When to worry about a Headache?

The majority of patients learn to treat their headaches with analgesics without the need for a medical prescription. However, it is recommended to seek medical advice if there is any change in the type, intensity, frequency, or lack of control of the headache. The Primary care doctor usually diagnoses and monitors these cases, or the patient may be referred to a neurologist.

Person holding a hand to his head with a symbol of a lightning bolt above it indicating a headache.

The pain is sudden and very intense.

Elderly man with a cane

The pain appears for the first time in an elderly person that has not suffered it previously.

Person sitting up in bed due to insomnia

The pain wakes you up during the night.

College or school

The pain prevents carrying out any usual activity such as going to work or school.

Carrying out different activities

It is the first headache that you have had in your life that interferes with activities.

Headache, explosion

The headache is “the worst ever suffered”, even if you have had them regularly.

Person with hand on temple, headache

The headaches have got worse compared to previous episodes and are not controlled.

Memory loss

There are new neurological symptoms like poor pronunciation, changes in vision, problems in moving arms and legs, loss of equilibrium, confusion, or loss of memory.

Thermometer with a danger signal indicating fever

There is fever, stiffness of the neck, nausea and vomiting.

Person with bandaged head, traumatism

The headache is present due to a skull injury.

Irritated red eye

The headache is intense and only in one eye with redness in this eye.

Blood test tube with a low red blood cell count or anemia

The headaches are associated with vision problems, weakness in chewing, morning weakness, weight loss, or anaemia.

Woman with a ribbon referring to breast cancer

You have a history of cancer or problems of the immune system (such as HIV /AIDS) and have a new headache.

Substantiated information by:

Neus Fabregat i Fabra
Víctor Obach Baurier

Published: 7 August 2018
Updated: 7 August 2018

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