Three signs you may need to see a neurologist for your headaches

Headaches are common but some are much more serious than others. How do you know when yours warrants a trip to a neurologist?

The following signs indicate your headaches may be caused by a neurological issue, says Dr. Greg McLauchlin, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine.

You take headache medication often

If you get frequent headaches, it’s tempting to take medication for them regularly. However, McLauchlin says this could be a sign of a more serious condition.

“It is important to realize that some over-the-counter medicines can actually make headaches worse if they are taken too frequently,” said McLauchlin. “Also, over-the-counter medicines can do damage to the stomach, kidneys and liver if taken in excess.”

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He suggests that anyone who takes over-the-counter medicine to alleviate headaches five or more days out of the month should go see a doctor.

Headaches disrupt daily activities

A visit with your primary care physician is a good place to start for headaches that are not disabling but more of a nuisance. However, immobilizing headaches may warrant a trip to a neurologist.

“Patients should see a neurologist for any headache that is disabling,” McLauchlin said. “This applies to you if you have to stop what you are doing and lie down during a headache.”

Additional symptoms

If your headaches cause pain in other areas or if the pain is on only one side of the head, you may need to see a neurologist. Sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, and any weakness or numbness are all symptoms that are cause for more serious concern.

Additional Resources

To schedule a visit with a Baylor neurologist, call 713-798-2273 or request an appointment online.

Headaches: Are yours more serious than the common headache?

– By Alexandria Bland, communications coordinator with the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Baylor

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