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8 Signs Telling Your Headache Could Be More Dangerous Than You Think

8 Signs Telling Your Headache Could Be More Dangerous Than You Think

Headaches: Most people get them at least once in awhile, and some people get them quite often.

Normally they go away, and no harm is done. However, if your headache shows any of these 8 signs, your headache could be more dangerous than you might think. You should consult a doctor if you show these signs!

1. A First Headache, Which is Disruptive with Vision Impairment

Giant cell arteritis (GCA), or temporal arteritis, is a disorder in which the arteries of your head, especially those running through your temples, become inflamed. If you’ve never had a headache before, but suddenly find yourself with an incredibly painful one that disrupts your daily routine, it could be a sign of GCA.

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According to a 2008 study published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, if your headache is accompanied by visual disturbances, it could also be a sign of GCA. This headache is a throbbing, persistent headache which usually occurs in the upper neck, behind your eyes, or at the back of your head. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness and stroke, so please see a doctor if you think you have it!

2. Progressive Headache with One-Sided Numbness and Weakness

You heart pumps blood to your brain through your arteries, which the brain utilizes for basic functions. Once those functions are finished, the brain sends the blood back to the heart through channels called venous sinuses. These sinuses can be clogged, causing a condition called cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). CVT can lead to an accumulation of blood and subsequent bleeding in and around the brain. This is very bad – it can cause strokes.

A persisting headache with symptoms which worsen over a few days (up to a week or more) could be CVT. A headache is the most common symptom of CVT, according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. One of its defining characteristics is weakness and numbness on one side of the head, down to the shoulders and arms.

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3. A Headache with a Stiff Neck

Meningitis can be a fatal disease, and is often accompanied by a headache with a shooting pain and a stiff neck. Ninety-five percent of meningitis patients reported a headache, stiff neck, fever and mental disorientation as the primary symptoms, according to a 2004 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

4. A Headache after Risky Sexual Behavior

If you have a headache following sex, be careful. Headaches are the primary and most persistent symptom of HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. Additionally, secondary headaches like sinus headaches usually mean HIV that has progressed, damaging the immune system and allowing diseases to strike.

5. A Headache with Neck & Face Pain

You carotid arteries, which are found along the sides of your neck, can become torn. This allows blood inside and fills the space between the arteries. It separates them, an issue called carotid artery dissection (CAD). That blood then clots, and eventually this leads to a stroke. The common symptoms of CAD are sudden, intense headaches and neck pain.

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6. Thunderclap Headache

A thunderclap headache is one that strikes suddenly like a lightning bolt, accompanied by intense pain within 60 seconds. They usually persist for up to an hour. Thunderclap headaches are a symptom of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a potentially fatal condition which results in swollen brain arteries. Think “the worst headache of my life”. You may also be nauseous and even vomit.

7. Headaches During or After Sex

There are a few types of sexual headaches. You might experience one at the peak of sexual arousal, which is usually nothing to worry about. (But still see a doctor!) The next kind is a throbbing pain that happens close to when you orgasm. It could feel like the thunderclap headache you learned about – sudden and painful. This could be a sign of hemorrhage, stroke, or a tumor.

8. Headache After an Injury

A headache suffered within 10 days following an injury may be a concussion. While this isn’t normally fatal, it can be a huge pain to those who suffer from it – both physically and emotionally. You may experience loss of consciousness, memory loss, and impaired vision.

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These 8 headaches are definitely cause for seeing a doctor. If you’re experiencing them now, or have just experienced them recently, go see your doctor right away!

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Bill Widmer

Content Marketing Expert

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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