HEADACHE

Common complaint and cause of disability. Pain can be of varying intensity and affect different areas of the head.

Causes

  • Facial and frontal headache: sinusitis, eye problems, oropharyngeal disorders
  • Temporal headache: severe hypertension, stress, ear disorders, subarachnoid haemorrhage
  • Top of the head: stress, tension
  • Unilateral (one sided): migraine
  • Whole head: malaria, meningitis, severe hypertension
  • Back of the head (occipit and neck): meningitis, malaria, refractive eye problems, neck trauma or sprain, tension

Danger signs

SIGN OR SYMPTOM POSSIBLE CAUSE
Recent trauma to the head
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Head injury
High fever
  • Malaria
  • Meningitis
  • Other infections
Acute onset, severe Intracranial bleeding
Chronic worsening
headache
  • Tumours
  • hypertension
Altered consciousness
and/or focal neurological
symptoms and/or seizure
  • Tumour
  • intracranial
    bleeding
  • intracranial
    infection

Management

  • Investigate and treat cause if found/possible
  • If any danger signs, refer to hospital for further assessment
  • Follow pain ladder for control of symptoms