COVID-19 Headaches: When To See The Doctor?

After battling COVID-19, there is still a chance for patients to suffer long-term symptoms, such as headaches. While some may be mild, others could disrupt one’s daily routine. Experts have shared ways to manage the lingering symptoms, but if they don’t seem to work, when is the right time to call a doctor?

Lingering Headaches

Long COVID is an umbrella term for post-COVID conditions characterized by a wide range of symptoms that can last weeks or even months after infection. One of the most reported symptoms after the initial infection with the coronavirus is a headache. 

Headaches vary from patient to patient. While some experience mild pain, others suffer from extreme headaches that could get in the way of their day-to-day living. 

“COVID-19-associated headache can take several forms, starting from a mild and dull headache to an acute and worst-of-a-lifetime kind of headache. Their durations of persistence also vary from patient to patient," Joy Mitra, a neurology expert at Houston Methodist Hospital, told Lifehacker

According to Mitra, COVID-19 seemingly worsens the condition in people prone to getting headaches before the infection. He said they end up belonging to the group with long-lasting headaches after surviving COVID.

“People who have pre-existing migraine or suffer from varying levels of stress in their daily lives have been reported to be the worst subset of COVID survivors with long-lasting episodes of headache, even up to six months from testing negative,” Mitra explained. 

When To Seek Help

When the long COVID headaches become significantly painful and frequent, it’s best to seek help from a doctor right away. Those with high blood pressure, stress disorders, insomnia and brain fog are advised to ask for professional help. 

Mitra advised telling the doctor about the frequency, duration and location of the headache, so a proper evaluation could be done. This is crucial for the treatment or pain management program to be administered. In some cases, doctors may advise pain management therapy that does not involve medications for a long-term solution to the lingering problem. 

General management strategies that could help relieve the pain, as recommended by Mitra, include having a healthy diet and enough sleep, staying hydrated and avoiding stress to help reduce the frequency of headaches. 

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