How is an intracranial aneurysm differentiated from a migraine headache?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Despite the possibility of a benign cause, a ruptured intracranial aneurysm is the primary consideration if the headache is severe and of sudden onset and reaches maximum intensity in minutes. The classic presentation of an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is as follows:

  • Severe headache with sudden, explosive onset

  • Stiff neck

  • Photophobia

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Possibly, alteration of consciousness


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