Thunderclap headache refers to headache which is sudden and severe in onset. Typically the headache may take a few seconds to several minutes to reach to maximum intensity. The condition was first identified by neurologist, Charles Symonds in 1920s, as a clinical symptom associated with subarachnoid hemorrhage.
The term ‘thunderclap headache’ however was coined in mid 1980s by neurologists in the University of California.
What Causes Thunderclap Headache?
The condition is associated with a host of medical conditions, which have been identified as the primary causes linked with the disorder,
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is responsible for 10 to 25% of reported cases of the condition.
- Venous sinus thrombosis in the cerebral region.
- Hypertensive emergency with or without dissection of the cervical artery.
- Sudden intracranial hypotension (drop in the cerebrospinal fluid pressures).
- A symptom which occurs prior to stroke, though it may not completely manifest characteristics of thunderclap headache.
- Meningitis, colloid cysts and pituitary apoplexy are also linked with the manifestation of this symptom.
- Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome and its sub types.
What Does A Thunderclap Headache Feel Like?
The symptom is characterized by severe headache which reaches its peak within a few seconds to a few minutes after onset.
- In cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage, other symptoms include loss of consciousness, stiffness in the neck, vomiting, decreased level of consciousness and seizures. The headache in this case may continue for several days.
- In case of venous thrombosis, symptoms would include seizures and weakness in a part of the body. In most cases, headache maybe the only symptom.
- In artery dissection, the pain is restricted to the affected side and associated with visual symptoms and weakness of the affected side of the body.
A thunderclap headache may persist for several days, as observed in individuals with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The severity of the pain usually reaches its peak within a few minutes from the onset of the condition.
Natural Remedies For Thunderclap Headaches
Severe headache of this form is often treated as a medical emergency and immediate medical consultation is required. In most cases, the damage is progressive and hence attempts to use home remedies to manage the condition can prove fatal. You can try home remedies to alleviate some of the symptoms in conjunction to conventional treatment,
- Add a tablespoon of turmeric in a glass of milk and drink twice a day. Turmeric acts as a pain killer and helps alleviate pain.
- Homeopathic drug Belladonna is very useful in treating severe throbbing and pulsating headaches. This remedy should be taken in low potency and be repeated three to four times in a day.
- Include garlic, bell pepper and onions in your diet. These foods are natural blood thinners and help prevent the formation of clots. They can also help reduce the risk of internal bleeding.
- Blood pressure control is critical to alleviate the symptoms. Restricted salt diet and increase intake of calcium are found to be beneficial.
- Stress management using meditation techniques coupled with yoga and deep breathing can also help reduce blood pressure levels.