Important questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequently asked questions with detailed answers help remove your concerns regarding the most common neurological conditions and their symptoms.

1. I am suffering from daily headaches – What could be the reason?

Remember – you get a headache due to many reasons. The next aspect of your headache is the type of headache you have. It could be a primary one, secondary or could be due to other reasons as well.

Next, a majority of the headaches are not very serious illnesses.

However, there are some types of headaches that need attention and care – and, a few others may require emergency care as they could be due to life-threatening conditions.

Coming to your type of daily headaches. These are usually primary type of headaches. They could be due to your lifestyle – stress, exhaustive work – tension headaches; chronic daily headaches could be due to migraine episodes – which again depends on many factors – skipping meals, light sensitivity, certain foods, odours, lights, sounds, inadequate sleep, excessive caffeine intake, skipping tea or coffee if you are used to it; headaches due to exercise, cold, flu and sex-related headaches.

2. What are secondary headaches?

Any symptom of a disease or health problem that can activate pain receptors of the brain manifest as secondary headaches. These types of headaches can be due to many causes. For example – dental problems, eye problems, acute sinusitis, dehydration, certain types of medications, ear infections, depression, middle-ear infections, brain stroke, abnormal blood vessels, panic disorders or panic attacks, monosodium glutamate in foods, brain tumours, high-blood pressure, cold, flu, influenza infections, hematoma, blood clots, brain AVMs, intracranial pressure, pressure from a tight headgear – such as helmet or goggles, cerebrospinal fluid leak, brain aneurysm and many other conditions can cause secondary headaches.

Dr. Bilal recommends you to seek immediate emergency medical care at a centre specialized in emergency neuro care – if you have a severe, sudden headache or a headache which is accompanied by:

Extreme weakness, Trouble walking, Weakness in one side of your body, Weakness in one or both the legs, Weakness in one or both the arms, Trouble speaking, Fainting, Stiff neck, Nausea or vomiting, Delirium, Confusion, Sudden excitation, Trouble seeing, and extreme fatigue and Fever greater than 102 F or 104 F.

3. What are the Symptoms of Cervical Pain or Cervical Nerve Compression?

Soreness in the neck, muscle spasms, dizziness, headaches that originate in the neck, pain in the neck and stiffness, inability to turn or bend the neck, pain in the arms, neck pain that radiates to the shoulder or back, feeling of noise when the neck is turned to side. Tingling sensation in the hands, legs or feet.

If your neck pain is associated with the following signs and symptoms, you should see a neurologist on an urgent basis: weakness in the arms, numbness or tingling sensation, walking difficulty or lack of coordination, abnormal reflexes, muscle spasms, weakness in arms, hands and feet, loss of bladder control and bowel (incontinence).

4. Can Nutrients Deficiency Cause Insomnia?

Excessive vitamin D deficiency is linked to musculoskeletal pain and sleeplessness. Deficiency of magnesium can cause insomnia. Low levels of melatonin can disrupt sleep. Potassium deficiency can cause insomnia as it synergistically works with magnesium to improve sleep.

5. What are the common signs and symptoms of Cluster Headaches?

Common Signs and Symptoms of Cluster headache

These types of headaches occur with severe pain-especially around one side of your head or in and around one or both the eyes. They mostly follow cyclical pattern. The headaches can last for a week, weeks or even up to months with intermittent remissions. There is a possibility to decrease the pain and the frequency of cluster headaches with proper treatment and medications.

Symptoms of Cluster headache

  • Unbearable pain on one side of the head or around one or both the eyes
  • Sudden episodes with severe pain
  • The symptoms may manifest suddenly
  • Symptoms sometimes are like migraine headaches
  • Pain radiates to face, neck, and shoulders
  • Forehead or facial sweating
  • Tearing
  • Restlessness
  • Swelling around the eye on the affected side
  • Drooping eyelid on the affected side
  • Redness in the eye on the affected side of the head
  • Stuffy nose on the affected side.
6. Is Your Headache Due to Sleep Apnea?

During episodes of sleep apnea breathing stops plenty of times and intermittently causing low levels of oxygen – which may in turn cause widening of blood vessels leading to vascular headaches. In addition to daytime drowsiness, majority of the sleep apnea sufferers complain about vascular headaches as they may not be able to remember whether they have breaks in breathing and episodes of snoring.

Due to intermittent stoppage of breathing during night, brain gets less oxygen owing to low levels of oxygen in the blood.

An individual suffering from sleep apnea suffers from poor quality of sleep. The same trend continues every night. Inadequate sleep causes anxiety, nervousness, irritability, short-temperedness – and even leads to depression over a period of time.

Therefore, if you regularly experience headaches, sleeplessness, mood swings, daytime drowsiness or depression – which you think could be due to sleep apnea, then it is better to consult a physician.

7. Is Your Fatigue Due to Something Else?

It is common to feel weakness at some point in your life. Weakness is lack of power to do something or lack of energy, but fatigue is something different wherein a person feel completely exhausted without feeling sleepy or drowsy. Fatigue has some other symptoms as well. Whatever may be the case, fatigue can be due to a variety of reasons – which may include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Physical exertion
  • Diet lacking proper nutrients
  • Loss of appetite
  • Deficiency of vitamins and minerals
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive coffee intake
  • Long-term illness
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Certain infections
  • Anaemia
  • Heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Lupus
  • Liver disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Kidney diseases
  • Variety of other infections can also cause fatigue
  • Steroids
  • Chemotherapy for cancer treatment
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • antihistamines, painkillers
  • Blood pressure medicines
8. What is a Migraine with Aura?

Aura - A sensation (as of a cold breeze or bright light) that precedes the onset of certain disorders such as a migraine attack or epileptic seizure. Prior to getting headache, you feel dizzy, see zigzag lines, notice ringing in your ears, worry about bright light sensation, experience blurry vision. After this phase, severe pain makes you cringe. This is a typical case of migraine with aura.

Nearly about 25% of migraines are associated with aura. You may sometimes get aura with migraines and sometimes may not. Therefore, with every migraine you may not get auras. Sometimes, you may get auras, but not migraines.

Migraine manifest in childhood and early adolescence period and get worst in adolescence period. Boys suffer a lot from migraines than their counterparts, but adult men have fewer migraines than adult women. As you age, you will get fewer migraines and after age 50, they become less common.

9. How long can you take Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) without talking to your doctor?

Drugs that are available over-the-counter without requiring prescription are not without risk because NSAIDs prolong usage can put you at risk of heart attack, kidney disease, bleeding disorders and liver damage. If you use them for a long time without consulting a doctor, then you might be keeping yourself unknown about any hidden problem – which could be the cause of the pain. Therefore, if you are taking pain relievers frequently or for more than 10 days in a row, then it would be better if you see your doctor at the earliest.

10. Signs You May Have an anxiety disorder?

When you are anxious you feel scared & nervous – whereas stress makes your muscles tensed, breath quicker and makes your heart beats fast.

You may need treatment for anxiety disorder if it is causing extreme worry, fear and interfering with your work and life.

People who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from anxiety disorder.

Feeling tired, restlessness and trouble sleeping are the major symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

Irritability, muscle tension and trouble concentrating are the other symptoms of anxiety disorder.

Fear of public speaking and crowds can be sign of social anxiety disorder.