If you’re one of the many people who deal with headaches on a regular basis, you know how uncomfortable and unpleasant they can be. Even if your headache doesn’t seem serious at first, there are several symptoms that could mean something more serious than just an annoying pain in your head, so it’s important to pay attention to these signs that may indicate your headache is more than what it seems to be. With some additional research, you can find out what might be causing your headaches and take the steps needed to reduce or eliminate them altogether.
1) Flashes of light
If you start to see flashes of light, or scintillating scotoma, it could be caused by pressure inside your eye building up. If left untreated, it could cause sudden vision loss. It’s best to get to a doctor as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.
2) Double vision
Double vision occurs when one eye doesn’t track properly with your other eye, resulting in two separate images. It can occur as a result of damage to your optic nerve or muscle weakness. Double vision is also common among those who suffer from migraines.
3) Numbness in the face or hands
Numbness in your face or hands is a red flag that something may be wrong. If you’re experiencing numbness, it could indicate that you have something called carpal tunnel syndrome , which is characterized by numbness, tingling and pain in your fingers. It could also be a symptom of an issue related to your thyroid . Carpal tunnel syndrome can often be treated with wrist splints and other techniques to ease discomfort.
4) Loss of balance
Anyone who has ever suffered from migraines knows that they’re generally accompanied by other symptoms—dizziness and nausea, for example. But if you notice sudden loss of balance or an inability to walk straight after a migraine, call your doctor right away. The change in vision or sensory perception may be due to stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), both of which are serious medical emergencies that require immediate treatment.
5) Other symptoms
If you’re experiencing eye pain along with your headache, it could be an indication of something more serious. A sudden increase in frequency or duration of headaches—particularly if they get worse during physical activity—could indicate that you have sinusitis, which is inflammation of your sinuses. You should see a doctor to confirm what’s causing your frequent headaches and to rule out more serious conditions such as meningitis or brain tumors.