Headaches are a common occurrence, but sometimes they can be a sign of something more serious. Knowing when to worry about a headache is the first step towards better health. In this article, we'll discuss the signs and symptoms that indicate when you should seek urgent medical attention. Changes in personality or mental function can be a sign that something is wrong.
If you experience severe, unusual pain or other signs and symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention right away. A headache can be an indication of an underlying disease or health condition. Migraine symptoms may look like those of stroke. For example, a person who has migraine with aura may experience loss of sight for short periods; tingling and numbness in the face, hands, or other areas of the body; and speech and language problems, such as not being able to say words, difficulty, or murmurs during a migraine attack.
Primary headaches are the most common and describe headaches that “just happen” without an underlying illness or injury causing them. Chronic headaches are defined as headaches that occur 15 days or more a month for more than three months. Keeping a diary that tells you when you have headaches can help you figure out what triggers them. The problem gets its name because headaches tend to appear in groups, with one to eight headaches per day for a period of one to three months each year or two, often at the same time of year.
In the immediate postpartum period, a person may also experience a severe headache known as a postdural puncture headache (PDPH) if they received epidural or spinal anesthesia to control pain. Headache Australia says they are one of the most common symptoms that humans experience, with more than 5 million Australians affected by headaches and migraines. If your headaches are common, it's important to talk to your primary care doctor so they can help you create a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist. One clue that a headache is a sign of something serious is when it's significantly worse than the headaches you usually get.
Severe headaches can occur as primary or secondary headache disorders, depending on what they are and why they develop. If you have frequent headaches and use medicines, over-the-counter or prescription, or both, for more than 10 to 15 days a month, you may have medication overuse headaches. If the headache improves with treatment of the underlying condition, this helps determine what is causing the headache. Knowing when to worry about a headache is essential for your health and wellbeing.
If you experience severe pain or other signs and symptoms, seek urgent medical attention right away. Keeping track of your headaches can help you identify triggers and create an effective treatment plan.