Friday, December 18, 2009

When a Headache is Not Just a Headache

/PRNewswire/ -- Headaches are extremely common. Almost everyone has experienced a severe headache at least once in his or her lifetime. In most cases, headaches are minor nuisances that resolve within a short time. However, a headache can on rare occasions be the warning sign of a potentially serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention.

Potentially serious disorders that can produce headache pain include brain tumors, stroke (particularly stroke related to brain hemorrhage or an arterial tear in the neck) and inflammation of the temporal arteries. There are often subtle signs that accompany headaches associated with these conditions that can help people recognize that something more serious is causing their pain.

The American Chiropractic Association suggests people be aware of the signs that a headache is more than just a headache. If you experience any of the following symptoms with your headache, seek immediate medical attention:

-- The sudden onset of severe headache that is more intense than any
headache you have ever had in the past
-- Headache that is accompanied by blurred vision, double vision, trouble
swallowing or speaking, or severe dizziness
-- Headache that is accompanied by numbness, tingling, weakness or
clumsiness in the arms or legs
-- Headache that is worsened with lying down
-- In older adults, headache in the temple area that is accompanied by a
feeling of pulsations in that area
-- Headache that is accompanied by confusion, disorientation or loss of
-- Headache that is accompanied by fever
-- Headache that is accompanied by a severe stiff neck
-- Headache that is accompanied by persistent or unexplained vomiting
-- Severe headache in someone over age 50 who does not normally suffer
from headaches

"Many people find relief from their headache pain through natural, drug-free chiropractic care," says Dr. Donald R. Murphy of Pawtucket, R.I., a doctor of chiropractic with postgraduate training in neurology. "But in cases where a more serious condition is the root of the pain, it's vital to identify the warning signs early and to seek immediate medical attention."

ACA, based in Arlington, Va., is the largest chiropractic organization in the United States. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients.

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