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3886 Thunderclap-Headaches

Thunderclap Headaches

Thunderclap Headaches

Thunderclap headaches come with a sudden force that may literally knock a person over. This headache lives up to its name, grabbing attention like a clap of thunder. These headaches are uncommon and seem to come out of the blue and are medical emergencies.
The pain of thunderclap headaches peaks within 60 seconds and can start fading away after an hour. However, some of these headaches can last for more than a week.


Some thunderclap headaches appear as a result of no physical reason. Whereas, in other cases they could be due to potentially life threatening conditions including:

  • A rupture of a blood vessel or blood clot in the brain
    • Bleeding between the membranes of the brain 
    • Death of tissue or bleeding in the pituitary gland
    • A tear in the lining of an artery that supplies blood to the brain
    • Infection such as meningitis or encephalitis
    • A tumor in a part of the brain that blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid
    • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid due to a tear of the covering around a nerve root in the spine


Thunderclap headaches are vivid. Symptoms include pain that:

  • Peaks within 60 seconds
    • Lasts for anywhere between an hour to 10 days
    • Strikes suddenly and severely and can be unbearable
    • Can occur anywhere in the head or neck region
    • Can be accompanied by vomiting or nausea

Please seek medical attention if you experience a headache that comes suddenly and severely!

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