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When to See the Doctor About a Headache

  Source: Article first appeared in "Beautiful Inside Out" - The SingHealth Guide to Women's Health  

According to the National Neuroscience Institute, most headaches are not an indication of a serious medical condition and most, if not all, can be treated effectively. However, medical attention should be sought for frequent or severe headaches. So how do you tell if your headache is just a passing pain or something more?

If any of the following apply to you, further medical evaluation is necessary:

  • Headache attacks one or more times per week
  • Taking painkillers almost daily or exceeding the recommended dose
  • Sudden severe headache with no previous history of headaches
  • A change in a regular headache pain or pattern, such as the nature of pain, pain intensity or associated symptoms
  • Stiff neck or fever with headache
  • Headache accompanied by dizziness, unsteady gait, slurred speech, weakness or numbness, double vision, focal weakness or fever
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Headache begins and persists after head injury
  • Your first or worst headache in your life
  • Headache beginning after the age of 50
  • If you have a history of cancer, autoimmune disease or HIV and have a new headache

Article contributed by:

National Neuroscience Institute (NNI)

Ref. U11

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