What's a Thunderclap Headache?
Thunderclap headache (TCH) refers to an excruciating headache of instantaneous onset—as sudden and as unexpected as a “clap of thunder.” It is a form of headache that should never be ignored, but should always be thoroughly investigated.
The term "thunderclap headache" was first used to describe this headache as a symptom of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm. Since then, some other disorders have been noted to also present with TCH. Those disorders include:
- subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH),
- cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST),
- pituitary apoplexy,
- spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH),
- hypertensive encephalopathy,
- and retroclival hematoma.
In all of these cases, since the TCH is caused by another disorder, the headache is classified as a secondary headache.
When no organic cause is present, primary thunderclap headache may be diagnosed.
You can learn more about thunderclap headache in Thunderclap Headache - The Basics.
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