Important information about potential dangerous headaches

Headaches are a common symptom that brings many people into our practice. These are generally tension or migraine type headaches. Most commonly they are from stress, tension, poor posture, tight muscles or restrictions in the neck.

At times headaches can be a sign of something more serious, so it’s important to know how to differentiate between a common headache and a more sinister one.

  1. New Headache

A severe headache never experienced before can be significant if you don’t normally suffer from headaches that has no obvious cause. It important to be assessed and make sure nothing dangerous or significant is underlying.

2. Thunderclap headache

This headache can feel like you have been hit by a lightning bolt. Described as the worst headache ever. This headache is especially alarming if you don’t normally suffer from headaches or migraines. Requires immediate medical attention.

3. Headache after an injury or knock to the head

It’s important to closely monitor someone who has experienced a knock to the head, especially if the headache is delayed. If someone has received a blow to the head then avoid going to sleep straight after the incident and monitor closely. If a headache gets worse with time after impact or the onset is delayed, then it is advisable to seek immediate help.

4. Headache that is getting progressively worse

Especially important to seek help if this is an out of character headache (new onset) and if associated symptoms such as vision loss, numbness start to occur.

5. Headache after physical activity

Most of the time this headache can be put down to dehydration. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water before and after exercise. If this headache is persistent with physical activity and hydration is not an issue, then an assessment is suggested to make sure there is nothing significant present.

 6. Headache associated with a stiff neck and fever

This can be a warning sign of meningitis, especially if a rash is present. Important for parents and caregivers to be aware of this.

7. Headache that wakes you up in the night

Headaches shouldn’t be waking you at night. If this is happening it’s important to seek medical attention. Especially if this is a new symptom and you don’t normally suffer from headaches.

8. Headache for the first time over 50 years old.

If an individual is over 50 years old without a history of headaches/migraines and experiencing a sharp headache for the first time, then immediate medical advice is advisable. It’s very important to be proactive in this situation if this is out of character.


While these warning signs listed aren’t common symptoms of headache, it’s important knowledge to be aware of. It will enable you to know what requires urgent care and be proactive with if the situation ever arises.

For other headaches that are more neck related, such as postural or some tension headaches, then call us on 9329 1118 for an assessment.