When to get Your Headache Checked

Headaches are a relatively common event, and most people experience some sort of headache on a fairly regular basis.  The good thing about headaches is that most of them will come and go without much need for any intensive treatment.

There are some types of headaches that are more concerning, however, and they will require some immediate medical treatment.  Some of the headaches that this article will cover may sound like obvious things to get checked.  The point of this article is to be aware of headaches that accompany life-threatening issues so that you can react quickly.  Anyway, below is a list of different symptoms or causes you should be aware of in the event that you get a new headache (meaning a headache that has a different location or type of pain/symptom than you’re used to).

When to get your Headache Checked:

  • After Trauma – Having a headache as a result of direct contact to the head or neck should immediately bring up some red flags, even if the headache doesn’t occur right away.  Something like a concussion could be a cause for the headache, however there have been instances of slow “brain bleeds” that have resulted in death.  This famously occurred to Natasha Richardson (actor Liam Neeson’s wife) after a skiing accident, where she died several days after the initial injury.
  • Thunderclap – Thunderclap headaches are named because the pain comes on almost instantly, like a lightning bolt struck your brain.  As you can imagine, the pain is excruciating, but it rarely lasts more than several minutes.  Most people would likely get something like this checked out without a second thought, but there are those who will ignore it if the pain goes away quickly.  Don’t.  Thunderclap headaches are usually caused by bleeding in the brain, and are life-threatening events.
  • Meningitis – Meningitis isn’t incredibly common anymore thanks to vaccinations, however there are still some cases on a yearly basis.  Meningitis is the result of an infection to the meninges, a structure that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  Meningitis tends to lead to a headache, but also presents with severe neck stiffness, a fever, and sensitivity to light.  Any time you have a headache that happens the same time as a fever, this should be your primary concern.  Again, the theme with the article is to not wait.  Meningitis can be fatal within 1-2 days, so this is another headache to get checked immediately.

While headaches themselves are rather common, a new headache is always something you should pay attention to.  WebMD has a good collection of information on headaches with several pages/articles about the different types of headaches, including your more day to day headaches.

Got questions?  Feel limited in what you’re able to do?  The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to be limitless.

***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice.  Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.

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