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Headaches: Bam! If they hit like a thunderclap, it's time to call your doctor for help

When a normal headache isn't normal anymore. The key things to watch for and do if your headache reaches pain levels that are out of control
Posted at 3:57 AM, Jul 10, 2024

BOISE — If you’ve driven the interstate at rush hour, you’ve probably got some good experience with headaches. I’m senior reporter Roland Beres and it’s Wellness Wednesday where we’re healthier together. And today we’re looking at how to tell the difference between a garden variety headache and something more serious.

When your head hurts, it’s generally a minor episode treated by a couple over the counter pain relievers.

But that’s not always the case.

“People have acute headaches which are more emergent or different.that we often see in emergent settings," said Dr. Daniel Meltzer. "Headaches can very in their severity and pernicity, how often they happen.”

The Cleveland clinic says headaches are the result of signals interacting among your brain blood vessels and surrounding nerves.

Pretty vague, I know.

But whatever the cause, there are some headaches you want to take extra seriously.

“If it’s new or different that is to say if the headache feels different or lasts longer or associated with different symptoms like vomiting like loss of memory. Like difficulty seeing. Seizures or fever. If there’s something new.” said Meltzer.

Dr. Meltzer says seek medical treatment if you experience a thunderclap headache: typically the worst you’ve ever experienced.

And if you can’t see or speak, there’s concerns it might be part of a stroke.

Another reason to seek medical attention.

Otherwise, ibuprofen or acetaminophen usually does the trick.

For Wellness Wednesday, I’m senior reporter Roland Beres Idaho News 6.