Warning Signs That You Should Take Your Headache Seriously
Everyone gets headaches from time to time. They are often painful and make you uncomfortable, but the underlying reason is easy to deal with. You could experience it due to stress, insomnia, hormonal changes, or an ongoing medical condition such as migraines. Sometimes, food may trigger it, or you may actually have one without any known reason. Fortunately, most common types of headaches can be managed with pain killers and rest and do not even require medical attention. However, you cannot be complacent if a throbbing pain in your head is accompanied by certain warning signs. They can indicate a more serious underlying problem. Here are the warning signs you should take seriously.
Speech or vision changes
A headache can be more serious than it seems when there are changes in your speech and/or vision. If you have trouble walking or sleeping or feel weakness on one side of the body, you must see a doctor right away. Strokes lead to a sudden severe headache, along with symptoms like face drooping, slurred speech, numbness, and difficulty thinking. These may be the first signs of a stroke, which involves cutting off the blood supply to the brain. A stroke is dangerous as brain cells die and you may end up losing sensation in your limbs.
Poor concentration after injury
A sudden blow to your head can cause a concussion, which can result in intense pain. The worst part is that concussions often go undetected until you experience post-trauma. It is indicated by signs such as pain, memory loss, and inability to concentrate. The condition can be critical if there is an internal injury or bleeding in the brain. If you experience any of these signs, you must seek medical attention immediately. It is also vital to stay awake until you get help.
Stiffness and fever
Another sign to worry about a headache is when it comes along with stiffness and fever. It could be an indication of meningitis, a condition in which the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord gets inflamed. The condition is more serious if caused by a bacterial infection rather than a viral one. It is best to see a specialist if you experience a high fever and soreness in your neck along with pain in your head. Prompt treatment can be life-saving.
Sudden and severe pain
It is easy to overlook sudden and severe headaches just because they seem to have no known reason. But you can go through this Headache Blog to understand how serious they can be and why they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. It could be caused by a brain aneurysm, which occurs when the weak blood vessels in your brain start expanding. A ruptured aneurysm can be dangerous. A thunderclap headache is another type that happens unexpectedly and seems like the worst you may have ever experienced. Other signs include nausea, weakness, or drowsiness.
If the pain gets worse with time and there are behavioral changes as well, it could indicate the presence of a brain tumor. Although it sounds scary, not all tumors are cancerous. But they still need early treatment because the benign ones can be equally troublesome. As the abnormal cells grow in a tumor, it presses the blood vessels in the brain. It can cause neurological changes, depending on its position in your brain. You may find yourself struggling with memory problems, lack of concentration, loss of judgment and reasoning, or poor emotional control. See a doctor sooner rather than later if you have any of these signs.
A headache that doesn’t quit could be more serious than you think. You will probably feel frustrated because nothing seems to work. Keep track of the attacks, their timing, severity, and triggers that get them going. If there is a change in the pattern, severity, or location of the pain, you need a medical assessment right away. A lack of response to treatments that worked earlier is another reason to worry. It is vital to note down the symptoms and efficacy of medications. Discuss the situation with your practitioner when these attacks get recurring and last longer than usual.
You must take a headache more seriously if it doesn’t let you sleep or wakes you up in the middle of the night. If the pain is the most intense in the morning, it could be another warning indication. An onset of morning headaches could be caused by increased pressure from a tumor. The doctor will recommend a CT scan or MRI to rule out the possibility of abnormal growth in the brain and suggest a treatment.
Compromised quality of life
You have a valid reason to worry if recurring and traumatic headaches are compromising the quality of life. They could make you feel lazy and lethargic, and you may not even be able to perform your normal daily activities. You may want to be in the bed or feel too stressed to go out to work. It could be an indication of a migraine or another underlying issue that requires medical attention.
Changing positions worsen the pain
If your headache becomes worse and severe on just changing positions, you must get a health check without delay. It could be a sign of a rare and dangerous condition called a cerebral spinal fluid leak. Watch out for signs like aches that get worse when you lie down or sit up. Immediate medical care is vital for such patients because not getting it can lead to drastic complications.
If you are sick or have an underlying medical condition, you must be extra-conscious about handling headaches. Seniors should also pay attention and seek help at the earliest signs. Timely treatment can prevent things from getting out of control in most cases, so you must see a doctor right away. Eating light and balanced diet, staying well-hydrated, and spending time outdoors can help. It is also vital to steer clear of stress because headaches often start in the mind instead of the body.