Almost everyone experiences a headache from time to time. In most cases, you can manage it with an over-the-counter pain reliever. In other cases, learning to relax and relieve tension can help get rid of the headache.
But, sometimes, a headache can be a sign of a serious health problem. You can associate different symptoms of headache:
That’s why it’s important to know when to worry about a headache. Don’t try to diagnose the problem. Go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a headache in the following cases:
- the headache occurred with high body temperature and nausea;
- if it comes on suddenly as if an explosive device has gone off in your head;
- the pain is so severe that you may describe it as the worst you have ever had in your life;
- headache associated with slurred speech, changes in vision, dizziness, confusion;
- inability to move arms or legs on one side of the body.
This article will look at headache symptoms to worry about.
Headache Symptoms to Worry About
You have cause for concern if:
- the headache is the first serious problem you’ve ever had. Especially if it limits your ability to function;
- the headache started immediately after a head injury, after strenuous exercise;
- the headache occurred on one side with one eye looking bloodshot;
- over the age of 50, you suddenly start to get headaches that you have never had before;
- the headache gets worse after 24 hours.
Headache is one of the most common symptoms encountered in medical practice. The concept of this term is quite a broad one. Since it includes all types of discomfort concentrated in the head area. At the same time, the degree of very bad headaches can vary dramatically.
In this regard, it is very important to know the symptomatology of the varieties of pathology. You should seek medical help from qualified specialists. Read below for more about different symptoms.
A Head Injury or Fall
This could be a sign of a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and sensitivity to light or noise.
A Stiff Neck or Fever
These symptoms could indicate meningitis. It is a serious bacterial infection that affects the brain and spinal cord. Other symptoms of a headache may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and a rash.
Weakness, Numbness, or Difficulty Speaking
These symptoms could show a stroke or other neurological condition. A stroke occurs because a blood clot or rupture of a blood vessel disrupts blood flow to the brain. Other neurological disorders may include multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor. Seek medical attention right away if you have these symptoms.
Worsening with Exertion or Physical Activity
This could indicate increased pressure within the brain, which requires immediate medical attention. Other symptoms of headaches for weeks may include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and confusion. Doctors call this condition – increased intracranial pressure. It can be due to several conditions, including a brain tumor or bleeding in the brain.
Interfering with Daily Activities or Sleep
Chronic headaches can significantly impact the quality of life. It may need evaluation by a healthcare provider. There are many types of chronic headaches, including:
Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medications, or referral to a headache specialist.
Vision Changes or Loss of Vision
These symptoms of headache could show a serious condition, such as glaucoma or optic neuritis. It needs prompt medical attention. Glaucoma is when pressure builds up inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve. Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, which can cause pain and vision loss.
TOP Causes of Serious Headaches
There are many reasons for frequent headaches. You should not look for the source of the pain yourself. We recommend consulting a neurologist. According to medical observations, the main causes of constant headaches are vascular diseases. These include:
- vegetovascular dystonia;
- subarachnoid hemorrhages.
Stroke and other life-threatening conditions can cause headache symptoms to worry about. The cause of this unpleasant phenomenon may be many factors:
- some other diseases, such as migraine.
The pain can occur in any part of the head – on both sides of it or just in one area. It may be acute, throbbing, or dull and last from a few tens of minutes to several days. Dangerous headache, usually “pressing” or “bursting.” It develops against the background of increased intracranial pressure. It can be due to:
- malignant or benign brain tumors;
- craniocerebral trauma.
The exact causes of a headache depend on its variety. Below we will look at the most common ones.
Oddly enough, very bad headaches are one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. Coronavirus symptoms include loss of taste and smell, fatigue, coughing, and fever. Some patients also complain of diarrhea, eye irritation or redness, and sore throat.
This is an inflammatory process caused by the involvement of the large and middle arteries of the:
- arms, and upper trunk;
- the temporal and eye vessels.
It can be due to:
- attacks of viral infections on the immune system;
- various injuries;
- uncontrolled medication, or alcoholism.
Severe symptoms of headache manifest against depression, insomnia, and weight loss. Possible pain in the shoulder and neck area. It often develops in patients over the age of 50.
It occurs due to a reduced supply of oxygen to the body. Most often, it affects climbers who do not use appropriate oxygen masks when climbing. You may feel discomfort on one side or all over the head.
Head pain is the most common symptom for patients with high intraocular pressure. Often the painful focus is on the side of the affected eye, with localization in the:
- temporal regions.
It is because of the constant tension of the muscle fibres.
Drinking alcohol in large quantities affects the liver, kidneys and causes headaches for weeks. The patient feels throbbing pain accompanied by poor general condition and nausea.
Effects of Carbon Monoxide
The presence of carbon monoxide (CO) in the air causes a noticeable headache. Even 0.08% of a dangerous concentration is enough to cause asphyxiation. The hazardous substance can result from:
- severe forest fires;
- prevalent use of carbon fuels.
Overuse of Medications
A fairly common type of pain most often results from not taking analgesics after using them for a long time. The headache symptoms to worry about are very similar to those of tension pain.
The human head and oral cavity are directly connected. Thus, any negative processes in the mouth will get a corresponding pain signal. For example, deep tooth decay causes acute pain that can recoil into the head and even the ear.
This type of pathology is seasonal. Besides pain in the head, the patient may feel burning sensations in the shoulders, neck, or torso. The degree of intensity of the headache will depend on the person’s allergic sensitivity. So you have to estimate your allergic symptoms to know when to worry about a headache.
An early sign of a tick bite is a very bad headache, which manifests within three weeks after the bite. Its intensity depends directly on the increase in:
- body temperature;
In some cases, dizziness may follow this pain.
Pain may appear as soon as a week after injury or as soon as it occurs. The intensity and duration of headaches depend on the severity of the injury. If your pain does not go within two days, it is that moment when to worry about a headache.
When Do You Need to See a Doctor?
In most cases, there is no cause for concern. But sometimes headaches can say about dangerous conditions such as:
The following are reasons for concern and a visit to a neurologist or therapist:
- Pain does not go away and worsens over time.
- Pain occurs after a severe head injury.
- It appears suddenly during a change of posture, coughing, laughing, sneezing, or during physical activity.
- The pain is accompanied by weakness, impaired speech, confusion, memory loss, and drowsiness. These symptoms, combined with a headache, may indicate nervous system disease.
- Along with the symptoms of headache comes:
- tightness in the muscles of the neck;
- pain in the jaw when chewing;
- vision problems;
- pain in the scalp;
- redness of the eye or sharp pain in the eye.
In some situations, even if the headache does not require an emergency call, it is still necessary to see a doctor. You should do so in the following cases:
- the headache woke you up at night;
- the severity of the pain worsens in the morning;
- If you have had a headache for several days for no apparent reason, such as tension or dehydration.
Even if you have had a regular headache for weeks, contact your doctor. Especially if the pain pattern and intensity change. If you have frequent or severe headaches, getting help from a neurologist is best. The Lone Star Clinic can provide you with high-quality medical services. So, do not hesitate to turn to us.
- How long is too long for a headache?
Generally, a headache that lasts more than four hours or is severe enough to interfere with your daily activities should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
- What if my headache is not going away?
If your headache is not going away despite taking over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can help identify the underlying cause of your headache and recommend appropriate treatment options.
- Is it normal to have a headache for 3 days?
No, it is not normal. While occasional headaches are common, a headache that lasts for three days can be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires medical attention.
- What are the most dangerous headaches?
If your new headache has been tiring for a month or more, waking up at night, worsening in the morning, coughing or straining, you should see your doctor immediately. Such pain can be caused by a brain tumor and is often accompanied by mental disorders. A complete neurological examination is required, with a CT scan or MRI if necessary.