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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18771
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I get terrible throbbing headaches at back of head every month

Resolved Question:

I get terrible throbbing headaches at back of head every month for two or three days after my period , is this a migraine? I have had them for years ,some months they are very severe ,other months not as severe but are always there and throbbing and different from migraines I suffer at other times ,{ where the pain is mostly always at the front of my head and not the base of my head}.It sometimes feels as if I can hear my blood pumping at the back of my head also and up into my ears .
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.

In most women that have headaches associated with menstruation, it is due to migraine headaches. However, there are a lesser number of women that can have muscle contraction headaches that occur with menstruation.

If these menstrual headaches are associated with neurologic symptoms, light sensitivity, significant nausea and vomiting, then it is more likely to be migraines. However, if there are none of the associated symptoms that tend to occur with migraines, it is more likely to be a muscle contraction headache.

It is also true that muscle contraction headaches are more commonly located in the back of the head, rather than in the front or temples that is more typical of migraines, so the location that you describe is more typical for muscle contraction headaches.

If the headaches are reasonably well controlled with the anti-inflammatory medicines, then it is fine to continue that course of treatment. If these medicines are not sufficiently treating the headache, then it may do better to take other medicines designed to prevent the headaches. In that situation, there are certain medicines that have been shown to help prevent both migraine and muscle contraction headaches, such as amitriptyline, and that would be an appropriate next step.

So, if there are no associated symptoms, it is more likely muscle contraction headaches, which can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines or certain preventive medicines.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the explanation , I should have mentioned that at the same age as myself my mother had a cerebral haemorrhage from an aneurysm at the base of her head and I guess I wonder if I also have a weakness here and this is why I am prone to this type of headache.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
A family history of a cerebral haemorrhage in a parent or other first degree relative is a risk factor for you to have a cerebral haemorrhage. However, this would not cause the migraine headaches occurring at the front of your head or the menstrual headaches occurring at the back of your head.

If you develop a headache that feels different than your usual headaches, particularly if it is more severe or is associated with any neurologic symptoms, then it would be appropriate to be concerned about the development of a cerebral haemorrhage. Consequently, it would be appropriate to be seen urgently if such a headache occurs.
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