreciate your decision of not initiating self medication like most other patients.
Since its been there for a long time now, i guess it is better for you to take some time off and rest. You can try the head massage therapy as it is a great stress relieving technique, helps you to relax, and also increases the blood circulation. To control acute episode, i will recommend you take Tab. Ibuprofen 400 mg, can be taken up to twice daily after food. Even tylenol can be taken as these 2 are the commonest OTC drugs used for relieving headache. Also try to avoid caffeine as much as possible.
Hope this was helpful,

Patient replied :

Thank you very much. Will do as advised.

Please get back to me if you have any further queries.
Hope you feel better soon.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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