From Mere Headache To a Life-Threatening Emergency

There are many different types of headaches.  The most common ones are migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches.   Other types of headaches include: sinus, psychogenic, post-concussive, cranial arteritis, occipital, hypertension, caffeine rebound, trigeminal neuralgia, glaucoma and the list goes on and on.  Even though most headaches are benign, there are some symptoms that are consider red flags that should not be missed by you or any physician.  Paying attention to them can save your life or the life of a loved one.

  • Headache starting after 50 years of age
  • Sudden onset of headache
  • A headache different than any headache you have ever felt before
  • Headaches increasing in frequency and severity
  • New onset headache in a patient with risk of HIV infection or cancer
  • Headache with signs of systematic illness:  fever, stiff neck, rash
  • Focal neurologic signs or symptoms of disease other than typical aura: weakness, double-vision, dimming of vision, trouble speaking, disorientation, balance changes, unilateral sensory disturbances or weakness.
  • Headache subsequent to trauma
All of these might need to be further studied by special tests and can be life threatening.  These symptoms be related to  sudden or insidious hemorrhage, meningitis, tumor or masses in the brain.  If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult with your family doctor.  If your headache is new, sudden, severe with neurological signs as described above:  STOP READING AND GO TO YOUR DOCTOR or YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM.
Next Up:  You know your headache is not an emergency because you’ve lived with it for many years, you’ve had it checked and you are still alive.  You are not 100% sure of the diagnosis.  You want to know what type of headache you suffer from and if there is anything you can do get rid of it.  Stay tuned for my next few posts about headaches.

About nuchiro

I graduated from National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL in 2005 with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. I have also been a certified personal trainer since 1999. I believe that Total Wellness, of which physical fitness is only a part, can be achieved relatively easily when people focus on attaining a harmonious balance in the different aspects of their lives. For an appointment, feel free to contact me at .
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