August 5, 2020

These are the four types of headaches associated with COVID-19



As reported by the WHO, most common symptoms of COVID. 19 They are fever, dry cough and feeling of shortness of breath. So far, these have been shown to be mild in 80% of cases, especially in children and young adults. Some people may have pain, a runny nose, a sore throat, or diarrhea. In the most severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe difficulty breathing, kidney failure, and even death. Infection may occur but no symptoms develop. But another of the most common symptoms is being headache.

A research team has defined up to four types of headache or headache associated with the coronavirus and classified according to the causes. Until the 15% of patients studied (although some studies point to a higher percentage) presented headaches, many without the presence of fever. They are attributed, among other factors, to emotional tension or pressure from face masks and protective screens; Although most disappear, in some patients they can remain chronic. Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and Hospital Clinico San Carlos de Madrid and Valladolid Clinic and it has been published in the specialized magazine Headache. I don’t know

The classification of the types of pain included in the study is as follows:

  1. The produced by the Individual Protection Equipment (EPI) “by external compression”. This type of headache usually has a variable location and occurs constantly in half of the people who use these PPE.
  2. A second group in which headache is related to stress caused by the situation and without other accompanying symptoms.
  3. Third group associated with the aggravation of the primary headache that the patient already suffered, that is, in those with a history of migraines and headaches. This group most often presents with nausea, vomiting, photophobia …
  4. Finally, the fourth group has a headache Properly derived from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this, pain can intensify with activity and movement of the head; it can be holocranial (whole head) or hemicranial; and it can be accompanied by phonophobia and less frequently by photophobia, nausea or vomiting.

To carry out this classification, the experts defined the types of headaches clinically thanks to surveys carried out with more than a hundred health professionals, mainly from Madrid – the majority (73.2%) with no history of headaches.

The predominant type in COVID-19 is the fourth type, of great intensity, which can affect the entire head or to one side, is usually oppressive and worsens with physical activity and head movements, Jesús Porta Etessam describes, head of the Neurology section of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital and professor at the UCM Faculty of Medicine. “You can wake the patient up at night and they will usually be bothered by noise and sometimes lights. Each patient has a different pathophysiological explanation and therefore management should be differential,” says Porta.

What to do in each case

The researcher explains that, in the case of COVID-19’s own headache, anesthetic blockade and steroids are performed, although “there is no evidence as it is a really recent condition.” If it is an aggravation of the patient’s primary headache, apply the usual treatments depending on whether it is a migraine or pain that spreads in clusters.

Adding new items to protect yourself from infection can also cause these headaches. Modify the way of carrying face masks and the protective screens it would be enough for them to stop. And finally, to treat the headache caused by the stress of the situation, the answer is, at the moment, in the neuromodulators.

“Most yield within the first 24 hours to a week, but a small percentage will not respond to standard treatments. We already have several patients who have developed a chronic headache“recognizes the neurologist.

Headache is a chronic disease that affects 2% of the population, although 50% of people who suffer from it are not diagnosed.

According to who, most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without the need for hospital treatment. About 1 in 5 people who get COVID-19 end up with a severe condition and experience breathing difficulties. Older people and those with previous medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart or lung problems, diabetes, or cancer are more likely to develop severe conditions. However, anyone can get COVID-19 and become seriously ill. People of any age who have a fever or cough and who are also breathing hard, feeling chest pain or tightness, or having trouble speaking or moving should seek medical attention immediately. If possible, it is recommended to call the healthcare professional or medical center first so that they can refer the patient to the appropriate healthcare facility.

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