When should I visit my GP about my headaches?

I believe a headache is one symptom that often patients don’t go and chat to their GPs about. On questioning, it almost becomes part of their normal day-to-day life, is only mentioned if the headaches are really debilitating. However, headaches can be a symptom of other conditions.

I thought it might be useful to list some of the symptoms associated with headaches that should be assessed by your GP:

  • Headaches that are accompanied by fever, neck pain or stiffness, rash, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, difficulty waking up, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, difficulty walking or seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • headaches that are unusual, are a change in your normal headache pattern, severe and deteriorate, or wake you from your sleep
  • Headaches that develop after a blow to the head
  • Headaches associated with a painful red eye
  • Headaches located in the temple region
  • Headaches triggered by coughing
  • Headaches triggered by sexual intercourse
  • If you have a severe illness and you suddenly develop headaches, this too should be assessed.

So if any of the above is relevant to you and you haven’t yet mentioned it to your GP, maybe a check-up is appropriate.

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