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One of the most common causes of such an eyepain and headache is sinusitis. Since you have already got it examined and found to have clear sinuses, we have to consider other causes of such a chronic pain. Since there is no drcrease in vision or redness in the eyes( no mention of these), acute inflammatory conditions of the eye are very unlikely.
Have you noticed any redness in the left eye? Does the left eye appear very prominent as compared to the right eye?
no, there are no visual problems, it seems that the eye ache preceeds a cold which turns into a lingering headache.
The other condition which has similar symptoms is migraine. Though the episodes of migraine seldom last longer than an hour or so.
When was your last eye check up done?
i have had migraine ruled out. could it be an inflamed nerve or muscle that refuses to subside?
last eye check up was 2 months ago - everything ok
Inflammed orbital soft tissue could be a remote possibility and it can be confirmed by a B scan of the eye.
the pain does spread across the scalp which makes me think of tension headache - but it always comes after a cold
Unlikely to be an inflammed muscle or nerve as you would have had other symptoms in that case such as decreased movement of that eye.
Tension headache is a very likely option .
If it is tension headache - what are the best OTC meds?
Tab.Acetaminophen, 500 mg twice a day, for 1-2 days is a safe analgesic with few side effects ( but should be avoided on a long term basis as it can have chronic effect on the liver).
Aggravating factors such as lack of sleep, prolonged duration of hunger,stress, uncomfortable posture should be looked for and should be rectified.
ok, it does seem strange that the headache only ever happens after a cold, but i guess that could just be coincidence?
Yes it could be so. I strongly believe that medicines should only be taken if necessary and have great faith in some of the simple home remedies. If you are interested I could suggest some of them.
yes, that would be good, i do not like taking tablets if at all possible
Since you suffer from recurrent episodes of cold, you could benefit from 1) steam inhalation twice a day , 2) Drink a glass of sweetened milk with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder before retiring to bed, 3) If you are fond of drinking tea, then you can add fresh grated ginger while the water is boiling( along with sugar, tea leaves and milk).
These measures are highly recommended in Ayurvedic medicine and are found to be very effective too.
ok thankyou - i will give them a go. I guess exercise might help for the tension as well
Yes anything that de-stresses would help. Exercise, yoga and meditation are very effective in management of stress which is one of the most important triggering factors.
Good luck and hope you get relief soon.