A Doctor Misdiagnosed Your Thunderclap Headaches as Migraines? Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney Now

Posted on: 6 April 2016


If a doctor misdiagnosed your thunderclap headaches as migraines, speak to a medical malpractice attorney now. Although migraine headaches can be severe, they generally aren't life threatening. However, thunderclap headaches may indicate an underlying, life-threatening cause such as an aneurysm or another critical brain condition that may stop the flow of blood to the brain or cause internal bleeding. Here are things you need to know about the differences between thunderclap headaches and migraines, how thunderclap headaches develop, and what an attorney may do to assist you in your case.

What Are the Differences between Migraines and Thunderclap Headaches?

Although migraines and thunderclap headaches have some symptoms in common, such as vomiting, vision impairment, and nausea, thunderclap headaches occur on both sides of the head while migraines usually occur on one side of the head. Thunderclap headaches receive their names from the symptoms they produce and are often noted as "the worst headaches of your life."

Thunderclap headaches occur suddenly and demand attention, like thunder does. Thunderclap headaches can increase in intensity within a minute of occurring and can last for several hours. Some headaches may lose their intensity but last for about 10 days. Migraines typically last anywhere from four hours to three days and generally occur from being exposed to bright lighting, loud noise, or specific medications. Migraines may also be hereditary, or passed down from family member to family member. 

How Do Thunderclap Headaches Develop?

Thunderclap headaches can develop in two ways: as a result of an underlying medical condition or idiopathically, which means there is no known cause. Although it doesn't apply to every case, many idiopathic thunderclap headaches are believed to develop from something that places stress or exertion on your body, such as coughing, exercising, or sexual activity. The exertion causes sudden vasodilation, which describes the body's blood vessels when they expand. The sudden blood flow through the body triggers pain in the head.

Thunderclap headaches can come as a result of an underlying condition. In many cases, the underlying condition has the potential to disrupt blood flow to your brain or cause bleeding in the brain. For instance, cerebral aneurysms can create severe headaches when they form blood clots that rupture. Blood clots can be alarming because they generally lie hidden inside your blood vessels until doctors reveal them with in-depth diagnostic tools, such as CT scans or x-rays. 

If the misdiagnosing doctor didn't use the diagnostic tools above to examine you or find out why you're having these intense headaches, it's critical that you speak directly with a medical malpractice lawyer about developing a case against the physician.

How Will a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help You?

Head pain can be ignored, misdiagnosed, or overlooked if doctors don't follow up with the right diagnostic care or take the time to go over your symptoms. One of the things an attorney may do is ask the doctor who misdiagnosed you questions about your case. The questions may include these:

  1. Did the doctor use CT scans or another type of diagnostic tool to check the blood vessels in your head and neck for clots, ruptures, or weakness?
  2. Did the doctor request a second opinion about your headaches if they couldn't pinpoint the origin or cause themselves?
  3. Did the doctor ask you about the severity and duration of your headaches?
  4. Did the doctor ask you about your medical and family histories? 

Once a medical malpractice lawyer obtains the answers they seek from the physician, the attorney may develop and pursue a case against the physician. In addition, an attorney may send you to physicians or specialists who can diagnose you correctly and provide the medical documentation you need to win a case against the doctor who misdiagnosed you. A lawyer may then present your case to the misdiagnosing doctor's insurer for compensation.

If the insurer doesn't compensate your case based on the evidence, a medical malpractice attorney may choose to take the case to court and allow a judge to decide the outcome. However, this is something you might want to discuss in greater detail with an attorney when you speak to them.