When To Take Recurrent Headaches Seriously

When To Take Recurrent Headaches Seriously

Headaches are one of the most common health problems we experience in our daily lives. Given the high paced, stress- driven, unhealthy and addiction laden lives we lead, occurrence of headaches ¡s not an uncommon phenomenon. Most of us experience headaches once in a while but while some pains subside after a while, other unbearable headaches force us to gulp a self- prescribed painkiller.

A headache is a non-specific symptom and can arise due to several possible causes. It is often difficult to tell why one is suffering from a headache at any particular point of time. The causes may be anything benign or serious ranging from stress, skipping of a meal, sleep deprivation, fatigue or recreational drugs.

Headache is common when a person is suffering from a viral infection or common cold. Often, headaches also occur due to an eye condition or vision problem. Getting your eyes examined and correcting your lens’ refractive index can alleviate a headache. This pain in the head is also caused when a sinus becomes inflamed often due to an infection.

Other factors associated with frequent headaches include, depression, stress or anxiety, sleep disturbances, excessive weight and heavy dependence on stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. People who are addicted to smoke also experience headaches if they refrain from cigarettes or attempt to quit smoking. Medication overuse or rebound headaches are another form of pain which happen to people who indulge ¡n excessive consumption of painkillers.

Another common form of headaches is tension headaches. They exhibit in the form of a constant pressure or tension in the head or neck. They are sometimes caused by excessive stress and this results in the contraction of the muscles and nerves in the neck, back and head.

More often than not, a headache once a while is not a serious concern and can be cured by ensuring rest. However, there are several instances when a headache can be due to a more serious underlying cause that needs medical intervention.

In India, people have a habit of ignoring headaches and self-treating it with over- the-counter analgesics, even though the pain recurs, causing discomfort and loss of productivity. In fact, many people live with chronic migraine for several years without seeking medical attention due to lack of awareness. In the case of migraine, more women than men suffer from intense bouts of pain and continue to believe it to be just another form of headache.

Migraine headaches are caused by a complex interplay of nerves, neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain. By interfering with the normal functioning of the central nervous system, such headaches cause much discomfort in the body.

Lack of awareness also means that the society remains indifferent and unsympathetic to the condition of the patients sutfering from such a neurological disorder. Even family members may be disdainful or apathetic, often refusing to understand the condition.

When To See A Doctor

Some of the serious conditions that may cause headaches of concern include infections such as meningitis, brain tumour, stroke, brain haemorrhage (subarachnoid haemorrhage due to rapture of abnormal blood vessels) an inflammation of the blood vessels inside the brain, migraine or a head injury.

Mentioned here are some instances when headaches should be taken seriously and reponed to a neurologist.

  • If a headache occurs after a head injury, it has to be taken very seriously. In some cases, it might be just a minor concussion but it may also be an indication of serious trauma inside the brain.
  • headache associated with symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, numbness in limbs, blurred vision or speech difficulty may indicate a brain stroke. Such a condition needs emergency medical help.
  • If headaches are too frequent, they should be reported to a neurologist who will take a detailed examination and may put you under a CT scan or MRI to rule out a serious issue. Frequent, intense and long lasting headaches are often a migraine.
  • A headache accompanied by nausea or vomiting should never be ignored. Some migraine patients also experience nausea with throbbing pain. It may also indicate a worrisome development inside the brain.
  • If you suffer a new type of unexperienced, excruciating headache suddenly at any time in your life, make sure you immediately visit a neurologist.
  • You might be suffering from depression if you experience symptoms like headaches accompanied by a change in personality or behaviour, listlessness, a tendency to cry or persistent fatigue.

Some of the serious conditions that may cause headaches of concern include infections like meningitis, brain tumour, stroke, brain haemorrhage, an inflammation of the blood vessels inside the brain, migraine or a head injury

People suffering from depression or severe anxiety also experience headaches. In such cases, it is advisable to visit a doctor.

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