You mostly associate the words “painkiller,” “massage,” and “rest” when it comes to headache relief. How would you know when it’s time to talk to your doctor though? Now you have to think of the word “snoop.”
SNOOP is an acronym devised by the American Headache Society to help you remember the signs and symptoms that merit the immediate attention of a doctor. It stands for Systemic, Neurological, Onset, Old Age, and Prior Headache. Additional information are as follows:
Systemic. This refers to other physical symptoms that accompany your headache. Systemic symptoms include appetite loss, pain in other body parts, and fever. If you have a headache and you have serious diseases like cancer or HIV, don’t try to deal with the pain on the head on your own.
Neurological. Your headache may be significantly interfering with your mental and cognitive functions through blurry vision, weakness, and personality changes. This means that it’s no longer just the nerves in your head that are affected.
Onset. How did your headache begin? If the pain comes suddenly and increases rapidly, you need medical attention. The same goes for headaches that start after sex, or coughing, among others. You may have a more serious medical problem like an aneurism.
Old Age. If you’re at least 50 and you experience headaches for the first time, you may have a brain tumor.
Prior Headaches. Check your headache history. Do your headaches happen often? Are they getting more and more painful every time they show up? Find a doctor if your answer to these questions is a resounding “yes.”
Again, SNOOP is the word to remember if you want to determine whether you should rush to your doctor, or just manage the headache on your own. What do you do when something like a headache bugs you big time? Snoop.