Headaches have become so common that they are often considered as just part of everyday life.
But now a leading doctor has revealed exactly when you should seek medical help for the agonising pain.
Dr Michael Munger, from Overland Park, Kansas, says any more than two headaches for three weeks is a cause for concern.
However, it doesn’t mean sufferers should panic as it isn’t necessarily an emergency and only signals a potential medical problem, he warned.
Dr Munger, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said having a check-up allows doctors to get to the root cause of the headache.
A doctor has now revealed exactly when you should seek medical help for your headaches
Dr Munger revealed that ‘some people just live with it’, when he was asked about how often his patients complained about headaches.
He warned that headaches – widely considered the worst kind of pain – can be a sign of brain tumours and aneurysms, in rare cases.
‘You don’t want people to over-react, but you also don’t want them to under-react,’ he told The Washington Post in an in-depth interview.
Nauman Tariq, who is director of the Headache Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, warned that patients shouldn’t rely on painkillers for too long.
‘Over-the-counter drugs seem safe, but not so when they’re taken frequently,’ he said. ‘Long-term or frequent use can be more damaging than the headache itself.’
LED BULBS COULD BE CAUSING HEADACHES
Energy-saving lightbulbs could be giving us all headaches as they flicker too much.
LED bulbs can bring on feelings of dizziness and pain within just 20 minutes of switching them on, an expert warned last July.
Professor Arnold Wilkins, professor of psychology at the University of Essex, said the flickering of the unpopular lights is stronger than for traditional lightbulbs.
While fluorescent lights, such as those in offices, dim by around 35 per cent with every flicker, LED lights dim by 100 per cent. It means they effectively turn off and on again hundreds of times every second.
This can cause headaches by disrupting movement control of the eyes, forcing the brain to work harder. Flickering LED bulbs could double the chances of suffering a headache,
An array of studies have shown that over-the-counter painkillers can cause ulcers, kidney problems, liver damage – and even be worse for headaches.
Figures from the World Health Organization estimate half of the adult population endures at least one headache each year, including tension headaches, sinus headaches and migraines.
Episodes of pain can last up to several hours, but often fade on their own or through the use of medication available over-the-counter.
Officials say patients should seek advice from their GP if they are often struck down by headaches and if painkillers don’t work.
If the pain is accompanied by blurry vision, drowsiness or a sore scalp, patients are urged to visit A&E or call 999 for medical assistance.
The NHS states that headaches can sometimes be brought on by cold or flu, both of which are common illnesses in the winter.
But stress, eyesight problems, dehydration and taking too many painkillers are other known causes of agonising headaches.
It comes after research in November revealed that headaches trigger more suffering than pain in any other part of the body.
Duke University scientists claimed discomfort will always feel worse in the head – regardless of if someone is struck at the same force elsewhere.
They discovered a previously unknown network of nerves that sends pain signals from our heads directly to the part of the brain that deals with emotion.