Headaches are as common as men; almost everyone experiences them frequently. So how can you determine when it is the right time to see a neurologist?
The average headache does not require you to consult a neurologist or even a primary care physician. Even if you have a medical history of headaches that trouble you once or twice every month and go away only when you take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, you still do not need to seek further neurological treatment.
Related: How To See A Neurologist Quickly
You should see a neurologist for diagnosis and treatment if you are experiencing crippling headaches more than four times a month that are hindering your daily life and work.
Signs that you Should Consult a Neurologist for your Headaches
Generally, a primary healthcare practitioner or your family doctor is suitable for non-severe headaches. According to the American Headache Society, approximately two in three people consult with a primary care doctor first. You should consult with a neurologist when the treatment and medications prescribed by a primary physician stop working or do not work well. In such a case, the physician will likely refer you to a neurologist specializing in nervous and brain disorders.
You can determine when it is the right time to see a neurologist by keeping the following few signs in mind:
- You experience two or more headaches each week. If you have such frequent headaches, you may need to add preventive, over-the-counter medications to your treatment plan.
- Your headaches keep getting worse with each episode and treatment procedure. This may signal that you require more tests to ensure that your diagnosis is accurate and you are undertaking the proper treatment.
- Your headaches have stopped or are not responding to recommended OTC prescription drugs or treatment. Consuming headache medication for ten days or more in one month elevates the risk of developing medication overuse headaches, also known as rebound headaches. They are considerably hard to treat headaches that result from over-intake of pain-relieving medications.
- You have new neurological symptoms with a headache, such as a seizure or paralysis on one side of the body. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, such symptoms can elevate the risk that a brain tumor causes headaches.
- You are over 50 and have started having a new kind of chronic headache. Age is a significant factor that increases the risk of certain secondary headaches types once one starts experiencing headaches, according to a paper published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2017. A secondary headache is generally caused by an underlying condition, such as a stroke.
- You have started experiencing a new headache 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The American Headache Society is of the view that this may be a sign of a secondary headache.
- You experience an injury to the head, and your headache begins afterward. Such a condition can hint at post-traumatic headache (PTH). According to the American Migraine Foundation, such a headache requires different treatment procedures than regular headaches.
- Your headache hampers your daily life or work activities. It is time to see a neurologist if you experience crippling pain that prevents you from performing even basic life activities. Although regular headaches are painful, they do not blindside you to such an enormous extent. Thus, you can distinguish between a regular headache and one that requires you to see a neurologist.
At NeuroX, American-board certified and fellowship-trained professionals specializing in various neurological and psychological disorders, including headaches and migraines, offer high-quality care at your doorstep. Head over to NeuroX to book an online appointment with a neurologist of your choice within minutes!