When to worry about headache. Head pain as a clue to intracranial disease

Postgrad Med. 1995 Aug;98(2):197-201, 204-8.


Careful evaluation of headache is important to detect potentially morbid but treatable causes. Although such causes represent only 10% of all emergency department visits for headache, the consequences of a missed diagnosis can be severe. Unfortunately, the cost of performing computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging for every patient with headache is prohibitive. However, familiarity with the differential diagnostic considerations, together with a high index of suspicion, should allow physicians to perform efficient, cost-effective examinations of all patients who seek treatment for headache.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Encephalitis / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Headache / diagnosis
  • Headache / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Meningitis / diagnosis
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis