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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

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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