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Dealing with Secondary Headaches Durham NC

Doctors define secondary headaches as those that result from a particular illness. Sometimes these illnesses are very serious and life threatening. Others may be benign but still cause pain and discomfort.

Duke University Hospital
(919) 684-8111
Erwin Road
Durham, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Nongovernment, Not-for-profit
Hospital System
Duke University Health System

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North Carolina Specialty Hosp
(919) 956-9300
3916 Ben Franklin Boulevard
Durham, NC
specialty
Surgical Hospital
Hospital Type
Investor-owned (for profit)
Hospital System
National Surgical Hospitals

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Durham Regional Hospital
(919) 470-4000
3643 North Roxboro Road
Durham, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Nongovernment, Not-for-profit
Hospital System
Duke University Health System

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John Umstead Hospital
(919) 575-7211
1003 12th Street
Butner, NC
specialty
Psychiatric
Hospital Type
Government, Nonfederal

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Rex Healthcare
(919) 784-3100
4420 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Nongovernment, Not-for-profit

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Durham Va Affairs Medical Ctr
(919) 286-0411
508 Fulton Street
Durham, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Government, federal
Hospital System
Department of Veterans Affairs

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Select Specialty Hospital
(919) 470-9000
3643 North Roxboro Rd
Durham, NC
specialty
Long-Term Acute Care
Hospital Type
Investor-owned (for profit)
Hospital System
Select Medical Corporation

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Univ Of North Carolina Hosps
(919) 966-4131
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Government, Nonfederal

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Wakemed Cary Hospital
(919) 233-2300
1900 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Nongovernment, Not-for-profit
Hospital System
WakeMed

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Duke Health Raleigh Hospital
(919) 954-3000
3400 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC
specialty
General medical surgical
Hospital Type
Nongovernment, Not-for-profit
Hospital System
Duke University Health System

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Dealing with Secondary Headaches

Doctors define secondary headaches as those that result from a particular illness. Sometimes these illnesses are very serious and life threatening. Others may be benign but still cause pain and discomfort.

An easily identifiable secondary headache is the one accompanying a sinus infection. Your sinuses are behind the bridge of your nose, in each cheekbone and in your forehead bone. Allergies, infections and tumors cause sinuses to become inflamed. Infections can prevent sinus secretions from draining into the nose, as they need to do. The result is often a headache. Sinus headaches are usually accompanied by a fever.

Another type of secondary headache is the rebound headache. This results either from over use or improper use of medications. For example, if you use a decongestant because you think you have a sinus infection but you really don’t, then you might develop a headache from the decongestant.

If your headaches are so severe or so frequent that you take more of the medication than prescribed by the doctor or instructed on the label or take it more often, you can also get a rebound headache.

It is possible to acquire a dependency upon OTC or prescription medications. If this seems to be happening, you need to consult a physician. If you are resorting to acute treatments more than two times a week, you may be over medicating.

Headaches often result as side effects from use of drugs to treat high blood pressure and depression. Some dental problems also cause headaches.

More serious conditions which result in secondary headaches are: meningitis, cerebrovascular disease, infection, brain tumors, head trauma, diabetes, thyroid disease, temporomandibular joint pain, and glaucoma.

These are rare but there are certain symptoms, called ‘red flags’ which health care providers look for.

They include:

Headaches that get worse with movement and exercise.

Headaches in a person who already has certain medical problems such as high blood pressure, AIDS or cancer.

A sudden onset of severe headaches.

Headaches accompanied by other symptoms such as blurred vision, difficulty walking or talking, dizziness, loss of consciousness, high fever, stiff neck, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, pain in the eye, or a rash.

Headaches which begin following a head injury.

Headaches that always occur on the same side of the head. The location of a headache is an important indicator. Headaches that always occur on the same side of the head are most often secondary headaches.

Headaches reported by a patient with a family history of brain aneurysms.

Headaches that worsen over time

Headaches that are so severe as to interfere with one’s work or daily life.

Headaches that occur on a daily basis.

When these red flags are present, one should consult and be evaluated by a health care provider.

They can pinpoint the underlying medical condition by taking a patient history and ordering various tests such as special blood tests, CT scans, MRI and spinal taps.

The life threatening conditions, of which headaches are symptomatic, are rare. However, it is always wiser to play it safe and seek medical help whenever the ‘red flags’ are present.

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