Exactly where is my headache coming from?
Headache is a common neurological disorder that has been underestimated and under-treated by both patients and physicians. It could be serious if it is debilitating, and compromising functionality and quality of life of its sufferers. But it could be more serious if it is caused by underlying medical conditions that could be life-threatening.
Red flags that may point to underlying serious medical conditions include, but are not limited to: new onset headaches at mid or late life, worsening in frequency or intensity of chronic headaches, history of being awakened by headaches, headaches that are aggravated by cough, sexual activity or exercise or changing positions, headaches that are associated with weakness, numbness, blurring or loss of vision, alteration or loss of consciousness. Headaches could be serious as well if they are aggravated by cough or associated with fever, neck stiffness, mental status changes, history of recent head trauma or fall, alteration or loss of consciousness.
Headaches that are precipitated by sexual activity may point to abnormal vessels in the brain or low pressure of the fluid around the brain. Patients who experience headaches that are associated with blurring of vision and diminished visual acuity should be evaluated for a condition that may involve inflammation of blood vessels and may lead to blindness.
As noted above, head pain could be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, including but not limited to: the presence of brain bleeding, infections, abnormal vessels in the brain, elevated or diminished pressure of the fluid around the nervous system and inflammatory conditions of the blood vessels. Headaches could also be related to brain tumors, congenital abnormalities in the brain, such as low-lying brain or abnormal cysts in the brain. Some headaches have been related to cervical spine arthritis or disc protrusion.
Many types of headaches may coexist in the same patient. It is not unusual for patients to have a combination of tension headache and migraine. On the other hand, a patient with chronic tension headache and/or migraine may develop any of the above medical conditions such as brain bleeding, infection, tumor ... etc.
Determining if the patient is suffering from one type or multiple types of headaches is very crucial, and identifying where the headache is coming from is the first step in any successful headache management. The most important step in any headache management is the accurate diagnosis. This is obtained by full and thorough evaluation by a specialist. After establishing the accurate diagnosis, headache management would never be obtained by consuming analgesics and painkillers.
If you are a headache or chronic pain sufferer, you do not have to drive long distances for a specialty clinic. Advanced Headache and Fibromyalgia Clinic is conveniently available now at your locality, under the direction of Nesreen Suwan, M.D.
Dr. Suwan is a Loyola trained board certified neurologist, board certified in pain medicine with extra certification in headache medicine, with offices in Lisle, Hinsdale and Chicago.
Phone: (630) 420-8080
Provided by Dr. Nesreen Suwan