A headache is one of the most common symptoms in patients. However, a headache is still a widely misunderstood and even underestimated disease. In fact, many people who complain of migraines are not suffering from a migraine attack, but from another type of headache.
In this article, we will try to explain what to do in case of continuous headaches, as well as which specialist should be consulted when such a symptom appears. Although headaches are common, they not only affect the mood and quality of life of the person who experiences them regularly, but they also run the risk of developing many potential complications from prolonged use of painkillers. Therefore, even though chronic headaches are usually benign, it is important to be able to determine the cause.
A headache can be caused by a variety of factors: chronic fatigue, inadequate hydration, sleep deprivation, stress, and even looking at a screen all day. It goes without saying that the various possible causes mentioned above are very present in our modern daily life. Therefore, the first step in dealing with recurring headaches is to increase your adherence to the following self-care rules: better hydration, adequate sleep, and exercise are good ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle and minimize the onset of bothersome symptoms such as headaches.
Which specialist to consult?
If the general measures mentioned above do not seem to bring any relief, and your headache does not go away, then it is indicated to consult a specialist, as this symptom may be a sign of a more serious problem. Depending on the type of headache, and the signs that accompany it, here is a list of specialists you should consult:
You should consult an emergency physician:
If you have a history of falls and/or loss of consciousness prior to the headache.
If you are taking blood thinners.
If the headache is acute and/or getting worse.
If the headache is accompanied by a fever, it could be meningitis.
You should consult an obstetrician/gynecologist:
If you are obviously pregnant. In addition to making sure the baby is doing well, a headache in pregnant women can be a warning of a serious clinical condition called preeclampsia.
You should consult an ENT physician:
If your headache is accompanied by ear, nose, and throat symptoms, such as sinus pain, hearing loss, or dizziness.
You should see a cardiologist:
If your headache is accompanied by ringing in the ears, spikes in blood pressure, or if you have a history of high blood pressure
You should see an ophthalmologist:
If you wear glasses that, over time, may become ill-fitting. Allergies, contact lenses, or looking at a screen all day can also cause dry eyes, leading to a headache. The same is true for vision problems, especially if your headache worsens during the night, during periods of intense study, or when you stare at a computer screen.
You should consult a neurologist:
If your headache is accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as confusion, altered consciousness, seizures, and migraines (pain only in the mid-head and scalp), or if you experience nausea and vomiting.
You should consult a psychiatrist:
People with chronic headaches may also be seen by a psychiatrist. Indeed, headaches can not only be caused by stress, but they can also be the result of a psychosomatic manifestation. In other words, the body transforms emotional pain into physical pain.
However, as a general rule, the medical world does not consider any cause to be psychological until all other physical causes have been ruled out.
When should I see my GP?
Medicine is not an exact science. If you are not sure which specialist to consult, then do not hesitate to turn to your general practitioner, who will ask the right questions, perform a complete medical examination, and prescribe tests, if necessary, in order to refer you to the right specialist.
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