When suffering a painful or unusual headache, it’s easy to jump to conclusions and self-diagnose oneself with all manner of deadly diseases. However, in most cases a headache isn’t going to be a brain tumour or a sign of a stroke.
It could be a migraine or a bad tension headache caused by stress. Alternatively, it could be a condition such as TMJ as a result of teeth grinding or a cluster headache caused by smoking. If the weather’s been hot recently, it could even be a dehydration headache or sunstroke. These are all harmless headaches – they may be a nuisance, but they’re not necessarily worth seeing a doctor for.
In rare occasions, a headache could be a sign of something worse and in these cases it is worth knowing the signs so that you can get the problem diagnosed by a medical professional. Below are just some of the signs that you may want to worry.
You’ve recently suffered a blow to the head
A headache that appears after suffering a blow to the head could be worth checking out. Obviously, a small bump may be nothing to worry about, but if you’ve been in a road accident or suffered a heavy blow while playing sports, it could be worth getting the headache checked out just to be safe.
Concussion and even brain injuries can sometimes have delayed effects, which means that you may not notice anything unusual straight after. It’s recommended seeing a doctor and getting scans so that any necessary treatment can be done. Don’t worry about the cost of treatment – a TBI lawyer will likely be able to help you get compensation if the injury was directly the fault of someone else. Getting an injury seen too early could prevent danger later down the line in some cases.
Your headaches are sudden and intense
If your headache is sudden and intense, it could be a ‘thunderclap headache’. These can be as painful as migraines, but unlike a migraine you get no warning.
A thunderclap headache is not always dangerous, however there is a risk it could be something serious, so it’s worth getting checked out.
You’ve had a headache for several days/weeks
Headaches can sometimes last for hours, but generally shouldn’t last for more than a day. Such headaches can be caused by stress or depression – which you may not feel is worth seeing a doctor for (although both chronic stress and depression should be taken seriously). In other instances, they could be a sign of an underlying condition. If it seems random, then it’s probably worth seeing a doctor for.
Your headaches are accompanied by any of these other symptoms
· A fever
· Memory loss
· Slurred speech
· Changes in personality
· Loss of balance
· Loss of sensation
These accompanying symptoms could be a sign that it’s not just a headache and are worth taking seriously. Symptoms like nausea can accompany severe migraines or hangover headaches, but may not necessarily be worth seeing a doctor for. Constant vomiting – especially accompanied by a fever – may be a sign of the flu or something worse, which may be worth calling out a doctor for if it persists for days.