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Tension Headache

Introduction

  • The most common type of headache

  • May be diagnosed and treated without long consultation and investigation

Assessment

Two or more to make the diagnosis… (No Red Flags!)

  • Non-pulsating and bilateral

  • Mild to moderate intensity

  • Not aggravated by physical activity

  • No nausea or vomiting

  • May have sensitivity to light or sound but not both

  • Vital signs normal

  • Neurological examination normal

  • Nothing else found on examination

Management

Paracetamol 1, 6 hourly; add in Ibuprofen 400 mg 6-8 hourly; use Oxycodone 5-10 mg for breakthrough pain. See the ECI Pain Management Factsheet.

Disposition

Discharge home with analgesia and advice. See the ECI Headache Factsheet - coming soon.

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