Thunderclap headaches earned their name due to the intense pain they cause, which randomly occurs and is commonly compared to that of thunder. The pain thunderclap headaches cause is severe and can last anywhere from an hour to more than a week. It is essential thunderclap headaches are not ignored because most often they are a symptom of life threatening conditions, such as bleeding surrounding the brain. Thunderclap headaches can occur in anyone, despite age, gender, and ethnicity.
Causes of Thunderclap Headaches
Thunderclap headaches are often caused by an underlying condition, such as bleeding between the membrane covering of the brain and the brain itself. A ruptured blood vessel within the brain can also cause the intense headaches. The lining of the arteries that supply the brain with blood can tear, resulting in the headaches, as well as tumors located within the third ventricle of the brain. Bleeding in the pituitary gland or death of brain tissue can cause the severe pain, as well as blood clots within the brain. Infections, such as meningitis, or severely elevated blood pressure can also cause thunderclap headaches.
Symptoms of Thunderclap Headaches
Although thunderclap headaches are rare, they can strike suddenly causing severe pain, which is often described to feel like a kick to the head. The pain intensifies within sixty seconds and can last from an hour to up to ten days. The pain can occur in the head and neck and is often associated with vomiting and nausea.
Diagnosing Thunderclap Headaches
If a thunderclap headache occurs, a number of tests will be conducted to determine the underlying cause of the headache. CT scans are often conducted to search the head and brain for an underlying cause. Spinal taps, an MRI, and even magnetic resonance angiography can be conducted to find the underlying cause of the intense pain.
Treatment for Thunderclap Headaches
Treatment for thunderclap headaches varies depending on the underlying cause of the headache. There is no one treatment that is conducted for all thunderclap headaches. To receive proper treatment for these potentially life threatening headaches, it’s vital medical assistance is sought.
Many people who experience thunderclap headaches find it beneficial to talk with others suffering form the same condition. Talking with others who suffer from these severe headaches will allow you to find methods to use to cope with the pain. Many support groups are available for people suffering from thunderclap headaches.
“Thunderclap Headaches” MayoClinic.com
“Thunderclap Headaches” CNN.com
“Thunderclap Headaches” Headaches.org