by Nesreen Suwan, M.D.
Headache is a common neurological disorder that has been underestimated and under-treated by both patients and physicians. Headaches, such as migraine and chronic tension headaches, can be serious just by being debilitating, compromising sufferers’ functionality and quality of life. Some headaches can be more serious if they are 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 the following: new onset of 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; and headaches associated with weakness, numbness, blurring or loss of vision, and alteration or loss of consciousness. Headaches can be serious as well if they are associated with fever, neck stiffness, mental status changes, history of recent head trauma, or a fall.
Head pain can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, such as 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 or 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 within the same patient. It is not unusual for patients to have a combination of tension headache and migraine. A patient with chronic tension headache and/or migraine may also develop headaches related to brain bleeding, infection, or a tumor.
Determining if the patient is suffering from one type or multiple types of headaches is crucial, and identifying where the headache is coming from is the first and most important step in successful pain management. An accurate diagnosis is obtained through a thorough evaluation by a neurologist specializing in headaches. Many treatment options are available, based on the type of your headache. An accurate diagnosis may reveal that headache management would never be obtained by consuming analgesics and painkillers and that a different treatment is instead required.
If you are a headache or chronic pain sufferer, you do not have to drive long distances for a specialty headache clinic. N. Suwan, MD, is conveniently available nearby with offices in Lisle, Hinsdale and Chicago. A headache and fibromyalgia specialist, Dr. Suwan is board certified in neurology, pain medicine and sleep medicine, with extra certification in headache medicine.
Call (630) 420-8080 or visit http://controlchicagopain.com.
WHERE IS MY HEADACHE COMING FROM
As Featured In Glancer Magazine, October 2012