Headache Symptoms

Other Symptoms That Can Accompany Headaches

Headaches may be accompanied by a number of other symptoms. These signs and symptoms can help your healthcare provider diagnose the cause of the headaches. Besides head pain, a number of other symptoms may also be present with headaches, including:
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and odors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances
  • A fever, chills, aching, or sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Watery and teary eyes
  • Muscle aches or muscle pain
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • An increased heart rate
  • An increased breathing rate.


(You can read about symptoms for specific headaches by clicking on any of the following:


Can the Symptoms of a Headache Be Serious?

Although they are usually not harmful, headaches can signal a more serious problem.
You should see the healthcare provider if any of the following is true:
  • You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
  • Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
  • You have nausea, vomiting, vision problems, or other sensory problems before or during your headache
  • You have headaches along with a fever, weight loss, or shortness of breath.
If you child has recurring headaches, he or she should also see a healthcare provider (see Headaches in Children).
You should also talk with your healthcare provider immediately if any of the following is true:
  • Your headache is new or is different in its location or severity
  • It is your "worst headache ever"
  • You experience a "thunderclap" headache, which has a peak intensity within seconds to minutes
  • You have sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, hands, or legs (especially if it is only on one side), or other possible transient ischemic stroke (TIA) or stroke symptoms.
Know the Signs - Concussion Safety


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