• question-icon

    What causes a sudden onset of severe headache that persists for 30 hours?

Posted on Mon, 18 Jul 2016 in Headache and Migraines
Question: my wife experienced a sudden strong headache yesterday afternoon, while visiting a sick cousin in the
hospital icu. the headache got a little better later on, but it never went away completely and is still
pretty bad now after more than 30 hours. Could it be a stress related headache or is there reason for more
serious possibilities, like an aneurysim??
Answered by Dr. Shuba Hariprasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Stroke, migraines- see doctor right away

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for your query.
I'm Dr. Shuba Hariprasad and will be answering your query today.

Sudden onset headaches (especially unusually strong ones) that linger with minimal relief after medication should be checked out immediately.
If associated with projectile vomiting, slurred speech, any muscle weakness (characterized by clumsiness, falls, asymmetrical facial expressions, unable to hold arms straight above head), tinnitus - go to the ER right away. This could be a stroke.
Please do not give aspirin as it may worsen bleed in a hemorrhagic stroke
Migraines, stress headaches will need different medications with avoidance of trigger factors.
Certain chemicals used for cleaning & sterilizing hospitals can trigger Migraines.

I would:
-get relevant medical history (history of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, Hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, deep vein thrombosis or family history of these) & personal health information (if she smokes, is overweight/obese, any surgeries)

-examine her cardiovascular & neurological status. (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and neurological deficits)

-get an electrocardiogram & echocardiogram.

-CT scan of her brain

-basic blood investigations (complete blood count, Esr, clotting parameters, kidney & liver function tests, electrolyte levels, blood glucose panel & lipid profile)

Depending on the results and clinical findings I would determine the possible causes and treat accordingly.

A stroke (even a small one) can cause severe headache and will need hospitalization to stabilize. Depending on whether it is a clot or a bleed, appropriate therapy will be administered.
An small aneurysm may rupture if there was a surge in blood pressure & heart rate caused by physical or emotional stress.

I recommend that she see a physician /neurologist team for quick diagnosis & to rule out serious causes.

Hope this helps. Hope she feels better.
Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.
If not, please close this discussion & rate my answer.
Dr. Shuba Hariprasad
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina
Answered by
Dr. Shuba Hariprasad

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 1087 Questions


The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on

Recent questions on  Severe headache

doctor1 MD

Can severe neural forminal stenosis of the neck be cause from blunt trams to the head and neck I fell 4 years ago on head and neck had two...

doctor1 MD

hi i cant type but heres the story march 2011 i was having severe headaches i had 2 cat scan and a mri my doctor said i had bad sinuses but they...

doctor1 MD

Hi doctor, my friend s Bilirubin level is very high which is causing damage to his red blood cells, plus he has severe headache due to a...

doctor1 MD

My 14 year old son has been suffering from severe headaches since Sept 27th (2-1/2 months). He has had a Cat Scan (which showed sweeling of the 4th...

doctor1 MD

Hi sir, I'm 30 years old I have been suffering with severe headache from past 10years. 5 years ago I consulted a neurologist and got diagnosed with...

doctor1 MD

hi, my wife is 48 years old and is a housewife. no children at home. for past 1 week she is facing major giddiness, severe headache , panic attack...

doctor1 MD

I have ingested fish with cigutera! What is the best way to handle the symptoms? Headache, diarrhea , sensitivity to water.... Also, should I try...

Get personalised answers from verified doctor in minutes across 80+ specialties

188 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM Blog Questions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction
Questions Answered By Dr. Shuba Hariprasad
  • Q - What causes severe kidney pain with a history of kidney stones?

  • Q - What causes weakness, fatigue, burping, nausea and concentration problems?

  • Q - How do Probiotics help in treating acne?

  • Q - Suggest remedies for a bruise on chin post an injury

  • Q - Does prolonged intake of Nexium result in memory loss and alzheimers?

  • Q - What causes blurry vision, low BP, constant headache and chest pain?

  • Q - Suggest treatment for swelling through out body in a heart patient

  • Q - Does intake of Zincovit help in curing yawing, lethargy and memory issues?

  • Q - Suggest remedy for reddish scaly lesions on face

  • Q - What causes lower abdominal pain, frequent urination and bladder leakage?