Persistent headache: the signs that should worry you

Persistent headache
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Pain, tingling, twinges felt in the skull… Most headaches are common and not serious. However, certain types of persistent or repetitive headaches can be a symptom of a serious illness, even potentially fatal if not treated quickly. Symptoms, causes, treatments, pain management, medications to take: here is everything you need to know about the persistent headache, also called headache.

What do you mean by “headach?

A headache, commonly called “headache”, is a  pain felt at the level of the cephalic extremity, that is to say commonly the skull. It is most often a frequent symptom, without gravity and transient, in adults, but also in children under 15 years of age.

However, it can sometimes reflect an underlying disease (sinusitis, flu, infectious mononucleosis, meningitis, glaucoma, Horton’s disease, high blood pressure, etc.).

Migraines are a major public health problem. According to the WHO, 46% of the population suffer from active headaches, which places headaches in the tenth place in the world of the most debilitating pathologies for all sexes combined, and in fifth place for women.  In France, migraine affects 12% of adults and 5 to 10% of children.

There are several types of headaches and several types of crises that require different and adapted care.  They are distinguished by their intensity, their location, the context of occurrence (sport, pollution, taking medication), the duration of the crisis, etc.

What’s next after

The best known is tension headache , due to stress, psychological fatigue and/or cervical musculoskeletal problems. The neck muscles are tense and the pain may be accompanied by a feeling of pressure behind the eyes.

Good to know: the headache can be accompanied by other symptoms: fever, nausea and vomiting, loss of sensitivity, vigilance disorders, sleep disturbances, numbness…

Migraine and headache: what’s the difference?

According to the Health Insurance website , migraine is distinguished from a simple headache by its unique symptoms. Indeed, to diagnose migraine, it is necessary to have had at least five attacks and during each one, to have presented at least two of the following symptoms:

This is called the ” thunderclap ” because, in just one minute, the intensity of the headache is extremely important. This type of headache requires immediate consultation in the emergency room. This crisis may be due to a ruptured aneurysm or subarachnoid hemorrhage .

Be careful, this headache can last for a while and then stop, the person can then tell themselves that it is not serious and that they will consult their doctor later. Big mistake !

” The first sudden and intense headache is in fact  a warning sign that must be taken care of because if a second occurs, this one can be fatal. A brutal headache, even if it has not lasted too long, must be care quickly “, explains Dr. Ranoux.

Headache that is accompanied by other symptoms

When the headache is not isolated and is accompanied by fever , an alteration in general condition and neurological disorders  (confusion, impaired vigilance, difficulty staying awake, etc.  Emergency consultation is required.

Unusual headaches in a person with migraine

People with migraine usually know very well how to recognize the signs of the onset of an attack. In the event of an unusual headache (due to its intensity, its location or its sudden onset) and if the treatments in the event of an attack have no effect, it is better to go to the Emergency Department.  It could be an aneurysm, thrombosis, or cerebral phlebitis .

Fortunately, in ” 90 to 95% of cases, it will be a migraine “, wishes to reassure our neurologist. ” The migraine patient is the best judge of detecting an unusual headache and describing it to an emergency physician” .

Headaches that require a consultation with a general practitioner

The person who has never had a headache and who begins to have moderate but permanent headaches after the age of 50 should consult their doctor. It may be Horton’s disease, an inflammatory disease that most often affects the wall of the temporal artery, but can also affect other arteries.

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