No headache is pleasant. While most headaches will pass in a few hours, some do not. How do you know when to get help with a pain in the head?
More than 90 percent of the population experiences tension headaches at some point during their life. These types of headaches are not medical emergencies and most pass without needing medical attention. But some headaches, including migraines, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider experienced with neurological and other symptoms.
For many people who are not accustomed to headache pain, a sudden or recurring intense headache may lead to a self-diagnosis of migraine headache. Migraine pain is caused by a chemical or other abnormality in the brain that triggers vascular changes and inflammation. When blood vessels become inflamed, you may feel a throbbing or pounding pain. The mechanism of migraine is not yet clearly understood, but let’s take a look at some of the typical attributes of a classic migraine headache:
- Unlike a tension headache, a migraine usually shuts down your day. Your may feel sick or vomit.
- An impending migraine might be signaled by an aura, or visual disturbance like a zig-zag in your line of vision, or a blank horizontal line where your view of the world used to be. These can be pretty scary symptoms if you do not know what you are dealing with.
- Increased sensitivity to sound and light are common with migraine headaches.
Migraine generally affects people between the ages of five and 55. Genetics, hormones, fatigue, stress, diet, and other triggers play a role in the onset of migraine pain.
A migraine is considered a primary type of headache. This means the headache is the cause of your discomfort. A secondary headache is head pain caused by something else. It is important to understand the symptoms that could signal a secondary headache.
Head Pain Symptoms That Trigger A Call To Your Doctor
While migraine symptoms can vary from person to person, if you experience unexplained head pain symptoms, getting help quickly is important. Here are some things to watch for:
- Severe or recurring headaches in children
- Sudden or intense headache accompanied by a stiff neck or difficulty turning your head
- Sudden head pain accompanied by confusion or difficulty speaking
- Headaches experienced by people who are not commonly troubled by headache
- Headache that accompanies fever, joint pain, and a terrible feeling of being unwell
- A sudden, severe headache that is the worst one you ever experienced
- Headache so severe you wake up at night or cannot sleep
- Headache that follows a blow to your head or a fall (even if you did not hit your head)
These are just some of the symptoms that could signal a medical emergency like meningitis, stroke, brain tumor, intracranial bleed, sepsis, or other serious medical condition.
When you experience severe, sudden headache, your body may be trying to tell you something.
Any persistent or sudden headache is reason to see your doctor for appropriate tests and diagnosis. If your doctor does not listen and you suffer a serious medical event as a result, speak with knowledgeable legal counsel about your injury.
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