published Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Ask a Doctor

Q: I have this pain in my head. It doesn't last long, about five minutes, but it really hurts. It is getting more frequent. I am only 15. Perhaps I'm being paranoid. The doctor gave me some pills, but they didn't help. What's wrong with me?

A: More than half of teenagers have frequent headaches. They are often a sign your body uses to let you know something is wrong. Some causes are: lack of sleep, not drinking enough fluids, eye fatigue from using screen devices, vision problems or too much caffeine. Try to get more and regular sleep, drink more water, limit screen time, have vision checked and decrease caffeine. Write down when your headaches occur, how long they last, what helps them, what makes them worse, your recent diet, your sleep patterns and any symptoms other than pain you are having. You need to be re-evaluated, and your notes can help your doctor figure out the cause of your headaches. However, there are some headache symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Go to the doctor immediately if your headaches are associated with head injury, seizure or fainting; become more frequent; occur more than once a week; wake you up from sleep; cause vision changes; or occur with fever, vomiting or neck stiffness.

-- Dr. Allen Coffman, Highland Pediatrics; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

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