Most symptoms that we experience turn out to be no big deal So knowing when to rush to the doctor or whether to take a painkiller and wait till it goes away is quite important.
Most of the time your symptoms will be benign, and obviously if you are in any doubt then do get a second opinion.
One in 50 visits to A and E is for a headache. So how can you tell if a headache is more than a headache? If it is mostly on the forehead or on your face and you’ve recently had a cold it could be that your sinuses are blocked. You can inhale warm vapour and take ibuprofen and a decongestant. If it gets worse then you may need antibiotics.
If you have recently stopped drinking tea and coffee you could be suffering from caffeine withdrawal, an overt the counter painkiller should solve the problem.
If you have a tight band of pain around your head, it’s probably a tension headache and is the least troublesome of all headaches, but if the pain gets worse and becomes more frequent or intense and there’s no obvious reason then it’stime to visit the doctor.
If you’re over 50 and your scalp hurts when you brush it and your jaw aches after eating, it could be a symptom of an infection so seek medical advice.
If you have a fever and also your head hurts and you have a sensitivity to bright light it could be a sign of meningitis.
If you get what is known as a thunderclap headache which comes on instantly and severely it could also indicate a problem, so get it investigated.
Often headaches will go away but anything more persistent or unusual occurs then seek medical advice.