Headaches: When to see a doctor Headaches: When to see a doctor

Headaches: When to see a doctor

Special 12 January, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

A headache may have several different causes. While they can normally be treated at home, it is important to understand them in order to prevent them and know at what point it is important to see a physician.

As the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains, a headache occurs when some of the pain-sensitive nerve endings, “called nociceptors,” become inflamed.

These nociceptors react to triggers such as stress, certain foods, smells or certain medications that may cause a pain sensation in specific areas of the brain.

The most common types of headaches include tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, sinus headaches and headaches originating in the neck.

When a headache is serious

Headaches do not always require medical attention. If the following symptoms are present, however, they can be a sign of a more serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention.

  •        An intense and sudden headache that may be accompanied by a stiff neck.
  •        Intense pain accompanied by fever, nausea or vomiting that is unrelated to other illnesses.
  •        A headache accompanied by confusion, weakness, double vision or loss of consciousness.
  •        A headache that worsens over days or weeks, or that changes in its pattern or pain.
  •        If it is recurrent among children.
  •        Headache following a brain injury.
  •        When it is associated with convulsions.
  •        A headache accompanies by difficulty breathing.
  •        Two or more headaches a week.

(HIGHLIGHT) If it is common for you to experience headaches, it may be helpful to identify the factors that cause them in order to prevent them and make changes to your lifestyle.

Related topics: First aid for headaches