Most of the time, headaches are caused by hangovers, tension, or sinus problems during a weather change. But when headaches are sudden and debilitating, or accompanied by other worrisome red flags, it might mean there’s something serious going on.
Here’s how to recognize 5 different symptoms that signal you have more than just a headache that won’t go away.
1. Migraines With Auras
Migraines are different from regular headaches because they are usually much, much worse, and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraine sufferers experience auras before, during, or after their migraines; auras are visual sensations that can be manifested as shimmering lights, arc, or shapes.
2. Meningitis Symptoms
If your headache comes with a stiff neck and muscle pain, as well as fever, vomiting, rashes and light sensitivity, you may be suffering from meningitis — a viral or bacterial infection of the meninges, or membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. If you have meningitis, you need to seek medical attention quickly as it can be a fatal disease.
3. Persistent Pain That’s Unresponsive to Medication
Some headaches are actually caused by brain tumors, though this is quite rare. According to the American Brain Tumor Association( ABTA ), brain tumor headaches are often persistent and don’t respond to regular headache help like rest or medication. They also might be worse after waking up in the morning, and be accompanied by vomiting or other neurological symptoms. Brain tumors can be diagnosed by an MRI, so be sure to visit the doctor if you think your headache is abnormal.
4. Headaches Following Injury
Headaches after a jolt to the head might be a sign of a concussion or traumatic brain trauma( TBI ), which can be damaging over the long-term. After a TBI, headaches may occur when small pools of blood or fluid appear in the skull. TBI headaches are characterized by dull or throbbing sensations, nausea/ vomiting, and even auras.
5. ‘Thunderclap’ Headaches
A “thunderclap” headache will typically involve a sudden, intense pain that peaks within 60 seconds, and fades over hours or even weeks. Thunderclap headaches are often described as being the “worst headache of my life” and can be a symptom of life-threatening problems like brain bleeding. Sometimes they’re accompanied by vomiting or losing consciousness, and can be caused by a lack of blood supply in the pituitary gland, blood clots, or a tear in an artery that leads to the brain. If you experience a thunderclap headache, seek medical help immediately.
HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE TREATMENT IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Pasadena Pain Management in Pasadena CA offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain caused by dental imbalances. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.