Migraines: Symptoms like a stiff neck can be life threatening

In the UK, migraines are estimated to result in 25 million work or school days lost each year at an economic cost of £ 2.3 billion. Treatments for the condition are limited as scientists have yet to determine which parts of the brain to target. In addition, migraines have proven to be complicated to study because of the sporadic symptoms that persist for days. Express.de met with family doctor Ross Perry, Cosmedics medical director, who explained what warning signs of detecting headaches are potentially life-threatening.

Dr. Perry stated, “There are many different types of headaches such as migraines, allergy sinus headaches, hormone headaches, caffeine headaches, post-traumatic headaches, rebound headaches, and hypertension headaches.

“Most of us will experience at least one or more of the above problems from time to time.

“Migraines are a certain type of headache that can cause mild to severe headaches, typically affecting one side of the head, affecting your eyesight and making you sick.

“They are often characterized by affecting one side of the head and causing nausea, visual changes such as flashing lights or short-lived tunnel vision and an aura.”

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Concerns about headaches have increased significantly since the condition was officially recognized as a symptom of COVID-19.

Although patients regularly visit emergency rooms for relief from migraines that cause significant pain, 90 percent of cases are considered benign.

Warning signals

The vast majority of headaches are considered “primary” headaches, which medically means that the condition is not related to an underlying disease.

However, health officials emphasize the importance of identifying the remaining 10 percent of headache sufferers who are at risk of developing a life-threatening condition.


Headaches that are life threatening are usually accompanied by other signs, six of which should ring alarm bells.

Dr. Perry stated, “You must see a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to your headache; stiff neck, slurred speech, confusion, vomiting, fever over 38 ° C, loss of vision and paralysis.

“It is important to see a family doctor if your headache keeps coming back and if pain medication doesn’t help and your headache gets worse.”

Although secondary headaches are rare, they require immediate diagnosis and treatment as delays can have a death rate of up to 50 percent.

So far it has been assumed that the most common complaints are psychosomatic illnesses resulting from an inability to cope with stress.

A Harvard professor suggested that migraines result from an interaction between the trigeminal nerve, which senses sensations from the head and facial nerves, and pain-sensitive membranes that surround the brain.

Dr. Perry noted, “Migraines are caused by spasms of blood vessels in the brain / throat area. The cause of this is unknown but is often made worse by stress, alcohol, and dehydration, but it can occur for no reason whatsoever.

“Treatments are mostly aimed at prevention by using tablets to stop the onset of migraines, as the only treatment is analysis and rest in a dark room if they are severe.”


There are some common culprits to avoid in order to stave off the painful condition, but some triggers arguably more important than others, particularly dehydration, stress, and alcohol.

Dr. Perry stated, “To prevent them, you need to recognize if they are occurring and take preventive medication. Also to stay healthy and drink plenty of fluids and not to overdo stress and alcohol.

“There are certain things that can help ease the onset and severity of migraines.

Try to keep your stress low with breathing exercises or yoga. “