Q. Why do I have a headache even after taking Indomethacin and Propranolol?

Answered by
Dr. Amr Samy
and medically reviewed by Dr. Lochana
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 30, 2020 and last reviewed on: May 19, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have been having new persistent headaches every single day for the past eight months. The headaches last from five seconds to five hours. I usually wake up with one. They are generally dull to throbbing pain. I have got an MRI and four blood tests. I have gone to the neurologist, and they prescribed me Indomethacin. It helped a bit, but everything was worse. Then they prescribed me Propranolol which I am on right now. It has not helped at all, so I am about to stop it. I have had a tough time focusing in university, and I am having some memory issues. Along with all of that, I am also having lower back pain, hip, knee, and ankle pain. Please tell me what is wrong?



Welcome to

I am sorry to hear about your headache. Let me start with some questions for you as the picture is not fully clear about whether or not the headaches come with any other symptoms such as extreme fatigue. The need to sit in a dark room because you become over-sensitive to light. Does it come in one side of the head or cover the whole head? Do you suffer from high blood pressure? When did the hip, knee, and ankle pain start? Why were you prescribed Propranolol in the first case? As of now, my suggestion would be to switch to a different pain medication such as Paracetamol that does not carry the risk that Indomethacin has with continued use until the cause is known. If the headache is preceded by fatigue or inability to look at light or other symptoms, these symptoms could be a result of a migraine treated differently than usual headaches. If it is persistent and pulsating, it may be a sign of high blood pressure. The memory issues may be a direct result of poor sleep resulting from the pain of the headache. If you experience any jaw, neck, or shoulder pain with the headache, it could be a sign of a condition called temporal arteritis. Other types of headaches that you should be aware of are tension headaches, neck and scalp tension caused by stress and depression, and cluster headache comes with pain behind one eye, and lacrimation (you start to shed tears from one eye). I would recommend you to switch to over-the-counter Paracetamol tablets 500 mg for two days for now until the questions are answered and I have a clearer picture of your condition.

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