Wednesday 23 May 2018 - forpatient
A headache is one of the most common symptoms in patients. However, it is still widely misunderstood and even underestimated. Many of the people who complain about having migraines don’t even have a migraine, but actually another type of headache.
In this article, we’ll try to explain what to do in case of constantly having a headache as well as which specialist to see when such a symptom occurs. Because even though headaches are common, not only do they impair the mood and quality of life of the person repeatedly experiencing them; but they also expose the person to the many possible complications caused by an extended use of painkillers. Therefore, even though chronic headaches are benign most of the time, they definitely need to be investigated.
A headache can be caused by a variety of factors: chronic fatigue, not drinking enough water, not sleeping enough, dealing with stress, and even staring at a screen all day. Needless to say, all of the possible causes afore-mentioned are heavily present in our modern day to day life. So the first step to take in case of recurring headaches is more self-care. Hydration, sleep and exercise are all good ways to have a healthy lifestyle and minimize the occurrence of annoying symptoms like headaches.
Which specialist to see?
If the general measures mentioned earlier don’t seem to work and your headache doesn’t get better; it’s wise to see a specialist as this symptom can be a sign of something more serious. Depending on the headache and its accompanying signs, here are the specialists that you should see:
You should visit the ER if:
You have a history of falling and/or losing of consciousness preceding the headache.
You are under blood thinners.
The headache is acute and/or only gets worse.
A fever is associated with the headache: fear of meningitis.
You should visit an OB-GYN if:
You are pregnant obviously. Aside from needing to make sure that the baby is okay, a headache in pregnant women can be a warning of a serious condition called pre-eclampsia.
You should visit an ENT if
Your headache is accompanied by ear, nose and throat symptoms such as sinus pain, hearing loss or vertigo.
When to see a cardiologist if:
Your headache is accompanied by ear buzzing, spikes in blood pressure or a history of high blood pressure.
You should visit an ophthalmologist if:
If you are wearing glasses which can become ill fitted with time. Allergies, contact lenses or staring at a screen all day can also make your eyes dry giving you a headache. Vision problems can cause the same thing, especially if your headache gets worse at night or during times of intense studying or staring at a computer.
You should visit a neurologist if:
Your headache is associated with other neurological symptoms such as confusion, altered states of consciousness, seizures, and migraines (a pain in only half of the face and scalp), or if you’re also suffering from nausea and vomiting.
You should visit a psychiatrist if:
Chronic headache sufferers can also be seen by psychiatrists. Not only can the headaches be caused by stress, but it can be a psychosomatic manifestation which means that the body is turning an emotional pain into a physical one.
However, as a general rule of thumb in medicine, we don’t consider any cause to be psychological until all other physical causes have been ruled out.
When to see a GP?
Medicine is not an exact science. If you’re not sure which specialist to see, a general medicine practitioner is the right doctor to consult then. They will ask the right questions, conduct a complete physical and order any tests if necessary in order to send you to the right specialist.-------
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