When harsh headaches strike, identifying the cause of your pain can be the least of your worries. Instead, you kick into survival mode, seeking refuge in a dark, quiet room, ice packs on deck.
But, should you be investigating your symptoms more?
If your gut is convinced something greatly differentiates this headache from those you've experienced prior, it's important to see a doctor to rule out the possibility of a secondary headache.
Unlike common migraine, tension, or cluster headaches (which fall under the primary category), secondary headaches are often telling of underlying health problems.
Before you go Google diagnosing yourself in a panic, follow up with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. For more info on the topic of mind, read through this guide to secondary headaches from Dr. Stephen A. Kulick, MD, a neurology specialist in Staten Island, ahead.
What Are Secondary Headaches?
Secondary headaches are actually the symptom of another cause, like encephalitis or meningitis, for example — as opposed to primary headaches, which aren't the result of another medical condition.
According to Dr. Kulick, 10 percent of all headaches are secondary, making them a lot less common than primary.
How Can You Identify a Secondary Headache?
Since secondary headaches are often indicative of an undiagnosed health issue, Dr. Kulick insists that they always warrant professional attention and a diagnosis from a neurologist.
If you're struggling to determine whether or not you have a primary or secondary headache, Dr. Kulick suggested asking yourself the following questions: