What is a ‘thunderclap headache’?
Thunderclap headache is a headache which can manifest as a thundering blow to the head that is sudden and so severe that one might describe it as a ‘pain like no other’. The headache occurs without any warning at all and prior to it, the person may be walking, talking and behaving without any problem what so ever.
What are the characteristics of a ‘thunderclap headache’?
These headaches occur suddenly as mentioned earlier and can last for about an hour or even for a week. The pain peaks within 60 seconds and might accompany a nauseated feeling as well. Furthermore, the headache can be felt in the head or else in the neck and usually does not radiate to any part of the body.
Why should a thunderclap headache be taken seriously?
A sudden severe headache is an ominous sign in most of the occasions although the manifestations may not have an obvious reason in certain instances. But, leaving this to chance is not a good idea as some of the underlying causes can be life threatening and can be effectively treated to prevent further complications from taking place. Therefore, in order to better understand the necessity to seek urgent medical attention in instances of a thunderclap headache, one needs to look at the causes for such a manifestation.
What are the causes for this condition?
Among one of the most dangerous underlying causes for this type of headache would be a ‘bleeding’. This can take place following rupturing of a weak blood vessel or else because of a ruptured aneurysm. In any event, the blood that accumulates within the brain coverings expands, and this is be the reason for the sudden and severe headache.
Furthermore, a tumor which blocks the cerebrospinal fluid flow can also cause such a pain along with a blood clot which can also lead to bleeding, ischemia and blockage within the brain matter. Some of the other causes which can lead to a thunderclap headache include, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid following the rupture of covering membranes and rising of blood pressure which can lead to bleeding episodes within the brain.
Infections such as meningitis and encephalitis can also lead to such manifestations although there can be several other signs appearing before in such instances.
What is the ‘take home’ message?
Do not let a thunderclap headache go un-investigated and never believe that you couldn’t be a victim of such a debilitating and a life threatening event. No matter what age you are, thunderclap headache can be an ominous sign which requires urgent medical investigations and attention.