Severe Headaches and the Signs of a Stroke
Headaches are some of the most seen and treated conditions in healthcare. Almost everyone has experienced some type of headache in their lifetime, including severe headaches. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are more than 150 types of headaches. While most times a headache is a relatively benign and temporary condition, there are rare occasions when a severe headache can be a warning sign of something much more serious. Potentially serious disorders which produce severe headaches include stroke, brain tumors, and inflammation of the temporal arteries.
Stroke, also called cerebrovascular accident, causes damage to the brain from an interruption of blood supply. This can occur in one of two ways: a blocked artery (clots) or a burst artery (bleeds). Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the US. Common symptoms of a stroke include difficulty walking, speaking, seeing, and understanding. Numbness or muscle function loss (paralysis) of the face, arms, or legs are also signs. A stroke is a medical emergency. Early detection and treatment are crucial when someone is suspected of having a stroke. On average, 1.9 million brain cells die each minute as a stroke goes untreated. You can use the acronym F.A.S.T. to spot a stroke. FAST stands for:
F= Facial drooping or numbness on one side of the face. Can the person smile evenly?
A= Arm weakness. Can the person raise both arms evenly?
S= Speech difficulty. Does the person slur their speech?
T= Time to call 911. Every minute counts and note the time that any symptoms first appeared.
Another similar condition commonly referred to as a mini stroke is a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA has the same symptoms as a stroke but is frequently dismissed because the symptoms only last a few minutes up to 24 hours. These are usually the result of a temporary clot which dissolves on its own or becomes dislodged. TIA’s are considered a warning stroke and occur before about 15% of strokes. They are also associated with additional TIA’s, full-blown strokes, and other cardiovascular problems. Many of these later problems appear within days of experiencing a TIA which makes early detection and treatment so vital.
Headaches considered the “worst headache of my life” is one sign that a headache is more than just a headache. Severe headaches associated with other symptoms may indicate that immediate medical attention is required. Consider ER attention or call 911 if you or someone you know is experiencing a severe headache associated with these following symptoms:
Treatments vary depending on the type of stroke; ischemic (clots), hemorrhagic (bleeds), TIA, cryptogenic (strokes with unknown causes), or brain stem strokes. So, while many minor headaches may be relieved through conservative treatments such as massage, chiropractic care, medication, physical therapy, acupuncture etc. it is critical to be aware of and identify the early warning signs of a potentially much more serious medical condition.
— This article is written by Deryk Harting, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Florida.
Have you been in a car accident? If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.
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