When you think of headaches and migraines, you rarely associate them with something serious. That’s because, more often than not, the throbbing, pulsating, or aching pain disappears after a couple or several hours. Unknown to many, sometimes a headache, migraine and stiff neck spell disaster for some people. That’s because such symptoms can be a sign of a severe problem like concussion, dehydration, and stroke.
So, how do you determine if you need immediate medical attention? What specific signals do you need to look out for?
#1. You Experience Extreme and Sudden Pain
Roughly 30,000 patients suffer from ruptured brain aneurysms each year in the USA. Sadly, 40 percent of these cases result in death. It’s uncommon to experience symptoms when you suffer from a brain aneurysm. However, if you have excessive internal bleeding in the brain, you might notice sudden and intense bouts of headaches. Besides the headaches, you might also observe additional symptoms like:
- Double or loss of vision
- Aching around or above your eye
- Facial muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Sudden loss of balance
#2. You Have A High Fever and Stiff Neck
It’s common to experience headaches when you have flu. However, note that it may not be a simple illness if you notice additional symptoms like a painful neck, high fever, rapid breathing, confusion, vomiting, blotchy skin, and seizures. We suggest calling your physician as soon as possible because you likely have meningitis.
Meningitis refers to an infection of the brain’s protective lining or the meninges. It can progress quickly, so we suggest checking with your physician or heading to the nearest ER as soon as you can.
#3. You Can’t Speak or See Clearly
Vision or cognitive changes combined with sudden and extreme headaches often denote stroke. This could imply that your brain isn’t getting enough blood due to a blocked blood vessel. When this happens, the affected brain tissue or region can die, causing you to experience sensory disturbances like vision loss, muscle numbness, and slurred speech.
Remember to act fast when you observe symptoms of a stroke. The first three hours of an attack are crucial to lessen its impact on the body. CDC urges to remember the F.A.S.T acronym to test for stroke, which stands for:
- Face – Check if one side of your face drops when you attempt to smile.
- Arms – Life both arms and see if one drifts downwards.
- Speech – Observe your speech and determine if you sound sluggish or strange.
- Time – If you notice one or all of the signs above, call 911.
Your best option for survival is to call for an ambulance because they can provide you with immediate medical assistance while traveling to the hospital.
#4. You Notice Unexplainable Changes in Your Behavior
Recurring headaches that worsen each time accompanied by behavioral changes are often signs of a developing brain tumor. If you notice both of these symptoms, you may be among the 700,000+ Americans with brain tumors today.
The American Brain Tumor Association reassures that most cases of brain tumors are not cancerous. Unfortunately, if you get diagnosed with a Grade III or IV, you will likely need serious medical attention. This means that growing tissue inside the brain has started to metastasize or spread to other parts of your skull. They also tend to develop faster, putting immense pressure on your central nervous system.
As the tumor grows, it tends to press on the surrounding tissues, impacting certain brain functions such as regulating your emotions or mood. The increasing pressure inside the skull, on the one hand, triggers headaches that get worse after each attack.
#5. Your Headaches Severely Impact Your Life
Surely enough, a headache, migraine, and stiff neck can cause severe disruption in your life. If they tend to occur frequently in each month, they can impede your ability to function correctly.
Most of the time, patients who report this recurring problem suffer from a neck misalignment after an injury or physical trauma. It can also develop because of poor posture like slouching when sitting or a spinal column abnormality.
When the neck bones shift, they impact the surrounding tissue, triggering problems like severe headaches, chronic migraine attacks, and a painful neck. As a result, even if you take pain medication, the symptoms tend to come back repeatedly, preventing you from doing chores or completing tasks at the office.
It will help you greatly if you try consulting with an upper cervical chiropractic doctor. This way, you can gauge how much your bones have shifted due to the injury or perhaps a spinal structure problem.
Relief for Headaches that Don’t Require Emergency Care
If your physician rules out life-threatening medical problems as the source of your headache, migraine, and stiff neck, you can try natural remedies to ease your pain. As we’ve mentioned earlier, upper cervical care is a promising approach to use if you frequently experience migraines, headaches, or painful neck. It’s a gentle and gradual process that aims to stimulate holistic and natural healing.
Several case studies have proven the potential of upper cervical chiropractic in managing usual symptoms of migraine attacks and other debilitating illnesses and conditions.
Simply put, this procedure involves realigning the neckbones after a vertebral subluxation. Guided by digital imaging results, an upper cervical doctor finds the crucial points that need adjustments.
Regardless of what caused the shifting of your bones, rest assured an upper cervical chiropractic doctor can gradually restore the original alignment.
Learn more about the upper cervical care technique and how patients with recurring migraines and stiff neck can benefit from it. Contact a local neck chiropractor near you today!